Evidence of meeting #41 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 electric.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Jean-Pierre Baracat  Vice-President, Business Development, Nova Bus, a Division of Volvo Group Canada, Inc.
  • René Allen  Vice-President , Product Management and Strategy, Business Development, Nova Bus, a Division of Volvo Group Canada, Inc.
  • Chris Stoddart  Vice-President of Engineering, New Flyer Industries Inc.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

That's because it's an integrated supply chain.

By the way, what is the size of the European Union market for buses? You said that in America, it was about 5,000 to 6,000 buses a year.

10 a.m.

Vice-President, Business Development, Nova Bus, a Division of Volvo Group Canada, Inc.

Jean-Pierre Baracat

It's significantly more. I think it's 10 times that, at least. I think just Germany has a market of 6,000 buses.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

How many companies are competing to sell buses into the U.S. market?

10 a.m.

Vice-President of Engineering, New Flyer Industries Inc.

Chris Stoddart

Oddly, it is a very small number for transit buses. There's New Flyer and Nova in Canada. Unfortunately, Orion just announced in the last month that they're closing their doors. They were headquartered, by Daimler, in Mississauga, Ontario. So three of the five were located in Canada.

In the United States, you have NABI, in Anniston, Alabama, and GILLIG, in California. So really, there are now, I'd say, four big players in North America.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

I want to talk about R and D for a second. I'm probably going to run out of time on this, too.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

You are.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Thanks, Merv.

If we could step back, say, 10 years in time, where was R and D going? I want to test a theory about whether climate change imperatives, for example, have bent the curve of research and development for sectors. Would you say that's true for your sector? Or would normal business case imperatives have been taking us in some of the same directions in your sector as we find ourselves today in R and D spending?

10 a.m.

Vice-President of Engineering, New Flyer Industries Inc.

Chris Stoddart

Ten years ago, R and D at New Flyer was all about the introduction of hybrid buses. We went from zero hybrid buses to 40% in seven years.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Is that just normal business case evolution or was that because of the imperatives of customers or governments?

10 a.m.

Vice-President of Engineering, New Flyer Industries Inc.

Chris Stoddart

I could be wrong, but I think it had a lot to do with the global focus on greenhouse gas emission reduction and green technology, the funding that went alongside that, and the business case for the fuel efficiency paying off, or from a life cycle cost perspective.

10 a.m.

Conservative

Jeff Watson Essex, ON

Are the changing EPA standards you were talking about driving your innovation right now?

10 a.m.

Vice-President of Engineering, New Flyer Industries Inc.

Chris Stoddart

We're largely integrators, which means the pressure to meet those is more so on the engine manufacturers. We have to integrate it into our bus to ensure that it works and do our development to make sure it works, but I think the real technology challenge for EPA is more so with the engines.

10 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Thank you. I have to stop it there.

With that, I'll thank our guests for being here today. Obviously they've been very informative. We've heard some different testimony in regard to natural gas and CNG that makes it sound almost as though we were in two different time zones as far as where corporations and where industry may go. So we thank you for your input and wish you well in the future.

Thank you very much.

Committee members, we're just going to take a brief two-minute recess while our guests excuse themselves, and then we'll move back to committee business.

10:05 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Okay, we're back.

We're ready to go, gentlemen, please.

When we last adjourned, we were discussing a motion presented by Ms. Michaud, and she's on our list to continue the debate.

Order, please.

June 5th, 2012 / 10:05 a.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Chair, as you mentioned, I want to continue the debate that was adjourned last week, on a motion I had moved before the committee some time ago. It is mainly because there is new information. I also want to clarify the motion because it seems to have been misunderstood by the government side.

First, some members of the committee seem to believe that the purpose of the motion is to close a private aerodrome being built in Neuville despite the opposition of citizens and the town council. Contrary to what was said, I am aware that this issue will not be settled at this committee. That is not the purpose of my motion. I am not trying to have the committee intervene directly in Neuville. In this case, I know a direct intervention by the minister would be needed. Section 4.9 of the Aeronautics Act gives him the power to regulate the location and operation of private aerodromes. It is not a study by the committee but rather political will from the minister that can solve this issue.

