House of Commons Hansard #34 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was money.

Topics

Canada Transportation Act
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Pontiac, QC

moved that the bill be read the third time and passed.

Canada Transportation Act
Government Orders

5:40 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca
Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-8 is the third and final bill amending the Canada Transportation Act. Two previous bills, one on international bridges and tunnels and other provisions of the act, were passed in the previous session.

The Canada Transportation Act is the legislative framework that, among other things, regulates the economic activities of the railways, in particular services and rates. While the act generally relies on market forces, there are a number of shipper protection provisions to address the potential abuse of market power by the railways.

I remind all members that Bill C-8 is extremely important to shippers. I am sure that many of us in the House today have heard how important the bill is.

Many members have undoubtedly heard many complaints from coast to coast about railway service and rates over the last few years. Bill C-8 strengthens the shippers' provisions in the act. By doing so, it improves shippers' leverage when they negotiate with railways, which contribute to better service and lower rates.

Bill C-8 is great news for Canada. Over time it is hoped that this will also improve the relationships between shippers and railways.

I also wish to remind members that Bill C-8 is the result of extensive consultations, dating back to the statutory review of the Canada Transportation Act that took place in 2000-01. This provided an opportunity for shippers to develop a very strong consensus in support of the bill. In fact, a couple of the members of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, on which I sit, commented on how unique it was to see such a strong, solid consensus from an industry sector such as the shippers in this case.

I ask members to keep this in mind during third reading debate. Shippers like the bill. They want it to be passed as soon as possible. Let us not disappoint them.

The bill is also important to railways and their investors because it gives them certainty. It gives them regulatory stability and they know this. Providing regulatory stability will improve the investment climate and facilitate investments by the railways and their networks, equipment and crews so they can maintain and even expand their operations.

Canada is a trading nation and railways are important to our future growth in our economy. This in turn will help shippers compete in domestic, continental and international markets. It will also facilitate the achievement of government objectives to improve the transportation gateways in corridors in western, central and eastern Canada.

What the government is doing is making this an even stronger trading nation, ensuring we have all the inventory and assets necessary to become that strong nation.

When asked at committee stage whether Bill C-8 would cause the railways to cancel any investment plans, Mr. Cliff Mackay, president of the Railway Association of Canada, replied:

The short answer is no, we will invest. We need to invest. It's part of our business. It's very important.

I believe Bill C-8 re-balances the regulatory framework in an appropriate manner. Shippers are clearly looking forward to the new provisions. At the same time, however, there should not be a significant impact on railway investments. The bill is necessary for our future, and the government is going to pass it.

During the consultative process in the summer of 2006, the minister encouraged the railways to look at potential commercial solutions to address the concerns of shippers. The intention was that improved commercial mechanisms would complement amendments to the shipper provisions.

The railways discussed a commercial dispute resolution proposal with shippers. For some period of time, we heard at committee that they discussed this. Good progress was made, but discussions eventually broke down as both sides could not find a solution that was satisfactory to both sides.

The government is hopeful that the discussions will resume once the bill is passed and sets a framework for those. An effective commercial dispute resolution process is preferable to regulated remedies. A commercial approach would be more expeditious, less costly and less confrontational and better for long term relations.

I will briefly discuss the main provisions in the bill that have been endorsed by the committee.

Under the existing section 27 of the act, the agency must be satisfied that a shipper would suffer “substantial commercial harm” before granting a remedy.

Shippers have long objected to this test. As members can imagine, it can be quite onerous. The railways argue that this test is consistent with the commercial approach reflected throughout the act and have pointed out that based on agency decisions to date, the provision has not prevented shippers from accessing remedies. The government concurs with shippers that the substantial harm test is not required.

It is a serious matter for a shipper to seek a remedy under the Canada Transportation Act.

First, it can have an adverse impact on a shipper's relationship with a carrier. Many shippers across the country only have one carrier, one railroad to deal with, and this relationship is very important to them.

Second, pursuing a regulatory remedy can often be extremely expensive. For small farmers, independent operators, it is almost impossible in some instances to afford or even to launch such a discussion.

The test itself is unwarranted and is being dropped under Bill C-8, great news for shippers.

