An Act to amend the Canada Marine Act and other Acts

This bill was last introduced in the 38th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in November 2005.

Sponsor

Jean Lapierre  Liberal

Status

Not active, as of June 22, 2005
(This bill did not become law.)

Summary

This is from the published bill. The Library of Parliament often publishes better independent summaries.

This enactment amends the Canada Marine Act to clarify and make technical changes to certain provisions. As well, the amendments

(a) modify the Act’s objective;

(b) modify a port authority’s access to federal funding;

(c) allow the Minister of Transport, in certain cases, to increase a port authority’s borrowing limits;

(d) reduce the minimum number of directors on the board of most Canadian port authorities; and

(e) streamline certain enforcement provisions.

The amendments also include transitional provisions, a correction to an Act, and a consequential amendment to another Act.

Elsewhere

All sorts of information on this bill is available at LEGISinfo, provided by the Library of Parliament. You can also read the full text of the bill.

Canada Marine ActGovernment Orders

May 5th, 2008 / 12:10 p.m.
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Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak to Bill C-23 today. Before I begin I want to say that our thoughts are with the over 4,000 people who may have died during the tragedy in Burma on the weekend.

On November 16, 2007, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities introduced Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Canada Marine Act, the Canada Transportation Act, the Pilotage Act and other Acts in consequence, in the House of Commons. The bill is very similar in respect to its predecessor, Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Canada Marine Act and other Acts, which was introduced in the House of Commons on June 22, 2005 by the previous Liberal government. The bill died on the order paper with the dissolution of Parliament without having passed first reading.

Just to ensure our critic knows where I stand on this, I am in favour of the bill to modernize and increase the efficiency of our ports. I have a few questions and concerns on certain elements, but they are basically bringing forth the main points that we had in our bill. We are in agreement with the modernization of the ports in this trading world and to do anything that would make it more efficient and reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are so critical to my area in the north.

In 1998, during the Liberal government's term in office, the Canadian Marine Act received royal assent. This was the first comprehensive legislation to govern several aspects of Canada's marine legislation. In addition, the act allowed for the establishment of Canada Port Authorities, port facilities and continued divestiture of certain harbour beds.

The Canadian Marine Act assisted in the commercialization of the St. Lawrence Seaway and contained provisions for the further commercialization of federal ferry services.

In 2003, the Canadian Marine Act was subject to a legislative review and, since 2003, Transport Canada has carried out a number of studies from which it was able to compile several recommendations to improve the Canadian Marine Act.

Canada's policy framework of 1995 for federal ports focused on the elimination of overcapacity in the new government structure to support a more commercialized system. Global trading patterns have changed in the context in which federal ports operate. Port modernization is required to ensure that ports have the tools needed to compete in a global trading environment and to support the government's new national policy framework for strategic gateways and trade corridors.

The Canada Port Authorities have locations now in St. John's, Belledune, Halifax, Saint John, Sept-Îles , Saguenay, Trois-Rivières, Montreal, Hamilton, Toronto, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert and Vancouver which will be amalgamated with the Fraser River and North Fraser.

Some aspects of the bill are administrative and some are more substantive. Certain administrative aspects were made to increase the clarity and consistency between both language versions. One changes the purpose so it would recognize the significance of marine transportation and its contribution to the Canadian economy.

Our party, in developing this act in the first place, is very supportive of this modernization of the ports. In fact, our leader, the Leader of the Opposition, announced before this past Christmas about a number of new ports in Nunavut, small boat harbours, which is very exciting. Unfortunately, the government has only announced one port, which is one commercial harbour in Nunavut, and we would certainly like a lot more small boat harbours in Nunavut.

The government also announced the enhancement of the military harbour but we have not seen much progress on it to date and we certainly would like to see that initiative related to harbours proceed.

During second reading on this bill, I asked questions as we have had problems relating to consultation with many bills in this Parliament. I was happy to find out that stevedores and longshoremen were consulted. The government had to do some research to find that out but I finally got the answer to that question. The opinions of the pilotage associations are very important. I meet with them usually once a year and they have very important considerations. Of course, also the port authorities, which we know had major input into this bill.

The purpose of the bill, over and above the technical amendments I talked about, is to do a number of things. I will talk about each of these things in more detail and maybe some specific elements of the bill on top of that.

First, the bill would modify the port authorities' access to federal funding.

Second, it would add provisions regarding the power of a port authority to borrow money.

Third, it would provide additional regulatory powers to the Governor in Council.

In some things related to the amalgamation of port authorities, the way in which the directors on the boards of the port authorities' would be pointed would facilitate the processes.

The bill adds provisions regarding port amalgamation, which, in the original times, were not needed because there were so few major ports operating. We now have many more ports to accommodate the huge increase in the world shipping trade. I will list them later on in my speech.

The sixth item related to the bill is that it would modify provisions regarding the boards of directors the port authorities.

Finally, it would add a penalty scheme and streamline certain other provisions.

Before I go into each one of those, I want to state that there are 19 Canadian port authorities right now when we are talking about the amendments related to port authorities. These are located in each of the regions in which gateway and corridor initiatives are being started. I will refer to those later on as well.

One of the areas in which I am interested and hope to hear from the government about is the amendment, as of November 2007, that contribution funding for implementation of security enhancements would no longer be available to Canadian port authorities. I wonder why that has been allowed to expire and why something else was not put in place. I know that is the intent of this bill but, as I will talk about later, I do not want it to detract from money that would be available for other security provisions.

I know a bill was put in place to allow security investments in ports, for instance. I also know that the Canadian Fertilizer Institute approached us for a similar program so it could invest in the very expensive security requirements for fertilizers and dangerous chemical items to make it more competitive in the world markets and more competitive for our agricultural markets.

The bill would give ports the ability to use some of their lands for different purposes, not just for the port itself. In general, I am very strongly supportive of this provision for two reasons. The first reason is that there would be no incentive for a port to expand to cover future contingencies. As we have seen, there have been great increases in shipping in the world and yet some of our ports could not keep up and then, all of a sudden, the land is all gone.

When condos, art centres and other big structures are built on waterfront land that should have been reserved for a port, it becomes very difficult to expropriate them when the land is needed for a port. It would be hard to get public opinion behind it to use that land and it would be very expensive and wasteful.

For long term planning, we need to set aside that land up front, but if it were to be set aside and left vacant, there will be all sorts of public pressure from every group, commercial enterprise, government, other transportation facilities, convention centres and everyone who wants that land for something else.

This bill would allow that land to be used for other purposes and generate revenue for the port authorities, which should be as self-sufficient as possible, of course, until such time as it is needed.

