Transportation Modernization Act

An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

Sponsor

Marc Garneau  Liberal

Status

In committee (House), as of June 19, 2017

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Summary

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

This enactment amends the Canada Transportation Act in respect of air transportation and railway transportation.

With respect to air transportation, it amends the Canada Transportation Act to require the Canadian Transportation Agency to make regulations establishing a new air passenger rights regime and to authorize the Governor in Council to make regulations requiring air carriers and other persons providing services in relation to air transportation to report on different aspects of their performance with respect to passenger experience or quality of service. It amends the definition of Canadian in that Act in order to raise the threshold of voting interests in an air carrier that may be owned and controlled by non-Canadians while retaining its Canadian status, while also establishing specific limits related to such interests. It also amends that Act to create a new process for the review and authorization of arrangements involving two or more transportation undertakings providing air services to take into account considerations respecting competition and broader considerations respecting public interest.

With respect to railway transportation, it amends the Act to, among other things,

(a) provide that the Canadian Transportation Agency will offer information and informal dispute resolution services;

(b) expand the Governor in Council’s powers to make regulations requiring major railway companies to provide to the Minister of Transport and the Agency information relating to rates, service and performance;

(c) repeal provisions of the Act dealing with insolvent railway companies in order to allow the laws of general application respecting bankruptcy and insolvency to apply to those companies;

(d) clarify the factors that must be applied in determining whether railway companies are fulfilling their service obligations;

(e) shorten the period within which a level of service complaint is to be adjudicated by the Agency;

(f) enable shippers to obtain terms in their contracts dealing with amounts to be paid in relation to a failure to comply with conditions related to railway companies’ service obligations;

(g) require the Agency to set the interswitching rate annually;

(h) create a new remedy for shippers who have access to the lines of only one railway company at the point of origin or destination of the movement of traffic in circumstances where interswitching is not available;

(i) change the process for the transfer and discontinuance of railway lines to, among other things, require railway companies to make certain information available to the Minister and the public and establish a remedy for non-compliance with the process;

(j) change provisions respecting the maximum revenue entitlement for the movement of Western grain and require certain railway companies to provide to the Minister and the public information respecting the movement of grain; and

(k) change provisions respecting the final offer arbitration process by, among other things, increasing the maximum amount for the summary process to $2 million and by making a decision of an arbitrator applicable for a period requested by the shipper of up to two years.

It amends the CN Commercialization Act to increase the maximum proportion of voting shares of the Canadian National Railway Company that can be held by any one person to 25%.

It amends the Railway Safety Act to prohibit a railway company from operating railway equipment and a local railway company from operating railway equipment on a railway unless the equipment is fitted with the prescribed recording instruments and the company, in the prescribed manner and circumstances, records the prescribed information using those instruments, collects the information that it records and preserves the information that it collects. This enactment also specifies the circumstances in which the prescribed information that is recorded can be used and communicated by companies, the Minister of Transport and railway safety inspectors.

It amends the Canadian Transportation Accident Investigation and Safety Board Act to allow the use or communication of an on-board recording, as defined in subsection 28(1) of that Act, if that use or communication is expressly authorized under the Aeronautics Act, the National Energy Board Act, the Railway Safety Act or the Canada Shipping Act, 2001.

It amends the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority Act to authorize the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority to enter into agreements for the delivery of screening services on a cost-recovery basis.

It amends the Coasting Trade Act to enable repositioning of empty containers by ships registered in any register. These amendments are conditional on Bill C-30, introduced in the 1st session of the 42nd Parliament and entitled the Canada–European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement Implementation Act, receiving royal assent and sections 91 to 94 of that Act coming into force.

It amends the Canada Marine Act to permit port authorities and their wholly-owned subsidiaries to receive loans and loan guarantees from the Canada Infrastructure Bank. These amendments are conditional on Bill C-44, introduced in the 1st session of the 42nd Parliament and entitled the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1, receiving royal assent.

Finally, it makes related and consequential amendments to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Competition Act, the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, the Air Canada Public Participation Act, the Budget Implementation Act, 2009 and the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers 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.

