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

October 31st, 2017 / 11:30 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I know that the Minister of Transport does not like it when we refer to Bill C-49 as an omnibus bill, but I think the fact that I have questions for my colleague on a number of different subjects when we are talking about just one bill further illustrates the omnibus nature of it. Since I have to pick and choose, I will refer to a part of his speech that dealt with these joint ventures in Bill C-49 and in which the competition commissioner's authority has been diminished. As we saw in the way the Minister of Heritage handled the Netflix file, lobbies have a considerable influence on this government. My question is quite simple: can my colleague tell me whether the competition commissioner can be lobbied as easily as a minister?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank the hon. member for Trois-Rivières for his question. Of course I agree that this is an omnibus bill and that one could easily ask questions on a number of topics. As in the proverb I shared earlier, to every answer one can find new questions about the point of this bill. As far as joint ventures and how the competition commissioner does his job are concerned, of course it is much more difficult to lobby the commissioner than it is to lobby the minister, since the commissioner is responsible for something very specific. First, it is hard to get a meeting with the commissioner and, second, as a public servant the commissioner does not have the authority to amend legislation in someone's favour as the Minister of Transport would. Indeed, I think the hon. member has a very good question to ask the government.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 11:35 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

Madam Speaker, listening yesterday and today, it is clear that the Conservatives are lining themselves up in opposition to the legislation. That is obvious. The other obvious thing is that they seem to disagree on what degree of co-operation there was at the standing committee.

I applaud all of the standing committee members for the fine work they did. Not all the amendments brought forward by opposition members were accepted, but it is noteworthy that at least six were, which is six more than during the last four years of the Harper government on any piece of legislation. I believe there is a sense of greater co-operation on the standing committees.

Would the member not agree that Canadians want to see something related to air passenger rights, and whether we agree or disagree on the details of the legislation, would the member not at least concur that this legislation would enable something that Canadians want to see, which is air passenger rights?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank the member for Winnipeg North for his intervention, because I enjoy sparring with him in the chamber, because one of the purposes of Parliament is exactly to disagree, and sometimes profoundly.

I would not construe co-operation as agreement at the committee stage. Collegiality is a factor in committee deliberations, but we should not confuse that with agreement on the contents of a proposed piece of legislation returning to the House.

To his greater point of what Canadians want to see on passenger rights, more generally, Canadians want to see good legislation that is complete and that would actually meet the goals set out by the government in fulfilling its promises instead of ragging the puck endlessly in achieving those goals. Legislation should achieve a specific goal and be written in such a way as to allow its enforceability. That is what Canadians want to see.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 11:35 a.m.
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Conservative

Luc Berthold Conservative Mégantic—L'Érable, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to commend my colleague on the excellent speech he gave, in which he very ably summed up what happens when we discuss a bill in committee and when we return it to the House afterwards.

Naturally, we try to work with the government in a different, more collegial atmosphere when we are in committee, to try to get amendments passed. Unfortunately, in the case of Bill C-49, many of the amendments proposed by the opposition parties were voted down by the government.

I will remind members that our committee convened a week before Parliament resumed, to allow for intensive study of Bill C-49. We had to absorb a lot of information in a very short time, because the government wanted to rush this bill through. This unseemly haste was vividly illustrated by yesterday's time allocation motion, which was introduced to prevent members who had something to say about Bill C-49 from speaking.

Would my colleague agree that Bill C-49 amends so many acts and will have so great an impact on various sectors that we should have taken as much time as we needed to study it and that each member should have had a chance to speak on every option and part of this omnibus bill?

In fact, given what the Liberals promised on the campaign trail, this government should not be tabling any more omnibus bills.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 11:40 a.m.
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Conservative

Tom Kmiec Conservative Calgary Shepard, AB

Madam Speaker, I thank my colleague for his question.

In fact, yesterday the government moved a time allocation motion with respect to this omnibus bill. My colleague is right in saying that we could continue to talk about several aspects of this bill. As I stated earlier, I could spend several minutes of my speech talking about the ministerial directions that the minister could issue to create new carrier obligations towards passengers.

