Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in this House to speak to Bill C-23 at third reading.
As my Liberal colleague mentioned, I have done considerable work on this bill. I thought that nuclear energy was a very serious matter, and that, since the old act had been around for 50 years, a great deal of attention would have to be given to improving it.
I would like to take this opportunity to explain my point of view, which is that Bill C-23 will have to be transparent so things can be put in context.
While the existing act encompasses both the regulatory and developmental aspects of nuclear activities, this enactment disconnects the two functions, provides a distinct identity to the regulatory agency. It replaces the Atomic Energy Control Board with the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, underlining its separate role from that of Atomic Energy of Canada Ltd. The role of the latter agency is to promote the sale of CANDU reactors, among other things. It also oversees the federal research, development and marketing organization for nuclear and atomic energy.
Since the act was first adopted in 1946, the mandate of the regulatory agency has evolved from one chiefly concerned with national security to one which focuses primarily on the control of the health and environmental safety consequences of nuclear activities.
This enactment provides the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission with a mandate to establish and enforce national standards in
this area. It also establishes a basis for implementing Canada's policy of fulfilling its obligations with respect to the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons.
This new philosophy underlying Bill C-23 establishes a very reasonable basis for attaining objectives, but perhaps not enough time has been allowed to take a 50-year-old enactment and turn it into a modern piece of legislation. It must be remembered that the bill replaces a 50-year-old enactment dealing primarily with national security. It must be kept in mind that in 1950, after World War II, there was more interest in linking nuclear energy with bombs for war time use. Gradually the desire developed to show Canadians that this energy could also be a safe, easily produced, low cost, clean energy source.
Mr. Speaker, there are not many of us here, and the House is not really paying much attention. In light of the events that have taken place, and in order to continue this debate in a more serious manner, I therefore move:
That the House do now adjourn.
Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?