Evidence of meeting #10 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was sms.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Marc Grégoire  Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, Department of Transport
William J. Nash  A/Director General, Marine Safety, Department of Transport
Luc Bourdon  Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport
Merlin Preuss  Director General, Civil Aviation, Department of Transport

Noon

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

But did you not say to this committee that even though VIA Rail is a federal agency, they're not within your review? I thought a Mr. Landry in Moncton worked as part of your department and was involved with this.

So the line here about federally regulated railways.... Maybe some time we should have a list of those that are not federally regulated, because it means they're outside the review. I would be concerned about that.

Secondly, I want to ask you a little question here on the BC Ferries. Are they within your mandate?

12:05 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, Department of Transport

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

On some of the press releases about their safety people and what's happening with them, I'm not sure what degree of comfort people in British Columbia and along the coast would have, in view of the statements that are being made to the press.

You say, about the railway aspect, that stakeholders and others may complain, including the safety officer of BC Ferries. I don't want to put you on trial here on this, but it seems that he was complaining to somebody about safety regulations. Then when this accident happened he kind of disappeared. We wonder just what review you have done. Were there complaints about the safety of BC Ferries over the years prior to the accident last year, or is this a new issue that's simply coming to light in the press?

12:05 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, Department of Transport

Marc Grégoire

We receive, I would say on a regular basis and in all modes, complaints about companies from the employees themselves. However, the vast majority come from competitors who complain that their competitor is doing such and such, which doesn't seem to be in line with the regulations.

We systematically, through our regional offices and through our Transport Canada centres throughout the country, investigate those. We take any safety concerns very seriously. I cannot imagine one of our professional inspectors rejecting outright such a complaint.

I don't want to go into the specifics of something that's--

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Getting back to the rail, I'm getting more concerned, the more I think about it. We're dealing with a railway company that's providing service to three provinces. Are we saying, then, that the Province of Quebec, the Province of New Brunswick, and the Province of Nova Scotia are responsible for the safety reviews of that railway line between Halifax and Montreal?

12:05 p.m.

Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport

Luc Bourdon

Which line goes from Halifax to Montreal?

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Well, I don't think I should have to answer that question.

12:05 p.m.

Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport

Luc Bourdon

Yes, but I don't know of any line other than CN that goes from Montreal to Halifax. I know which line goes there, but I don't know which one you're referring to.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Is not part of that line owned by the New Brunswick East Coast Railway company?

June 15th, 2006 / 12:05 p.m.

Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport

Luc Bourdon

Maybe they own a portion of it, but not across the province.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Could you tell me how much of that line is owned by them?

12:05 p.m.

Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport

Luc Bourdon

I could look into it to give you an exact answer. But if it goes across several provinces, its automatically a federal railway. If it's provincial, it's because it's confined to one province.

The line that links Montreal to Halifax is owned by CN.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

The line through McGivney is certainly owned by them, but the line from Moncton into Quebec, I believe, is owned by the New Brunswick East Coast Railway. Is that not correct?

12:05 p.m.

Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport

Luc Bourdon

I doubt it.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Well now, Mr. Bourdon, you should know. I mean, you're the man responsible. I would think you must know the line between Moncton and, we'll say, Matapedia in Quebec.

12:05 p.m.

Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport

Luc Bourdon

Yes, we call it Chemin du Golfe et de La Matapédia. That's a provincial railway under the Province of Quebec.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

And it goes through the province of New Brunswick from the Campbellton area into Moncton.

12:05 p.m.

Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport

Luc Bourdon

I don't think it does.

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Charles Hubbard Liberal Miramichi, NB

Well, I travel it about every month, so I have a fair idea about it.

Sorry, Mr. Chair, sometimes--

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Maybe we could give you a chance to get back to Mr. Hubbard with that answer.

12:05 p.m.

Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport

12:05 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, Department of Transport

Marc Grégoire

I think we should provide, through the clerk, a full description of the federally regulated railway. That's not a problem.

We regulate 34, I believe....

12:05 p.m.

Director General, Rail Safety, Department of Transport

Luc Bourdon

It's 36 in total right now.

12:05 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister, Safety and Security Group, Department of Transport

Marc Grégoire

It's 36. We'll give you their names and where they go through. We'll give you a map.

12:05 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Merv Tweed

Thank you.

Mr. Storseth, go ahead, please.