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Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was years.

Last in Parliament October 2015, as NDP MP for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2015, with 24% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Military Contribution Against ISIL March 26th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, many of us are rising this evening to take part in the debate on the most important decision we have to make as parliamentarians. We must decide whether to send our armed forces personnel into combat.

I am so tired of hearing the Conservatives' rhetoric in this House. If any other party takes a more pacifist position, they equate that with contempt for our armed forces.

We need to be careful and think long and hard about where we send our armed forces, why we are sending them and the possibility of success, and we must have an exit strategy. These are important fundamentals and a way to demonstrate our profound respect for our armed forces.

Through all these months of debate, we have heard so many childish comments from across the aisle that one would think this is high school. I am sick of hearing them. I must reiterate, we need to be very careful about our decision. Our positions must show our profound respect for the members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

We must therefore rise and decide whether to vote for or against the motion to extend Canada's combat mission in Iraq. The organization that prompted this evening's debate, and indeed a host of other problems around the world for months now, is the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a terrorist organization. I will also refer to it as ISIL and the Islamic State. Although I hate to admit it, there is a certain poetry to its name, but let us stick to the basics.

What is the Islamic State, exactly? It is an organization that has displaced 2.5 million civilians in Iraq by conducting military operations that are completely barbaric. Because of that organization, another 5.2 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. It has killed at least 5,000 people. That is one number I came across, but I think it actually is much higher.

Another troubling thing about the activities of the Islamic State is that it finances its activities in large part by exporting oil from the lands it conquers and charging the residents arbitrary taxes. It simply kills a woman's husband, then taxes her and tells her she has no say in the matter. It also collects ransom from kidnappings. While they are at it, why not take barbarism to the extreme? My colleagues all agree: the extreme barbarism displayed by the Islamic State has to stop.

As always, the Conservatives start with a consensus and then brag about taking action. That is where the problems begin. On the basic issue there is consensus, but when it comes to how to approach the issue, once again, we are headed for a frigging mess. I apologize, Mr. Speaker, I am not sure if that is considered unparliamentary language.

We cannot vote in favour of the motion on extending the mission in Iraq for two fundamental reasons. The first reason is the lies. For months we have a heard a litany of lies. When the government asks the public to accept major expenditures because we are engaged in a conflict and asks members of our armed forces to risk their lives, then it has to be transparent.

The Prime Minister lied. He is miring Canada in a conflict without being accountable and without having an exit strategy. The U.S. Army was the last major army to go to Iraq without an exit strategy. For nearly two decades, it sent troops there and bombed the country and so forth, all without an exit strategy. Two decades later, what is the result? Have things calmed down in the MIddle East, Iraq and Syria? Are these people building co-operatives and voting freely? No.

The situation now is even worse than it was 20 years ago. We are having another go at it without an exit strategy.

We went from a mission that was supposed to be an advise and assist mission to a six-month bombing mission, and then to a combat mission on the front lines. Unfortunately, the death of Sergeant Doiron, killed by friendly fire, is proof of that. Canadians at home understand that you cannot be involved in a friendly fire incident if you are not at the front. That is impossible. If you are behind the front lines, allies will not turn around and fire on you. If such situations arise, it is because you are at the front. I am pleased that one of my colleagues who was in the army told me that my analysis is correct.

On September 30, the Prime Minister said “there is not a direct combat role”. A few months later, in January, Canadian soldiers who were providing ground support for air strikes exchanged gunfire with Islamic State forces. There were at least three such exchanges between late January and mid-February.

Another aspect of the motion that is really worrisome is that it allows us to now take action in Syria. People at home need to know that. Syria is led by Bashar al-Assad. He is running a monstrous regime in an extremely complex situation involving rebel clans and unclear affiliations.

Bashar al-Assad is responsible for over 220,000 civilian deaths and 4 million refugees in just four years. This regime's armed force is made up of about 50,000 people, but these rebels are sometimes a bit disorganized.

I want to ask the House a fundamental question. In such a complex environment, with a tyrant in power, with rebels who, while somewhat disorganized, are fairly well armed and more or less radicalized, and with refugees scattered all over, where should the bomb be dropped? Where are they going to drop this magical bomb that will improve the situation? Can they show us on a map? I would like the Minister of National Defence to show me an exact point on the map where he wants to drop bombs in order to improve the situation.

