Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I too would like to speak on the issue of Giant Mine. Mr. Speaker, as you are well aware, on March 27th, this House passed a motion in support of the laid-off Giant Mine workers who were given no severance packages, and what is more, a 25 percent reduction in their pension benefits as of April 1st, 2000.
Also in this House, many Members have spoken to the issues related to the reclamation of the contaminated sites at the Giant Mine property. At the time this House passed the motion, Mr. Speaker, I was hoping very much that the federal government would come through with some action. As evidenced by the letter your office has received on behalf of the Members of this House, which I tabled in this House last week, the chosen course of action by the federal government is that of no action.
Mr. Speaker, I must say that I am particularly disappointed with the cursory statement that the Minister makes in the letter in which he states that the federal government has done all it could for the workers. With all due respect, Mr. Speaker, I disagree with that position. I would argue that the government has done a real disservice to these laid-off Giant Mine workers.
As I have stated numerous times previously, the federal government was very much the conduit that enabled the sale of asset transactions from Giant Mine to Miramar to take place. It even assumed a temporary ownership of the property to enable the transaction to go through. Further, Mr. Speaker, the government made a deliberate decision to relieve the future owner, Miramar, of the environmental liability that would go to any future new owner. They were not an innocent bystander, Mr. Speaker.
I must say I do not begrudge the deal Miramar has received, but I do begrudge the raw deal that the workers of Giant Mine have received. Mr. Speaker, Minister Nault and his federal counterparts, all the way up to the Prime Minister, should be reminded that they are the Ministers responsible for all aspects of this dire situation. They are the Ministers responsible for the mines, non-renewable resources, labour, bankruptcy, and the environment of our Territory. It seems, Mr. Speaker, that the federal government as a whole is washing their hands of what is at the front and centre of their mandate in this part of the country.
Mr. Speaker, given the reduction of the DIAND budget for the clean-up of the Giant Mine site, which I might add is totally contrary to the commitment it made in its throne speech last fall, the Minister seemed to show as much disregard...