The bill also contains a new provision that would allow shippers to complain to the agency if they were not satisfied with railway charges or the conditions associated with such charges, other than freight rates. The principal remedy for freight rates will continue to be final offer arbitration. The charges I refer to include what are often referred to as ancillary charges such as fees levied for cleaning or storing cars.

The new provision would also deal with such charges as well as some other charges related to the movement of traffic, such as demurrage. Demurrage is a payment incurred when a shipper takes too long to unload or load a car. Sometimes these circumstances happen as a result of something beyond their control.

The agency will have the authority to review complaints about such charges and to order a railway to revise the charge or so stated conditions if the agency finds them to be unreasonable. These charges have become an issue with shippers over the past few years and shippers are very pleased that the Conservative government has introduced an effective measure to address them.

The last major element of Bill C-8 is the introduction of group final offer arbitration, commonly referred to as group FOA. The existing final offer arbitration provision is one of the more popular remedies with shippers. A shipper can apply for final offer arbitration if the shipper is not satisfied with the railway's freight rates or associated conditions.

Under the process, the shipper and railway each submit their final offer to the arbitrator. The arbitrator must select either one or the other and is not allowed to change or modify either of the final offers. Imagine what that would lead to. It encourages the two parties to be fair and reasonable, which is most important, or else they lose the arbitration itself. The process often leads to a negotiated settlement and that would be good news as well.

Bill C-8 would allow a group of shippers to apply for final offer arbitration subject to three main conditions.

First, the agency must be satisfied that the group attempted to mediate the matter with the railway first. This is to encourage a commercial solution if at all possible, and would be in the best interests of the Canadian shipping industry.

Second, in addition, the matter must be common to all the shippers.

Third, they must make a joint offer, the terms of which apply to all of them.

The concept of commonality in terms of both the matter and the offer is essential to group final offer arbitration. Otherwise it simply would not work and we would all be wasting our time. In this case it will be and it is again great news for shippers around the country.

The former Bill C-58, which was reinstated as Bill C-8, was tabled on May 30 of this year. At that time, the minister announced there would be a review of railway service. This would commence within 30 days after the bill itself has passed.

It is important to note that shippers strongly endorse the proposed review and look forward to it. The review will focus on solutions to railway service issues, including commercial solutions. Transport Canada officials have had some preliminary discussions with shippers on the terms of reference for this study. More consultations will take place before recommendations are submitted to the minister and before any final decision is made, again, great news for Canadians.

There is a widespread support for Bill CC-8 among all political parties. As I mentioned, the former Bill C-58 was tabled in the House on May 30 of this year. Second reading debate was concluded in one day, on June 14. It moved very quickly, with all party support for the most part of all clauses of the bill, before the session was prorogued.

The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities heard witnesses at three meetings last month. The witnesses included the minister, the railways and the shippers. We have heard from stakeholders.

The committee heard a clear desire for the bill to be passed expeditiously without amendments. I have seen many emails and have had many phone calls from shippers across the country. They want the bill passed as quickly as possible.

The standing committee was able to conclude clause-by-clause review in less than 30 minutes. The committee approved one technical amendment to clarify that the new power being given to the agency to address complaints about railway charges would not apply to freight rates. In essence, it was simply an amendment to ensure and to clarify that we would have less litigation.

The bill is extremely important to shippers from coast to coast to coast from all types of industry. They have been waiting for results since 2001. The statutory review of the act was completed in 2001.

The bill would also provide regulatory stability sought by the railways. This is good news for Canadians because we are a trading nation. The economy of Canadians is tightly woven with the success of our shipping from coast to coast.

The standing committee dealt with the bill very quickly. I want to personally thank all members of the standing committee for their efficient review of the bill.

I now urge the House and all members to get behind the bill and to pass it as quickly as possible so Canadian shippers and manufacturers can rely on the great work of the House.

Canada Transportation Act
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Liberal

Roy Cullen Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sorry I was at a committee and came here the middle of the parliamentary secretary's presentation on Bill C-8,

I do not know if he covered this, but one of the things we hear from the forest industry and other big shippers is they feel they are often left with no alternative other than to deal with CN.

I know in my experience in the forest industry, many of our mills and the company I worked for did not have any options. It was CN and that was it. Therefore, the shippers feel that in some cases they are gouged in terms of the rates.