The situation is so complex, he would not be able to point to a single location on the map. Dropping bombs is not a magic solution. It is absolutely not.

Worse still, under lies and arguments that make it impossible for us to support this motion because we cannot trust the government, information was hidden from the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

On February 16, the Minister of National Defence announced that so far, Canada had spent $122 million on the combat mission in Iraq. The next day, the Parliamentary Budget Officer released his estimates, which were on the order of $166 million. We have barely entered the conflict, and we are already in an F-35 situation, and we are wondering if there will be any transparency about the costs.

I do not always agree with how our neighbours to the south decide to intervene, but at least they have the advantage of being very transparent about reporting their expenditures to the American people. I gather that costs are updated publicly every 48 hours. That is not at all the case here. We cannot trust a government that cannot even be honest about the costs stemming from its own decision to enter a conflict.

The government has also awkwardly offered up a whole series of false arguments, including false claims about the coalition.

Most of the nations that make up the coalition, including Norway, South Korea and New Zealand, are not participating in combat. They are giving tens of millions of dollars to address humanitarian needs.

There have been lies about the effectiveness of the mission. When we started bombing ISIL forces, which I am loathe to give any credit to, as everyone can understand, they moved and hid among civilians. We have serious doubts about whether this plan can even be effective.

Small advances were the result of the courage of the Kurds, who were engaged in dangerous combat on the ground.

In conclusion, the government also lied about the UN. The UN did indeed put forward a resolution, but it said that what was important was to target sources of funding for the Islamic State and cut them off as quickly as possible. The UN never said to send in soldiers or put boots on the ground. That is not true.

If at least our Prime Minister thought we needed to take military action and he had panache, courage and a good sense of his office, and he met with world leaders to convince them that NATO and the UN should take action, I might not agree, but I could respect him. That is nothing like what we are seeing here.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, if I am not mistaken, the son of our colleague from Kildonan—St. Paul worked on child pornography investigations. First, if that is the case, I commend his son. It must be a very hard job to have to search through the evidence in these sorts of cases. It really must be very difficult. I applaud his son for the work that he does.

However, I disagree with one of my colleague's comments. I did not understand it. The Conservatives themselves admitted that $10 million was not used. That money should have been used by the police units tasked to investigate pedophilia cases. Our colleague was saying that the money was not spent because—and surely his argument is valid—it is very difficult to find police officers who are willing to participate in these investigations and that those officers then have to be given a lot of training. I understand all that. It must be a long and difficult process. However, what I do not understand and what I would like my colleague to explain is why, rather than sending those millions of dollars elsewhere, was the money not kept and heavily invested in recruiting and training these people, if it is so difficult to get the job done?

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, my colleague raised several important issues including, unfortunately, the increase in the number of reported incidents of pedophilia and people arrested for that offence. It is horrible.

I heard the stories of very competent people who have an extremely thankless job. I am the father of three children and I find individuals with pedophilic tendencies or those who act on these tendencies to be repugnant. I am a parent like everyone else.

I heard interviews with people who work in two organizations. One of them tries to support people with this problem before they act on it, while the other works with potential repeat offenders. I listened to these interviews on the radio, and the two representatives of these two organizations pointed out that they have a great deal of difficulty obtaining funding for their work.

I want to explain. I find the people who are served by these organizations to be repugnant. However, I want them to get help because, as a parent, I do not want them to abuse a child. I would like to hear what my colleague has to say about this problem of failing to do what is necessary to ensure there will be no new victims.

Tougher Penalties for Child Predators Act March 25th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, more and more people are coming forward with reports of abuse they have suffered at the hands of their abusers. This is bad news, generally, however, there is reason for hope: society no longer tolerates this kind of behaviour. Together, we are trying to address the problem head-on and solve it as much as possible. There is some bad news, however: the RCMP's budget has been cut by $10 million. That money should have been used to tackle this problem.

We support the bill in question, but as legislators, how can we consider increasing penalties if, while society is trying hard to eradicate the problem, police forces have fewer resources to tackle it? It does not make any sense.

How can my colleague across the aisle justify such a thing?

