IC-22 and Nuclear Liability

Ms. Françoise Boivin (Gatineau):  

    Mr. Speaker, I listened to my colleague's speech with great interest.

    A Conservative member told her that there was a nuclear power plant in his riding and that it was very safe. However, one of the weak points in Bill C-22 is that the industry will not have to assume any financial liability greater than $1 billion. We have questions about that because it is the people whom we represent in the House, Canadians from coast to coast, who will have to pay for the rest.

    If the industry is so mature and safe, should it not have to assume a much greater part of the risk? A nuclear disaster can sometimes cost hundreds of billions of dollars. I shudder at that because, if we pass Bill C-22 as it stands, without going through a committee, it would be dangerous. We would be placing the risk on the shoulders of the taxpayers.

    Is that not just another way of providing the nuclear industry with indirect subsidies on the backs of Canadians?

 

Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims (Newton-North Delta):  

    Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my hard-working colleague for her question. I have a great amount of respect for the way she works in her riding and her analyses of issues at this level. She has actually hit the crux of the matter. The crux of the matter here is that, as much as this bill enshrines into legislation that the polluter would pay, it would have the polluter pay only a small percentage of the real cost.

    Once again, I want to assure my colleagues that I am not making up these figures from the air. Let us look at the cleanup for the BP Gulf oil spill, if there were a $1 billion cap: $42 billion has already been spent, and there is expected to be another $35 billion spent. That $1 billion seems like a pittance, does it not, even though $1 billion is a huge amount of money? Who is going to be on the hook for the rest? We would not simply say that $1 billion had been spent and no more cleanup would occur. That is just not an option. The reality is that, if it is polluter pays, then let us make this more realistic.

    We are updating legislation that is over 40 years old. Let us not date it even before we have approved it in the House.

 

Ms. Irene Mathyssen (London—Fanshawe):  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for her very good overview of what is going on in this country. She talked about the lack of consultation and the fact that whatever the government does, it sort of wanders ahead without talking to the people of this nation.

     In addition to that, I live in Ontario; I survived the Mike Harris years, and I watched not just a lack of consultation but continual downloading. When the Harris government sold off the Bruce nuclear plant, the people who bought it got all the profits. Guess who got the liability in terms of decommissioning? It was the people of Ontario. It seems to me that it is the same story over and over again.

     We have not even seen the end of the cost of Chernobyl, and the Japanese people are dealing with a horrendous liability. How on earth can $1 billion even begin to touch it? I am absolutely appalled that the government would say that somehow the people of this nation are liable and the corporations are not.

 

Ms. Jinny Jogindera Sims:  

    Mr. Speaker, once again, $1 billion for the company; $250 billion for the taxpayers. That is what we are looking at, based on the money spent by Japan for the 2011 disaster.

    There is a lot of downloading going on. With the job grants, once again a lot of the expenses for helping the most vulnerable will be downloaded onto the provinces.

     It is time for us to be real when we are dealing with legislation. This piece of legislation should be amended and it should go back for consultation with experts.