I definitely am in favour of that, with the exception that we must ensure that once again things are not put on the land that would cause the same problem, permanent structures such as condominiums, transportation networks or art centres, something that cannot just be taken down when the land is needed. I think this is a good provision but it needs to be watched carefully to ensure it is used properly.

For Canada, the ports are more important than for many other countries because we are a trading nation. The parliamentary secretary said that in his speech at second reading. In that light, I hope the government will stop closing important consulates around the world because they are just as important for us as a trading nation.

I said earlier that I would talk about the increase in the number of ports and talk about why we need to deal with things like amalgamations in this bill. In British Columbia, where there was originally one major port, it now has one in North Fraser, Vancouver, Prince Rupert, Nanaimo and Port Alberni, all to help the great expansion of trade to Asia. That is why we need coordination, not only with the ports themselves but also with the other types of transportation that feed into the port.

All the investment cannot be in the port land itself, because we also need to invest in the appropriate bridges, roads, parking and customs facilities in a type of corridor strategy. When we did the west coast port corridor we envisioned all of those items. I hope the Conservatives enhance and speed up the investment in that Pacific corridor at the rate that we had envisioned.

A few years ago we missed an opportunity to re-enhance the capacity of the Halifax harbour to handle the giant ships coming into the marketplace. I hope we do not miss that in the future.

When we are talking about the gateways, I want to assure my colleagues in Quebec and Ontario that we are not just talking about the Atlantic and Pacific gateways, which I have mentioned. We also need to ensure there is investment in the St. Lawrence--Great Lakes corridor and the St. Lawrence Seaway. That corridor has good potential because many of those ports would not be in competition with the east or west. They would be taking goods directly inland in a more efficient and economical way. This would help to build efficiencies in Ontario and Quebec in their ports on the Great Lakes and on the St. Lawrence River.

The distance between Montreal and Rotterdam is 5,813 kilometres, while the distance between New York and Rotterdam is 6,154 kilometres. Therefore, there is no reason that we cannot get that faster entry into the heartland of the Americas if we ensure we have just as efficient a system for getting the goods into our ports as opposed to ports like New York.

In spite of increased shipping around the world, Canada's use of that particular route has dropped. The total amount of goods transported via the St. Lawrence dropped from 130 million tonnes in the early 1980s to approximately 100 million tonnes 10 years later, only to have around 105 million tonnes since. Thus, since 1980, the ports on the St. Lawrence have received less merchandise than the 150 million tonnes they received in 2007. It was 25 million tonnes less than what was being transported on the St. Lawrence in the early 1980s.

Over the past 30 years the carriage of goods by ship has grown in the world 600%, while traffic on the St. Lawrence has dropped from 130 million tonnes in the 1980s to the current 105 million tonnes. Even the Mississippi River, which is a competitor to get into the heartland of the St. Lawrence, saw its traffic increase from 450 million tonnes to 700 million tonnes. I want my colleagues in Ontario and Quebec to know we are thinking of them and that our vision of ports includes them in the modernization and investment of their ports.

Those were introductory remarks. I want to now go on to the major components of the bill.

First, I will talk about the borrowing limits. It is certainly important to make sure that ports can make their investments, that they are borrowing efficiently and that everything else as a system is monitored and controlled. It should be done in such a way as to ensure they have secure borrowing and can be able to pay the bills. To date, the government has not had to step in. We would not want a situation where there was excess borrowing where ports could not control themselves.

The next area is access to contribution funding. This is perhaps my biggest concern with the bill. It is related to making ports eligible for funding through existing programs. Of course, we all agree that ports have to have funding, but it is perplexing to me as to why the government, if it believes in that, just does not provide the funding and why it would want to take the money from other federal government programs as opposed to providing a program for the ports. For instance, the ports want funding for infrastructure and security, which of course what we want, but why would the government take that money from other areas?

We have limited infrastructure. The government, fortunately, after extensive lobbying, carried on the infrastructure programs to the tune of $33 billion but changed the conditions. Most of the municipalities across Canada have not heard how much of that they are going to get. I have said time and time again in the House, and I know the Minister of Finance has heard me, that municipalities have to get the same amount of infrastructure money as they did under the previous government, which was $33 billion, and they need to know the rules so they can apply it and it is not distributed all over the place.

The municipalities have not heard for so long, the new rules are not out, and there is worry across the country. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities and the Association of Yukon Communities have been wondering when they are going to hear what the rules are and how much of that money they are going to get. Are they still going to get the same amount of the infrastructure money as they did in the past?

The primary reason these programs were started in the first place was for the municipalities of this country. The Liberal Party will never cease to stand up for the municipalities to ensure they get their fair share of that funding. That is why, when there is a provision in this bill that adds another important need for funding to the same pile money, it is very worrying to me. Everyone will certainly be watching to make sure the ports get their money, but that the municipalities in Canada are not deprived of the funds they so desperately need.

Canada Marine ActGovernment Orders

April 11th, 2008 / 10:25 a.m.
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Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to join the debate today from a Liberal Party perspective on Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Canada Marine Act, the Canada Transportation Act, the Pilotage Act and other Acts in consequence. This bill is mainly comprised of technical changes and amendments.

Normally, when the House receives bills of this technical nature, members of Parliament will often rely on the bureaucrats to highlight deficiencies in the present act or acts. In this case it is my understanding that the transport committee has made changes based on consultation with all stakeholders and this bill has everyone's support.

It is common knowledge that transportation in Canada is essential. And when I talk about transportation, I am talking about all types of transportation, including water, road, air transportation and so on.

Transportation has always been an essential part of building this country from the beginning, when our forefathers came here by boat and continued to use seaways as a primary mode of transportation until the invention of airplanes.

Furthermore, let us not forget that water was one of the few efficient ways of travel in Canada's formative years. And then, how can we forget, the building of Canada's railway from east to west which was the cornerstone of unifying and keeping this country together.

Things have evolved and our way of doing things has changed, but the transportation sector is still essential to this country's economy. The Liberal Party has always been a part of the transportation sector's evolution.

There is no denying that the Liberal Party, whether in government or in opposition, has always been a part of laying the groundwork to ensure that we have a network of infrastructure and transportation to allow this wonderful country to reach its fullest economic potential.

Our Canadian ports are fundamental to the development of trade. They enhance the opportunities for every Canadian to access our abundant natural resources across the country, so that they can be sold to foreign markets that can utilize the product for value added or for direct consumption.

Trade is a key factor in the Canadian economy and without the necessary infrastructure and means of transportation, Canada would be unable to reach its maximum potential to benefit all Canadians.