Questions Passed as Orders for Returns March 12th, 2015

NameWith regard to Canada Post and its equipment renewal for community mailboxes, further to the answer to question Q-471, obtained on June 5, 2014: (a) what were the reasons for selecting a new mailbox model and ordering 100 000 of them between 2014 and 2016; (b) is the mailbox model produced by Florence Manufacturing patented or licensed and, if so, (i) under what jurisdiction, (ii) is the patent or licence legally binding in Canada, (iii) could a Canadian company have acquired the patent or licence to produce the same model as the one produced by Florence Manufacturing; (c) if the model is not patented or licensed, (i) what regulations forbid or make it impossible for a Canadian company to acquire the patent or licence, (ii) does Canada Post know which companies have the licences required to produce the mailboxes and, if so, what are their names, (iii) what reasons led Canada Post to restrict the tendering process to companies that hold the patent or licence in question; (d) does Canada Post intend to use the same selection criteria for its next tendering process, expected in January 2015, for long-term mailbox production; (e) what reasons led Canada Post to choose new selection criteria; (f) was a study carried out to determine the reasons mentioned in (e), including forecasts for increased parcel delivery, and, if not, (i) why not, (ii) what factors did contribute to determining the criteria for producing new mailboxes; (g) if the answer to (f) is affirmative, (i) when was this study commissioned, (ii) when was this study completed, (iii) what are the details; (h) does Canada Post have a division or resources dedicated to research and development; (i) did Canada Post try to develop a prototype or prototypes together with its Canadian partners that would respond to the new selection criteria and, if so, what are the details concerning these prototypes; (j) if the answer to (i) is not in the affirmative, why not; and (k) if the prototypes mentioned in (i) do exist, (i) did Canada Post help fund these development projects, (ii) what were the costs, (iii) what were the development timelines, (iv) were they evaluated by Canada Post, (v) what was the content and what were the conclusions of these evaluations, (vi) were these prototypes pilot-tested in Canada? and Role

Takeover of Stelco March 11th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak to Motion No. 537, which has to do with the takeover of Stelco by U.S. Steel.

Before I begin, I would like to commend the hard work done by the member for Hamilton Centre, for whom I have a great deal of respect. He has a lot of experience and served as minister of correctional services in the Ontario legislature. He is also very passionate about defending the rights of workers, so I was not surprised to see him move such a motion in the House. He believes in it. It is very important to him.

Motion No. 537 by my colleague from Hamilton Centre urges the government to do three things: first of all, to apologize for approving the U.S. Steel takeover of Stelco on the grounds that it has failed to provide a net benefit; second, to make public the commitments U.S. Steel agreed to under the Investment Canada Act in respect of the acquisition of Stelco Inc. in 2007, and the 2011 out-of-court settlement, concerning employment and production guarantees and maintenance of the employee pension system—and I will come back to this part later—and third, to take action to ensure employee pensions are protected, including amending the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

I would like to take a moment to explain the first point of the motion moved by my NDP colleague. I will then talk about the third part of the motion, because it applies to a similar situation, one just as upsetting, that happened in my riding over five years ago.

Let us look at what the first point is all about. Why ask the government to apologize for approving the takeover of Stelco by U.S. Steel because there was no net benefit? Let me give a little background on what motivated us to do that. Before it was called U.S. Steel, the company was called Stelco. It was a company that specialized in steel manufacturing that operated in southwestern Ontario.

In 2004, Stelco declared that it had $545 million in long-term debt and a $1.3 billion deficit in pension funding obligations. Therefore, Stelco applied for bankruptcy protection under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act.

In March 2006, Stelco came out of Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act protection after selling off different production units. In 2007, in a transaction that was subject to review for approval under the Investment Canada Act, U.S. Steel purchased Stelco for $1.9 billion—$1.1 billion in cash and $800 million in assumed debt.

U.S. Steel undertook to maintain jobs and production and honour pension obligations by making $70 million in annual payments to the employee pension funds to return them to solvency by 2015. Based on that information, the federal government approved the takeover with the understanding that it would be a “net benefit” to Canada.

This is where the story takes a terrible turn. In 2008-09, 700 workers were laid off in Hamilton. That is certainly not a net benefit. There was also the shutdown of the majority of operations in Canada, which is certainly not a net benefit, and the 11-month lockout of the workers in Hamilton and Nanticoke. Then the federal government took U.S. Steel to Federal Court for failing to meet its undertakings on production and pensions. They settled out of court in 2011.

