IN THE HOUSE ~ Question Period ~ Pressing the Harper government to take action on contaminated sites in Canada

41st Parliament, 1st Session ~ Context : Question Period

    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Talking about getting the house in order, Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives should start with the environment.

    There are 22,000 contaminated sites in Canada, posing a risk to human health and a risk to Canadians from abandoned mines to leaky fuel tanks.

    Canadians expect the government to take action on these sites, but the Environment Commissioner has identified a half billion dollar funding shortfall. That is less than half of the cost of the meeting in Muskoka.

    Why have the Conservatives failed to make the cleanup of thousands of contaminated sites a priority? Why have they failed Canadian families yet again?

    Hon. Peter Kent (Minister of the Environment, CPC): Mr. Speaker, I think it is wonderful the NDP has finally discovered the challenge this country faces with regard to contaminated sites.

    The Commissioner's report also notes that fully 2% of the inventory of contaminated sites have been cleaned, remediated by February this year.

    The 15-year federal contaminated sites program is only at its midway point. We will continue to work to address the situation on all of the major contaminated sites in this country.

    M. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NPD): Monsieur le Président, quelle salade ! Selon le commissaire, ces sites sont l'héritage d'une mauvaise planification, d'une évaluation environnementale inadéquate et d'une réglementation environnementale faible.

    Les conservateurs utilisent leur loi sur le budget pour enfoncer encore plus dans la gorge des Canadiens des changements qui sabordent la protection environnementale des familles canadiennes.

    Quand les conservateurs arrêteront-il leurs attaques constantes contre la réglementation environnementale? Quand vont-ils protéger la santé des familles canadiennes?

    L'hon. Peter Kent (ministre de l'Environnement, PCC): Monsieur le Président, je pense que mon collègue a besoin d'aide pour lire le rapport.

    The report indicates the commissioner says the Government of Canada is making good progress in addressing contaminated sites across the country. Through the federal contaminated sites action plan, the Government of Canada is addressing harmful effects of past practices and protecting Canadians and our environment for future generations.