Is there something in Bill C-8 that deals with this issue, something like final offer arbitration or some way of arbitrating these differences where CN has a monopoly position and there are no reasonable alternatives?

Canada Transportation Act
Government Orders

5:50 p.m.

Conservative

Brian Jean Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Mr. Speaker, this is the very crux of the issue itself and of Bill C-8.

There is group final offer arbitration, which was asked for by many groups that are shippers. If the member wants more personal information for his own constituents, I will be more than happy to meet with him and provide that.

However, that is exactly what the crux of the bill is. It is to help shippers. It is to help with what we call a duopoloy situation or a duomonopoly situation, where the railways have in some instances had excessive fees, or similar types of complaints from farmers or other shippers across the country. The bill is speaks exactly to that.

Canada Transportation Act
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5:55 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the House for giving me the opportunity to voice the position of the Liberal Party, the former Government of Canada, on this bill.

I want to thank the parliamentary secretary for having had the elegance of thought to acknowledge that this bill was presented by the government of which I was a member and which saw another reincarnation as Bill C-58.

I think other members of both parties are probably equally thankful that the bill has seen its way not only through this House but also through committee. Witness, of course, the fact that report stage went through without comment and that we received, to all intents and purposes, the unanimous consent of all members of this House so that the bill could receive its third and final reading, be voted upon, be sent to the Senate, and be proclaimed.

Why would something like that happen? All members of Parliament have a special interest in ensuring that there is a rebalancing of the relationship between the railway companies and the shippers, be they large or small. More than anything else, I think that members of Parliament, at least from my party, the Liberal Party, the official opposition, has always looked for a balance in the relationship between those who need a particular service and those who provide that service.

The parliamentary secretary used the words “to reintroduce balance”. I thank him for thinking in terms of what needed to be done, and that is to restructure the relationship that had started to develop in a counterproductive way between the railway companies and the shippers. He noted in establishing that interest of balance that all the shippers want this and he is probably right.

Those who came before committee, those who lobbied him, that lobbied me, and that lobbied the Bloc, all said exactly the same thing. They all said that it was time that the relationship that has evolved between them needs to have the Government of Canada, through the agency, establish a relationship that would regenerate the competitiveness of the shipping industry and all those who buy our products.

What he really meant, I guess, is that without this bill we could see the competitiveness of many of our producing companies and those industries, be they agricultural, lumber, or mining, suffer at the hands of the negative impacts of the monopoly behaviour that had been established by the two monopolies in the railway industry that essentially put the shippers at their mercy.

It was not always this way. Obviously, there have been difficulties between the supplier of the service, the railway companies, and the shippers who need that service in order to get their product to the emerging markets that require Canadian produce and commodities.

What has happened over the passage of time is that the railways, as the parliamentary secretary has indicated, have established their position of predominance over the shippers that they serve. What is the result?

First of all, there has been an inconsistency in the predictability of the service required by the shippers, so that they in turn can provide for their own marketplace, a guarantee that their product will be delivered on time as prescribed by the contractual arrangement between the buyer of that commodity, usually abroad in the Pacific emerging markets, or even in the United States.

Second, that the price that was agreed to initially would suffer as a result of the delay, the ancillary services, and the other penalties that occur as a result of the railways not providing, as agreed, the kinds of services that had been contracted.

We have heard many stories in committee, many anecdotes, that have angered the shippers and, in turn, the small producers that feed into the shipping companies. As I say, whether they are farmers or lumber companies, all of them have faced great difficulties. They could not guarantee a price because they could not guarantee a time of delivery to the markets that they wanted to penetrate or they had in fact already developed.

The kind of relationship that the railways had established and imposed, in fact, upon the very people they purported to serve, proposed to serve and for whom they had made investments to serve had turned out to be counterproductive. It is counterproductive from a Canadian point of view, from a macro Canadian interest point of view, from the point of view of a Canadian economy that needs to grow and provide assurances for all of its markets that it is capable of producing a timely product with timely delivery, and a price that is competitive worldwide.

They have been unable to do that and so the parliamentary secretary calls this the shippers bill. It is more important than that. It is not just a bill that is important for shippers. It is important for the competitiveness of the Canadian economy.

