Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians Act

An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act

Status

Report stage (House), as of Oct. 19, 2017

Subscribe to a feed (what's a feed?) of speeches and votes in the House related to Bill S-2.

Summary

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

This enactment amends the Motor Vehicle Safety Act for the purpose of strengthening the enforcement and compliance regime to further protect the safety of Canadians and to provide additional flexibility to support advanced safety technologies and other vehicle innovations. It provides the Minister of Transport with the authority to order companies to correct a defect or non-compliance and establishes a tiered penalty structure for offences committed under the Act. The enactment also makes a consequential amendment to the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada 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.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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NDP

Anne Minh-Thu Quach NDP Salaberry—Suroît, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have but one question.

The Liberals say that they want to use Bill S-2 to improve motor vehicle safety and that the Minister of Transport will be able to designate new enforcement officers. Does my Conservative colleague think that a 59% cut in funding to Transport Canada's oversight program will help advance motor vehicle safety and protection or should the Liberals be seriously reinvesting in Transport Canada's oversight capacity?

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Kelly McCauley Conservative Edmonton West, AB

Again, Mr. Speaker, the member has a very good point. We have said that we want real safety issues addressed and not just fluff. The Auditor General's report is very clear about the people who were laid off in the area of safety investigations. We hope that the Liberal government, as well as the members of the committee, will take to heart the common-sense, straightforward suggestions by the Auditor General and bring about changes for much better safety conditions for Canadians and drivers.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:15 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise today to speak to the Senate bill, Bill S-2, an act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to empower the government to force recalls of vehicles with safety problems. As we know, the role of the government is first and foremost to protect its people. We cannot protect everyone from everything, and as they say, “He who defends everything defends nothing.” However, we certainly should be protecting Canadians from predictable safety issues. All members of this chamber, and most in the other chamber as well, can agree on these principles. Protecting Canadians is the role of all parties and all parliamentarians.

That is why this proposed act has been introduced twice, in two different chambers by members of two parties. Bill S-2 closely resembles the bill tabled at the end of 2015 by the hon. member for Milton. Then, as the Minister of Transportation, she tabled Bill C-62 to provide recall powers to the minister and the Department of Transport, to impose fines where appropriate, and to ensure that Canadians have safer vehicles. Bill S-2 diligently reproduces that leading legislation, and we appreciate the work of the senator who did so, and the work of the members of the Senate transportation committee and all the witnesses who appeared before them to bring this legislation forward.

This bill would provide new powers that are not really that new. In fact, if we were to read stories about vehicle recalls in the press, it almost sounds as if the government has recall powers already. Surprisingly though, Canada's federal government lacks the power to order manufacturers to recall any vehicle with a defect. According to testimony before the Senate, Canada has the power to order recalls and changes to other vehicles like airplanes and ships, but not to any cars or trucks. What this bill would do is create those new recall powers, as well as penalties of up to $200,000 per day. It would make it the prerogative of the manufacturer, not the dealer, to make repairs.

From the testimony, we know that some of the issues arising when there is a recall will continue. These cannot be fixed by legislation. As any of us who have gone through a recall know, a recall may be ordered but the parts might not always be instantaneously available. I read an interesting article last week, the story of John Fawcett from Iqaluit and his recalled Jeep with a known defect that abruptly shifted the transmission into neutral while the vehicle was under way. As a new father, this created a major problem for him. His vehicle was unsafe for his family. After some research, Mr. Fawcett discovered that his Jeep was under manufacturer's recall for four different issues that were listed on Transport Canada's website. The issue of the abrupt shifting of gears was also listed on the website and described thus:

...an unexpected shift to neutral which could result in a loss of motive power, which in conjunction with traffic and road conditions, and the driver's reactions may increase the risk of a crash.”

Mr. Fawcett accepted that his car needed a bit of work and that Chrysler was responsible for doing it.

