Evidence of meeting #37 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was gas.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Jonathan Burke  Vice-President, Global Market Development, Westport Innovations Inc.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Thank you, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, meeting number 37. The orders of the day, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), are the study of innovative transportation technologies.

Joining us today—I'd like to say in the guest chair, but I guess you are a witness—we have, from Westport Innovations Incorporated, Mr. Jonathan Burke. He's the vice-president of global market development. We thank you for being here. We know you've made a special effort to be in front of our committee.

I understand you know the rules. You'll make a brief presentation, and then we move to questions from the committee.

8:50 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Chair, I have a point of order.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Ms. Chow, on a point of order.

8:50 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

At the last meeting, which was last Thursday, we had an agreement that we would finish dealing with the motion that was in front of you. We did not finish the motion—we were midway—and at that point you said we would deal with the motion as the first item of this meeting.

I thought this was the beginning of the meeting and that we would deal with the motion that was in front of you. I'm wondering if the clerk could circulate the motion again and we could finish dealing with that. Then we'll hear from Mr. Burke.

I believe we have another motion at the end of the meeting, so Ms. Michaud will require 15 minutes for her motion to be considered.

I see that the motion is now circulated. Allow me to continue.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Mr. Coderre, on a point of order.

8:50 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Chair, given that we have a witness here who has prepared for the meeting, we could start by hearing from him, instead of doing what we did last time, when the NDP members used up the whole time to prevent the others from saying what they wanted. There is just one witness, in any case. Afterward, if we have an hour, we will have more time to deal with all the motions. It would be fairer and more acceptable for the witness to be able to give his testimony now. We will be able to address this motion afterward.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

It's not a point of order.

8:50 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

But it's a good point.

8:50 a.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

It's a good point.

I will suggest that if it's the intent to delay the proceedings, then after a short period of time I will dismiss our witness and we'll deal strictly with the motions for today.

I regret that people have to change all of their travel plans, but that's the will of the committee, or at least the will of members of the committee.

The floor is open to Ms. Chow.

8:50 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

What I want to do is really find some ways to talk about the motion that was in front of us last Thursday. I can assure Mr. Burke that we will definitely hear him and that we will definitely have a chance to discuss Westport's contribution to the new emerging technologies.

When I left off last week I wanted to talk about the importance of our committee studying the three changes in front of our committee in Bill C-38. I was reading the first changes that we have in front of us. I believe there are two sections that are being changed in the Railway Safety Act, which we really need to study. The first one is section 16 of the act, to which would be added after subsection (5), which gives the order in council:

(5.1) The Governor in Council may make regulations exempting any railway work, or any person or railway company, from the application of subsection (4.1).

Subsection (4.1) was added to say that:

if...the proponent of the railway work...is a road authority, the maximum amount of the construction and alteration costs of the railway work that the Agency may, under subsection (4), apportion to the road authority is 12.5% of those costs.

My question is, why is that 12.5%? If it's a higher percentage, why is it a higher percentage, etc.?

And then there's another section. It basically asks that the regulation would be published for a short period of time so that people would be able to comment.

That's the first change that we really need to look at.

The second change is to the Canada Marine Act, and it won't take very long.

In the Canada Marine Act, again, if any port authority wants to borrow money, that has to be approved by the Governor in Council, i.e., the cabinet needs to approve how much money is being borrowed. I'm not necessarily against that. I think it's a good idea to have the order in council, but again, we really need to look at why there is a change.

So basically there are three parts that were changed. The first one is in the Railway Safety Act, with the 12.5% question; the second part is the one giving the power to cabinet to exempt any railway work in any application; and the third is the part of the Canada Marine Act that asks that the Governor in Council must approve any borrowing.

Actually, there's another portion about the appointment of CEOs of airlines, I believe, that are governed by the government; they have to be picked by the Governor in Council, the cabinet. Again, there's a centralization of power. I question why that has to occur. That's why my motion is to request that this committee examine the changes in Bill C-38, which is the budget bill that we voted on yesterday.

It's in front of the finance committee, but I don't believe the finance committee will look at matters that are related to the Transport Canada portfolio.

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Mr. Poilievre.

May 15th, 2012 / 8:55 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Ms. Chow's motion deals with Bill C-38, which is a bill for jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. Canadians elected us with a strong mandate to create jobs, promote growth, and bring about long-term prosperity, hence the bill.

Therefore, especially in these times of economic uncertainty, when we see the consequences of big government overspending in places like Greece and throughout Europe, it's important for us to pass this low-tax plan and to get busy balancing the budget so that our economy can be strong and our people can prosper.

Therefore, I move that we adjourn debate on the motion.

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

The motion can be put and is non-debatable, so I'll call the vote.

8:55 a.m.

An hon. member

A recorded vote.