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

This bill has received Royal Assent and is, or will soon become, law.

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

May 22, 2018 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to 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
May 3, 2018 Passed Motion respecting Senate amendments to 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
May 3, 2018 Failed Motion respecting Senate amendments to 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 (amendment)
Nov. 1, 2017 Passed 3rd reading and adoption 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
Oct. 30, 2017 Passed Concurrence at report stage 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
Oct. 30, 2017 Failed 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 (report stage amendment)
Oct. 30, 2017 Failed 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 (report stage amendment)
Oct. 30, 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
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

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
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Conservative

John Barlow Conservative Foothills, AB

Mr. Speaker, the minister's presentation highlights a lot of the frustration that we have heard from our stakeholders.

A lot of questions are around the inaction from the minister on this file, especially when it comes to grain transportation. The minister is now standing up and saying that the government is going to be supporting a lot of these amendments, amendments that were brought up at the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities almost a year ago, when the government turned those same amendments down.

Our producers have had to suffer this grain backlog for months, and the question they have is why the government would not support these amendments months ago rather than making them go through this.

The minister mentioned that the Canadian Transportation Agency will now have “own motion” powers to investigate any issues that may arise. However, as part of that amendment, the authority to allow that investigation to happen is strictly at the feet of the minister. The minister can make that decision if an investigation is going to happen and he sets the parameters.

The minister took no action when the grain backlog was at its worst, from October right through to February. He did nothing. How can our stakeholders trust that he will take action next time when a complaint or an issue is brought forward by the Canadian Transportation Agency?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:40 a.m.
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Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, what I could do is quote a comment about Bill C-49, which we worked very hard to put in place.

President Todd Lewis of the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan said:

Producers often feel that we are very distant from decision-makers in Ottawa and that our concerns often go unheard. With C-49, we believe that the Minister, MPs and Senators have all paid attention, and worked hard to address long standing problems in grain transportation. We look forward to quick passage of this legislation to ensure that we can plan for moving the crop that we are seeding this spring.

I could not be more delighted. I have many other quotes.

We are approaching the end, I hope, and the bill will soon have royal assent so that our farmers can properly plan the coming year with many more tools at their disposal than they have had in the past.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listen carefully every time the Minister of Transport speaks, even though, unfortunately, I often disagree with him about Bill C-49's approach, among other things. We know that it is an omnibus bill on transportation and that the minister has bitten off more than he can chew. We have had clear proof of that since we began working on this bill.

I would like to come back and try to clarify one aspect of the passenger's bill of rights, which is not included in Bill C-49. We really wish it was included. I would like the minister to explain why he rejected the Senate's amendment that would reduce the wait time on the tarmac from three hours to 90 minutes.

Is it because he basically does not agree with the amendment, or is it because this issue will be dealt with later through regulations? We know that the passage of Bill C-49 will signal the beginning of a new process, not the implementation of a bill of rights.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for his comments.

First, on what the hon. member refers to as the “omnibus” nature of the bill, I would remind him that 90% of what is being proposed in this bill pertains to one piece of legislation, the Canada Transportation Act. It is not an omnibus bill. It is a complex bill with which we are seeking to make a lot of changes.

On the issue of wait times on the tarmac, I would like my colleague to know that in the United States, for instance, they are three hours for domestic flights and four hours for international flights. We scrutinized this issue of time and anyone with any understanding of airport operations knows that making decisions on wait times at a very busy airport is a complicated matter. I am sure that we made the right decision.

The hon. member should also note an important fact: during a potential three-hour wait on the tarmac, airlines have to provide food, refreshments, access to washrooms, and updated information as the situation unfolds. They are required to disembark all passengers only after three hours.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Sean Fraser Liberal Central Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the minister for putting together this important legislation to improve the efficiency of our transportation system in Canada.

Having spent dozens upon dozens of hours at the transport committee studying the legislation, I found one issue very difficult, and that was improving safety using locomotive voice and video recorders without compromising the privacy of the workers.