This legislative measure lists all the obligations of air carriers towards passengers, and then states that the minister can create new obligations without providing any guidance as to the kinds of obligations. In addition, the agency is then required to abide by these directives. Not only can new directives be issued, but the airlines can be forced to comply, without there even being an opportunity for members to study them or to debate whether they should be an obligation or not.

As I stated, we could continue to debate every clause of this bill on specific obligations to ensure that they are what Canadians want. Ultimately, the bill gives the minister the full authority to make decisions about future obligations without coming back to the House and confirming that that is indeed the direction we want to take.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 11:40 a.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Madam Speaker, I would really like to say that I am pleased to rise to speak to Bill C-49, but that is not the case. In fact, I rise because I have an interest in this bill and because it is my privilege to do so. As my party's transport critic, I have the privilege of rising first today, which will not be the case for my colleagues who are directly affected by this bill but who will not have the chance to rise in the House because the bill is under time allocation. This is the first serious mistake.

The Minister of Transport told us that this is not an omnibus bill since it only affects transport legislation. However, we could be talking about an omnibus, mammoth, or even a Trojan horse bill, since it contains a number of intentional gaps.

For young people who do not yet have the right to vote, a good metaphor would be a chocolate Easter bunny. Everyone remembers biting into their first Easter bunny only to find it hollow, sadly. What a disappointment. Bill C-49 is kind of like that, especially when it comes to the passengers' bill of rights, which I will come back to.

In speeches from the government side, we hear a lot about Bill C-49 striking a balance, but nothing could be further from the truth. Hearing everybody's point of view is a good thing, but it does not mean that the middle ground the Liberals are proposing strikes that balance. I would suggest it is just the opposite.

It is no secret that I am fond of my fellow Conservative members of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, but we rarely see eye to eye. It would be a shock if one of my Conservative colleagues were to run as a New Democrat in the next election or vice versa. Having heard the same witnesses and the same evidence, they and I have managed to get ourselves on the same page with respect to quite a few amendments. If the right and the left have found a way to agree, how is it that the Liberals, who have positioned themselves as the extreme centre, are not listening to reason? We have to ask ourselves some serious questions about why that might be.

The chair of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities was particularly skilled at getting us to work together in a spirit of co-operation. However, unfortunately, the end results do that reflect that. I cannot believe that none of the amendments proposed by the opposition parties were good enough. Obviously, instructions came down from on high that the bill should remain as is, with no changes. That is not what the witnesses we heard from wanted, but that is what the ministers wanted, for their own reasons, which coincidentally are not consistent with the agenda they announced during the election campaign.

To give just one example, during the election campaign, the Liberals promised not to amend the Coasting Trade Act. However, Bill C-49 makes three major amendments to coastal trade. As far as I know, Canadian shippers did not storm the transport minister's office to tell him that he absolutely had to make changes to the Coasting Trade Act because it makes no sense.

The government is therefore responding to other lobby groups. We are seeing that more and more often. I have mentioned it in some of the questions I have had the opportunity to ask since debate began this morning. Lobby groups are having a growing influence on this government, and the outcome always seems to be the same: big business profits at the expense of consumers.

This debate is taking place under time allocation, and yet debate in the House is the only means we have left to try to shed some light on a given situation and change it, if possible.

There are probably dozens or even 100 or so members who wanted to speak in this debate but could not, and yet in a few hours, all 338 members will be voting either yes or no to express their support for or opposition to Bill C-49 as a whole, which is all over the map. This does not say much about our democratic process.

Furthermore, if we look at the Minister of Transport's legislative record, I have to say that after two years, I am not very impressed. There has been talk of a high-frequency train for decades, but nothing is happening on that file. On top of that, during the campaign, the Liberals promised to reverse the terrible amendments the previous government made to the Navigation Protection Act. Instead, we are heading in exactly the same direction as before, and the list of protected waterways in Canada is going to stay exactly as it appears in the schedule of the act, even though many witnesses, if not the majority, wanted the government to abolish that schedule altogether.

However, we are not there yet when it comes to protecting navigation, when it comes to developing rail transportation, or with respect to Bill C-49.

I want to talk about what is not in Bill C-49. After all, it is an omnibus bill that is supposed to cover just about everything that has to do with transportation.

