November 27, 1979 (31st Parliament, 1st Session)


Maurice James Harquail


Mr. Maurice Harquail (Restigouche):

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to have the opportunity to speak, albeit very briefly, this evening on Bill C-25 to promote public safety in the transportation of dangerous goods. I would hope that with our system it would not take an incident such as the ones referred to by previous speakers this evening, with the loss of life or the threat of loss, in order to have us, as parliamentarians, accept our responsibility to act. We should act now, without waiting for a disaster or a loss of life, and move toward bringing forward legislation such as we are considering this evening.
I, too, am satisfied that we will have an opportunity to question the minister and his officials on many other aspects of this important bill when we have completed second reading and the bill is before the committee.
I want to join with those other hon. members in congratulating the minister for moving as swiftly as he has in seeking the approval of his government to move in this direction.
I would not want to miss the opportunity to mention the fact that in addition to the Mississauga incident we faced a very serious situation in the province of New Brunswick. Very recently radioactive goods were being transported from Montreal, Quebec, to Saint John, New Brunswick, to the Le Preau project, and for a considerable period of time a package of raidoactive material was unaccounted for, or lost in shipment. After the Emergency Measures Organization and the staff of the RCMP had spent hours at great expense in an effort to locate this dangerous product, it was found in a warehouse.
On another occasion in Saint John, New Brunswick, which was equally as dangerous, a package containing radioactive material feel off the back of a truck. It took a considerable amount of time, manpower, and expense to locate that package. The fact that such a thing could happen certainly justifies the minister acting in the fashion that he has and carrying out his responsibilities in bringing forward Bill C-25. It is none too soon. We on this side are certainly anxious to complete debate on this issue so that it may come back to the House for report stage and third reading.

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