However, what is happening currently in Neuville is a very accurate reflection of what is happening all over the country to the displeasure of Canadian municipalities everywhere. I also want to specify that the purpose of my motion is not to hinder development in this industry. Honestly, I find it very dishonest and almost condescending to insinuate that I am trying to close already-established airports in the country. That is not the case and that is not the purpose of my motion.

When the motion is read correctly, it becomes clear that the purpose is to solve a major problem in the Aeronautics Act. It infringes on the rights of Canadian municipalities throughout the country, especially in terms of land management and municipal planning. The purpose of the motion is therefore to ensure that municipal rights are respected and to study the possibility of arriving at better harmonization of each level of government jurisdiction in aeronautics. I am asking the committee to address this issue specifically.

Over the weekend, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities held its convention in Saskatoon. During this convention, a motion was passed unanimously by nearly 2,000 delegates from municipalities from across the country. There was no objection, no amendment to this motion, through which they call on the federal government to consult municipalities on decisions that affect land use for the creation of private airparks. All of the municipalities made this request directly to the government. There were 1,600 delegates there and they are the ones sending this message to the Department of Transport, this committee and the minister.

I will quote Claude Dauphin, who is vice-president of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the mayor of Lachine. He said the following: "Our position is clear—that all municipalities in Canada within the FCM want to be consulted before things like this happen."

Municipalities stated loud and clear that they want to be consulted by the federal government regarding private aerodromes on their land. It should now be clear that this is not limited to the mayor of Neuville, the people there or even myself. It is the will of Canadian mayors from all over the country. Furthermore, a letter will be sent to the Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities) to inform him of the will of the municipal representatives who were present at the convention.

During the FCM's convention, I attended a discussion forum in which Industry Canada and municipalities participated. It was about telecommunications antennas. There is a direct link with the Aeronautics Act. The problems are exactly the same. Since telecommunications are exclusively under federal jurisdiction, municipalities have no decision-making power in the face of companies in this area.

People from Industry Canada told municipal representatives that there were practically never any conflicts, which is totally false. There was an outcry in the room. Honestly, I can tell you that Mr. Lord and the people from Industry Canada who were at the convention didn't have an easy time of it at that discussion forum. They were told that people were encouraged to establish protocols to try to regulate or at least provide a framework for the installation of antennas on their land, but that telecommunications companies had no obligation to respect them.

Moreover, the consultation processes in place are not very exhaustive and antennas less than 15 m high are not even subject to this type of consultation. Companies just have to issue a notice. Finally, when there is a major conflict, municipalities have no power. Antennas can be erected anywhere and municipalities have no say. As I already told you, the delegates at the convention were very angry about the situation and they were very harsh with the Industry Canada representatives. I think videos of the forum will be available on the FCM site. You could perhaps consult the mayors of the municipalities of your ridings who were there. The discussion was very heated. People were furious.

They had the impression they had taken part in a consultation process that was totally bogus. All of the delegates called for greater municipal consultation and involvement in the process, in addition to giving them more leeway with private companies. They want their rights to be respected, to see municipalities have some regulatory power to oversee the building of antennas on their land. Note that I said oversee and not obstruct. That nuance is important. The same applies to private aerodromes throughout Canada.

The municipalities at the FCM convention called for this municipal involvement, as is requested in the motion. We aren't talking specifically about Neuville. That is what I am asking be studied.

During the convention, Hon. Denis Lebel (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities) made a nice speech about having a great desire to work with municipalities, because they are the ones that know their needs best. I think the municipalities' message is clear enough. The minister swore to them that he wanted to work with them.

It is in that spirit that I submit this motion to the committee, to undertake a study on the possibility of harmonizing aeronautics jurisdictions. I would like to immediately call for a vote on my motion.