This bill would ensure that consumers like John are protected from the potentially catastrophic accidents that can result from manufacturers' defects, and would authorize the Minister of Transport to order a company to correct a defect or non-compliance in a vehicle or equipment if it is considered to be in the interest of public safety. In addition, there would be the power to order companies to pay the costs of correcting a defect or non-compliance in a vehicle or equipment.

These combined order powers are important for potential situations in which consumers would be expected to pay for the correction of a defect or non-compliance of a vehicle or equipment. Such a situation would place an unreasonable financial burden on Canadians and potentially place other Canadians at risk should their fellow citizens be unable to undertake the necessary repairs.

I will have to agree with my colleague from the Senate chamber and former City of Ottawa police chief, who summarized this bill as “legislation [that] will strengthen oversight of the recall process. It will be a big win for consumers and overall for the safety of Canadians.”

The purpose of Bill S-2 is to increase consumer protection and motor vehicle safety in Canada. This is why the previous government brought this bill forward in 2015, why it is before us today, and why I will support this bill.

I found it useful to look at some of the parts of the testimony provided by consumer protection groups, vehicle dealers, and manufacturers. The first thing I noticed was the interesting insert of the dealers' and manufacturers' arrangement. The dealer networks noted that some, not all, manufacturers were providing poor business support to their dealers. Dealers were left holding costs for vehicles under safety recalls that were not yet sold to a customer. It was left to the headquarters of the car manufacturers in other countries to determine if they would provide help or not. This seems like a poor arrangement and a bad relationship between two businesses.

I am not always confident that government can help fix a poor business relationship, and time will tell if this new arrangement to manage recalls between manufacturers and dealers is a good deal for the end-user. When the bill was tabled by the previous government, it was all about the protection of consumers. There were no clauses about fixing a lopsided business relationship.

The bill was about protecting people who use and operate vehicles daily. Specifically, the bill ensured that vehicle recall notices would be sent as soon as possible so that people would be aware of the potential risks; that manufacturers would be required to act on the recall quickly and at the convenience of the customer, not at the convenience of the product cycles; and that manufacturers would cover the costs associated with recalls. That puts families first and works at the heart of protecting our regulatory regime.

The president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Associated said:

In particular, we support Bill S-2 amendments that provide a clear, more rigorous and transparent process for exercising a number of Ministerial Powers to Order, recognition of the rapid pace of technological change through enhanced ability to provide exemptions to standards where new technologies [exist]....

We know for the most part the manufacturers agree in principle with many of these measures. Why would they agree? For American companies, this aligns for the most part with U.S. regulations and makes it easier for them to understand and comply. The bill would empower the Minister of Transport to impose fines on manufacturers who delay or postpone recalls or who do not comply with recall orders.

Ian Jack of the Canadian Automobile Association said:

The Canadian system is a veritable, if not literal, paper tiger. Bill S-2 will give the minister the authority to order a company to issue that recall to make companies repair a recalled vehicle at no cost to consumer and to prevent new vehicles from being sold in Canada until they are repaired. This matches similar legislation that exists in the U.S., finally levelling the playing field for Canadian consumers.

Bill S-2 brings Canadian consumers up to the level of other consumers around the world, at least on measures related to recall notices, and this measure aligns with the harmonization of regulatory issues across the U.S. and Canada. The legislation will bring forward the protection of consumers, ensure that Canadian dealer networks are treated fairly, and ensure that our roads and streets have safer vehicles on them.

I am always happy to see some bipartisan co-operation on issues that ensure that Canada is protecting its citizens, and I am always happy to provide support when the Liberals follow the leadership of the previous Conservative government.

I would like to thank the senator for bringing this legislation forward. Like many parliamentary processes, it ran longer than a single mandate or government. I look forward to working with him and all my colleagues in the House to advance this legislation.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:25 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, I listened carefully to what my hon. colleague was saying. I too am looking forward to the bill being sent to committee so we can examine it in minute detail.

If the intentions of the bill seem acceptable, and some even seem quite laudable, what would, in my colleague's opinion, be the main omission in Bill S-2 that we should examine when we study it?