As a result, we see that there are provisions in this bill to ensure that the monopolistic behaviour of the railway companies is moderated to the point that it is capable of delivery and what Canadians, through them, must have. They must have a guarantee of service at a predetermined price and in a timely fashion that will allow for a revenue stream to come back to the shippers and producers, so that they can then access the financing they, in turn, require in order to make investments in the production of said products.

It does not take much in terms of rocket science to appreciate that the bill is not a shippers bill. It is a bill for you, Mr. Speaker, it is a bill for all of us to ensure that which produces great wealth for Canada, that contributes to the positive side of the ledger in international trade is guaranteed.

We cannot put in jeopardy either our producers or shippers, the very people, the very production systems, the very industries that ensure that we will be able to generate wealth. We cannot put them in a precarious position and at the mercy of those who deliver their product from point A to point B.

That is absolutely crucial because now we are entering into the area of the viability of Canada's infrastructure. Given the great distances between not only our people but the source of those products and commodities and the markets, we need to be able to have an infrastructure that is reliable.

That does not mean simply having a road that is paved. It does not simply mean having a railway track that functions without incidents or accidents on as frequent a basis as we have seen. No, it means that we need to have that type of infrastructure function in an efficient and economic fashion that continues to regenerate the business which makes its existence mandatory.

What do we do with a bill like this one? As I said earlier, it received the support of all members of Parliament in committee and, I dare say, will receive the support of all members of Parliament in the House, unless, of course, some in the NDP decide that they want to filibuster.

They will receive the support of Canadians everywhere because, in effect, what will transpire is a new infrastructure of legislation to govern the mandates given to the railway companies and to the shippers as stewards of Canada's natural resource wealth, a wealth that needs to be materialized, realized and brought to fruition in foreign markets, so that Canadians can say, yes, this wealth will be distributed for the good of all citizens, one and all.

Mr. Speaker, the bill, as you already noted at second reading, was examined by members of the committee on your behalf very thoroughly, and I might add that, subsequent to the debate such as it was, there was no need to amend the bill.

Imagine, no need to amend the bill that saw its genesis in 2005 with the then Liberal administration, saw its regeneration again as Bill C-58 last May, and is now again before the House as Bill C-8 with not a change, not a comma, not a semicolon, not a capital at the beginning of a sentence, nothing.

Why? Because it has been a bill that has been thoroughly researched. The consultation has taken place with all of the stakeholders and even the railways have not objected as strenuously as one might expect from those who are compelled to do something with which they are, at least in the recent past, not familiar and that is equitable behaviour. But they see the wisdom of the legislation.

We will see that certain mechanisms in this bill, those clauses that ensure the balance is regenerated back between the shippers and the railway companies, are at the core of everything. When things are balanced out, everyone realizes that fairness is the basis for any relationship that develops as a result. What is fair? What is fair, of course, is that shippers contract to have their product taken from point A to a port where the railway companies will deliver the cars required or that product to be picked up at a time contracted so that everybody's expenses are diminished. That is fair.

Therefore, this bill says we are not going to dictate at which time, which day and under what circumstances said number of cars are going to be delivered, but if shippers contract to deliver said number of cars on said day at such and such a time, then railways must deliver and if they do not, there are commercial consequences in the appropriate court.

One might say, well one might say we would go to court anyway. Well, no, not when David is facing Goliath. The government has accepted the will of Parliament and we have decided no more David and Goliath relationship. We are going to ensure that the shippers are adequately protected in this unbalanced relationship.

If there is a price agreed, there shall be no changes to those prices unless companies have given at least a 30 day notice of same. We have seen this: prices subject to change without notice. That is good for those who benefit from that, but it is not good for those who project their business plan on the basis of a guaranteed price down the road. The railways have to give at least a 30 day notice that prices are going to be changed while still delivering the service which they have contracted to deliver.

It sound fair. The parliamentary secretary says that it is reintroducing balance. That is a backhanded way of saying the other guys have been taking an unfair advantage of a situation. Is that being critical? It should be. What else does it say?

My colleagues from the Bloc will recall that we had some discussion about ancillary services. What are they? In one instance, the railroad said that it had six points to consider. Another one, a shipper, pointed out that there are something like 30 to 60 items that are added on to a price.