At the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, we had the chance to conduct a study on aviation safety and we had a significant number of studies on rail transportation. One thing that kept coming up in both files was fatigue among both pilots and train conductors. Fatigue is the cause of most accidents or incidents. We never want accidents to happen, or at least we hope to keep them to a minimum.

What does Bill C-49 propose to combat fatigue or to take a new approach to air or rail transportation? It seems to me that this also falls under transportation. Guess what? There is not a word. There is nothing in Bill C-49 to address this major issue.

Let us now talk about some of the dubious aspects of this bill. The first one that I want to address has to do with airport safety, especially as it relates to the potential development of regional airports.

Security measures at Canada's major international borders are working well, although there are still questions, mainly about direct costs charged to passengers. Under the former government, a lot of money was charged for security. It is clear that there has been no improvement in this practice under the Liberals, because even more money is being charged for security. According to the most recent data from Statistics Canada, $636 million was collected from passengers and $550 million was actually spent on security measures. That is a difference of $100 million. Where is that money going? It goes into the consolidated revenue fund and apparently is used for other measures. Once again, just like employees' employment insurance contributions that were used for other purposes, passengers are being charged more money for air security than is being invested into the security network.

Furthermore, while millions of dollars are being raked in, regional airports are told that they can certainly expand, but they will have to do so on a cost recovery basis.

What that means, for example for a regional airport such as the Trois-Rivières airport, is that it can obtain CATSA services, but it will have to foot the bill. Oddly enough, Bill C-49 makes no mention of a great report that I have here called “Expanding Passengers Security Screenings at Regional Airports”. This report is signed by no less than nine of the largest airport authorities in three Canadian provinces, namely Quebec, Ontario, and Alberta. The report proposes measures other than cost recovery. Even after the document and research findings were presented in June 2016, which is not that long ago, we have heard nothing from Transport Canada. It is still going with a cost recovery model.

I will give an example of what this can mean for an airport like the one in Trois-Rivières. The Trois-Rivières airport was originally a very small airport, mainly intended for what I would call recreational flying. It offered flying lessons and skydiving, but it was really tiny. Then the city of Trois-Rivières decided to massively expand its airport facilities to turn them into a major economic driver. This involved making numerous investments, such as extending the runway so any jumbo jet could land there. The airport also invested in high-intensity approach lighting so planes could land at any time, day or night. The area's economic activity was diversified, creating a major aerospace cluster in Trois-Rivières. The city has welcomed several aerospace companies, such as Premier Aviation, which is now contracted to maintain much of Air Canada's fleet at its facility in Trois-Rivières. As a recent $500-million investment shows, this company is thriving. Trois-Rivières' aerospace market, specifically its airport, has come a long way from its original recreational niche. It is now a centre for economic development and a major regional hub for business people flying to other destinations in Canada or internationally.

Over the last few years, partnerships have also been developed with aviation companies that offer charter flights to southern destinations. Market studies have been done and Trois-Rivières is clearly the heart of Quebec for a reason. We are the metaphorical heart but also the geographic heart of Quebec. If someone wanted to take a charter flight for a trip down south and had the choice between going to Trois-Rivières with traffic jams that easily last five to six minutes, or to the airport in Montréal, the choice would be quite easy. However, that whole study, that whole potential and all of those agreements already negotiated with carriers have fallen through because CATSA security measures are only available for regional airports through cost recovery. That is totally ridiculous. If an airport like Trois-Rivières, Sherbrooke or any other regional airport has to cover the cost of security measures alone, that drives up air ticket prices considerably. That means that the company is no longer able to compete on the market and the agreement collapses.

However, other options are considered in the report I referred to earlier. In particular, there is the possibility of all amounts collected for security being allocated to security expenses and not returning to the government’s consolidated coffers. We could also consider the possibility of all transportation costs being distributed among all passengers on the flight.

Flying south, whether from Trois-Rivières, Québec City or Montreal, involves the same business and the same security services. The cost could therefore be divided between all travellers annually, instead of the number of passengers related strictly to one airport or another.

There are many possible solutions that should have been heard, discussed, and questioned, but Bill C-49 sweeps all that under the rug, a fitting image today for Halloween.