The minister will be accepting one of the amendments, amendment 10(b), from the Senate, which will provide greater clarity on the destruction of records. How will this amendment ensure that the safety outcomes will still exist, while ensuring railways are not permitted to spy on the day-to-day happenings in their yards and on their employees?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:45 a.m.
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Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, I congratulate my colleague on his hard work in the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, which reviewed this complex legislation.

Right from the beginning we were concerned about certain important aspects that had been brought to our attention with respect to the use of LVVR data, which is fundamental to improving safety. Those were the issues of privacy, respecting privacy, and that this did not become a tool to assess or punish any of the employees in any way.

We will now go through a regulatory process to ensure this is fully respected, including the destruction of information when it is no longer required. Therefore, important data that is private in nature will not be left to possibly be accessed illegally by others. We felt it was a good thing to very specifically address the question of distraction. All of the parameters will be worked out during the regulatory exercise that will happen as soon as royal assent is given.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. minister for the report back of this bill. I would have liked some more of the Senate amendments to have been acceptable to the government. However, I want to focus on the bigger question while we have the chance with the minister in this chamber.

I am very concerned that our current freight rail service, being in private hands, is not meeting the needs of the Canadian economy. We do not have rail service to Churchill right now. We do not have reliable rail service for prairie farmers to get their grain to ports. As he will know, that results in the backing up of large container ships into the Gulf Islands where they basically use the waters off my riding as a free parking space while they wait to get into Vancouver Harbour, hoping the grain will arrive.

In big picture thinking, is there anything coming up from Transport Canada, short of nationalizing our freight again, which we used to have a nationalized freight rail service, to get the private sector to deliver goods that Canadians need, and on time?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
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Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Westmount, QC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. colleague brought up some very valid points. There is no question about the fact that our railways need to do better. I have been in touch with them on a regular basis and told them they need to do better.

Canadian National will be investing over $3 billion. It has the message. Yesterday, it announced a contract to buy 350 transportation wagons to bring lumber. It is investing massively in new hopper cars. It is buying over 100 new locomotives. It is building siding for more efficient travel, so we can precisely eliminate the problems that have been brought to our attention by my hon. colleague.

The railways understand now that they have to do better. This is particularly acute when the economy is working well. That is when we have the highest pressure. There is a lot of potash to move. There is a lot of grain to move. There is a lot of lumber to move. There is a lot of minerals to move. That is when the railways are tested at their most.

I believe the railways have the message that they now need to increase the number of resources they have at their disposal. They are hiring new staff to take care of this rolling stock.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 10:50 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the government's response to the Senate's amended version of Bill C-49, the transportation modernization act.

The Conservatives know that the rail transportation system is vital to the economic well-being of our country's economy. The Prime Minister and his Minister of Transport have been dragging their heels on addressing the serious needs of our transportation systems and the impact on our economy.

By way of background, in 2014, then minister of transport, the member for Milton, launched the statutory review of the Canada Transportation Act a whole year early. After the Emerson report was presented to the Minister of Transport in December 2015, he then spent over a year consulting on the consultations before finally introducing Bill C-49 in May of 2017.

Despite the year delay between the Emerson report and the introduction of Bill C-49, the bill was seen as so important that the transportation committee came back a week early at the start of the fall session to hear from as many stakeholders as possible. The committee heard over 40 hours of testimony on the bill. It was necessary to hear that many hours of testimony on the bill because, despite the Liberals' claim otherwise, it was an omnibus bill.

The bill deals with airlines, air travel, ocean shipping, rail safety, and the railway and rail shipper relationship. It would make dramatic changes to the acts and regulations of each of these modes of transportation. The minister has continually spoken about the need to pass the bill as quickly as possible in response to the difficult situation shippers face due to the government's choice to allow the Fair Rail for Grain Farmers Act to lapse.