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:25 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, there are probably a number of things in the legislation that carry forward, one being whether the government is now trying to get into a business relationship fix between manufacturers and dealers as something it has to deal with. That could be an issue that could detract from the intent of the bill, which is to protect Canadians. I see that as probably the largest gap that exists at the moment.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:25 p.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, based on the last answer, there is a question that comes to mind with regard to the Senate amendment. One of the positions we have taken in not being able to support the Senate amendment is we do not see our role as dealing with commercial relations. That amendment is actually encouraging Transport Canada to get engaged in commercial relations.

I wonder if the member would agree we should be concerned about that aspect of the Senate amendment. By the sound of it, he does, but I would like him to confirm that he shares that concern.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is fair to suggest that if the legislation loses focus from its intent of protecting Canadians on vehicle recalls and gets bogged down with requirements of business relationships and a commercial setting, it may detract from its intent. I do not know if it is a deal-stopper, but it is certainly something that should be considered at committee.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pursuing this matter, and I am sure committee will have the time and the experts to advise it.

The member for Central Nova suggested there could be constitutional issues with the Senate amendment. That had not occurred to me. The heart and soul of the bill speaks to the relationship between consumers and carmakers, and dealers are somewhat in the middle. I am not sure that puts it suddenly into provincial jurisdiction, when all parts of the legislation deal with our desire to make sure we leave the customer in a good position after having a recall on a vehicle.

I wonder if the member for Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner has any thoughts on whether, from his point of view, there are constitutional issues raised with the amendment, bearing in mind that we are all going to need constitutional advice when the bill gets to committee.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Conservative

Glen Motz Conservative Medicine Hat—Cardston—Warner, AB

Mr. Speaker, I have to admit I am not a constitutional expert, and I am not aware what challenge this might present. However, I agree it certainly is worthy of study and advice. I have no further comment to make on that aspect, because I certainly am not aware of what that could be.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:30 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is with great pleasure that I rise to speak on Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another Act.

The safety of Canadians is of high importance to this government, and this bill will help further ensure the safety of Canadians. The rapid development of automated and connected technologies for light-duty vehicles is of great interest to the government. We have heard of fully autonomous vehicles, ones that can fully drive themselves without the aid of a driver. The prototypes of some of these vehicles are already undergoing on-road testing in the United States. This exciting new area of vehicle technology development can be seen as both a safety benefit and an economic innovation opportunity.

Shifts in the global technology landscape are placing a growing reliance on vehicle safety innovation while transforming business practices and consumer demands. These emerging and disruptive technologies offer promising opportunities for economic, safety, and environmental benefits, as well as a number of regulatory challenges. The pace of change associated with these technologies and how they are transforming the motor vehicle sector is rapidly increasing, while the regulatory process remains unchanged.

New technologies offer promising opportunities for improving road transportation and road safety, including the environmental impact of vehicles. However, these technologies can be challenging in terms of safety oversight.

Much of the technological safety of a vehicle cannot be seen by the naked eye. From the outside, two vehicles may look the same, but many of the safety elements are internal to the structure or operating systems of a vehicle.

Safety standards include those related to crashworthiness and crash avoidance. Crashworthiness, or “how to survive once there is a collision” standards include those related to front and side impact. As we shift to new technologies and building materials, we need to ensure that this survivability is not compromised.

Crash avoidance technologies allow drivers to detect and avoid collisions. One example of such technology is electronic stability control, which has been mandated on new vehicles since 2011. For this type of technology, we need to ensure that the promises made by the developers are accurate, as consumers will be relying on those technologies. The speed and scope at which new technologies are being developed and implemented is challenging the status quo and are testing government's ability, at all levels, to respond in a timely manner. Canadian industry and businesses need to understand, adopt, and deploy new innovations and business models to stay competitive and better position Canada for success in leveraging the full potential of emerging and disruptive technologies.