I just want to say a word about cabotage. I would remind members that the Liberal government committed during the election campaign to not touch the Coasting Trade Act. However, there are three amendments in that regard. There are not one, not two, but three major amendments regarding coasting trade that directly affect the Canadian marine industry.

What are those three amendments in a few words? There is the repositioning of empty containers, dredging activities, and the transportation of bulk products between Montreal and Halifax.

Those are three important areas of economic activity that systematically fell to Canadian shipowners and that could now be offered to foreign shipowners. Because of the market opening under the terms of the economic agreement that we signed with Europe, they are saying that European companies cannot be prevented from conducting dredging in the waters of the St. Lawrence River. Oddly, however, no one can confirm that the opposite is true and that Canadian shipowners would be able to bid on dredging contracts in Europe.

Beyond what might be seen as relatively unfair competition, it is important to realize that European dredging companies, for example, that operate all year long and are much larger, may be better able to consider crossing the Atlantic and remaining in our waters, where they can be competitive, while the opposite is quite hard to imagine.

Trois-Rivières is also a port city. It is impossible to understand this without having visited an organization like the Foyer des marins in Trois-Rivières, where shipowners come from all around the world, but it only takes a few exchanges, sometimes with the help of hand gestures because my knowledge of foreign languages is limited, to realize that there are fundamental differences between foreign-flagged vessels and their crews and Canadian-flagged vessels and their crews. I mention no country in particular as to not single anyone out, but first, we are talking about very different salaries, working conditions and expenses. These amendments to the Coasting Trade Act will therefore create unfair competition that no one ever asked for, certainly not in Canada.

I would like to read one or two quotes. St. Lawrence Shipoperators said, “The Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement entered into with the European Union opened an unprecedented breach in the Coasting Trade Act by giving ships of all flags access to certain parts of the Canadian market. Bill C-49 widens that breach. We are witnessing the erosion of the Coasting Trade Act.”

Maritime Magazine said, “After years of underfunding of port infrastructure, disengagement from dredging, and inaction on renewing the fleet of icebreakers, it is now coasting trade that is being sorely tested. It is important for decision-makers to understand the scope of the economic, social and environmental role of maritime transportation and the importance for the country of having a strong and health maritime industry and domestic fleet.”

Those are just two examples about coasting trade. I could also have talked about the Infrastructure Bank that is once again being quietly included in Bill C-49. I could have talked about the passengers' bill of rights. I could have talked about joint ventures.

I could have talked about so many subjects that it shows once again that we are dealing with an omnibus bill and that it is a total disgrace to ask all parliamentarians to vote yes or no on an omnibus bill. It is one more thing that the Liberals committed to stop doing during the election campaign. They seem to have a short memory.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / noon
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Liberal

Filomena Tassi Liberal Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas, ON

Mr. Speaker, first, the member started by talking about concerns of time allocation used on this particular bill. If the member is concerned that not everybody had the time to speak, why did his party, the NDP, give up spots yesterday in terms of speaking to this bill?

Second, the statement was that the member is concerned about lobbying in favour of big business at the cost of consumers. I am quite curious about that because Bill C-49 is about consumers. It is about establishing rights so that travellers can be assured safe and comfortable travel. Would the member not agree that Bill C-49 is an effort, and a very good one, to ensure that travellers are protected and made comfortable in their travel?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / noon
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her questions. I will try to answer both.

First, the passenger rights issue perfectly illustrates just how empty Bill C-49 really is. It does not propose a passengers' bill of rights. To be clear, it only proposes guidelines that may lead to potential consultations by Transport Canada, who will then invite the minister to accept or not accept the recommendations made by Transport Canada. Moreover, if that ever actually happens and recommendations are made, they will only be applied through regulation. Once again, that is much easier for a minister to undo than legislation, which can only be amended by Parliament.

On the issue of protected rights, we are miles from what was needed. Though the member may not have been with us in the previous Parliament, I remind her that the Liberals voted in favour of a passengers' bill of rights proposed by the New Democrats, and yet, we were never shown what was now wrong with that bill before throwing out the baby with the bathwater and embarking on consultations.

