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John Godfrey
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Hon. John Godfrey
2008-08-11 10:25
Mr. Chairman, it has been clearly stated to you that Mr. Finley is available today.
John Godfrey
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Hon. John Godfrey
2008-08-11 10:25
First of all, I already introduced myself to you. My last name is Hamilton, first initial is A. I'm counsel to Mr. Finley.
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Lib. (ON)
Thank you, Ms. Killingsworth.
I'm curious about one thing you said fairly early on in your remarks. When you were discussing tailings ponds, you suggested--if I interpreted you correctly--that these could later be reclaimed.
My understanding is that the problem with tailings ponds is the suspended clay. After a certain point, it simply doesn't settle down any more. As somebody from the CANMET technology centre in Devon noted, the problem is that it doesn't settle further, that after about three years...although the toxicity does reduce to some degree.
Has the industry managed to find a way of reclaiming the tailings ponds, putting the water back into rivers and having people drink it?
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Lib. (ON)
This hasn't actually happened yet, is that right? We haven't actually reclaimed any tailings ponds?
I'm just asking.
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Lib. (ON)
This is part of the challenge for us, and I think this goes to Mr. Chastko as well; we always are looking at the bigger picture. All the benefits can be seen, but at what cost? Our job as legislators--as historians as well sometimes, I think--is to try to balance out the good versus the bad here.
It seems to me, from listening to the presentation we heard from our first guest, from Natural Resources Canada, that in some ways the improvements in technology are being exceeded by increases in production. In other words, the pollution is gaining on us despite any improvements we might make in energy intensity or pollution reduction.
So we are now stuck with the problem of, for example, 50 square kilometres of Alberta being covered by tailings ponds. We don't yet have a solution, and those tailings ponds are growing. As I understand it, 20% of the entire reserves are still going to be reclaimed using mining techniques. That's a large number, as we were told by one of our earlier witnesses.
To either of our guests, but perhaps Dr. Chastko, how do we as a society balance out the costs to society of poisoning ourselves--by air pollution, by increased GHG production, by what we're doing to water and to soil--versus the great gains that are clearly being made? What will be the judgment of history on all of that, Dr. Chastko?
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Lib. (ON)
Sorry, Dr. Chastko, but I'm going to turn it over to Mr. McGuinty for the remaining questions. I'm sorry to interrupt.
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Lib. (ON)
Excuse me, Chair, as a visitor to the committee, I understood that one of my jobs was to be part of what I understood to be a serious discussion on the motion. If this is going to be a serious discussion, we have to talk about the role carbon plays in agriculture right across the piece, all the other greenhouse gases associated with agriculture, and how agriculture is also a solution to all of that. Either we are going to have a serious discussion about this or we're not. Otherwise, it just looks like a rhetorical gesture, which means nothing.
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Lib. (ON)
We support this motion. This will allow Mr. Bigras to continue his discussions with the government throughout the summer, prior to clause-by-clause consideration. Next Wednesday is the ceremony with the Aboriginal people, and we have to respect that. However, we also have to respect Mr. Bigras' rights. We can extend this study into the fall. Discussions could then continue after we have heard from our witnesses today. We support the motion aimed at obtaining that extension of time.
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Lib. (ON)
Dr. Carignan--
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Lib. (ON)
That's what I was wondering.
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Lib. (ON)
The bill as currently written deals with both laundry detergent and dishwashing detergent. To Ms. Jelley, on the action caused by phosphorus that allows soap to do its thing, is there a fundamental difference between what phosphorus is used for in laundry detergent as opposed to dishwashing detergent? Is it more difficult to replace it in one than in the other?
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Lib. (ON)
Ms. Jelley, do you have a view about the need for this law or some law or regulation to address the problem of replacements for phosphorus? Is there a process you would suggest so that Mr. Carignan and others would be reassured that the government was not just getting out of one bad thing and into another?
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Lib. (ON)
And what exactly are they?
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Lib. (ON)
Now, what I'm trying to do is help the committee understand where changes would have to occur, if there are changes to be made to the bill, that would help alleviate concerns. One would be to go to the 0.5% rather than total elimination. That one would align itself with what's happening in various American states.
Another question is the starting date. This bill would have the act come into force under the 180 days, which puts us into next year as opposed to 2010. Another issue is law or regulation, or law asking for a regulation rather than a law just being a law. And then I guess the final issue is the question of whether there should be exemptions for certain kinds of institutions, whether those are hospitals or indeed—I don't know—university kitchens or other large-scale institutions.
Are those the primary concerns of the industry, Ms. Jelley?
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