With that being said, as parliamentarians we cannot afford to miss opportunities to promote our Canadian ports. These kinds of initiatives would compel us to utilize portions of our infrastructure funds, in addition stimulate our rail network and a pan-Canadian road network to encourage growth, and to develop an economy that goes beyond a micro-economy and expand it to a regional and national one.

In 1998, under 13 years of successful Liberal government, the Canada Marine Act received royal assent. The Canada Marine Act was the first comprehensive piece of legislation to govern several aspects of Canada's transport legislation.

The Canada Marine Act was a component in the commercialization of the St. Lawrence Seaway, the framework for a strategic gateway and trade corridors, and included provisions for the further commercialization of federal ferry services.

In 2003, a review of the legislation was compiled to ensure that the government continued to make all the ports in Canada economically competitive, specifically ports in British Columbia, Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic provinces.

May I remind the Conservative government that the bill before us comes from a Liberal bill, formerly C-61. I am pleased that the Conservatives have the ability to recognize good fundamental pieces of legislation that are beneficial to the Canadian economy and place partisanship aside.

If it were not for the NDP and the Bloc forcing an election, good pieces of legislation such as Bill C-23, Bill C-7, Bill C-3, Bill C-11 and Bill C-8, all based on Liberal transport bills which died on the order paper, could have been passed much sooner.

The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities heard from port authorities, other stakeholders and read written submissions to the committee on Bill C-23. An overwhelming consensus between stakeholders seems to exist, indicating that the committee should move forward and adopt Bill C-23 which is why we are debating this in the House today.

Some of the benefits of Bill C-23 include access to contribution funding. The fact that access to contribution funding will now be permitted, the Canada Port Authority can apply for contribution funding for infrastructure and security for environmentally sustainable projects.

The bill also addresses governance. With the changes in the governance policy in the Canada Marine Act, the port authorities would now be more in control of their destiny as they would have the ability to promote a more stable, long term management framework.

Bill C-23 would also allow for borrowing limits. With this act, the port authorities would now have the ability to borrow and, thus, would directly allow the Vancouver Port Authority, the Montreal Port Authority and the Halifax Port Authority to move to a commercially based borrowing system.

Bill C-23 would also allow for amalgamation. In the act, the Fraser River port, the North Fraser Port, would be allowed to amalgamate with the Vancouver Port, which would allow for a centralized body and would, in turn, be beneficial to all British Columbian ports in terms of efficiency, whether it be financial resources, human resources or other benefits that would arise from centralization.

The bill also addresses enforcement. Bill C-23 would also give the port authorities the ability to enforce minor violations by having the ability to impose monetary penalties, making it easier to enforce and manage minor violations.

Again, it is my understanding from members of the transport committee, and I cannot stress this enough, that all the stakeholders appearing before the committee spoke positively toward the bill. Members in the House should not confuse the positive aspects which came out of the committee that considered, deliberated and debated Bill C-23.

I urge all members to support the legislation for the good of the Canadian economy.

Canada Marine ActGovernment Orders

April 10th, 2008 / 1:30 p.m.
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NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I hope that was not my time that was being used up by these parliamentary diversion tactics.

I felt it was very important to speak about a triple bottom line because it would ensure that public values are protected as opposed to only the interests of a specific group. The absence of this kind of accountability measure in this bill in dealing with public property makes it unsupportable. That is not surprising, as this bill is the twin of Bill C-61 tabled by the then Liberal government and we know how well the Liberals did at integrating environmental and social interests with economic ones, with a 35% increase in greenhouse gas emissions, increase in poverty, and so on.

In the long run, integrating is just good public policy. When these components are integrated, in the long run it yields energy cost savings, better quality jobs, reduced infrastructure costs, and better environment and health.

Such a provision should cover management of port and harbour properties. It would be felt in my riding where an unaccountable body will be given control of more public property. That is just unacceptable.

Motions in amendmentCanada Marine ActGovernment Orders

April 9th, 2008 / 5:20 p.m.
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Liberal

John Maloney Liberal Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to provide the House with some background on this legislation.

On November 16, 2007 the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities introduced Bill C-23, An Act to amend the Canada Marine Act, the Canada Transportation Act, the Pilotage Act and other Acts in consequence. This bill is very similar in most respects to its predecessor, Bill C-61, An Act to amend the Canada Marine Act and other Acts, which was introduced in the House of Commons on June 22, 2005 by the previous Liberal government. That bill died on the order paper with the dissolution of Parliament without having gone beyond first reading.

In 1998 during the Liberal government's term in office the Canada Marine Act received royal assent. The Canada Marine Act was the first comprehensive legislation to govern several aspects of Canada's marine legislation.

In addition, the act allowed for the establishment of the Canada port authorities and continued the divestiture of certain harbour beds.

The Canada Marine Act assisted in the commercialization of the St. Lawrence Seaway and provisions for further commercialization of federal ferry services.

In 2003 the Canada Marine Act was subject to a legislative review.

Since 2003 Transport Canada has carried out a number of studies from which it was able to compile several recommendations to improve the Canada Marine Act.

Canada's 1995 policy framework for federal ports focused on the elimination of over-capacity and a new governance structure to support a more commercial system.

Global trading patterns have not changed the context in which the federal ports operate. Port modernization is required to ensure that ports have the tools needed to compete in a global trade environment and to support the government's new national policy framework for strategic gateways and trade corridors.

Currently, Canada port authorities are located at St. John's, Belledune, Halifax, Saint John, Sept-Îles, Saguenay, Quebec, Trois-Rivières, Montreal, Hamilton, Windsor, Thunder Bay, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Prince Rupert, and Vancouver, which has been amalgamated with the Fraser River and the North Fraser.

The amendments would include: a modification of the act's purpose; modification of a port authority's access to federal funding; adding provisions regarding the power of a port authority to borrow money; providing additional regulatory powers to the governor in council; adding provisions regarding port amalgamation; modifying provisions regarding the appointment of directors of port authorities; and finally, adding a penalty scheme and streamlining certain other important provisions.

The Liberals supported the bill at second reading in order to send it to committee for further study.

I would like to elaborate on the amendments, the first one being access to contribution funding.

Canada port authorities would be permitted to apply for contribution funding related to infrastructure, environmental sustainability, and the implementation of security measures. The borrowing limits are a tiered approach. They would be implemented to permit larger Canada port authorities, those with $25 million in operating revenues for three consecutive years, to move to a commercially based borrowing regime. Certain Canada port authorities would be subject to a code that governs borrowing in their letters patent rather than a fixed borrowing limit, as well as enhanced accountability requirements.

Under the amalgamation provisions, the legislation would include a provision that would allow for a consistent approach to facilitate any potential future amalgamations of CPAs and would complement the regulations established in May 2007 with respect to amalgamation.