There have been several opportunities that would have facilitated the faster passage of the rail portion of the bill. For example, I introduced a motion to split the rail section out of Bill C-49, which would have allowed a more speedy review and passage of that section. Unfortunately, this suggestion was dismissed out of hand as the minister preferred to leave the bill in its omnibus form, despite the warnings that doing so would result in a slower process.

Over the course of the testimony at committee, witnesses told us they had numerous amendments they wanted to see made to the bill. However, they recognized that the government would not likely be open to hundreds of amendments, so most of the stakeholders focused their energy on just three or four key amendments they felt were absolutely necessary for the bill to be workable.

At the transport committee, my Conservative colleagues and I, along with our friend, the member for Trois-Rivières, put forward many of the focused, reasonable amendments suggested as a minimum by the witnesses. Sadly, the Liberals were tone deaf to these suggestions and rejected all but a few of our amendments. Further, of the few amendments that were accepted, in most cases a Liberal member had already proposed the same or a similar amendment.

Therefore, for the Liberals to say they accepted many of the amendments put forward by the opposition members at committee would be a stretch. It is not surprising to me that many of the amendments we proposed, and which the Liberals rejected, were picked up by our hon. colleagues in the other place.

This brings me to the Senate amendments and the Liberals' response to them. The Liberals are accepting one amendment and tweaking another, and both deal with the proposed new long-haul interswitching regime.

By way of background, the previous Conservative government had introduced extended interswitching to help grain farmers get their world-class products to the coast by encouraging competition in the rail service industry. Most, if not all, of the shipper and grain industry stakeholders I have met with over the past few years appreciate the extended interswitching remedy. They are disappointed that the extended interswitching was replaced in the bill with the complicated long-haul interswitching system.

Stakeholders fear that the new LHI system will not create the competitive environment that extended interswitching did. A major problem with LHI, raised by multiple witnesses, was that the shipper would be forced to use the nearest interchange point even if it were in the opposite direction of the product's final destination.

Essentially, this would mean that many shippers would have to send their products in the wrong direction in order to connect with a competing railway. Multiple stakeholders suggested a simple, common-sense fix for this problem, which was adding the line “in the reasonable direction” to the clause, ensuring that no shipper would have to send his or her product potentially hundreds of kilometres in the wrong direction to use the LHI remedy.

This change was so clearly reasonable and necessary that the member for Trois-Rivières and I introduced the same amendment to that line completely separate from one another. Unfortunately, the Liberal members on the committee voted against this simple fix. However, and this should not come as a shock, this small reasonable amendment was introduced and adopted by the members of the other place. Now the government is accepting the amendment. Why did it not accept our suggestion last October? Is the Senate amendment more acceptable because it did not come from opposition members? I certainly hope such partisanship is not the reason for this decision.

As I mentioned at the beginning of my speech, an efficient and well-functioning transportation system is critical to the Canadian economy. Many industries rely on rail to get their product to market, including Canada's mining, forestry, and manufacturing industries. In this motion, the Liberals are rejecting vital amendments that would help address systemic problems in our rail transportation system that would hamper the national and international competitiveness of the industries I just mentioned. The Liberals continue to ignore the good faith work of the opposition, the opinions of the other place, and a multitude of expert witnesses.

The Mining Association of Canada, representing shippers that account for 19% of all exported goods, released a statement delineating its concern and frustration regarding the minister's refusal to accept amendments to the final offer arbitration, or the FOA process. This process is one of the only remedies that captive shippers, meaning shippers who have access to only one railway, have when they are faced with uncompetitive rates.

This is what it had to say:

The amendment on FOA, introduced by... a member of the Independent Senator’s Group--and supported by all but one member of the Senate Transport and Communications Committee, was also supported by a coalition of eight captive shipper industry associations.

The amendment would have increased data transparency in the FOA process, which is the only remedy available to captive shippers to seek rates more like those that might prevail under conditions of effective competition, to address its erosion by CN and CP. [The minister's] response in a motion sent to the House of Commons erodes FOA even further, strengthening CN and CP, and leaving captive shippers at their mercy. In his motion to Parliament, [the minister] does not provide a rationale for rejecting the amendment. Instead, he repeats arguments regularly made by CN and CP and ignores or defies the state of the law regarding the purpose of FOA, undermining the ability of the most captive shippers to obtain competitive rates and levels of service.