The company undertook to continue producing steel in Canada and make at least $50 million in capital investments to maintain its Canadian facilities. Then it started all over again. In 2013, almost 1,000 workers were locked out for four months. In 2014, U.S. Steel filed for bankruptcy protection, claiming an $800 million shortfall with respect to pensions, of course. Pensioners are still facing the possibility of having their pensions reduced by 30%.

My colleague from Hamilton Centre is right: workers and Canadians deserve an apology from the government for approving the takeover by U.S. Steel. It is obvious that what happened was not a net benefit to Canada. When we see such situations, it is also clear that the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act need a complete overhaul.

Only the NDP, with the decades of work that it has done in defence of the rights of workers and the middle class in Canada, will have the political courage to address these issues. We will begin in eight months.

Unfortunately, what the U.S. Steel workers are going through all too closely resembles what happened to F.F. Soucy workers in my riding. F.F. Soucy was bought out by the American company White Birch Paper in 2007. From 2010 until just recently, retirees were living under the threat of having their pensions cut dramatically. Workers aged 55 and under stood to lose up to 70% of their pension. That is huge.

The retirees had to wait until January 2015 for a judge to rule that they would receive the amounts they had been owed since December 2012. It is shameful that these retirees have been waiting since December 2012 to get what they are owed. The judge also decided that they would be paid 90% of their original pension. That was five years of stress and lost income for these retired men and women who were not guilty of anything more than earning an honest living under a legally negotiated agreement.

The representatives of the F.F. Soucy retirees are right. This case shows why the laws need to be strengthened to ensure that pension plans are given preferred creditor status in Canada.

I will support the motion by my colleague from Hamilton Centre, since too many events in recent history have proven that this motion is appropriate and necessary.

In southeastern Ontario, as in Rivière-du-Loup and all across Canada, there are too many transactions that provide no net benefit to Canadians and too many retirees who have seen their pensions suffer. This needs to change. I am proud to rise with my colleagues in the NDP who are showing, with Motion No. 537, that they do not just talk about their values, but they are also prepared to act on those values right now. Some colleagues are telling me that there are other cases, like Nortel. I would like all my colleagues to have a chance to speak. There are a lot of examples.

In the minute I have left, I would like to put this all in perspective. There seems to be this complete obsession on the right, which can be found across the country, but you hear it a lot on right-wing radio in Quebec, with denigrating unionized workers, and it has gotten completely out of hand.

We need to remind the public that these agreements came out of a completely legal negotiation process. When workers say that they are entitled to something, it is because they have a completely legal agreement. We need to remind the public of what happens in the communities affected. Take, for example, the 200 or so F.F. Soucy retirees who spent years worrying about losing 70% of their retirement income. Just imagine the stress of being in your sixties, having worked for 30 or 35 years and no longer being sure that you will get 70% of your income for your remaining years. Imagine that stress.

Communities and people who are not unionized—such as restaurant owners—have to understand that when hundreds of retirees suddenly see their income collapse because one party did not hold up its end of the pension payment agreement, that is bad for everyone. If, year after year, a retiree is afraid of losing 70% of his income or actually does lose 30% of it, will he still have discretionary funds to spend at cafés and restaurants every weekend? This has a direct impact on the whole community.

When right wingers go on and on about how unions are useless, that has a negative impact on workers and working conditions in the industrial sector. Ultimately, communities suffer. That is what people need to be reminded of. The right has a tendency to get completely hysterical when it comes to the basic rights of workers.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Newton—North Delta for her very interesting speech.

Pipeline companies are asking for authorization to do things that can be extremely worrisome. For example, energy east wants to cross the St. Lawrence. Never before has an enormous heavy bitumen pipeline crossed a waterway as large and as dense as the St. Lawrence. The transshipment point for the northern gateway pipeline project, which was approved by the National Energy Board, has been challenged by several experts. They say that this is a dangerous place to navigate enormous oil tankers.

The proponents want to transport a million barrels of oil a day across the St. Lawrence and select a transshipment point that was severely criticized by marine safety experts because it opens the door to the possibility of major accidents. A billion-dollar liability is not enough because the damage caused by a catastrophe of that nature would cost much more.