One of our colleagues on committee said that it sounded a little bit like going in to buy a car, but after we have contracted the price the dealer says, by the way, if we want a motor it costs this much more, and if we want tires on every wheel, it costs this much more and so on. By the time we are finished, we might well be paying twice as much for the car as what we initially contracted.

Therefore, there is transparency of cost. There is transparency of the final price for the product that is being delivered, not necessarily by the shippers, because they already have to do that with their producers and the people over at the ports where they are going to deliver the material. It is something that the railways must be able to guarantee their shippers.

I think the minister agrees, because he put that into the bill. However, we need to make sure people understand that this is what balancing the relationship between railways and shippers is really all about. It is ensuring that no one takes undue advantage of a relationship of power that has developed over time.

As I said, the ultimate beneficiaries of course will be the Canadian public and the Canadian marketplace. If nothing else, it will mean that producers will get their product to market at a time when the market thinks it is appropriate to receive it.

It was not that long ago that in another capacity I was dealing with business people from China. We talked about buying Canadian product,and in particular, agricultural product. Their complaint was not so much that the Canadian product was not of exceptional quality. They really do enjoy Canadian quality. It was not so much that the price was not right, because of course it was.

However, they said, “What is the use of us buying good quality at the right price if we cannot get it to our market?” If our railways cannot deliver their product to the port of Vancouver or Prince Rupert in a timely fashion, what is the purpose of them putting their ships out off the port, wasting time, costing them money and redoubling the expectation of the price they needed to pay in the first place?

Under those circumstances, it does not do them any good to buy Canadian product. They might as well look for it some place else, they said, not because the product is not any good, not because it does not get delivered to port, but because it does not get delivered when they need it.

Therefore, if there is one criticism about all this, it is not that the bill itself will not be capable of delivering what it purports to deliver, but it highlights the importance of having an infrastructure program that includes this relationship as well as the physical infrastructure that must be put in place and which guarantees that the fruition we expect from this bill will be brought to bear and materialize down the road.

Whether it is in the Pacific gateway, as we have come to know the development of an infrastructure for delivery outside of Canadian borders out west, whether it is an Atlantic gateway, in the event that we have minerals and other products that need to go through the Great Lakes and out through the Maritimes, or whether it is in fact the gateway at the central part of the continent through Ontario, Quebec and the Great Lakes, we need to have an extension of the bill and the principles which it tries to address through the physical infrastructure that can only result in the continued growth of the Canadian economy.

As I said earlier, the bill does not punish anybody. The bill is designed to bring parties together so that the wealth of Canada, which contributes to the positive side of the foreign relations ledger in foreign trade, is an opportunity to be realized to its maximum.

I know that all members of this party, the official opposition, will vote in support of this bill at third reading for all of those principles that I have so humbly put forward. I know that the government is going to be supportive of this. I think even my good colleagues from the Bloc are going to be delighted to support it. All other good members may, but I urge all Canadians to get behind this bill.

Canada Transportation Act
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6:15 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to the representative of the official opposition who explained his support for the bill and illustrated the importance of restoring the balance between shippers and the railways that own them.

I remember an earlier bill concerning these same railways and the noise and problems they were causing in marshalling yards. We did some constructive work on that one in committee too, and adopted very good amendments to balance the interests of railways and the residents and municipalities that surround railway facilities.

Unfortunately, even though a number of amendments improving the bill were adopted and the bill itself was passed as a result, the railways, which did not necessarily agree with the balance we wanted to restore, lobbied the Senate. In the end, the Senate cancelled the major amendments we had made. When the bill came back to the House, both the official opposition and the government capitulated to the Senate's supreme decision.

I wonder what happens next. If the same thing happens with this bill—given that these are the same railway lobbyists—what will his party do if amendments undo the proper balance we want to see in this bill?

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6:15 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his comments. He wanted to highlight the rapport among the members on the committee, who work together to improve the Canadian condition, both commercially and socially. He made a reference to another bill, in which the circumstances were completely different from the current market conditions.