With respect to governance, the bill incorporates new proposed amendments related to governance that are more responsible to Canada port authority needs and promote a more stable, long term management framework.

February 5th, 2008 / noon
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Conservative

Lawrence Cannon Conservative Pontiac, QC

Colleagues, I'm pleased to continue the discussion on Bill C-23, which basically proposes amendments to the Canada Marine Act. As you may know, the CMA required the Minister of Transport to complete a review of the provisions and application of the act.

In 2002 the government appointed a panel to undertake coast-to-coast consultations on the Canada Marine Act and to report back to the Minister of Transport with recommendations. Very broad-based consultations were held and generated extensive and substantive input from stakeholders, including all levels of government, Canada port authorities, marine transport companies, marine industry associations, as well as associations representing other modes of transportation, shippers, logistics companies, and labour organizations. The result was the CMA review report tabled by the Minister of Transport in Parliament in June 2003, which subsequently provided the direction of Bill C-61.

The proposed amendments in Bill C-61 aimed to build upon the commercial operating environment envisioned by the National Marine Policy of 1995 and the subsequent Canada Marine Act of 1998. It reflected an approach that responded to industry concerns, recognizing the importance of promoting strategic investment and productivity improvements.

Bill C-23 addresses many of the same recommendations flowing from the CMA Review. I believe that Bill C-23 goes even further in terms of optimizing our port regime in order to compete in today's global economy and putting Canada's major ports on a more competitive footing with their international counterparts.

The ports have been waiting a long time for these changes. Canada Port Authorities have told us that these proposed amendments are fundamental to the success of Canada's . marine ports in today's global environment. A number of provinces have also echoed a similar message.

If we wait any longer, opportunities could be lost. Opportunities that have the potential to have a significant and long-term positive impact on regional economies and ultimately on the Canadian economy.

Marine transportation accounts for almost a fifth of the volume of Canada's exports to the United States and over 95% of the approximately 162 million tonnes of commodities and processed goods Canada exports to other countries. All parts of the country benefit from the production and employment generated by the marine sector.

While the largest absolute impacts are in British Columbia, followed by Ontario and Quebec, the positive economic effects of marine transport activities extend to all regions of the country. Clearly, the marine sector makes a significant contribution to the output of the economy, is a creator of high-paying jobs, and also a significant generator of federal, provincial, and municipal revenues. The proposed amendments in Bill C-23 would have a positive impact on the marine industry and would position Canada port authorities, which are so important to Canada's economy, to respond to the emerging trends in globalization and to support Canada's national trade objectives.

At this point, I think it's important to distinguish between the legislative proposals of Bill C-23 and any related and complementary policy initiatives that may be put in place. As part of our commitment to openness and transparency, and also to ensure that you have a comprehensive understanding of the modernized strategy envisaged for our port authorities, we have shared with you the various policy initiatives that are being pursued.

I understand that a number of questions and comments have been raised concerning land management policy initiatives, and I have provided additional information and I trust have responded to these questions. These policy initiatives are very important and of course necessary. They reflect the result of significant analysis and examination, including third-party studies in some cases. They are initiatives that will have an immediate impact on industry within the existing legislative framework. However, they do not make up the substance of Bill C-23 but are complementary to the bill's provisions.

While Bill C-23 is national in scope, I understand that it has generated significant discussion regarding the role of municipalities.

Our cities are economic generators by themselves, but they also serve as essential transportation hubs and gateways, providing access to ports, airports and border points. This means that what happens in cities is essential to the rest of the country. Through the $33 billion Building Canada Infrastructure Plan, we will fund investments in transit, local roads and highway projects to help mitigate our growing congestion problem.

We are convinced that these investments will have a major impact on Canada's competitiveness; on the environment, and on the quality of life of Canadians. The Building Canada Plan underpins a national emphasis on trade gateways.

We cannot talk about trade gateways without talking about ports. In addition to the Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor initiative, l signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with the provinces of Ontario and Quebec in July 2007 to develop the Ontario-Quebec Continental Gateway and Trade Corridor.

There are many marine-related opportunities along the St. Lawrence River and throughout the Great Lakes. Opportunities for increased short sea shipping that have the means to alleviate congestion, facilitate trade, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and increase the efficiency of the transportation system through better utilization of waterway capacity.

In October 2007 the federal government also signed an MOU with all four Atlantic provinces to advance the important work of development and developing a forward-looking Atlantic gateway strategy. There are many opportunities to explore that, and that will include our ports.

I understand some concern has been raised with respect to community involvement in port activities, particularly related to land use. On this issue I would like to note Captain Houston's remarks of last Tuesday. He confirmed that there is a significant history of ensuring that the municipalities have a lot of say in how the port is developed, over and above what is required by the port authority.

For the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority, Captain Houston explained that a municipal liaison forum has been established that brings together the board of directors with municipal councillors on a regular basis to ensure that the views of the community are understood and considered. In addition, each and every project that is implemented in the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority is submitted to the development process of the municipalities of jurisdiction for their comments, and wherever possible their comments are accommodated.

I'd like to add that I have seen this process in action recently. Working with the communities of Delta, Surrey, and Langley, as well as others, including Transport Canada, the Vancouver Fraser Port Authority has been part of a team effort that has created the Roberts Bank rail corridor, a series of nine overpasses that will facilitate traffic flow and reduce congestion in the lower mainland near Roberts Bank.

The needs of municipalities are clearly being considered in activities related to the ports, but equally important, regular dialogue is now occurring to ensure that all parties can learn from each other. The proposed amendments in Bill C-23 are absolute imperatives for the success of our gateways and corridors strategy.

While all of these separate and complementary initiatives are important, the reason I'm here today is to discuss Bill C-23, amendments to the Canada Marine Act.

This bill has five key components. The first amendment is designed to level the playing field for Canadian ports with other ports around the world. Bill C-23 removes the prohibition against federal funding in respect of contribution program funding for infrastructure, environmental sustainability, and security.

Currently, with very few exceptions, our Canadian ports are prohibited from accessing federal appropriations, while ports around the world are receiving increasing government funding for capital, environmental initiatives, and security enhancements. In addition, transportation sectors other than maritime are able to access these funds. It does not make any sense to discriminate against Canadian port authorities when we know that ports are an integral part of our long-term objectives, particularly regarding our national gateways and corridors strategy.

As you know, one of the objectives of our national policy framework for strategic gateways and trade corridors is to optimize the efficiency of the existing multi-modal transportation system. Greater use of the marine mode, especially with initiatives such as short sea shipping that are eligible for funding under the Building Canada Fund, will be a key solution to get goods off congested highways and railways and help protect our environment at the same time.