An important element of the discussion will be about motor vehicle technologies and how they are regulated. The legislation needs to be flexible and adaptive to promote Canadian leadership and to give Canadians access to these new technologies as quickly as practically possible. The regulations are aimed at keeping Canadians safe, but they cannot be so rigid that they delay the introduction of new vehicle safety technologies or fuel systems.

These proposed improvements to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act have been developed to address these and a number of other important challenges. Currently, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act includes a provision for interim orders. An interim order allows a Canadian regulation that corresponds to a foreign regulation to be suspended or modified if there is a change by that foreign government. Currently, interim orders can suspend or modify a Canadian regulation for one year, which does not reflect that some regulations could take longer to develop, particularly if they deal with very technical subject matter. As such, Bill S-2 proposes to extend the period of an interim order to three years to reflect the typical length of time required to complete the full regulatory process for such a technical requirement.

The bill also introduces suspension orders, which allow for the suspension or modification of an existing Canadian regulation. For this type of order, a foreign government's enactment or regulation is not required. In this way, Canada has a tool to lead the way in regulatory development to address new and emerging technologies. This process permits the Minister of Transport to allow newer technological solutions, when appropriate, to take effect more quickly. The order would be in place for up to three years.

Both of these tools would increase the flexibility of the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to address an ever-changing landscape related to the automotive industry globally. These orders will be published and will apply to all manufacturers equally in order to provide a level playing field.

Another tool that is currently available in the Motor Vehicle Safety Act is an exemption order. These orders allow the minister to exempt a model of vehicle from a regulation. Currently, exemption orders are only valid for one year and require approval from the Governor in Council.

An exemption is requested by the regulated body, and it is up to that entity to demonstrate that safety is not negatively affected. An example of this type of request would be if an automotive manufacturer or auto parts supplier applied to not meet a rear-view mirror regulation in order to install a rear-view camera that performed the same function or improved on it.

As these requirements are very technical in nature, under these proposed changes the minister would be given the power to decide, based on the best evidence, whether it is in the interest of safety to grant the exemption. The exemption would apply for three years to allow sufficient time to determine what technical regulatory requirements would be appropriate and to allow time for the manufacturer to implement and use the proposed technology. The exemption would only apply to that model of vehicle, but the exemption would be made public, allowing other manufacturers to be knowledgeable about options for advancing their own technologies.

In summary, the automotive industry is changing very rapidly, and vehicle technologies are making vehicles safer and more fuel efficient. However, these changes are challenging our regulatory capacity to assess and apply them in the Canadian context in a timely fashion. This proposed act includes a number of tools to allow adoption of regulations already available in another country and the ability to create short-term regulatory changes in advance of the full regulation being available. It would also be possible to exempt specific models from a regulation that would no longer be applicable to that model. An example would be a different type of fuel system.

I am glad to say that this would represent a new regulatory process for Canada for the next century and would increase safety and fuel efficiency on our roads and help Canada be an important player in the next generation of the automobile.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:35 p.m.
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NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, as fascinating as this subject is, there is one thing I wanted to hear my colleague talk about that was not mentioned in his preliminary remarks. Maybe he could remedy that in questions and comments.

In my part of the world, working at a dealership, whether as a salesperson, owner, or mechanic, is most certainly associated with that middle class the Liberals are always going on about. Dealers are true SMEs who contribute to the local economy and help develop our markets.

Since the start of the debate on Bill S-2, it has been clear to me that the Liberals do not support the amendment presented in the Senate that would make it easier for dealers to receive compensation.

In that case, do the Liberals have any other ideas about how to support dealers?

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
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Liberal

Francesco Sorbara Liberal Vaughan—Woodbridge, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government recognizes the importance of protecting Canadian consumers and ensuring road safety in Canada, which is the intent of Bill S-2. In terms of looking at commercial relations between automobile manufacturers and dealers, the Motor Vehicle Safety Act is not intended for that purpose. It is intended for the safety of Canadians.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 1:40 p.m.
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Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise in the House today to speak on Bill S-2, the strengthening motor vehicle safety for Canadians act, which would amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act to give the minister of transport new vehicle recall powers. This is good for Canada.