François Tougas, a lawyer with McMillan LLP and a transportation expert, who also spoke at our transportation committee hearings on Bill C-49, gave this analysis of the minister's motion that we are debating today:

The motion tabled by the Minister of Transport not only rejects the Senate amendment, but further enhances railway market power over captive shippers. Rather than retaining the status quo, the motion asks the House to give credibility to an interpretation that (a) contradicts what Canadian courts have said about the FOA remedy and (b) further tilts the current imbalance in the FOA remedy in favour of the railways. The Minister's support for Class I railways inflicts additional harm on those few shippers who are permitted to access final offer arbitration (FOA). The Senate amendment would have entitled a shipper to obtain a determination of the railway's cost of transporting its goods to assist an arbitrator in FOA to determine whether to select the offer of the carrier or the shipper. Now, the Minister has publicly declared that FOA is not a cost-based remedy but “rather a commercially-based process to settle a dispute during a negotiation of a confidential commercial contract”. There are at least four things wrong with this statement:

First, the Federal Court of Appeal (and the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench) declared FOA to be a form of rate regulation and an arbitrator appointed under FOA to be a regulatory authority. Ignoring the courts, the Minister has adopted the losing position of the railways before the courts.

Second, railways can now quote the Minister in support of their position, that costs have nothing to do with rates. While the average businessperson will understand this statement to be incorrect, arbitrators will be asked to take it into account. Shippers who already are exposed to daunting odds in the use of FOA, will face yet another hurdle.

Third, nothing in the FOA remedy requires the outcome to be a negotiated confidential commercial contract. Whether a railway accepts a contract on the terms set out in an FOA award is 100% up to that railway. Because it can transport the goods under tariff, a railway does not have to enter into a contract.

Fourth, by failing to accept the Senate amendment, the Minister is condoning the railways' efforts to undermine the viability of the FOA remedy as a means of challenging rates and conditions of service that railways can impose unilaterally. The Senate amendment would have allowed a shipper to compare rates offered by the railway to rates that would prevail under conditions of effective competition. Instead the government motion will entrench the railways' market power or dominance over shippers who must use the railway to which they are captive for all or part of their shipments to domestic markets.

I know that these sections of Bill C-49 are very technical and, while they may never make the headlines, these small changes can mean success or failure for entire industries. The minister's rejection of this reasonable Senate amendment will have serious repercussions for the entire transportation system.

After weakening final offer arbitration, the Liberals have utterly eliminated the efficacy of the Senate's amendments regarding the Canadian Transportation Agency's “own motion” power. The other place amended Bill C-49 to give what is called “own motion” power to the Canadian Transportation Agency. With this power, the CTA would have been able to investigate broader breaches of a railway service's obligations rather than being limited to investigating only a specific complaint. This power would allow the agency to investigate systemic issues, for example, the recent failure of the railways to provide adequate service for grain shippers. However, the minister all but rejected this amendment.

This government motion makes the term “own motion” a farce. By definition, if the agency must seek political approval before beginning an investigation, it does not possess “own motion”. Further, the motion additionally erodes the term “own motion power” by stating that the minister can set any terms and conditions he or she deems appropriate.

François Tougas commented on this change as well. He stated:

The Minister's motion refers to a desire for appropriate government oversight but the Minister's proposed amendment contains no provision to ensure accountability in relation to this discretion to interfere in the work of an independent tribunal. Under the Minister's amendment, the government does not have to respond to an Agency request for authorization at all, or to do so within a reasonable time period, does not need to make its the decision to grant or withhold authorization public, does not need to disclose terms and conditions imposed on the Agency and does not need to provide a rationale for any decision to interfere with the Agency's exercise of its mandate.

