Mr. Speaker, I would like to begin by commenting on the process here. As I understand when the procedure for referring a bill to committee before second reading was thought about in the standing committee on procedure some time ago, frankly I do not think this was the kind of bill we had in mind for referral to committee so early on. In my judgment this is the kind of bill on which there should be a full second reading debate on the principle of whether or not CN should be privatized.
I would like to register my objection to what I would consider to be a misuse of this particular procedure. Presumably it is in order to avoid just that kind of full scale debate about the privatization of CN, although I do not know why the government would bother to avoid it. Obviously there is a great deal of agreement between itself and at least the Reform Party on this measure.
Also, the government has an obligation to instruct or ask the committee, whatever is appropriate, to consult with the communities and other stakeholders that will be affected by the privatization. Just to have the hearings in Ottawa without going to Winnipeg and other places where people have good reason to be anxious about the effect of the privatization of CN is a mistake. It is certainly something the government should reconsider although I do not expect it too. It seems to be in an unholy rush to have this all over and done with, a rush which I do not understand.
This is a very sad day for me. I will have been in this House 16 years come next week. I have spent those 16 years defending and promoting the role of CNR as a publicly owned railway compa-
ny. I had hoped and for many years I had thought that this day would never come. I certainly did not expect it to come under the auspices of a Liberal government.
At times I felt if the Conservatives had been re-elected that at some point they would have done this. I remember back in 1978 when I was just a candidate for Parliament and had not yet been elected. I was critical of Harvie Andre, then a Conservative member of Parliament for Calgary for his proposal to privatize the CNR. I always thought that this was something in the back of the collective Conservative mind. The fact that it is happening now under a Liberal government to me simply makes the point-I wonder if the Bloc Quebecois could have their caucus meeting somewhere else, Mr. Speaker. I am trying to make a speech.