According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, there are five major auto manufacturers in Canada, and they operate approximately 11 different manufacturing facilities across this country. In addition to that, there are approximately 3,200 car dealerships across Canada, and in my riding alone, there are 15 different car dealerships. My point in saying this is that we are talking about a massive industry, an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of people and is a very strong contributor to the Canadian economy.

I will go back 50 years or so. Back in 1965, there was a guy who was not very well known at that time, by the name of Ralph Nader. He wrote a book called Unsafe at Any Speed. That is one of the best-written books or articles of the 20th century. He took on GM. He challenged GM on a vehicle it was producing at the time, the Corvair. He mentioned not only the Corvair but other cars, such as the Falcon and a lot of new American-produced subcompacts, as being unsafe. Nader later went on to form Nader's Raiders, a group of young, brilliant lawyers from across the United States. They challenged the U.S. government and industry to improve the standards of building new vehicles in the United States. They went after international manufacturers to improve the standards of building new vehicles in the United States. What they did spun off to help protect Canadians.

Their work directly led to the development of the Center for Auto Safety in the United States. Today we are talking about Bill S-2, and this is because of what Ralph Nader and his group started. The proposed legislation includes amendments that would give the minister of transport the power to order companies to issue recall notices and make manufacturers and importers repair recalled vehicles at no cost to consumer. It would give the minister of transport the power to order manufacturers and importers to repair new vehicles before they are sold. This is very important, and I will get back to it later.

It would allow the department to use monetary penalties or fines to increase the safety compliance and leverage the monetary penalties to require manufacturers to take additional safety actions. It would provide the department with the flexibility to address ever-evolving vehicle safety technology. It would also require companies to provide additional safety data and conduct additional testing to address safety concerns and increase our vehicle inspection capabilities. This is good for Canada and good for the safety of Canadians.

As members may have noticed, this bill is similar to Bill C-62, which was introduced by the previous Conservative government in 2015. Bill S-2 has provisions that did not appear in Bill C-62. It differs by adding consent agreements relating to safety improvements and non-compliant companies. It would also enable the minister to make public the nature of any violations and other related details, and why should they not be public?

Currently, under the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, only manufacturers can order vehicles recalled in Canada. Transport Canada does not presently have any authority to recall vehicles. This needs to change. This act would make that happen.

The department merely lists active recalls on its website and issues press releases if it believes that there is an issue with vehicle models. As I said earlier, the Nader's Raiders led us to where we are today. If we look back to the turn of the century, Henry Ford had no rules. He built cars as he saw fit. He designed them, and people took what he made. If they did not like it, that was too bad. The automotive industry had a pretty good run at manufacturing cars for the first 50 years of the 20th century, without a lot of rules. Thank God that today we have strict, global automobile manufacturing rules and laws. The bill before us is part of that strategy.

The current act does not allow Transport Canada to issue monetary penalties to manufacturers. The only way to ensure compliance with the act is through a time-consuming and costly criminal prosecution. A change would come about because of this bill.

A few members of the House might own 2014 or 2015 Volkswagen, but there was an issue. I will not dwell on it, because I am sure most people here in this room know what the issue was, but it had far-reaching effects on the hundreds of thousands of Canadians who purchased these German-made vehicles. It took from the time it all started to this spring for the claims to finally be resolved. There was a standard in which to justify the claims, and there are still some claims outstanding. This shows that, even today, major world-class manufacturers can make mistakes, and I will leave it at that with a few question marks. Government must be a watchdog. It is our duty to keep Canadians safe.

