Evidence of meeting #112 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was pilotage.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Ray Orb  President, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities
Michael Broad  President, Shipping Federation of Canada
Karen Kancens  Vice-President, Shipping Federation of Canada
Churence Rogers  Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, Lib.
Matt Jeneroux  Edmonton Riverbend, CPC

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Angelo Iacono Liberal Alfred-Pellan, QC

Thank you.

Madam Chair, I would like to give the rest of my time to my colleague Mr. Sikand.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Thank you.

Thank you to our witnesses for being here.

I must apologize to you, Mr. Orb. I missed a portion of your initial comments. I was running a bit late.

To pick up on that point, I had an opportunity this summer to go with HMCS Charlottetown through Iqaluit to Greenland. The icebreaking capability came up a couple of times. We had some discussions on that.

I want your continued comments on whether we should have something in Resolute, and the type of icebreaker, because I know they were talking about nuclear capabilities, in terms of the source of power, and perhaps what we need to get to be comparable to nations similar to ours in the Arctic region.

9:20 a.m.

President, Shipping Federation of Canada

Michael Broad

First of all, they are talking about building a polar icebreaker, which started at $700,000 or $1 million. It is now well over $1 billion, and it hasn't started to be built yet. To us, spending that huge amount of money on one vessel is.... I know that Canada wants to show sovereignty in the north, but having one ship, to me, doesn't really do the job.

I think that on the commercial side we're needy. We could spend the money better by building more regular icebreakers.

Unfortunately, Canada's shipbuilding policy prevents ships being built overseas, but you could build ships for half the price of building them in Canada.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

That is what I was about to ask next. What is the cost associated with a regular icebreaker?

9:20 a.m.

President, Shipping Federation of Canada

Michael Broad

When you say “cost”, what do you mean?

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

In order to build it, because you said—

9:20 a.m.

President, Shipping Federation of Canada

Michael Broad

To build it offshore, it would be maybe $450 million, and in Canada it would be at least $800 million.

9:20 a.m.

Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

What would be an ideal size of fleet for Canada to have?

9:20 a.m.

President, Shipping Federation of Canada

Michael Broad

That's a good question. I have that in my office.

I would say that if we can replace our medium-sized.... It's not necessarily just numbers; it's the age of these vessels. We have to renew them. So we'd like to see the present medium-sized icebreakers and the large icebreakers—

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Thank you. I'm out of time.

Could you please provide that information from your office?

9:25 a.m.

President, Shipping Federation of Canada

Michael Broad

Absolutely.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

Gagan Sikand Liberal Mississauga—Streetsville, ON

Thank you.

9:25 a.m.

President, Shipping Federation of Canada

Michael Broad

Sorry, in fact we did submit a paper just on that subject, so I'll get it to you.

9:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Thank you.

Mr. Rogers, go ahead.

9:25 a.m.

Churence Rogers Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, Lib.

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Welcome to our witnesses.

Forgive me if I refer to Mr. Orb as Ray. We spent four years together as members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and we became good friends.

I have a couple of comments first, and then a couple of questions for Mr. Orb.

Regarding the comments around Bill C-69, it's my understanding that ditches and sloughs and such types of water are not considered navigable waters under Bill C-69. I remember that discussion, being a past member of the environment committee, so I just want to point that out.

I wonder if you could comment on the role of municipalities in trade and transportation logistics, and whether you think there is really a role for the municipalities in rural Saskatchewan. If so, how would you like to see the role of these municipalities incorporated into a national trade corridors strategy?

9:25 a.m.

President, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities

Ray Orb

Yes, that's an interesting comment. I think our interests in moving products.... It wouldn't matter what product it is; in our case, it's potash or grain products. We need to be at the table with the federal government when we're talking about federal infrastructure programs.

A good example is the new investing in Canada program. As part of FCM, through the rural forum at FCM, we've been pressing FCM and pressing the federal government to make sure that there is a rural infrastructure component. The federal government agreed and said that, yes, there will be a federal infrastructure component and it will contribute 60% into the funding of that.

A major part of that, for us, is that the primary weight corridors I mentioned are where our grain gets to market.

