MASSE IN THE HOUSE on the Deep Geologic Repository Issue

Questioning the treatment of clean drinking water and the protection of our environment.

House of Commons

May 27, 2015

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, I am not happy to rise here today to talk about an issue that I think is very important, not only for just Canada, but also for the world, with respect to the treatment of clean drinking water and the protection of our environment.

It is this government's consideration to allow a deep geologic repository for low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste in Kincardine that has opened the door that has caused great grief for many people, because our Great Lakes are so important for drinking water. Our American cousins are very concerned about this and Canadians, as well, are very concerned about this.

In fact, over 155 resolutions opposing this plan have been passed, representing every Great Lake province and state, and up to 20 million people. That is because it proposes to store items that are radioactive, for over 100,000 years, down a shaft, into a limestone basin. That has never been done before. It is an experiment.

What has happened, which is really concerning, is the fact that the plan has single-sighted the actual Kincardine spot. It was not based out of science, it was not based out of research. It was not based out of a real analysis of what would be the best decision. It was based on a guess, and the guess has gone back to the Minister of the Environment and has caused considerable damage, not only in terms of public confidence about the environment, their water quality, but also even to our American friends. I point to the fact that the City of Chicago is one among those 115 groups that have identified and sent a letter to the Canadian government, and what it has pointed out, which is really interesting, is that Joe Clark, then the foreign affairs minister of Canada, asked the United States not to do this and it agreed that it would not do what we are proposing, within 40 kilometres of the Great Lakes; whereas we are proposing to do it about one kilometre of the Great Lakes. The United States points this out to us numerous times. It wants us to behave by the model that we created and that it abided for the greater regions of our country. It has sent this letter in a resolution to the federal Minister of the Environment, the premiers, the Prime Minister of Canada, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Natural Resources, the United States Secretary of State got it, and even the President of the United States got it.

This is an experiment. There are four of these in the world and only one is left open. Two are closed, in Germany, because they were not sustainable and they created problems, and the other one, right now, that is open is in New Mexico had toxic radiation escape through the shaft, all the way to the surface, contaminating individuals who worked on the project.

We know for a fact that these are dangerous experiments.

Again, I ask the current government, why would it not examine this more thoroughly when we just chose to do a single-source evaluation in an experimental area, next to one of the most precious resources for our country and the world?

 

Mr. Brian Masse: Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the parliamentary secretary's response, but in that response a couple of key things took place. Here is a quote, “mitigation measures”. That is the ownership of a failure. Mitigation measures mean compensation, alterations or changes because the project failed. If the project fails, what does that mean? That means radiation exposure within a kilometre of the Great Lakes. That means the limestone where they are attempting to put this did not work and leaked into the Great Lakes. For 100,000 years this has to sustain itself without causing problems.

The last point is “legally binding”. Legally binding does not do anything for people who get sick from radiation and putting this environmental disaster into the backpacks of our kids.