Votes

June 19, 2017 Passed 2nd reading of Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
June 15, 2017 Passed Time allocation for Bill C-49, An Act to amend the Canada Transportation Act and other Acts respecting transportation and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:05 a.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is an honour for me to rise before the House to speak to Bill C-49, which proposes concrete measures to respond to several concerns of Canadians regarding transportation. We can agree here on the importance of a transportation system that is safe and secure, green, innovative, and integrated; that contributes to our trade and the economic growth of our cities and communities; and that creates a cleaner environment for our children, not to mention the well-being of Canadians.

On this last point, I want to focus for a moment on one of the important aspects of this bill: the protection of our rights as air passengers. As everyone knows, air transportation has become more widely available and accessible by the public due to a relative decrease in price for this mode of transportation. Canadian travellers are concerned about the value of the tickets they buy, their comfort, and the availability of flights. They are also concerned about how they are treated as consumers by airline companies. This was highlighted in recent media reports about certain airlines.

In contrast, the context in which airline companies operate imposes significant costs associated with safety and security, both in the air and on the ground. Increased availability in the airline industry has contributed to making our aviation system more complex, with both the growing number of passengers transported and the amount of air traffic, which may result in delays for passengers. Air carriers are faced with a relative decrease in their performance, not only because of sustained competition but because of pressure from consumers for lower airfares. Comfort and luxury, once offered to passengers on airplanes, have given way to new practices that are leading airline companies to offer a multitude of à-la-carte services to passengers to remain viable. For example, companies no longer hesitate to make their passengers pay for the size or weight of their baggage, seat selection, and drinks or meals during flights. Carriers have also resorted to overbooking to maximize their revenue. The advent of ultra-low-cost carriers in the airline industry, such as Ryanair or easyJet, has also pushed traditional airlines to re-examine their original business models. Carriers are trying to do more to maximize the use of their aircraft and develop new revenue generation strategies. This has contributed to reduced passenger comfort and general satisfaction when they travel by air.

Let us return to us, the passengers. In general, the main issues we face relate to delays, cancellations, being denied boarding as a result of overbooking, lost or delayed baggage, a lack of information communicated to us when things are not proceeding as planned, long tarmac delays and wait times, or even seat assignments when parents or guardians travel with young children.

Several countries have therefore chosen to legislate or regulate certain practices in the airline industry by establishing mandatory measures or minimum levels of passenger services offered by carriers. It is time for Canada to align its current approach with practices that are in effect elsewhere in the world for the benefit of both travellers and our country.

Bill C-49 proposes to develop an approach that protects the rights of air passengers, and will meet the expectations of passengers, by establishing a clear, predictable, and fair framework that governs the practices and responsibilities of the airline industry while not imposing an economic burden or undue operational restrictions on it. In this regard, Bill C-49 proposes adopting a legislative framework within which the Canadian Transportation Agency can establish detailed and specific regulations that address common situations we face as passengers and thus establish standards and minimum service and compensation levels we can claim when our travel plans are affected.

Moreover, Bill C-49 would gather various indicators and data relating to passenger experience that could assist the government in better understanding, and if necessary, acting on situations or problems travellers may face.

In closing, a new approach to protecting the rights of air passengers could contribute to improving the general satisfaction of users. The government is actively working on this. However, it would be wishful thinking to believe that all concerns or criticisms of carriers or the airline industry made by passengers would be resolved. The reality in Canada is that flights will continue to be affected by the harshness and vagaries of our climate. It is not guaranteed that an approach, however prescriptive and broad it may be, will contribute to limiting the impact on users in such situations, even if it allows them to benefit from some mitigation measures, where applicable.

I ask my hon. colleagues to support Bill C-49, which aims to implement several measures to make a transportation system that is safe and secure, green, innovative, and integrated and that will contribute to our economic growth and a cleaner environment, not to mention the well-being of Canadians when they travel.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Winnipeg North Manitoba

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, my colleague has been a strong advocate for air passenger rights. We have known for many years that passengers want to be more empowered or to at least be treated better overall. This is the type of legislation that would assist in setting a framework for providing guarantees.