The Minister already has the ability to direct an Agency inquiry at any time. The shipping community is facing repeated and prolonged service failures, and the extended failures over these past many months have not prompted the Minister to exercise that ability. The fact of these failures and the impact of these failures was regularly communicated, sometimes on a weekly or daily basis, and resulted in no action by the Minister. If the Minister was not willing to exercise that ability in this crisis, what would it take to authorize an Agency investigation?”

This amendment by the Liberals to the Senate's amendment is yet another blow to our shippers and its repercussions will be felt throughout the Canadian economy.

I will move on to locomotive video and voice recorders, or LVVRs, as we refer to them, and what the government is doing with the Senate's amendment on LVVRs.

While in committee, we heard from witnesses regarding the introduction of LVVRs. They voiced concerns with who would have access to this data and what it would be used for. The minister assured the committee that Transport Canada would protect the information and only allow it to be used in certain circumstances, including the term “proactive safety management”. The Liberals voted down an amendment brought forward by my NDP colleague and supported by the Conservatives to limit the accessibility of this data to only the CTA and only after an accident to be used for investigative purposes.

The Senate passed its own amendment, which also limited the accessibility of LVVR data to incident investigations. The minister has chosen to ignore this amendment as well. Let us be clear. This is a serious issue, so serious that the Privacy Commissioner took the unusual step of writing to the transport committee during its study to raise his concerns. I have quoted him in the past, but considering the obstinate refusal of the minister to accept any amendments in this area, it bears repeating. He stated:

Our underlying concern is that proactive safety management is a purpose that could be broadly interpreted in practice, potentially encompassing employee output measurement or other performance-related objectives. Train operators have pointed out that certain rail routes are extensive and could result in drivers being recorded continuously over 60-70 hours while operating the locomotive. In our view, allowing rail companies to have broad access to audio and video data for non-investigatory purposes has a greater impact on privacy, and could open the door to potential misuse of the data or function creep.

Further, Teamsters Canada, the union representing the employees who will be affected by LVVR, feels betrayed by the government. Don Ashley of Teamsters Canada put it this way: “Teamsters Canada Rail Conference are extremely disappointed in the Minister's continued callousness toward the rights of working Canadians and the erosion of privacy rights afforded to every other Canadian. This began with the disregard of the thoughtful amendments of the opposition parties in the House along with the opinion of the Privacy Commissioner and continued with his latest dismissal of the Senate's amendment regarding LVVR.”

It is not only rail where the minister has ignored expert witnesses. The highly publicized and so-called air passenger bill of rights was sent to the other place as more or less a blank slate. The minister intended for Transport Canada to govern by regulation, giving the government cover for any issues that may arise. This led air passenger rights advocates to call the section nothing more than some sort of sham. The Senate's amendments gave the air passenger bill of rights some degree of form. However, all the changes brought forward by the other place are opposed by the minister.

There is so much more I could say about the bill, for example, the shocking decision to remove transparency from the airline joint venture application process. However, in the interests of time, I will leave my comments there, and will state in closing that it seems, despite urging the quick passage of the bill, the minister and the party opposite have slowed progress in almost every way, resulting directly in the problems facing grain farmers over the last number of months.

As I already mentioned, the government allowed the fair rail for grain farmers act to sunset. It refused to split Bill C-49 into two bills to speed up its passage. It blocked many reasonable technical amendments, thereby forcing the other place to pass them and send the bill back to the House, and now it is refusing to accept many of the Senate's amendments. This refusal will only serve to slow down passage of the bill even further. If the House votes in favour of the minister's motion, Bill C-49 will then be returned to the Senate once again.

Shippers, especially farmers, need the government to pass legislation to help them now. They do not need the minister to play legislative ping-pong because he refuses to listen to stakeholders.