Short-sea shipping is also a priority for the United States, and we are working closely with our U.S. colleagues to further develop these opportunities. So let's put our CPAs on a more level playing field with the other transportation modes and the ports of other countries.

We are proposing amendments to the Act that would provide the option of a commercial borrowing regime for ports earning revenues of over $25 million a year for a period of three consecutive years. These amendments will allow the largest, most diverse CPAs to make financing decisions that are affordable, prudent and sustainable. For those eligible ports that choose to implement a commercial borrowing regime, they would be subject to a code governing borrowings in combination with commensurate accountabilities on the part of the Board.

Amendments are being proposed that are geared to providing long-term stability and continuity in the governance of CPAs. Bill C-23 provides for an additional term of re-appointment of board directors, thereby increasing the maximum tenure for a director from six to nine years, three terms of three years. Incumbent directors would remain in office until a renewed or new appointment is made. I would add that this is a term of a maximum of nine years.

On the subject of governance, I would like to clarify a very important point, one that is often forgotten or not well understood. You may recall that Captain Houston also noted this point in his remarks before this Committee. Specifically that Board members are appointees. Their fiduciary duty is to represent the best interests of the port authority board members. The act moreover stipulates that board members are not there as representatives of the people that nominate them – this is a matter of law, as such, and it does not matter whether it is one appointee or three appointees, board members must represent the best interests of the port.

Other amendments related to facilitating future amalgamations were warranted. You may be aware of the three ports in the lower mainland that amalgamated, effective January 1, 2008. The proposed amendments in Bill C-23 would put in place additional provisions for a consistent and streamlined approach to responding to potential future amalgamations, should the need arise.

The administrative monetary penalty amendments that are part of this package would provide ports with a modernized enforcement regime consistent with similar legislative impacting entities such as the St. Lawrence Seaway Management Corporation. Moving away from the lengthy court system for regulatory offences and introducing an independent review-and-appeal process has been demonstrated to result in a more efficient and cost-effective process, benefiting both the enforcement officers and the users of the marine system.

Mr. Chairman and honourable colleagues, I believe that these proposed amendments are the right thing to do for the marine transportation system. They are long overdue, and they are a critical part of this government's overall policy and frameworks supporting transportation and trade in Canada. They are also integral to the long-term objectives of the three national gateway and corridor strategies: the Asia-Pacific one, the continental one, and the Atlantic gateway.

Bill C-23 is required to ensure that Canadian ports have the tools they need to compete in a global trade environment and in support of their role with the national policy framework for strategic gateways and trade corridors. And it's the right time to make these changes for the Canadian economy.

Thank you very much, Chair and colleagues, for your attention.

December 6th, 2007 / 9:05 a.m.
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Emile Di Sanza Director General, Marine Policy, Department of Transport

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.

Good morning, honourable members of the committee.

I'm very pleased to make a presentation to this committee on the proposed amendments to the Canada Marine Act as contained in Bill C-23. This suite of amendments recognizes the underlying importance of marine transportation to the Canadian economy. This is reflected in the proposed changes, initially in the introductory provisions of the act; and indeed, throughout the various measures, the proposed amendments aim to promote the competitive viability and sustainability of Canada port authorities.

The national marine policy of 1995 emphasized the elimination of overcapacity, promoted cost recovery in marine transport, and mandated self-sufficiency for the port authorities. It also instituted a consistent governance structure for all major ports. The objectives of the national marine policy relative to ports have largely been met through the Canada Marine Act, the legislation that introduced a commercial approach to managing the national ports system and marine infrastructure.

Modern transportation infrastructure is important to a country's ability to be competitive in the global market. This ability depends largely on port efficiency and access to the necessary port infrastructure. The national strategic and legislative frameworks governing the ports are reliable, but must be adjusted to respond to new pressures and demands. Greater flexibility is required in the financial tools available to the ports so that they may be competitive on international and domestic markets.

Marine transport and ports are key aspects of the gateways and trade corridor initiatives that have been announced.

On page 3 of the handout, we see that 19 port authorities are part of the national port system. Each region covered by the initiative on gateways and corridors includes a number of port authorities. The Asia-Pacific port and corridor, on the west coast, includes several CPAs, as do those in Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic.

The key consultations resulting in the draft amendment, were held in fall 2002 by the Canada Marine Act Review Panel. The panel went to 11 cities and 7 provinces, where it heard more than 75 presentations and received over 140 written submissions. These consultations were exhaustive. They were aimed at all levels of government, port administrations, marine transport companies, marine industry associations and associations representing other modes of transport, namely shipping, logistics companies and union organizations.

The result was the Report on the Review of the Canada Marine Act tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Transport in 2003. This report was subject to ample deliberation and served as a source of information for the department. Regular and ongoing consultations and follow-up with marine stakeholders have also contributed to the ongoing work at Transport Canada on policy development. A number of other events have also contributed to further discussion between stakeholders and parties interested in the marine sector.

The genesis and foundation of Bill C-23 can be found in the former Bill C-61, which was introduced in Parliament in June 2005. Many of the provisions in Bill C-23 indeed build on those of Bill C-61.

Based on representations and more recent stakeholder consultations, the following provisions are proposed: to allow port authorities access to federal contribution funding for infrastructure, environmental sustainability, and security; secondly, to introduce more flexible corporate financing options; thirdly, to improve port governance; fourthly, to complement existing regulations regarding possible amalgamations of port authorities; and finally, to introduce administrative monetary penalties as an alternative enforcement scheme for regulatory infractions on port lands and to streamline certain other enforcement provisions.

During the CMA review, many stakeholders voiced concerns regarding the low profile of the marine industry and requested that the Government of Canada recognize the importance of the marine transportation sector.

Accordingly, the amendment includes the addition of the following into the bill, at clause 3: the introduction would recognize the contribution of the marine sector to Canada's economic health; there would be a new objective confirming the government's commitment toward the success of the ports; and finally, there would be coordination and integration of transportation at ports through enhanced financial and operational flexibilities.

Slide 7 in the presentation deck that was circulated speaks to access to federal contribution funding. Changes in the economics of marine transportation have necessitated a re-examination of the general prohibition that currently exists in the act—that's section 25—against federal funding to Canada port authorities. While ports around the world are receiving increasing funding for capital, environmental initiatives, and security enhancements, Canadian ports are generally prohibited from accessing federal appropriations. The only exception in recent years was with respect to security enhancements at the Canadian port authorities.

Without these changes, Canadian ports will not be well positioned to compete with international ports. An amendment to the Canada Marine Act to make Canadian port authorities eligible to apply for federal contributions for capital costs of infrastructure, environmental sustainability, and security projects would set CPAs on an equal footing with other ports and other transportation sectors. You will find these at clauses 14 and 15.