Can my colleague comment on that aspect of the problem?

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, there is something wrong in that paradigm with respect to rail transportation.

Right now, there are long-term contracts—from five to seven years—for products to be transported by rail. The industry tells people they must choose, when in fact, there is no choice. The industry says that it wants to move forward on both fronts. There will be more tankers filled with bitumen on the tracks. In addition, the industry wants more pipelines to transport and probably export the majority of the resource, especially in the case of the energy east pipeline. This is something made up by people who, I imagine, want to avoid a fundamental debate on whether we truly want to base our economy of the future on maximizing the transportation of a non-renewable resource. There is something wrong there.

Something really blew me away, especially because it was that a Liberal colleague who just asked me a question. He said that one positive aspect of the bill was that the National Energy Board could now focus on the people affected by the pipelines. He said that its mandate was not limited to the safety of the pipeline itself. This means that during the time of the Liberals, the act provided only for the protection of the pipeline and not the protection of those who lived around it. They allowed that to go on for decades. Unbelievable.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, something I meant to talk about today was breach of trust, which goes back to what my colleague was saying.

In 2011, the environment commissioner said that the National Energy Board had not managed to secure better measures to protect the environment and the public when it comes to pipelines. It is now 2015. Nothing was done until this small step. It took years for a small, extremely questionable step to be taken.

Indeed, my colleague is right. First, the $1 billion is highly questionable. Another major deficiency in this entire process of the Conservatives' bill is operational safety.

It is all well and good for the government to tell people that it will raise the ceiling in the event of a major accident, but what my constituents really want to know is what will be put in place to ensure that there are no major accidents. This is an unbelievable oversight.

It is akin to saying that it is a huge industry, this has to go through and if the pipeline breaks, then damage will be paid for. If we are talking to the farmers in my riding or the people in the municipalities who are concerned about their water supply, then we cannot use that argument.

These people want to know what guarantee there is that beyond the oil, their resources will be protected during operations, because those resources could be threatened by a major spill.

Pipeline Safety Act March 9th, 2015

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to a very important bill that is at the second reading stage. At the moment, this bill is very controversial, even though the NDP plans to support it at second reading.

I am going to read the title for the people who are kind enough to be listening to us on CPAC. It is the Act to amend the National Energy Board Act and the Canada Oil and Gas Operations Act. The bill is at second reading. To ensure that people are able to follow us, second reading is not the final passage of a bill. Some of us are considering supporting a bill that is extremely flawed so we can send it to committee where a host of amendments will certainly be proposed. We will see how things go in committee in order to decide whether the bill then deserves support at third reading. That is the point at which it might be enacted into law for Canada.

In 2013, 1.3 million barrels of crude oil were transported through pipelines under federal jurisdiction in Canada. That shows the importance of this subject. In Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, we are currently having to deal with the presence of the National Energy Board, because at the moment, the processes that have been initiated are hugely problematic. As the entire country now knows, there is an oil port project in my riding that is directly associated with a very large pipeline project, energy east. We are in a completely ludicrous situation in my constituency, where, on the one hand, the promoter has unilaterally decided not to clarify anything about its project before the end of March, while, on the other hand, the National Energy Board is requiring that community stakeholders decide now whether they are going to be included in the consultations in a few months. Therefore we have very competent people who are spending hundreds if not thousands of hours preparing to participate in a consultation that is probably going to be about something other than what is being presented by the promoter at this point. That makes this project a hot topic for the people I represent.

I am going to offer some explanation about the bill that is before us today. The bill includes absolute liability for all pipelines regulated by the National Energy Board. That means that the companies will be liable for costs and expenses and for damages regardless of fault, up to a maximum of $1 billion for high-capacity pipelines, that is, pipelines that transport at least 250,000 barrels of oil per day. That is a very high capacity. For a middle-class person sitting quietly in Tourville, Longueuil or Trois-Pistoles, $1 billion may seem like a large amount. Someone might say $1 billion is wonderful, and if something happens, we will be protected.

