Mr. Speaker, almost a year ago, the Chalk River reactor was shut down, cutting off almost half of the world's supply of medical isotopes. In Canada, vital procedures are still being delayed or cancelled. Reactor repair costs are running at $11 million per month.
Right now all of our isotope eggs are in one basket. There is a better way: a national network of much less expensive cyclotrons to produce isotopes at regional health centres across Canada. This would mean a cost-effective and safer end to catastrophic shortages like the current one.
One such cyclotron is planned for Thunder Bay. The Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute has gotten funding from the province toward a cyclotron and radiopharmacy facility, but it has been left waiting for the federal government to step up with its share. It is time for the federal government to show leadership and fund this vital initiative.