Evidence of meeting #43 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 rail.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Michael Bourque  President and Chief Executive Officer, Railway Association of Canada
  • Mike Roney  General Manager, Technical Standards, Canadian Pacific Railway
  • Dwight Tays  Chief, Engineering Technology, Canadian National Railway Company
  • Mike Lowenger  Vice-President, Railway Association of Canada
  • Gregory Aziz  Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, National Steel Car Limited
  • Michael Hugh Nicholson  Executive Vice-President, Marketing, Sales and Quality, National Steel Car Limited
  • Peter Leigh Scott  Regional Vice-President, Marketing and Sales, National Steel Car Limited

10:40 a.m.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, National Steel Car Limited

Gregory Aziz

We're looking for any opportunity there is to replace the existing fleet.

June 12th, 2012 / 10:40 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

That's fairly clear. From your standpoint, your direction is rock solid. I know exactly where you're coming from. There's no confusion about what you're looking to accomplish, and as an entrepreneur I salute that.

You've given me some information, though, which I've found helpful, on the issue of who owns these cars. I think Mr. Poilievre asked whose responsibility it will be ultimately. Will it be government's? Will it be the railcar companies'? Frankly, I don't have a sense of that. I didn't realize we were in the grain car business to the extent we are. Being an Ontario boy, I didn't appreciate that so much.

Mr. Scott you indicated that ultimately if someone were going to pay, the costs are going to go downstream versus upstream. I presume that means to the taxpayer versus the customer.

I think you've already answered the question, Mr. Aziz, as to how that works, because it's private industry. That brought us to this capital cost allowance.

I know one of the things our government did a few years ago, at least with locomotives, was to accelerate the capital cost allowance depreciation to allow acquisition of locomotives to be depreciated to ultimately let the customer more effectively write down the acquisition cost.

Mr. Scott, do you have any recommendations related to capital cost allowance that would be useful for this committee to consider? I would frankly be more comfortable recommending a capital cost allowance kind of suggestion, rather than opening up the recommendation that the Government of Canada.... I'm not sure that's our spot. I want to think about that more.

Do you have any recommendations? I will ask you, Mr. Scott, or Mr. Aziz, about what recommendation you might make for capital cost allowance.

10:45 a.m.

Regional Vice-President, Marketing and Sales, National Steel Car Limited

Peter Leigh Scott

Well, I think it's a second topic. Do I feel there needs to be an improvement in the capital cost allowance to invest in railcar equipment? Absolutely, I do, for all Canadian customers, and you'll see an investment not just from railroads but from private shippers as well.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

Could I ask—through you, Chair—if you have some recommendations that you direct them through to our clerk? That might be something that we could put some serious perspective on to assist.... Frankly, I think it would assist your business, obviously.

10:45 a.m.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, National Steel Car Limited

Gregory Aziz

Just to expand on that very quickly, if you recall the previous witnesses you had, you had the map of the Canadian system up there on the screen. You'll notice that the Canadian railroads control an awful lot of track in the United States.

Essentially, the recommendation would be that the capital cost allowance in Canada should be better than it is in the United States in order for the Canadian railroads to build equipment in Canada, or to build equipment not only for the Canadian part of their railroad but also for the American part of their railroad.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ed Holder London West, ON

If might suggest this again, through you, Mr. Chair, I would ask that this be taken through to you.

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Anything you could forward to me through the clerk would be greatly appreciated.

Our time has expired.

I thank our guests for being here again. It was a very interesting dialogue.

As advice for committee members, I am choosing not to call a meeting for Thursday morning. I suspect that there may be other things on our plate at that time. You can watch for further notice of any meeting in the future.

The meeting is adjourned.