The Saskatoon Northwest by-election press conference we held in Saskatoon yersterday was not attended by Global, CTV, or CBC, so I am publishing my comments directly to the voters of this constituency and the people of Saskatchewan (and beyond):
"Good morning and thank-you for attending. I am Larissa Shasko, leader of the Green Party of Saskatchewan and candidate in the Saskatoon Northwest Provincial By-election. My purpose today is to provide an update on the by-election. A pamphlet has been delivered to all the households in the constituency. Canvassers have been talking and will continue to talk with voters up to election day.
I have a very important message for the voters of this by-election and for the people of our province. A nuclear waste dump is coming to Saskatchewan, and the voters of Saskatoon Northwest have the chance to stop it by voting Green on October 18th. My first act as MLA for Saskatoon Northwest will be to introduce a private members bill. We need legislation to ban the transportation and storage of nuclear waste into Saskatchewan. Manitoba and Quebec form the borders for Ontario. They already have such legislation in place.
Green Party canvassers have been told by a few people that they haven’t heard about high-level radioactive waste being imported into Saskatchewan for disposal. The public needs greater transparency from government and industry. Drilling test sites is already occurring. The Northern Saskatchewan communities of Pinehouse Lake and English River are the current targets for the high-level radioactive waste dump. And they are hearing one-sided industry promotions.
Through public consultations held in 2009 the people of Saskatchewan told government and industry “no” to locating a nuclear waste dump in our province. The Government of Saskatchewan has chosen not to listen. The Opposition NDP is not making it an issue. They will hear if they do not get elected. They will understand if they don’t receive votes in this by-election.
The Green Party of Saskatchewan is a member of a coalition that is about to launch a campaign to stop a nuclear waste dump from coming to our province. We want legislation similar to that in Manitoba and Quebec. It will stop the trucking of radioactive waste along our highways and through our communities. The decision on the importation of high-level radioactive waste from other jurisdictions into Saskatchewan affects all of us.
Manitoba passed the HIGH LEVEL RADIOACTIVE WASTE ACT in 1987 following a test to determine the feasibility of burying the waste; it isn’t feasible. So now by law, high-level radioactive waste can not be imported into Manitoba. It can pass through Manitoba to us, but it cannot be dumped in Manitoba. Where is the Premier of Saskatchewan?
Where is the Leader of the Opposition? Why aren’t they taking action, in accordance with the expressed wishes of the people of Saskatchewan, to prohibit dumping of radioactive waste here?
In public consultations in 2009, the people of Saskatchewan told government “we don’t want the nuclear industry in our province.” Why isn’t the Premier listening? Why is the Leader of the Opposition silent on this issue? In a democracy, the people are supposed to be in charge. This Government will hear if they do not get votes on October 18th. They will hear if they do not get elected.
This by-election is a year before the next provincial election. This issue must be central to the 2011 Provincial Election. The governing parties are complicit with industry and are fast-tracking or stepping out of the way.
The nuclear industry’s plan is for the transportation of high-level radioactive waste into Saskatchewan for the next thirty years. The transportation of nuclear waste from Ontario and points elsewhere into a centralized site in Saskatchewan does not make sense. The only reason for centralizing the high-level radioactive waste is so that is it available for reprocessing. In the 2009 public consultations, the people of Saskatchewan specifically rejected reprocessing of nuclear waste along with the national security risks it imposes.
In the case of the shipment of radioactive waste through the Great Lakes en route to Sweden, seven U.S. Senators have told Canada to consider safer options to the transport of radioactive waste, such as on-site storage.
The voters of Saskatoon Northwest have the opportunity this by-election to ally with the one hundred communities that are opposing the transportation of radioactive materials.
This is a national issue, a provincial issue, and a local issue. The voters of Saskatoon Northwest are central to the outcome.
My first act as MLA for Saskatoon Northwest will be to introduce a private members bill for legislation to prohibit the transportation and storage of nuclear waste into Saskatchewan. With a five party split of the vote, the path is paved for a Green win."