I am wondering if my colleague would share some of her thoughts on the importance of getting legislation of this nature through the House.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, consumer protection and increasing the ability of passengers to travel across, out of, and into Canada would, by extension, increase our economy. By facilitating transportation, we would encourage more economic growth and tourism. Such legislation would provide a safe network for Canadians to go above and beyond and achieve their full potential, whether it be for economic or entertainment reasons. It would provide a safety net for passengers.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech. I am sure she appreciated the opportunity to have her say on Bill C-49, a bill that amends 13 other laws.

Yesterday, the minister said that over 80% of the legislative changes are specific to a single act. The thing is, amending just one section of an act can determine whether someone is charged with sexual assault or not. The number of sections amended does not matter as much as what those sections do.

My colleague must have been pleased to have a chance to talk about this bill. Does she believe that what she has to say or what I have to say is more important than what other members want to say but cannot because the government decided to limit debate on this bill?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:10 a.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I look forward to hearing the member's speech on this very important topic.

The hon. member talked about the different acts Bill C-49 seeks to amend. I can say that 80% of the bill is specific to the topic at hand. Debate in the House is very important. It is crucial to our democracy, and I am very happy to be participating in this debate. I know that many members have participated and will participate on legislation that affects Canadians on a daily basis.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask my colleague whether the Liberals would agree to divide Bill C-49 since it is an omnibus bill that amends 13 laws, as my colleague just said. We think this is yet another sloppy bill. The only measure we can support is the one for grain shippers that help western producers get their crop to market, but all of these measures would come into force on August 1, 2017, which is a bit too soon. Because it is part of an omnibus bill that amends 13 laws, it will be impossible to implement all of this at the same time and help grain producers.

Would my colleague be prepared to separate the section for grain producers from the rest of the bill so we can at least agree on that one?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, Bill C-49 is a fulsome approach to improving our transportation system. It is really about evidence, increasing security, and increasing access for Canadians to transportation within and across Canada.

I encourage the member to express her views on this bill. I look forward to the debate continuing today and to comments members have in this House.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to the question that I asked my colleague earlier, which was about the fact that 80% of the amendments pertain to a single law.

Bill C-49 is an omnibus bill that amends 13 laws, and 80% of those amendments pertain to a single law. Does that mean that the other laws that are being amended are not important? Does that mean that, when just one provision of another law is amended, it is not important? That is exactly what we were trying to tell the minister. Why is the government insisting on introducing omnibus bills that cover so many topics?

We are talking about rail transportation, financial participation, a passengers' bill of rights, video surveillance on trains, and more. The government wants us to make a decision on all of these topics, which are so very different, with just one vote on a bill that amends 13 laws.

Does my colleague think that one law is more important than another?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am sure the member opposite and his party know all about omnibus bills and their use of them in the past.

I assure the member that this bill is a fulsome approach that looks to understand the full scope of the issue and how to address the issues Canadians have told us they face.

I look forward to the speeches from members in the House, and I look forward to the passage of this bill.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, this bill seeks to provide cleaner transportation and more security, more safety, more reliability, and more responsiveness to the needs of Canadians. I am sure all members in this House can appreciate that. We use our airlines frequently, and we are directly impacted by what happens with our airline systems across Canada.

Having increased accountability by airlines would increase the quality of service and encourage more travel, safer travel, and more reliable travel for Canadians across the country.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to come back to what I was saying earlier about the fact that the bill contains a number of other bills, one of which amends the Coasting Trade Act.

During the election campaign, the Liberals promised to leave that law alone. However, in the end, the government broke its promise and is giving ships registered in other countries an unfair competitive advantage, without any reciprocal measures. Canadian shipowners will not have access to the European Union, but EU shipowners will have access to Canada.

Does my colleague agree with that? The government is undermining our shipowners' ability to compete fairly. Do the Liberals support that?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Iqra Khalid Liberal Mississauga—Erin Mills, ON

Mr. Speaker, there were major consultations done on the bill. We consulted with all those impacted. We understand that, as a government, we have a role to play in increasing competition, but also ensuring that our consumers are protected. The bill does just that with respect to transportation. It provides for more reliable transportation, more protection of consumers, and for more accountability of airlines to consumers, while also ensuring that the level of competition is still there.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise and add my remarks to the debate on Bill C-49.