In Canada, over a five-year period, 2010 to 2015, the number of safety-related recalls increased by 74%, which is a large number, rising from 133 recalls in 2010 to 232 recalls in 2015. While this is a large jump, I note that between 2010 and 2016, our automobile manufacturers in Canada issued at least 318 recalls for which Transport Canada had not received any complaints. They did this on a voluntary basis. I have to thank the automotive industry, because that had a big cost to it, without any force by government. However, we know from what I just spoke of a few moments ago that we still need to be watchdogs. Transport Canada only influenced about 9% of the recalls during this time. Clearly, Canadian manufacturers are looking out for the safety of our consumers, which is an increasing challenge as the vehicles become more and more complex.

In 2015, five million passenger vehicles were recalled in Canada. This was a consequence of increased caution by automakers and increasing vehicle complexity. As I said earlier, this was done on a voluntary basis, for which we have to give thanks, but I think they also realized that internationally, whether in the United States, Canada, Europe, or France, we have regulations in place and we are the watchdogs. Therefore, most of this is probably because there are watchdogs out there, and we need to be there. This bill is needed.

Looking back, quite a few years ago, to 1958, some members may not have been here. The Speaker was here. He might have been a young whippersnapper then. I was here. I look back. I have been a car buff since about the time I learned to read. I grew up with Tom McCahill and Mechanix Illustrated. I loved every article he wrote. I think I read them for as many years as he wrote articles.

I think back to 1958, when the Ford Motor Company, one of the largest manufacturers in the world, developed a beautiful car called the Edsel. What a flop. It was ahead of its time. The company came up with the bright idea to make a push-button automatic transmission on the steering column. Only about 50% of them worked, about 50% of the time. Ford, in its wisdom, pulled that car after about a two-year run. Actually, it did slide into 1960 by customizing a Ford car to look like an Edsel, but it got rid of the vehicle. That was probably very wise.

We can look back over the years. GM trucks, from 1974 to mid-1986, were plagued by exploding fuel tanks. GM, in its wisdom, designed what I personally think is one of the greatest trucks out there, the C10 and C15 GM Chevy trucks, but it put the fuel tanks on the outside of the frame rails, because customers wanted 40 gallons; GM could not get the tank on one side, so it put 20 gallon tanks on each side of the frame rail.

What happened when they got hit was they exploded. I believe it was something like 600 Americans who were killed by explosions. There are ongoing lawsuits today.

Was the Corvair a bad car? Some people say it was; others loved them. They were built from 1960 to 1969. I will guarantee that for the first three years they handled terribly. The back wheels tucked under on a hard corner, and they could roll.

The Pinto had exploding fuel tanks.

A lot of these vehicles, including the GM truck, are still on the road today. The defects have never been corrected. This is why we need a strong act, like the one we are dealing with today, to protect Canadians.

As I said earlier, more than 600 people have been killed because of inadequacies by manufacturers to follow through on defects on their vehicles. There are still lawsuits ongoing about vehicles manufactured in the 1970s.

Today, vehicles are complex. They need to have their defects identified as quickly as possible and be corrected as quickly as possible.

I am sure everyone is aware of those self-driving cars that are just beginning to hit the road. Some members here might also have one of those cars that parallel park themselves. With the rise of smart technology, vehicles are quickly evolving and becoming much more highly integrated.

In order to facilitate industry competitiveness, Canada's regulatory regime needs to be more responsive to new, emerging technologies and fuel and safety advances. I do not even want to dwell on self-driving cars. I do not want to go there right now. This bill would allow the department to require manufacturers to provide more safety information and do testing when needed, as well as to increase their flexibility to address ever-changing safety technologies.

Last fall I bought a new Buick Enclave SUV. I drive about 40,000 kilometres a year in my riding. It has all the bells and whistles, even a backup alert. There is a nice big camera on the dash to see things when backing the vehicle up. The second day I owned the car I backed into my house, and there was $1,000 damage. It was a big hit. I could not even claim it. My wife was mad. I felt stupid. I admit I was inadequate and not inclined to understand the technology of the new vehicle. Now I know how it works.

While it is important for Bill S-2 to protect the safety of consumers, it is also important to understand the implications of the bill on small businesses and local dealerships and ensure that they are not negatively impacted by these changes.