As for my colleagues, if I can so easily answer questions about Bill C-49, it is only because I have been working on it for months, so I can understand if some of my colleagues need a little more time to prepare than they are given under a time allocation motion.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly Block Conservative Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, SK

Mr. Speaker, I certainly have appreciated working with my hon. colleague on committee. Later last week, in my remarks during report stage of the bill, I addressed an amendment, supported by both the Conservative caucus members and the NDP members of the committee, that would allow the first interchange point, which the shipper would be required to use in order to access LHI, to be in the reasonable direction of the shipper's destination. This was an amendment that was recommended by numerous shippers when they provided testimony to the committee. I wonder if my hon. colleague would like to comment on that amendment and why the members across the way did not support it.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague. I remember her speech last week very well, and I share the same pleasure in working with her on the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

I will now give her the same answer she gave me last week, that it is very hard to get into a Liberal member’s mind to understand why the Liberals have not seen the light. While the Conservative and New Democrat members who are seen as polar opposites on the spectrum, agree on the merits of a measure like the one my colleague mentioned regarding interswitching, I struggle to understand why those members who say they are firmly in the centre cannot see the merits of such an amendment.

This all shows beyond a doubt that we are dealing with an eminently partisan bill that serves the interests of the lobbies with whom the Liberals are looking to curry favour. That is probably the best way to say it.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is my first time to rise at this stage of Bill C-49, and due to the time allocations applied, I was not able to have a chance to speak to the bill at all.

I do want to say that I am disappointed that so much has been lost in what is the potential for a transportation act. To give an overarching statement before I go to my quick question to the member, it is as though the Government of Canada decided, for efficient transportation on our highways, we should figure out ways to attract capital investment to privatize sections of road, and hope that people from other countries want to invest. To paraphrase, this is no way to run a railroad.

I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières very much for his efforts to highlight the importance of fatigue. I would like to ask him if he wants to add a few elements, because it really is a priority issue for the safety of our transport system.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 12:05 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

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

We may have wanted Bill C-49 to do more, although I am not sure, as we are already dealing with an omnibus bill. Quite certainly, Bill C-49 could have done better, particularly on the issue of fatigue. Most witnesses were independent. No one would be surprised to learn that the union representatives who came to speak about employee fatigue among their members probably leaned a certain way. Similarly, no one would be surprised to learn that the employers claimed the issue was not really a priority and that it is already being addressed by an all-party committee.

However, neutral witnesses, such as the Transportation Safety Board, came to say that there was a problem with pilot fatigue and that it needed to be addressed. That was not done. Bill C-49 completely misses the mark on the issue of fatigue, even though many joint committees are already working to find solutions.

How can the Minister of Transport not be sensitive to this issue? Unfortunately, I still have no answer.

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Trois-Rivières for having explained so clearly the main problems with a bill that, as he said, is a mammoth omnibus bill, a Trojan horse. This bill amends 13 pieces of legislation and we are also under time allocation.

I will not even have the time to speak about this bill that will affect my riding. There is a port in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. The Liberals claim to stand up for Canadian jobs. The part on coasting trade does not even favour our maritime industries for the transportation of bulk products, for example, or goods that go through Salaberry-de-Valleyfield.

What also worries me is everything related to passenger rights. We have seen very alarming videos lately of passengers being dragged from their seats because the companies overbooked. That is still happening and could continue to happen.

What does my colleague think about that? Could he discuss the NDP’s amendments that were defeated and that should have been accepted by the Liberals?

Transportation Modernization ActGovernment Orders

October 31st, 2017 / 12:10 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Salaberry—Suroît for asking this truly broad question.

Indeed, in this magnificent maritime corridor that is the St. Lawrence and the Great Lakes, all members affected will not have the opportunity to speak. Spokespersons are sent to Ottawa to defend their part of the country, and they are not given the opportunity to speak on bills that affect them directly. That is ridiculous.

As for the passenger bill of rights, the main amendment by the NDP was very simple. It sought to include in Bill C-49 the passengers' bill of rights that was tabled by the NDP in the previous Parliament, and to have us vote on a true passengers' bill of charter, not guidelines for consultation.