Before I begin, I would like to take a second to acknowledge a very poignant moment today in the House. I was here when the Clerk, Marc Bosc, arrived for his last shift here in the House of Commons as Acting Clerk of the House, as we have heard from a number of sources.

Mr. Bosc was the person who welcomed the members who had been newly elected in 2015 to the House. It was a very emotional time for us. To us, Mr. Bosc is the Clerk of the House, because he is the only one we have ever known. Mr. Bosc has always been there for us and has always shown the utmost professionalism. He was respected by all, at least by everyone on this side of the House. Mr. Bosc has always served with enormous professionalism, and we have always respected him.

For me, Mr. Speaker, it was a very poignant moment to see him enter the chamber this morning and take his place before us, to begin his final sitting day in the House of Commons. I trust that Mr. Bosc will always hold a place of honour here in Parliament.

In closing, we found out about this rather suddenly. I would have liked the opposition parties to be consulted more on the process to replace the Clerk. No offence to the incoming Clerk, but I just wanted to take a few moments on behalf of my colleagues, myself, and my family, who shared in all the emotion that we experience when we first arrive here, to acknowledge Mr. Bosc's excellent work.

Mr. Bosc has been here much longer than I have, but like me, he has seen his share of governments and their different approaches to ensuring that their bills get passed.

Bill C-49 is another example of the government using closure to prevent giving the opposition opportunities to speak to this bill or criticize it. By the minister's own admission, this bill is quite complex, and it will make significant changes to Canada's transportation industry. Even so, we will have just a few of hours of debate to discuss it and raise what I think are some very important points.

Why is this especially troubling in the case of Bill C-49? It is because this bill does not amend just one or two sections or one or two acts. It amends 13 pieces of legislation.

For the past two days, I have been listening to the arguments given by the Minister of Transport who says that the opposition is overreacting, since 80% of the changes proposed in Bill C-49 will amend just one law, and therefore the opposition has no reason to protest so loudly. What? How is that an argument? It is as though one section of an act were more important than another. If the 20% of Bill C-49's clauses that amend 12 other laws are not all that important, why bother including them? Why are we talking about them? If they are not that important, if everything is focused on just one law and the opposition is outraged, why keep the other 20% of the amendments? Why not remove them and create another bill with those amendments and consider it separately? It does not matter, because everything is in the same bill.

Clearly, this argument simply does not hold water. It is particularly troubling. As members know, I have been a member of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities since I arrived in this place. Obviously, transportation affects all Canadians in every field. Transportation has an impact on the daily lives of all Canadians, whether we are talking about the transportation of goods or people.

They say this is a complex bill, that they will not give the opposition much time to talk, and that, since 80% of it is specific to one act, there is no need for us to protest so loudly. I think the minister should go back to the drawing board, take another look at what is in his bill, and think carefully about the repercussions that each amendment in Bill C-49 will have on the day-to-day lives of all Canadians.

Here is the lowdown on Bill C-49. The Liberals' omnibus transportation bill will establish a new air passenger rights regime; liberalize international ownership restrictions for Canadian air carriers; enable the Minister of Transport to consider and approve joint ventures by two or more airlines; update the Canadian freight system; require railways to install audio-video recorders in locomotives; expand the Governor in Council's powers to require major railway companies to provide rate, service, and performance data; and amend the Canada Marine Act to allow port authorities to access Canada infrastructure bank loans.

However, there is nothing there. According to the Minister of Transport, a few hours of discussion are enough to address all of these issues, since he did not think that the opposition had anything relevant to say during the first hours of this debate. Why would the government want to continue listening to opposition members provide supposedly irrelevant information when it can simply expedite the process by muzzling them? At least, that is what the minister seems to think.

