Thank you, Madam Chair.
I'll preface my questions by stating that on Monday we had a strong theme of safety and passenger rights. Yesterday we had a strong theme of safety and business practice, which ultimately lends itself to safety. Today we're hearing about service levels to the customer.
As I said yesterday, a lot of what we're discussing regarding safety has to do with business practice. How do we lend ourselves to the broader transportation strategy of Bill C-49, building in a better business practice, a better level of service, and being able to bring our product to market, nationally and internationally?
I want to drill down a bit. In my former life at the municipal level we were all about these issues. We considered how to apply ourselves, our daily business at city hall, so as to allow business to be in a more effective and friendly environment. That's what I see here. One of the things we did back then, which I can see happening now on a national level, was to sometimes enter into the business world, not as a government but as a partner. Back then we entered into a partnership with a short-line railway because the class 1s abandoned us. To keep what happened in nearby jurisdictions from happening in ours, we bought a railway, which we ran and operated. We brought a short-line operator on board to make sure the companies that depended on those railways continued to be healthy and got the service they needed.
I want this to be a dialogue like we had back then, the same kind of dialogue here in Ottawa. Business often finds itself abandoned by the traditional transportation services. That could be on the water, the railways, the roads, or in the air. It could have to do with the government or the private sector. One example is short-lines. We all know this service attaches itself directly to business and provides a link to a broader transportation network. Often the future of business depends on that link and that network.
My question to you is twofold. First, can the product be moved by truck or other method of transport? I think I got that answer earlier when you said no. We know that some companies ended up closing because those lines were abandoned and nobody picked up the ball with a short-line operator.
Second, Bill C-49 addresses the broader transportation network and the broader transportation strategy. Do you, being in the business every day, have any recommendations on how this bill could give short-line operators a mechanism that would allow them to pick up on these abandoned lines so that local economies are not hurt and local communities remain healthy?