Bill C-22: Energy Safety and Security Act.

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, when looking at issues of liability, even though $1 billion in liability is certainly more money for which the nuclear industry would have to be responsible than in previous bills, the reality is, as we know from nuclear accidents, that $1 billion will not begin to cover the cost of a large-scale nuclear accident in Canada.

Initially, it was put forward as an excuse for holding it to $1 billion as a liability cap that if it were not there, it could affect provincial electricity rates. However, through questions on the order paper I had it confirmed that it would not affect provincial electricity rates to remove the cap.

I would like to ask my friend, the hon. parliamentary secretary, this. Would it not be more prudent to have no cap at all and to ensure that the nuclear industry, under the polluter-pay principle, pays the full cost of the accident we hope will never happen, but could in fact happen any day in our country?

Kelly Block: Mr. Speaker, again, what we are talking about is absolute liability that will be paid in the event of an incident.

Operators will be expected to carry insurance to cover the costs of any incident should it occur. The $1 billion absolute liability will place Canada’s regime squarely among those of its peer countries.