Since when are opinions that differ from the government's irrelevant? The big problem with the Liberals is that, when we do not agree with them, on this or any other issue, they feel threatened and under attack. They think that anyone who does not share their opinion and does not think like they do is irrelevant, and so they have no reason to take any interest in what those people have to say in the House. That explains a lot.

It explains a lot, such as Motion No. 6 and the many time allocation motions that have been imposed on us since the beginning of this session. It explains the infamous discussion document that the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons tabled to supposedly improve the way the House operates. When we read that document carefully, we learned that the Liberals' intention was once again to avoid hearing what the opposition parties had to say.

It is not complicated. When things do not sit well with the government, it decides to muzzle dissenting voices that cast grey clouds over Liberal sunny ways. Well, I have news for the Liberal government. The official opposition and all the other opposition parties, I am sure, have no intention of staying quiet. We have no intention of letting changes slip through. We have no intention of completely agreeing with everything the Liberals put in front of us. We have no intention of being the people who enable the Liberal Party to push through their entire election platform. That is not our role here. Our role is to present criticisms.

As an aside, let us talk about the Liberal platform. It did not take long for the Liberals to realize that much of what they wanted to do is simply impossible. They promised big spending and small deficits. They kept only one of those promises. They are spending big, but they have come to realize that that requires huge deficits. That is something the government does not want the opposition to criticize. They would like us to keep quiet and just watch them and applaud them because they really like applause. That is not what we are going to do. That is not our role.

Let us come back to Bill C-49 because it seems like we are off topic, that we just keep providing an overview, and that we keep talking about everything but Bill C-49. Let us talk about Bill C-49 and what it amends. As I was saying, it significantly amends 13 different laws and has repercussions on three modes of transportation. This legislative measure will weaken legislative protections for shippers and western Canadian farmers.

We want to concentrate on proactive measures to make travel less expensive and more convenient for all travellers. This would include abolishing the carbon tax, instead of the Liberals’ plan to establish reactive compensation that will benefit only a small segment of the population.

This bill provides very little detail about the proposed air passengers’ bill of rights, and it does not have the support, in its current form, of many passengers’ rights advocates. Also, port authorities and their wholly owned subsidiaries will have access to loans and loan guarantees from the Canada infrastructure bank. There is an inconsistency here. That does not make any sense to me, since this bank does not exist yet. It remains a proposal for now, and it is held up in another house, for very good reasons.

Like us, the senators think that the infrastructure bank warrants its own bill, given the impact it will have and the $15 billion that the government intends to provide to it. That is $15 billion from Canadian taxpayers to be given to a board of directions to manage on our behalf without any accountability to Parliament.

These points alone justify our opposition to the passage of Bill C-44, which is currently being studied on the other side in its current form and includes all these budget measures as well as creating the infrastructure bank. I hope that people will get the message.

In Bill C-49, they already assume the outcome. Port authorities are being given approval to access loans from the non-existent infrastructure bank. What I do not understand is that the government, ever since it began telling us about the infrastructure bank, keeps saying that it will be an independent bank. As an aside, the process to find the president for this non-existent bank has already started.

Therefore, the infrastructure bank, which does not exist, will be made up of a so-called independent board of directors who will manage the money given to them by the Liberal government. At the same time, these supposedly independents will be told that they have to invest $1.3 billion in Montreal’s Réseau électrique métropolitain and provide loans to port authorities. To sum up, here is an independent infrastructure bank that will not be independent and does not yet exist. However, we are being asked to approve a clause of the bill that will allow port authorities to secure loans from this infrastructure bank that will be created in the near future.

It is clear that something is not working, that they are improvising, and that the minister wants to move quickly. We do not understand why he insists on moving so quickly. Some will tell us that it is because they want to settle the matter of Bill C-30 before it expires on July 31 in order to protect western grain producers in their rate negotiations with the railways. That could be the case, but that is not what is going to happen, since even if Bill C-49 is rushed through today or Monday and is referred to committee, the committee meetings are scheduled for September.

The committee was prepared to meet in July if the government agreed to hive off all the measures concerning Bill C-30. That would have allowed us to study them quickly in order to avoid having a legal vacuum for western grain producers. These meetings could have been held before August 1. The committee was prepared to meet in the middle of summer, during vacation—at least, the opposition members of the committee were. That would have been a major sacrifice for some of us to show up and study a bill to help western grain producers.