The bill, however, does not propose the creation of a new funding program. Rather, it would allow Canada port authorities to apply to contribution programs that either currently exist or future contribution programs that may be developed. In all cases, of course, the port authority would have to present a very strong business case that fits the specific program criteria.

Allowing Canada port authorities access to funding for environmental sustainability projects would provide new tools for ports to address environmental concerns through the application of new technologies—for example, to improve emission controls at the ports.

I should point out that the Canada Marine Act is an economic legislative framework. Issues relating to such things as accidental oil spill, spills of noxious substances, releases of invasive species in ballast waters are not addressed in this act, but they are addressed through a number of other statutes and programs.

With respect to security, as of this month any contribution funding for the implementation of security enhancements is no longer available to Canadian port authorities. In order to ensure that Canadian port authorities continue to have access to potential security funding in the future, this amendment would be required.

With respect to financial instruments, page 9 in the deck deals with a modified borrowing regime. Presently Canada port authorities can seek an increase in their borrowing limit by making a request to the Minister of Transport for supplementary letters patent that increase the borrowing limits set out in their letters patent. An increase would require the recommendation of the minister, supported by independent financial assessment of the port authority's debt capacity and ability to remain financially self-sufficient. Approval is then required by the President of the Treasury Board, the Minister of Finance, and finally the Governor in Council.

We are proposing amendments to the act that would allow borrowing based on a code governing the power to borrow in combination with commensurate accountabilities on the part of the board. You will find these at clauses 5, 17, and 18.

Those ports earning revenues of over $25 million a year for three consecutive years—and at this point that would involve Vancouver, Halifax, and Montreal—could, and I stress here “could”, if they chose to do so, implement a commercial borrowing regime that would be subject to a code governing borrowings. This code is detailed and can be found in the documents provided to committee members, part of the briefing binder.

A complementary policy initiative—and this is not reflected in the bill per se—would also provide for a more streamlined process for ports that request changes to existing borrowing limits within the current regime. This policy initiative would provide Canada port authorities with a clear indication of the steps involved and the precise information required for requesting borrowing limit increases. This in turn, we believe, could allow Canada port authorities to better plan their investments in a timely fashion.

Page 10 of your deck deals with governance issues. Other elements of Bill C-23 relate to strengthening the governance provisions of the Canada Marine Act, which would provide greater clarification regarding the terms of appointment for the board of directors. These changes are geared to providing long-term stability in the governance of Canada port authorities. Many of these will be found at clause 10.

Specifically, these amendments would provide for an additional term of reappointment of board members, thereby increasing the maximum tenure for a director from six to nine years, in effect three terms of three years each. In addition, incumbent directors would be able to remain in office until renewed or a new appointment is made, up to a maximum, of course, of the nine years. This would increase overall continuity and stability of the board and ensure that boards are able to continue to function.

These amendments do not, however, change the composition of the board, nor the criteria to become a board member. The majority of board members will also continue to be nominated by the users of the port and appointed by the Governor in Council. Municipal, provincial, and federal governments would continue to appoint a nominee to the board.

Page 11 of the deck speaks to amalgamation. New and emerging trends in the economics of marine transportation have provided an opportunity to explore options that could make Canada port authorities possibly more efficient, competitive, or able to respond more quickly to emerging opportunities and growing business volumes. Of particular interest are integrated port operations, such as amalgamations of port authorities.

An integrated port authority may be a possible and viable option for certain CPAs that are in regional proximity, so as to address competitive pressures in a manner that maximizes business opportunities. This is addressed in various clauses, principally clauses 5, 9, and 16.

With respect to regulations and enforcement, current legislation contains an array of alternatives to court actions. These alternatives are intended to address instances of non-compliance with respect to regulatory offences, and we're not talking here about criminal offences for which criminal prosecutions would obviously continue to apply. But in the case of regulatory violations, alternative enforcement mechanisms such as an administrative monetary penalty regime would offer a more efficient, more cost-effective way for both the enforcement officers and users to respond to enforcement issues while utilizing a recognized independent review and appeal mechanism.

I turn now to the complementary policy initiatives that support the proposed amendments.

I spoke earlier about a key policy initiative as it relates to streamlining the process for borrowing limits. We've developed guidelines to streamline and simplify the current process. These guidelines are contained in your briefing binder. These guidelines would provide Canada port authorities with a clear indication of the steps involved and the precise information required prior to requesting a borrowing limit increase. We believe, by virtue of clearer, more precise guidelines in this respect, that some of the issues associated with seeking borrowing limit increases in the past would be precluded.

Finally, there is a second key policy initiative that relates to land management flexibility. Transportation sectors are increasingly facing pressures related to land holdings. Some key ports are facing encroachment from developers or facing capacity limitations, which are adding pressures on the preservation of critical port lands or transportation corridors, particularly in, but not strictly limited to, the urban areas.

It's important to find the right mechanism to maintain ports as economic generators for national, regional, and local economies. Equally important, we need to find ways to encourage ports to invest in and manage land holdings for the long term. Such effective short-term use of properties under port management by way of leasing or licensing to third parties would be desirable. This would assist Canada port authorities in generating revenues on those lands until such time as the port was ready to develop the property for port purposes. This would be done principally through supplementary letters patent, which would be issued for each Canada port authority.

It should be noted that the legislative change related to land management—and that is in clause 23 of Bill C-23, which proposes amendments to subsection 45(3.2) of the Marine Act—is being made simply to bring clarity and transparency to the existing provisions. The rest, with respect to this policy initiative, would be done by virtue of the letters patent.

It is important to note that all permitted activities would need to be compatible with port operations and must take into account the land use plans of adjacent communities. A number of strict conditions will need to be met before these lands can be leased for interim uses, and these conditions will be required to be included in the leases between the port authority and the third party. This is outlined in an issue paper, which we've provided in the briefing binder that was circulated to committee members.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. My colleagues and I would be pleased to respond to any questions that committee members may have.

Canada Marine ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2007 / 5:20 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary is quite right to underscore the fact that it was initiated in 2003. If I have to go through the chronology for him, I am sure he will be delighted with that as well. However, I think what he was looking for was a compliment from me to him. I will give him that in a minute.

From 2003 to 2004, he will recall that we had an election at the beginning of the year and that his party, even immediately after the 2004 election, threatened to bring the government down again in the fall of 2004. They dilly-dallied and then finally pulled the string, as they say, in 2005, where we had other reports in the interim.

That did not prevent the government from putting forward legislation, as I indicated to him, Bill C-61, in order to implement this, but he will probably relish the fact that the government will enjoy the support of the official opposition on these fine initiatives. As I said, they are a renaissance compared to the ones that were there before in a way that the previous government could not rely on the official opposition. I think that would be the answer he is looking for.