In conclusion, I move:

That the motion be amended by deleting all of the words after the word “That” and substituting the following:

“the amendments made by the Senate to 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, be now read a second time and concurred in.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 11:15 a.m.
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Liberal

Ken Hardie Liberal Fleetwood—Port Kells, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would first like to congratulate my colleague from the transport committee. We put in a very solid week of work listening to a lot of people, and despite the fact that we ended up on different pages on some issues, there was a great deal of effort to make sure this moved forward.

I want to test the member's memory on one issue, final offer arbitration. There are also provisions in the bill that require railroads to provide information about what they are actually charging to move similar products over similar distances. I am wondering if that is the kind of information that could help inform an arbitrator as they go through the FOA process.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 11:15 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, we certainly did spend a very long week hearing testimony from many witnesses before everybody else arrived back at this place. As my hon. colleague would have noted, the process we undertook was a very collaborative one. Although we arrived on different pages, as he said, I would concur that we did good work.

However, what we have in front of us today would appear to be yet another delay. When he asks about the final offer arbitration process, absolutely, any information the railways would provide would be useful. However, the ability of our captive shippers to do this has been greatly curtailed by the response of the minister.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 11:15 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague from Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek for her hard work on the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, on which I have the pleasure of serving with her. Each time we meet, I am impressed by her competence and open-mindedness.

My question this morning relates to form rather than content, since we agree on much of the content. When the time comes to vote on her motion, I will be happy to vote yes.

When we are chosen to be opposition MPs by Canadians, our mission is not to systematically oppose bills, but to improve them. That is what we are trying to do with the amendments we are presenting. However, the member herself once belonged to a government that was not inclined to accept amendments.

The Liberal government is reusing the exact same strategy, even though the opposition members represent 61% of the population.

My question is quite simple: how does the member explain this closed-minded attitude to proposals that are intended not to diminish the bill, but to improve it?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, if I understand the question, I agree with him that it is the duty of members of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition and other opposition parties to take a look at legislation, bills, that are introduced by the government with a view to ensuring we are bringing amendments to the table that we truly believe would improve a bill.

The last time we were debating Bill C-49, I think I asked if a bill could ever be perfect without having objective third groups taking a look at it and perhaps seeing things that were not caught in its original drafting, and certainly as it goes to the other place.

We came to the process around Bill C-49 in good faith, understanding the importance of this bill to our transportation systems and the economy as a whole. I believe the amendments we brought forward in the House committee are amendments we thought were absolutely necessary to improve the bill and address the concerns raised to us by witnesses.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.
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Liberal

Vance Badawey Liberal Niagara Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I too have been sitting on the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities with the member, and I thank her for the fine work she and the rest of the members have done to bring this bill forward. Coming back to the House a week early in September was a priority for the minister, and therefore a priority for the committee, as was coming forward with this legislation. This measure has become an enabler that aligns with our trade quota strategy and numerous trade deals to bring product expeditiously across country lines and out to the global market.

My question is with respect to a comment made by the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan. Todd Lewis, APAS president, stated:

Producers often feel we are very distant from the decision-makers in Ottawa, and that our concerns often go unheard.

He further stated:

With C-49, we believe that the minister, MPs, and senators have all paid attention and worked hard to address long-standing problems in grain transportation.

We look forward to quick passage of this legislation to ensure that we can plan for moving the crop that we are seeding this spring.

With that said, is the Conservative Party of Canada prepared to vote in support of Bill C-49 for its quick passage once we finish debate here today?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

May 3rd, 2018 / 11:20 a.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question and recognize that we have been serving on the committee together since just after the election. We have done a lot of good work, I believe.

Stakeholders do want to see the bill passed, but what I have been hearing is that they want to see the bill passed as amended by the Senate. In a news release, the Grain Growers of Canada say, “We urge parliament to pass it now”, referring to Bill C-49. Again, I believe it wants to see an amended version of Bill C-49 passed.

In regard to the member's question about addressing the desire of stakeholders to see the bill passed, I have just introduced an amendment to the minister's motion that would see the bill go directly for royal assent. I cannot see any quicker route than the one that I have proposed.