Unfortunately, beyond that we don't have much input. By the time it gets to a port.... In our case, the majority of our grain goes to the Asia-Pacific region, so that's the port of Vancouver. Beyond that we don't have any control of that. That's our side of it.

9:25 a.m.

Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, Lib.

Churence Rogers

What part do roads play in rural Saskatchewan, in terms of transportation? Are your roads and the road structure adequate?

9:25 a.m.

President, Saskatchewan Association of Rural Municipalities

Ray Orb

No, our roads and our bridges, in particular.... We have a lot of bridges in rural Saskatchewan, and we're actually doing a study on that right now. We are in a state of disrepair as far as the bridges go. Of course, you know that if you don't have a good bridge system, you don't have reliable roads because you can't use the roads.

We direly need an injection of funding. Yesterday, Saskatchewan finally signed a bilateral agreement. We were the last province in the country to sign on because of the fact that they are looking at moving out of transit the money that the cities weren't able to use. We're hoping that some of that is available for the rural component.

9:25 a.m.

Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, Lib.

Churence Rogers

Okay. Thank you very much.

Mr. Broad, I remember meeting with the Atlantic pilotage group, and they expressed major concerns about where there may be changes to the act in terms of perhaps suggesting increasing costs for pilotage in Atlantic Canada. They pointed out to us that they have a great safety record, an impeccable safety record. Their major concern seems to be that if we make changes and go to a uniform system across the country, we'll see major cost increases for shipping in Atlantic Canada.

How accurate is that?

9:25 a.m.

President, Shipping Federation of Canada

Michael Broad

Well, you know, it's interesting. If you had been with those same people five years ago, they would have been clamouring for change. But the APA appointed a new president, a fellow by the name Sean Griffiths, and he's cleaned things up pretty well.

All of that is to say that the Grégoire report does not say to consolidate all the piloting across Canada. It suggests they consolidate the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes pilotage, but the other pilotage authorities would remain the same. In fact, in some of the recommendations he even says, listen, if the pilotage authorities want to do this, they can make a choice; they have the option. If the Grégoire report is implemented, you're not going to see consolidation of pilotage authorities across Canada. If the pilotage authorities want to stay separate, they can.

9:30 a.m.

Bonavista—Burin—Trinity, Lib.

Churence Rogers

I appreciate that information.

I want to get to this question. When we talk about Canada's shipping infrastructure and keeping up with the changes that are going on in the industry, such as increasing the size of ships, increasing volumes of traffic and so on, what would you like to see come out of the ports modernization review?

9:30 a.m.

President, Shipping Federation of Canada

Michael Broad

Karen, do you want to answer that?

9:30 a.m.

Vice-President, Shipping Federation of Canada

Karen Kancens

Sure.

I hate to keep going back to the same point, but I think we need that national overview. We need that strategy so that we can look at ports—at the role they play in the economy, at the role they play on a national basis and for their local communities and populations. In terms of our approach to the ports review, you can look at it on a port-by-port basis, or you can look at the changes you need to governance in the Canada Marine Act. Again, we need to look at it from a broader perspective.

9:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Chair Liberal Judy Sgro

Thank you very much.

This is a short round, Mr. Liepert.

October 4th, 2018 / 9:30 a.m.

Conservative

Ron Liepert Conservative Calgary Signal Hill, AB

Thank you, Madam Chair.

Good morning, everyone.

Our colleague Kelly represents Saskatchewan. Rightfully so, she directed her questions to Mr. Orb. Matt and I represent a couple of Alberta constituencies, so I want to talk a bit about oil and the safety of shipping oil on our waterways.

As was mentioned by a colleague here, we were in Vancouver last week. Each time we asked, whether on our port tour or in presentations, about the safety of shipping oil by tanker, every answer was the same: There are no safety concerns by the shipping industry.

That was Vancouver. I'm more interested in shipping oil out of the northern ports. We all know that Bill C-48 was introduced to meet a campaign commitment that was made on the back of a napkin. I'd just like to get some comment on this from you. We have a government that talks about making decisions based on science and statistics.

To the Shipping Federation, do you have any statistics or do you know of any statistics that would support the tanker ban off the west coast?