As a member of Parliament and as a man, I have never capitulated to the Senate. I think that the authority of the House of Commons is the most important one in the entire country. The will of the country is expressed in the House of Commons. I think that the voice of the people is the voice of God. It is vox populi, vox dei. Here, we talk about the voice of God. So, it is the only House in which jurisdiction is always respected.

I would like to thank the Bloc member who pointed out that members on the committee worked together to come up with a bill that can be supported universally. I would like to thank him for his work. He is a very good colleague.

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6:15 p.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, I have just a quick question for my hon. colleague. I remember that a few years ago I asked him this same question when he was on the government side.

We have trains going through my riding, but only the odd crossing has bars and lights. The others do not. We keep hearing that in order to get full bars and have trains running silently through the community, it is up to the municipality to pay for that additional cost of anywhere from $60,000 to $80,000.

Does he not think it would be a good idea for the federal government, along with the railways, to assist the municipality in paying for this so that not only could we have enhanced security but all those members of my community could have a good night's sleep?

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6:20 p.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the memory that he had about us being in government. Those were good days. I gather that is what he was dying to say, but he has not said it, because we had a really good relationship at the time.

I recall that at the time I said to him, yes, when we are dealing with oranges we will deal with oranges and when we are dealing with apples we will slice apples. Today we are in the business of slicing apples because we are talking about a commercial relationship between shippers/producers and railways.

On the other issue, we are talking about programs that had to do with the enhancement of local communities. For that, we had a different program. I am glad that the member was at least being attentive enough to be able to highlight through me to the minister and the government that there is another need that is still to be addressed.

Good governments are not in the habit of washing their hands and deferring to someone else. What they typically do is thank the member for raising that issue. If the member wants it dealt with properly, all I can ask the member to do is encourage all of his colleagues and all of those who would associate themselves with his party to do the right thing in the next election and vote for all of those who are associated with the member for Eglinton—Lawrence. They will see that good things will happen.

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6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Alfred-Pellan. The member should know that at 6:30 p.m. I will have to interrupt his speech to call a vote. However, the member still has approximately 8 minutes.

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6:20 p.m.

Bloc

Robert Carrier Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-8, which has been considered and is at third reading. I must point out, this was formerly Bill C-58, before Parliament was prorogued and the bill was at second reading. Committee work has continued during this session and we are now at the third reading stage.

The main purpose of this bill is to clarify the Canada Transportation Act and strengthen the existing provisions that protect shippers against any abuse of the commercial power of the railways. It relates mainly to western Canada's grain producers and shippers.

In order to make it clear for those who are currently watching us debate this bill, I think it is important to list the main aspects of it.

First, one of the purposes of the bill is to remove the requirement for the Canadian Transportation Agency to be satisfied that a shipper would suffer substantial commercial harm before it grants a remedy, as it is an unwanted barrier to regulatory remedies.

Second, the bill extends final offer arbitration to groups of shippers on matters relating to rates or conditions for the movement of goods, provided the matter submitted for arbitration is common to all and the shippers make a joint offer that applies to all of them.

Third, the bill allows for the suspension of any final offer arbitration process, if both parties consent to pursue mediation.

Fourth, the bill permits the Agency, upon complaint by a shipper, to investigate charges and conditions for incidental services and those related to the movement of traffic contained in a tariff that are of general application, and to establish new charges or terms and conditions if it finds those in the tariff to be unreasonable.

Fifth, the bill increases the notice period for augmentations in rates for the movement of traffic from 20 to 30 days to ensure that shippers receive adequate notice of rate increases.

Sixth, the bill requires railways to publish a list of rail sidings available for grain producer car loadings and to give 60 days notice before removing such sidings from operation.

And finally, the bill ensures—

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6:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. leader of the government in the House of Commons on a point of order.

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6:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. There has been some discussion among the parties and I am hoping that the House will see fit to give its unanimous consent for the following motion: That, in the opinion of this House, both Atomic Energy of Canada Limited and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission must immediately commence working together to ensure that the AECL NRU which produces medical isotopes be restarted as quickly as possible, in a safe manner, in order to address the critical shortage of medical isotopes occasioned by the extended shutdown of this research reactor at Chalk River.

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6:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Andrew Scheer

Does the hon. minister have the unanimous consent of the House to move the motion?

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6:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.