Thank you, Mr. Chair.
If I am taking this attitude when asking my questions, it is because there are some unknowns. The Air Canada officials have stated that—although I am persuaded otherwise—they no longer have any overhaul centres, that they sold them to Aveos. And yet, there is no guarantee that Aveos will meet the principle of public participation; we will not let ourselves be fooled, since the act targets Air Canada. Aveos is a private company, a third party that is not required to comply with the Air Canada Public Participation Act. Our concern is that the maintenance work will be offshored to other countries.
I am referring to El Salvador. There are also rumours circulating about Costa Rica. I am not being racist toward those countries that also carry out maintenance. However, we are assured that the people working at the three overhaul centres in Canada are specialists, professionals. We expect that Transport Canada officials enforce the regulations. In the aviation sector, there is much that is subjective, and much that is built on trust. If I had the opportunity to go to Peru and had to choose between Air Canada and Aeromexico, I would choose Air Canada because of its good reputation.
But small accidents might have an impact on a company's reputation. Take the example of the crash of a Regional Jet that missed the runway and then ploughed to a stop during a storm in Fredericton, a few years ago. The first thing that Air Canada did was to send people with five gallons of paint to paint over the Air Canada logo. You knew that those pictures would be broadcast around the world. You did not want that to tarnish your reputation. You are opening yourselves up to such things and should assume the consequences.
I would like to come back to the testimony given by Mr. Mazankowski, the former Conservative Minister of Transport. During his appearance in 1988, he said the following:
There are other significant points that, in my view, are key elements of the legislation. First of all, the bill states that the head office of Air Canada will remain in Montreal. Furthermore, it guarantees that Winnipeg, Montreal and Mississauga will maintain their operational and overhaul centres. Those provisions reflect decisions made by the corporation [...]
We are also talking about the application of the Official Languages Act. When I sat on the Standing Committee on Transport, some 10 years ago, we dealt with the demise of Canadian Airlines, a company that merged with Air Canada. My party and myself, as the transport critic, were on the side of Air Canada, not Canadian Airlines, a company that was controlled by American Airlines, whose head office was in Dallas. I wanted the jobs to remain in Quebec and Canada.
Conservative minister Don Mazankowski made the commitment regarding the head office, overhaul centres and the Official Languages Act. He limited ownership of Air Canada shares by foreigners to 10%. You, Conservatives, gave us those guarantees. If you again want to reverse the situation, you can, but you will have to live with the consequences in the cities of Montreal, Mississauga and Winnipeg.
Was Minister Mazankowski simply going through the motions? Did he try to mislead us when he said that in 1988?