June 30, 2016
Yesterday, George Smitherman, former Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy for Ontario, called for the closure of the Pickering Nuclear Station in a deputation to the City of Toronto’s Executive Committee. (View Mr. Smitherman’s remarks).
Mr. Smitherman suggested that Ontario extend its “cash for clunkers” program to include Pickering and noted that he was informed as Energy Minister as early as 2007 that the plant was nearing the end of its useful life. He also warned that Pickering was an example of badly outdated technology with weak radioactive containment systems.
Mr. Smitherman went on to note that Ontarians are far too passive about the threat posed by an aging nuclear plant on the doorstep of its largest city and suggested that the City of Toronto had every right to express concern, given the likely impacts on residents and first responders of an accident at North America’s 4th oldest nuclear plant. Asked what had motivated him to speak out about Pickering, Mr. Smitherman simply replied “I’m here in my capacity as a father.”
Mr. Smitherman was speaking in favour of Councillors Glenn De Baeremaeker’s and Gord Perks’ motion that the City of Toronto request the Government of Ontario close the Pickering Nuclear Station in 2018 when its licence expires. He was among a number of speakers who addressed the threats posed by Pickering, including routine releases of radioactive tritium and the continued build up of high level radioactive waste.
Unfortunately, the executive committee adopted precisely the passive response that former Minister Smitherman warned about, and voted to defer the motion indefinitely. Deputy Mayor Minnan-Wong’s motion was supported by Mayor Tory and Councillors Crawford, Di Giorgio, Pasternak, Robinson and Thompson.
The Deputy Mayor’s motion was opposed by Councillors Ainslie, Holland, McMahon and Shiner.
What you can do:
1. Please sign our petition to close Pickering: Close-Pickering.ca;
2. Please help us persuade the candidates in the Scarborough-Rouge River provincial by-election to call for the closure of Pickering in 2018. Please contact me if you can help us with pamphlet distribution in Scarborough-Rouge River.
Angela Bischoff, Outreach Director