I would remind people that things are relative here. I will take Lac Mégantic as an example. People have to understand that Lac Mégantic would not have been covered by this bill. We are talking exclusively about accidents associated with pipelines. In a situation like the one in Lac Mégantic, the money that was distributed to the families of the victims as compensation totalled $200 million. That is just the money paid to the victims’ families. The cleanup of the downtown area cost $190 million. Of the 7.5 million litres of oil the train was carrying, 80% mostly leaked into the river. The cleanup is going to take years, and we do not yet know exactly how much it will cost, but it will be several hundred million dollars. Just by looking at the situation in Lac Mégantic, we realize that in relative terms, $1 billion is virtually a minimum. We have not received assurance that the amount that must be available for protection in the event of an accident is sufficient.

I will give another example, a very tough one. It is the worst example in North America at this point, and it has been cited by at least three of my colleagues in the last few hours. It is the accident in Kalamazoo, Michigan. It involves the Canadian company Enbridge and 4 million litres of heavy crude that were spilled into the Kalamazoo River and wetlands. The last time I saw the figures, the damage amounted to over $1 billion and there had been more than five years of cleanup. More than 80% of the bitumen spilled into the Kalamazoo River is still there in the environment, after over $1 billion was spent. That is another example that puts this $1 billion into perspective.

I also wonder where the $1 billion comes from. Why $1 billion?

This $1 billion looks like a vote-getting figure, if you will pardon that term. The Conservatives seem to be using something easy to understand, something that looks big. However, if they had sat some experts around the table to estimate the kind of minimum guarantee needed for an oil spill, the experts would not have come up with $1 billion. They might have come up with $1.2 billion or $1.3 billion. This $1 billion is completely arbitrary; it is a round number, easy to remember. I hope that some very direct questions will be asked during the committee meetings where the bill will be considered.

The companies’ liability would be unlimited only in the case of fault or negligence. What will happen in a case where fault is not clear or is disputed? We are talking about billionaire proponents here. If, literally, they want to hire an army of lawyers to try to prove the fault does not lie with them, how many years will it take to see the end of a court action disputing fault, with resources like that? Mr. Speaker, I think your training makes you an even better judge of that than I am. It may really be a very long time.

That runs counter to another aspect of the law that I question, which puts a limit of six years after the event on the right to seek compensation, if a person is a victim of the consequences. That does not work. In Kalamazoo, they have been cleaning up for five years, and there are still pollutants. In the years to come, people are therefore going to have to take stock again to determine whether their property and their health have ultimately been affected by that. The cleanup is not yet finished. It is not that people do not want to determine, in six years, whether they are affected or not; rather, the phenomenon is still in a state of flux. The victims are not acting in bad faith. Someone may realize only after seven or eight or nine or 10 or 12 years that they have been negatively affected by the event. Why suddenly impose a six-year limit?

The energy east project will carry 1.1 million barrels a day. That means 173 million litres every day. We all remember the damage caused by 4 million litres of crude in the Kalamazoo River. That cost over $1 billion. Now, operators want to build a pipeline that will carry 173 million litres a day, or 120,000 litres every minute. Pipelines are relatively safe at the beginning of their life cycle, but often, near the end, tragedies or other serious incidents happen more regularly. An accident like the one in Kalamazoo, where managers took some time to close the valves, must never happen. Literally millions of litres of oil spilled into the environment. Think about it: that is 173 million litres a day. The same question remains regarding the $1 billion.

There is another question I have not yet heard. Perhaps an esteemed colleague, a minister across the way, could answer this. Is the $1 billion indexed? At the rate costs grow with inflation, in five or 10 years, $1 billion will not be worth the same amount. A major accident could happen in my region over the next 40 years and we are told there will be a $1 billion limit. If an accident were to happen tomorrow morning, it might already cost more than $1 billion, and I did not see any anything about indexing or mechanisms to guarantee that this will follow the cost of living, considering the astronomical costs associated with cleaning up these kinds of accidents.

I would like to finish on a more positive note and talk a bit about one of the NDP's key principles. What distinguishes us from the current government is, first and foremost, sustainability. We believe it is crucial that polluters pay for the pollution they create, rather than passing on the cost to future generations.

I have one last example. Now that the toxic effects of mines on the environment cost billions of dollars, laws require environmental protection funds to be set aside during mining operations so that we do not end up at the end of a project with a company that maybe made less profit, or left for another country, or suddenly disappeared at the end of a project to avoid paying to clean up the mess it left behind. That kind of mechanism is missing here, and neither I nor most of my constituents find that reassuring.