Why was the official opposition prepared to do that? Because we get that this is important. Right now, grain producers are concerned about what is going to happen this fall if there is a legal vacuum. We do not know exactly how the market will react. These people are negotiating right now.

We see another problem here. I myself am not a grain producer. However, several of my House of Commons colleagues represent western Canadian ridings, and they know a lot about grain production. From what I understand, grain producers usually harvest their crops in the fall. What time of year is busiest for grain producers? The fall, when they are bringing in the harvest.

The government is going to ask grain producers to testify on Bill C-49, which will have a major impact on their future, in the fall. The government is going to ask them to leave their machinery and their fields so they can come testify in Ottawa in September. That is when they should be in their fields doing their work, doing what we support them doing, and making their contribution to Canada's economy by producing and working. This makes no sense.

That is why the opposition was prepared to agree to move quickly on that part of the bill. We were prepared to let many things slide in order to move quickly. Why? Canada's grain producers are far more important to us than adding another number to our legislative record. The farmers need us to come to Ottawa to protect them, stand up for them, and help them succeed. That is our role.

If we are not taking extraordinary measures to get Bill C-30 passed before the deadline, then there is no urgency to justify speeding up the process and muzzling the opposition. The government probably does not want to let the opposition speak because it does not want to hear arguments like mine in defence of western grain producers.

I want to talk about another initiative that was very well received by the public, I admit. This was the main point in the message from the Minister of Transport. Indeed, he wants to create an air passengers' bill of rights. This is urgent. Like all of us, all Canadians who have flown over the past few months have seen the coverage of some of the dramatic incidents that have taken place in the U.S. Since the bill announced the creation of an air passengers' bill of rights, we thought we would get some information. We thought we might be told what to expect, but no, all the minister did was mandate the Canadian Transportation Agency to begin consultations that will eventually lead to regulations and, at some point, the air passengers' bill of rights.

Do we really need a bill to ask the Canadian Transportation Agency to begin consultations on a bill of rights? It makes no sense. There is no need for urgency when it comes to Bill C-49, apart from the legislation protecting western Canadian grain farmers; on that, we agree.

We believe that the only way to go and the only explanation or justification to make this measure acceptable, to make this gag order acceptable, would have been to split the bill and immediately pass the measures in Bill C-30, in order to make certain temporary measures permanent. We were ready to go ahead with that, but everything else could have waited; there is no need to panic. The only emergency here for this government is to silence the opposition. The government is not ready. It is improvising and presenting measures that just do not make sense.

For all these reasons, and despite a few good measures in the bill, the official opposition cannot support Bill C-49.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Leona Alleslev Liberal Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, ON

Mr. Speaker, why has my hon. colleague spent over half of his time talking about things that had very little to do with the bill? Most of the conversation was about us not providing enough time to talk about it.

I would like to understand why quantity and quality are not necessarily equated. One could be succinct and point out critical points that may not be strengths of a bill in a significantly shorter time. When we look at time for debate, the debate should be around the substance, the precise criticisms, the highlighting of the oversights or the challenges within a bill. That is the point of being in the House: to highlight the specifics that perhaps the opposition does not feel are the strengths of a motion or a bill.

Could the member opposite provide three significant focused and specific challenges with the bill that he feels must be changed?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

June 16th, 2017 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would ask my hon. colleague, who said that I spent over half of my time talking about things that had nothing to do with Bill C-49, to withdraw her remarks.

I will check, but I am sure that I spent 100% of my time talking about the impact of Bill C-49. The fact that we are debating this bill when they are imposing time allocation is a fact that has to do with Bill C-49. Perhaps she misunderstood my intention.

One clause alone has major repercussions for western grain farmers—the one that extends them protection and makes it permanent. What, then, gives my colleague the right to say that my remarks are irrelevant? I would like her to explain herself to western grain farmers and answer that question.

Why does she not consider these measures to be important for western grain farmers?