I have to thank the Senate for changing the bill to protect dealerships across Canada, small- and medium-sized business dealers who were being stuck with cars that had recalls and could not sell them. Dealers in my riding were stuck with vehicles for over two years, waiting for repair parts so that they could put that vehicle back on the lot and sell it. They were paying the interest on those loans. That is unfair and it is wrong. The bill protects those dealers and puts the authority back on the manufacturer and importer of that vehicle to take care of that and to compensate dealers throughout Canada from coast to coast to coast. That is a big factor, and I thank the Senate for bringing that amendment in.

This amendment would make the manufacturer entirely responsible for all costs for recalling or repairing vehicles. It would be a counterbalance to ensure the auto dealers are treated fairly as small business consumers of the manufacturer.

As usual, there are more improvements that could be made. For example, manufacturers are concerned with some powers that could be seen as being too sweeping, such as the minister's ability to order tests. I make one recommendation: that we add the word “reasonable” in the bill, so that the minister can ask for tests to be done if there are reasonable grounds for testing. That is only fair.

I have a couple of minutes left and I want to stress one point. I have had a number of calls in my riding, as I imagine a lot of other people have. I am a motorcycle fan. I have a motorcycle and I ride every day when I get the opportunity, although this summer was not very good. Motorcycles, like automobiles, are manufactured to Canadian motor vehicle safety standards, United States motor vehicle safety standards, and European motor vehicle safety standards, yet constantly, in Canada and the U.S. dealers take the bikes before they leave the showroom, modify them with loud exhausts and so on, and then sell them to the unsuspecting public. Who suffers? The people living in residential areas, recreational areas, when guys go by with extremely loud exhausts. That is one area that we can address.

In closing, I believe that this proposed legislation will strengthen oversight on the recall process. It will be a big win for consumers and for the overall safety of Canadians.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 3:10 p.m.
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Conservative

Jim Eglinski Conservative Yellowhead, AB

Mr. Speaker, part of my speech dealt with some of the early history and safety of motor vehicle regulations. I want to go back to Ralph Nader.

Ralph Nader did a lot for North America, and for a lot of Americans and Canadians, in forcing the government of the United States to strengthen the way it set rules and regulations in the manufacturing of vehicles in North America. Because of that and because of our bilateral trade agreements, we buy the same vehicles that the United States build. We build a lot of the components that are used in the vehicles that are sold in the United States and vice versa.

Ralph Nader and the Nader's Raiders forced government back in the sixties to do what we are doing today, strengthening the motor vehicle safety acts across North America and across our country to make the vehicles we purchase as consumers in Canada, whether they are made here or in the United States, or made in European countries, much safer and that they protect Canadians. That is very important. I have to thank Ralph Nader and the Nader's Raiders. They led the way. The government and the people of Canada must lead the way as well and ensure Bill S-2 is good and it protects Canadians when they purchase motor vehicles.

Toward the end of my speech, and you were not here, Mr. Speaker, I talked about the motorcycle industry and how the dealers of motorcycles would modify motorcycles that were built to Canadian safety standards before they sold them. The bill needs to look at this and enforce it. I hope that as the bill goes through, Parliament follows Bill S-2 and we continually change it to meet the changing times and needs of new technology in the industry.

Strengthening Motor Vehicle Safety for Canadians ActGovernment Orders

September 19th, 2017 / 3:15 p.m.
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Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, my hon. friend from Yellowhead's speech mostly preceded question period. I am really pleased that in the debate today on Bill S-2 he is the first member to reference the Volkswagen fraud case. If there was another, I apologize. As I look at the legislation, it certainly should apply not just to human safety issues but to fraud that involves allowing polluting vehicles to pollute while their online reporting system tells the owners of the cars that they are not polluting.

In the spirit of my friend's hero, Ralph Nader, and Nader's Raiders, whom he mentioned a few times, does he think Bill S-2 will go far enough to protect us if a vehicle manufacturer defaults on environmental safety as opposed to vehicular safety as it is commonly understood?