Canada Marine ActGovernment Orders

December 3rd, 2007 / 5 p.m.
See context

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am delighted to join in this debate, especially since the parliamentary secretary invited us to reflect upon credibility and leadership on the international front. Leadership and credibility is generated by not just some of the actions that are presented to us today for digestion, but by some of the consequences of other things that we do or do not do in life.

I want to refer back to that and take advantage of the fact that he is accompanied today by the Minister of International Trade. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs is here as well. Perhaps they will want to listen to what I say a little later on and reflect on it by way of a response.

I would like to continue in the other official language. Today, we have focused on the fact that there are bills and programs that are very important for Canada, for the entire nation. I was pleased and privileged to be a member of the government which introduced these programs and bills.

Perhaps other parties in this House, who today are complaining about the Conservative government, regret that we accomplished something important for Canadians.

I too am disappointed that my party is not in power. However, when we were in power, we accomplished things that are enabling this government to establish a much broader program.

What should the government be doing? I want to indicate from our side that we too feel that transportation issues are basic to the principles of country building, of nation building. I say that because we take this issue seriously. We have taken it seriously. We laid the groundwork to ensure we would have a network of transportation, of infrastructure that would permit this fabulous country to realize its fullest economic potential.

Those are not just words as the parliamentary secretary indicates. They are the basis upon which one builds programs. Ports, marine ports in particular, because that is what is being addressed by the legislation, are fundamental to an outreach that we must establish to the world everywhere if we are to develop trade that will enhance the opportunity of every Canadian man and woman to access the bounty that is resident in our natural resources and then to move that bounty across borders and oceans to markets that can utilize them for value added or indeed for direct consumption. They are basic to the infrastructure of Canada's economy.

What did we do? Members will be surprised. Being a veteran of this House as I am, you will recall, Mr. Speaker, that in 1995 we began to establish a coordination of all of the assets that we had in marine ports. In 1998 that resulted with the establishment of a Canadian network of marine ports and the legislation to mandate their establishment, to coordinate these sometimes divergent and sometimes even counterproductive divergencies in our marine ports.

That was followed up with a review in 2003 of that legislation to see how it worked. All good things need some time in order to jell. We know what happened. After 2003 there was a series of studies. I thank the parliamentary secretary for recognizing that these studies were done by the department at the behest of the government. It was not his government, but I thank him for acknowledging that nonetheless.

The thrust of those reviews was designed to ensure that we could make all these ports economically competitive and efficient in an environment that would see the global market changing literally on a daily basis. When we undertook the initial study, the concept of gateways, Pacific gateway, Atlantic gateway, central continental gateway in the Great Lakes, were things that were not even part of the language of the day. Also not a part of the language of the day was the absolutely booming business taking place on the west coast.

We had one port that was doing some business and others were not or not that much. Now we are talking about ports resident in British Columbia, whether they be in the North Fraser, Vancouver or Prince Rupert, or Nanaimo, or Port Alberni. All these ports are very much a key to the economies of the Orient, whether it is Southeast Asia or Northeast Asia. We have to ensure those economies ship all their goods into North America through our ports and to generate an economy through the infrastructure that feeds into those ports to make it much more efficient and capable for all those provinces that sit in the middle of our continent to get their goods and commodities out to market.

The same principles apply to the marine ports in Atlantic Canada. The government of the day, through its studies, assumed and deduced that we needed to make a greater investment in the coordination of these ports. The Liberals came up with something called Bill C-61. This is a resurrection of Bill C-61. I am pleased to witness the revival of all good things. The parliamentary secretary may see us supporting a bill that highlights those very important issues.

As I said, we need to reinforce those principles upon which good, sound transportation policy is built; that is, the movement of goods and people efficiently, swiftly and economically around the country and abroad.

We wanted to create, and I imagine that this bill proposes to do the same, a common purpose and to permit the development of a plan or of a vision for growth in this country. I did not hear the parliamentary secretary say that, but I am assuming that was his intention because that would certainly be the reason why we would support this bill.

We need it to establish an infrastructure that is cohesive and coherent. Too often that infrastructure is seen as localized to a particular port. However, we need to think in terms of the avenues of building, whether it be rail, whether it be air, or whether it be roads, that feed into all of these ports that are the final terminus for the movement of many of those goods that need to be advanced outward, and that speak of Canada and the productivity of its citizens. That is what this bill was supposed to do.

And so, we see in it, as the parliamentary secretary has indicated, portions that talk about governance because we want to have continuity. We want to have, on the board of governors of these port authorities, personnel who are experienced and expert in the local economy, but still consistent and at one with the national objectives of a federal government that is dedicated, that should be dedicated, to ensuring that these ports fulfill the needs of Canadians everywhere.

The governing structure is extremely important. However, it is important as well to ensure that those port authorities go beyond simply being able to draw revenues from the movement of goods. They must be an economic entity on their own and they need to have the authority to ensure that the assets which they manage are part and parcel of the governance structure of these port authorities. And that could be in land, it could be the improvements on the land, or it could be any of the other factors, for example, leases, whether they be short term or long term.

If anybody wanted to have some umbrage or some difference with the government on any of these, we would eliminate it right away if that were not included in the bill.

However, more important, it is the issue of having an understanding, that we wanted to bring forward, of giving port authorities the opportunity to access government programs that give those ports the opportunity to have some of the funds that are available either for the development of some security issues that have developed since 9/11 or indeed for any of the infrastructure programs that this current government has continued. They were introduced by the former Liberal government, again as I said, of which I was privileged to be a part, to ensure that these port authorities would be seen as a continuity, a continuum of the infrastructure of our country's economic asset and the network that brings people together and that brings goods to market.

The parliamentary secretary will probably wonder where we go on a question of credibility and leadership. The question of credibility is seen on what we do to enhance these. He talked about trade and international relations. Those things are not all done simply by the work that we do at each one of these ports, but by some of the other things that we do with respect to the way that we deal with people who come within our territories.

This is not a deviation from that principle, and I am glad that the parliamentary secretary introduced it. We have had the misfortune of witnessing various tragedies in this country over the course of the last several months. I think by now most people are familiar with the case of the tasering of the young man at Vancouver airport and how we missed an opportunity to be decisive, and to act swiftly to ensure that any injustices be immediately remedied.

Now we have a situation where the Government of Canada's image worldwide has suffered, so much so that the government of Poland has asked for an inquiry. These are part and parcel of the kind of infrastructure that draws people to our shores and drops people into our midst.

