November 13, 1964

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF JOINT ADDRESS OF SENATE AND HOUSE OF COMMONS

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Maurice Bourget (Speaker of the Senate)

Mr. Speaker:

I have the honour to inform the house that a message has been received from Her Majesty the Queen, signed by her own hand, which reads as follows:

I have received with heartfelt pleasure the joint address which the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada have sent me.

It has been a source of profound satisfaction to me and to my husband to be in Canada during the centennial celebrations of the first meetings of the Fathers of Confederation at Charlottetown and Quebec city.

We both deeply appreciate the kind and loyal sentiments which you have expressed and we send you our sincere good wishes.

Elizabeth R.

Topic:   HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN
Subtopic:   ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF JOINT ADDRESS OF SENATE AND HOUSE OF COMMONS
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NATIONAL PARKS

JASPER-TABLING OF REPORT ON URBAN DEVELOPMENT PLAN

LIB

Arthur Laing (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources)

Liberal

Hon. Arthur Laing (Minister of Northern Affairs and National Resources):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to table two copies of the report on the urban development plan for Jasper, Alberta.

Topic:   NATIONAL PARKS
Subtopic:   JASPER-TABLING OF REPORT ON URBAN DEVELOPMENT PLAN
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WATER RESOURCES

ELLIOT LAKE, ONT.-REPORTED RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION


On the orders of the day:


PC

George Clyde Nowlan

Progressive Conservative

Hon. George C. Nowlan (Digby-Annapolis-Kings):

Mr. Speaker, I should like to direct a question to the right hon. Prime Minister about a matter in which I am sure he has more than an academic interest. According to news reports this morning there has been extensive pollution of the waters in and around Elliot lake, and I am wondering whether this matter has been a subject of study by the branch of the government of Canada which has the responsibility for dealing with radioactivity, or is this a matter which is entirely in the hands of the water resources commission of the province? What report has the government received in this regard?

Topic:   WATER RESOURCES
Subtopic:   ELLIOT LAKE, ONT.-REPORTED RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Right Hon. L. B. Pearson (Prime Minister):

Mr. Speaker, the matter to which my hon. friend refers is, of course, one under provincial jurisdiction; but as soon as I read the report and, indeed, as soon as I heard about this possibility last night I got in touch with the officials of the federal government concerned and we are examining what can be done to co-operate with the provincial government if such co-operation is required.

But, Mr. Speaker, I should like to call your attention to the headline of the story that appeared this morning: "Elliot Lake Contaminated by Radioactive Mine Waste". I regret that headline greatly, because it is misleading and can do very serious damage, as can the story itself if it is misinterpreted, to a community which has already suffered a great deal of misfortune and whose people are struggling to establish a new future for the community. I say this because the waters involved-the story itself shows this and that the headline is misleading-are not Elliot lake at all, that being the lake on which the community is situated, but Quirke lake and the Serpent river watershed; and Quirke lake is not connected with Elliot lake at all.

So while the matter must be taken seriously and investigated because of the story, I would hope it could be made clear that Elliot lake as such is not involved. I would also call attention to the statement of the premier of Ontario in commenting on this matter yesterday to the effect that he was satisfied there was no danger. However, I myself am getting in touch with Mr. Robarts personally to make sure the matter is looked into.

Topic:   WATER RESOURCES
Subtopic:   ELLIOT LAKE, ONT.-REPORTED RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. T. C. Douglas (Burnaby-Coquillam):

supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. In view of the fact that the mining and sale of uranium is controlled by Atomic Energy of Canada Limited, and in view of the fact that Atomic Energy of Canada Limited has most of the knowledge with reference to the disposal of uranium waste, does the Prime Minister not think the federal government has some responsibility for making sure that this waste is properly disposed of? Second, may I ask the Prime Minister if there are any other cases across Canada that have been kept under wraps, as this one apparently has been for some two years?

10048 HOUSE OF

Inquiries of the Ministry

Topic:   WATER RESOURCES
Subtopic:   ELLIOT LAKE, ONT.-REPORTED RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

No, Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the statement that this matter has been kept under wraps in any wrong sense at all. I have admitted, of course, that the federal government has a responsibility in these matters, but as I have said the jurisdiction is primarily provincial. I accept that responsibility, naturally, and I am in touch with the atomic energy authorities and we will be in touch with the provincial government. What I am anxious to remove is the wrong impression conveyed by the headline that Elliot lake itself is involved in any way, shape or form, because it is not connected with the lake where the radioactive material has been deposited. I would also point out that while there were 11 uranium mines in operation in this area some time ago, which undoubtedly constituted a problem and one that was recognized at the time, there is only one mine in operation now.

Topic:   WATER RESOURCES
Subtopic:   ELLIOT LAKE, ONT.-REPORTED RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION
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NDP

Thomas Clement (Tommy) Douglas

New Democratic Party

Mr. Douglas:

A further supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. I am concerned not only about Elliot lake but as to what extent this condition may be prevalent across Canada. Is it the intention of the government to work out with the provincial governments adequate supervision of the disposal of waste from the processing of uranium?

Topic:   WATER RESOURCES
Subtopic:   ELLIOT LAKE, ONT.-REPORTED RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Mr. Speaker, I have already stated that as soon as I heard of the report I made inquiries. As a result of those inquiries I hope to be able to make a full statement at the earliest possible date. I appreciate the importance of this matter and that the fears of my hon. friend and others must be removed. Perhaps the statement I will be able to make will in itself help to remove some of those fears that have arisen in regard to this matter.

Topic:   WATER RESOURCES
Subtopic:   ELLIOT LAKE, ONT.-REPORTED RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION
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CCF

Thomas Speakman Barnett

Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (C.C.F.)

Mr. T. S. Barnett (Comox-Alberni):

A further supplementary question, Mr. Speaker. Would the Prime Minister consider conveying, on behalf of the members of the house, congratulations to the public health officer who pursued his investigation of this matter against the reported objections of the mine management involved?

Topic:   WATER RESOURCES
Subtopic:   ELLIOT LAKE, ONT.-REPORTED RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION
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LIB

Lester Bowles Pearson (Prime Minister)

Liberal

Mr. Pearson:

Mr. Speaker, it would be quite wrong to do that until I have got all the information, because the only information we have now is the story in the newspaper which is being investigated.

Topic:   WATER RESOURCES
Subtopic:   ELLIOT LAKE, ONT.-REPORTED RADIOACTIVE POLLUTION
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PENSIONS

CANADA PLAN-CONSULTATION WITH PROVINCES ON COST OF LIVING TIE


On the orders of the day:


November 13, 1964