Senate Gets it Right on AECL: Coalition

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - July 9, 2010) - The Senate Finance Committee made the right decision to pull the controversial section with respect to dismantling Atomic Energy of Canada Limited (AECL) from the Budget Bill (C-9) said a coalition representing workers at AECL and in the energy sector. "We applaud the Senate Committee's sober second thought in recognizing the importance of AECL as a national institution," said Dr. Michael Ivanco, Vice President of the Society of Professional Engineers and Associates. "We especially want to thank Senators Ringuette and Murray for their leadership and that of fellow Senators who took decisive action in support of Canadian jobs and technology."

The Finance Committee's report now goes back to the full Senate for final debate on Monday. The government has served notice of closure to limit debate and force a vote on the issue. "Canadians should be concerned that the sale of AECL could result in a foreign company influencing Canada's domestic energy policies," said Peter Routliff, International Representative of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

"Our members have built a truly Canadian solution that has served us well. With energy becoming an increasingly important issue it is critical that we have the ability to control our future." said David Shier, President - Canadian Nuclear Workers Council. "There is no point in replacing AECL which has been supported by Canadians with a foreign government supported company."

"As testimony during Senate hearings have shown, AECL can play a vital role in Canada's energy future, said Rod Sheppard, President of the Society of Energy Professionals. "Government needs to have a clear policy and make the right choices so that we can take advantage of opportunities both domestically and internationally."

During Senate Committee hearings Duncan Hawthorne, President & CEO of Bruce Power testified that, "... do not let the CANDU flag fall. Do not let this be about simply removing liability because that would be a great travesty to the people that pioneered this technology. ... ensure the design authority is still there because the expertise that exists in AECL is critical to our ongoing operations." Not surprisingly, both the Ontario government and private operators like Bruce Power need the design authority, AECL, to remain intact because 50% of Ontario's electricity comes from nuclear power. Keeping the lights on is "a specific requirement!"

Despite government attempts to portray this as a confidence matter, the Senate is not a chamber that can force an election. Should the Senate vote to remove this section it will then go back to the House for reconsideration. The coalition hopes that further debate will encourage Canadians to learn and understand the importance of AECL is to Canada's economy and energy policies.

The coalition opposed to the Bill C-9 legislation consists of the following groups:
Canadian Nuclear Workers Council
Chalk River Professional Employees Group/Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada
Chalk River Technicians and Technologists
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers
Society of Energy Professionals
Society of Professional Engineers and Associates

For more information, please contact

Brad Mann - Ottawa
613-293-4083
or
SPEA
Dr. Michael Ivanco - Toronto
416-302-8916