As a matter of fact, as I said, thank heavens for the representatives of the other ministries. Earlier today, the government of Italy called in Canada's ambassador to speak about a similar situation that took place on September 20 when an Italian citizen died in a jail in Quebec City. So far there has been no response from Quebec government nor the Quebec police but, worse, nor response from the Canadian government.

All that people want is an opportunity to be able to access continuity, to understand what happens when people deal with Canadians on a question of strong international leadership, but let our actions speak at least as loudly as our words. Let us at least give people a response.

Until recently, we hid behind the fact, for example, that there was no hard, fiscal infrastructure on ports and then we hid on the soft issues, that is to say, where we were not dealing with bricks and mortar, on the fact that there were competing jurisdictions. How do we deal with countries that want a response from us?

We could always say that it is not our problem, that it is the problem of other provinces, that it falls within others' jurisdiction. If we have the political will to put in place a bill such as the current Bill C-23, we must also have the same political will to do other things.

I would like to say a few words in Italian, if my colleagues are agreeable to it.

[Member spoke in Italian.]

[French]

I will repeat it in English.

It is inconceivable that we would not give an answer to a foreign government that asks us why one of its citizens met with such a fate here on Canadian territory. For example, the young gentleman who died on September 20, Castagnetta, did he or did he not suffer his fate at the hands of police that were using tasers? There was an autopsy done and there are no results yet. Why not?

Let us talk about leadership not only on the international front, not only on the transportation side, but a comprehensive leadership that understands where the government should be taking this country. Where it should be taking it is in the place that says that goods and people are moving efficiently and effectively in a competitive environment, but everyone is accorded the dignity that is accorded all human beings who come here and call this place home. Even visitors would have access to Canadian law and due process. It is inconceivable that a family would have to wait, so far, two and a half months for a response. It is incredible.

The government is not doing anything. Maybe it will act more swiftly on hard infrastructure issues like this one. I can tell the parliamentary secretary as the official spokesman for the party on this side of the House that Liberals are prepared to support these kinds of initiatives in Bill C-23, just as we are prepared to provide the kind of support that the government needs to project a positive image of our country abroad. Without that, all of us are working at cross purposes and that should not be the intention of any member of Parliament.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

November 24th, 2005 / 3 p.m.
See context

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I see the hon. member across the way is displaying his charm once more.

I also think the hon. member understands clearly that the call for the election and, ultimately, if there is an election caused, it will be the opposition members who will have to take responsibility since they will be voting to dissolve Parliament and we will be voting to sustain Parliament in order to continue the work that I will now lay out.

This afternoon we will continue with the opposition motion.

On Friday we will call consideration of the Senate amendments to Bill C-37, the do not call bill; report stage and third reading of Bill S-36 respecting rough diamonds; report stage and third reading of Bill C-63, respecting the Canada Elections Act; and second reading of Bill C-44, the transport legislation.

We will return to this work on Monday, adding to the list the reference before second reading of Bill C-76, the citizenship and adoption bill; and second reading of Bill C-75, the public health agency legislation.

Tuesday and Thursday of next week shall be allotted days. There are some three dozen bills before the House or in committee on which the House I am sure will want to make progress in the next period of time. They will include the bill introduced yesterday to implement the 2005 tax cuts announced on November 14; Bill C-68, the Pacific gateway bill; Bill C-67, the surplus legislation; Bill C-61, the marine bill; Bill C-72, the DNA legislation; Bill C-46, the correctional services bill; Bill C-77, the citizenship prohibitions bill; Bill C-60, the copyright legislation; Bill C-73, the Telecom bill; Bill C-60 respecting drug impaired driving; Bill C-19, the competition legislation; Bill C-50 respecting cruelty to animals; Bill C-51, the judges legislation; Bill C-52, the fisheries bill; Bill C-59 respecting Investment Canada; Bills C-64 and C-65 amending the Criminal Code.

In addition, there are the supplementary estimates introduced in October that provide spending authority for a wide variety of services to the Canadian public and we the government would certainly like to see this passed.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

November 3rd, 2005 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, this afternoon, we will continue the debate at third reading of Bill C-54, the first nations resources bill.

When this is complete, we will consider reference before second reading of Bill C-50, respecting cruelty to animals. I expect that this business will carry over to tomorrow. We will then add to the list second reading of Bill S-36, respecting diamonds and second reading of Bill C-44, the transport bill.

When the House resumes on November 14, we will return to second reading of Bill C-68, the Pacific gateway bill; Bill C-66, the energy bill; and Bill C-67, the surpluses legislation.

We will also then return to any business from this week that is unfinished and if time permits, consider second reading of Bill C-61, the marine bill.

November 15 and November 17, as the hon. member across the way would have known weeks ago had he been at the House leaders meeting, will be allotted days. On Tuesday evening, November 15, we will have a take note debate on the Canadian mission in Afghanistan.

Accordingly, I will propose the required motion pursuant to Standing Order 53.1(1). I move:

That a debate pursuant to Standing Order 53.1 take place on Tuesday, November 15 on the subject of Canada's military mission in Afghanistan.

Business of the HouseOral Questions

October 27th, 2005 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Hamilton East—Stoney Creek Ontario

Liberal

Tony Valeri LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member, unfortunately, takes the opportunity every Thursday to ask the same question, knowing the answer will be exactly the same because it is factual.

The opposition days will begin the week of November 14, and I indicated that some weeks ago to the opposition House leaders. At that point, I thought the matter had been dealt with and that we would focus on the agenda, which is important to Canadians.

We will continue with the second reading of Bill C-67, which is the surpluses bill. Should this be completed, we would then return to the second reading debate of Bill C-66, the energy legislation. We do not sit on Friday. On Monday we will commence the second reading debate of Bill C-68, respecting the Pacific Gateway. We will give priority to these bills over the next week.

On Tuesday evening there will be a take note debate on cross-border Internet drugs.

If debates on the major bills that I have referred to are completed by late next week, we will then turn to report stage of Bill S-38, respecting the spirits trade, second reading of Bill C-47, the Air Canada bill, Bill C-50, respecting cruelty to animals, second reading of Bill C-44, the transport legislation, second reading of Bill C-61, the marine bill, reference before second reading of Bill C-46, the correctional services bill, report stage of Bill C-54, the first nations resources bill and other bills that will perhaps come back from committee that we would like to get into the House for further debate.

In order to bring about that take note debate on Tuesday, I move:

That a debate pursuant to Standing Order 53.1 take place on Tuesday, November 1 on the subject of cross-border Internet drugs.

Canada Marine ActRoutine Proceedings

June 22nd, 2005 / 3:05 p.m.
See context

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

moved for leave to introduce Bill C-61, an act to amend the Canada Marine Act and other Acts.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)