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House of Commons Hansard #116 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was industry.

Topics

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, on the first issue of whether it is courage or ideology, I can say to my friend that from some of the discussions that some of the other colleagues from the NDP and I have had with some of the members of Parliament of the Conservative Party, there are a certain number of them who think that we should be bringing him home. Therefore, it is not just ideology. It certainly does not permeate throughout the whole caucus of the Conservative Party.

With regard to the issue of the replacement of the judge, if we follow the sequence of events, for four to five years the military commission system basically was not functioning. The Americans then put one in place. They went into court and it was struck down because it did not have an appeal process. They passed more legislation to have the appeal process put into place.

When the judge who got in there was finally beginning to function, and I am sure they did not want him but he got in there, he began to provide some very basic limited rights to Mr. Khadr's lawyers to get some disclosure. As that disclosure started to come out, as I said earlier, it became very clear that they did not have the evidence that they had told the country and the world that they had against Mr. Khadr. They just did not have it.

In fact, the American supreme court decision here forced disclosure out of our intelligence people, but as that began to come out, it became quite obvious they were going to have a hard time, so they replaced the judge. The judge had no intention to retire. He had been appointed to this file and he was going to carry it through to the end of the trial.

Therefore, it is quite obvious that they manipulated the system over there, always to the disadvantage of Mr. Khadr. It is another reason why the government should be acting.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Windsor for his intervention and my colleague from Hamilton for his work on this file.

Recently, at the foreign affairs committee, we received the report and the committee voted in favour of the recommendations from the subcommittee on human rights. I am proud that we did so because one of the problems has been the government acknowledging its responsibility.

We have a system in Guantanamo that has fallen apart. The house of cards is falling. Our government needs to acknowledge that. We understand that this system is falling apart in Guantanamo. I want to know from my colleague why is it that our country is not able to do what Australia has done--

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I will have to cut off the hon. member because the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh only has about 30 seconds to respond.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is not a question of ability to do anything. It is a question of the willingness, having the political courage to stand up and say we are going to do what we are supposed to do. The government very clearly would get a positive response from the United States. We know that.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That the House do now proceed to orders of the day.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Foreign Affairs and International DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

10:35 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

Call in the members.

And the bells having rung:

(The House divided on the motion which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #161

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I declare the motion carried.

The House resumed from May 29 consideration of the motion that Bill C-5, An Act respecting civil liability and compensation for damage in case of a nuclear incident, be read the third time and passed, and of the motion that this question be now put.

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:10 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. When this matter was last before the House, the hon. member for Western Arctic had the floor, and there remain five minutes in his time for debate on this matter. Accordingly, I call upon the hon. member for Western Arctic.

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, on a point of order, I believe that we should be returning to routine proceedings.

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am afraid the hon. member did not hear the motion. It was that we proceed to orders of the day, so we are on orders of the day. Routine proceedings are done.

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would seek unanimous consent to go back to routine proceedings. I believe that people were leaving the chamber and they did not hear the motion. There was a lot of noise and people did not hear what the motion was about, and we were standing. I would seek unanimous consent that we return--

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I will ask. Is there unanimous consent to revert to routine proceedings?

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Some hon. members

Yes.

No.

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

No, so the hon. member for Western Arctic has the floor on debate.

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, once again I stand to speak to Bill C-5, the Nuclear Liability and Compensation Act.

In my previous speech, which was about a month ago, I took the time to describe all the amendments that we proposed on this bill. Our concern is the impact on the ability of people to obtain compensation in the event of a nuclear accident. Much of the bill favours the nuclear industry over those who may be seeking compensation from the industry in the case of an accident or any kind of incident at a nuclear plant.

The nuclear industry is heating up in this country. There are proposals in two provinces in western Canada for nuclear reactors. The movement toward nuclear energy seems to be gaining some steam in the country, yet none of the basic issues that speak to the concerns Canadians have over the development of this industry have been addressed. There is still no plan for waste disposal. The roles of government and private industry in the nuclear industry have not been clarified. We still have not determined whether the nuclear industry is cost effective in this country. Over and over we have subsidized the development of nuclear energy. At the same time this bill does not give proper coverage and protection for the liability that could occur with a nuclear accident.

A $650 million liability limit is the minimum possible for Canada to match with international agreements. We have said over and over that that is not good enough. The United States, our closest trading partner, carries liability far in excess of $650 million for each plant in that country.

The Conservative government is moving ahead with a bill that does not adequately do the job. We have pointed that out over and over again. We have attempted to work with the government on amendments in committee and here in the House. We have been stonewalled by the government. We have been stonewalled by the official opposition as well. The Liberals have not shown much responsibility.

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

Call them “the Liberal”. There is only one of them here.

Nuclear Liability and compensation ActGovernment Orders

11:15 a.m.

NDP

Dennis Bevington NDP Western Arctic, NT

Mr. Speaker, I cannot comment on people's attendance in the House of Commons. That is against the traditions of the House. I would hope hon. members would not encourage me to do that.

The Bloc is supporting this bill as well. This bill is a half-hearted attempt to set a proper liability limit. There is an attempt within the bill to provide many outs for companies in case of a requirement for compensation. It is difficult for private individuals to obtain the kind of compensation that would be necessary as a result of a nuclear accident.

It is simply not good enough to have time limits of three years or ten years in which people could expect to see an impact from nuclear accidents. We already know that 30 and 40 years later people are coming forward with health issues from nuclear accidents. People are bringing forward situations where nuclear material has been transported from one area to another and it ends up in housing units or it has been used for fill in some cases. These incidents eventually have an impact on people's lives.

When the limits within Bill C-5 are set to such a short term, it opens the door for companies to avoid being responsible. Of course that is good for the companies, that is good for the surety of the industry, but it is not good for Canadians. As a member of Parliament who has been elected by individual Canadians and not by companies, I am here to try to bring clarity to this bill as it impacts on Canadians. We are frustrated with trying to move forward with some very basic amendments to various terms within this bill for the past year and a half. It has been difficult.

We have seen with the Chalk River incident in December the importance of a strong nuclear safety agency. We have seen the necessity of ensuring that we protect Canadians, that we protect investment and that we protect the direction this country takes with nuclear energy.

There are many reasons not to support this bill. We will continue to debate it today and perhaps tomorrow, and if we can carry this through, this bill will remain unresolved for a few more months. Perhaps Canadians will have a chance to speak up and influence the government.

If the Conservative plan is to sell off Canada's nuclear industry and if this bill is simply to allow foreign companies to purchase the assets of AECL, this issue should be up front. Canadians should understand why we are doing the things we are doing in Parliament, but that is not the case. The government continues to move this bill forward in a fashion that suggests it is simply for other purposes.