Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I just want to go over some of what we've been told so far. First, the government will not let us question Aveos, so we can't indirectly through you ask these questions we're trying to ask about how Aveos managed to collapse. The government also won't let some of you talk when it comes to monetary issues.
The investors bought the equipment. The equipment still exists. So while the government is suggesting Aveos burned through $1 billion of money, that's actually not true, because the equipment still exists. Nobody burned through anything. They paid their employees a bunch of money over the course of however long they were there. Those investors are probably going to be first in line to get their money back, ahead of the employees. Certainly the employees have nothing at the moment, not even EI.
The minister got a legal opinion that runs contrary to everything the government has said. Both Liberal and Conservative governments since 1998 have all said it couldn't happen, that what just happened couldn't happen, wouldn't happen. Now the minister says “Oops--it happened.” Oops isn't good enough for you folks, or for the 2,600 people you represent. Oops is not acceptable to us, and it shouldn't be acceptable to the government.
The answer, clearly, appears to be that Air Canada has done everything it can to shed expensive labour. That's really what, to us on this side, seems to be going on. Air Canada's statement to us during the hearing on Thursday was that they signed a deal that was favourable to Aveos. If it's favourable to Aveos, it's not favourable to Air Canada. If it's not favourable to Air Canada, I'd want to get out of that deal as quickly as I could. So it makes sense that Air Canada would stop sending planes to Aveos in order to starve it. That appears to be what went on, but we'll never know, because the government won't let us question Aveos.
Now everybody here seems to be grasping at straws and asking, can we find another investor? Can we find another player to try to take over this equipment? The equipment is sitting there. Air Canada's not using it. Aveos isn't using it. The government is sitting on its hands, saying it's not our problem; it's a private issue between two private players. The law has no teeth. It has no meaning as far as the government is concerned, despite statements over many years that we shouldn't worry because this will never happen.
What should have happened when the government first became aware that Aveos was running into trouble with Air Canada and they told us not to worry, nothing will happen? What should the government have done to ensure that Air Canada lived up to the spirit of the law, which was that this work would stay in Canada, in Winnipeg, Mississauga, and Montreal?