Mr. Speaker, Bill C-89 is a very important bill to the railway industry and for the future of transportation in the country. I appreciate the number of members who have spoken and the vast number of questions which will be answered in due course in the committee hearings to commence tomorrow.
I want to extend appreciation to the opposition parties, the official opposition, the Bloc Quebecois and the Reform Party, for their support in principle of the bill. I understand it is conditional support at this point in time and that we will endeavour to answer their questions at committee. I should point out that the NDP continues to be in a time warp. It believes the government must own and operate everything to ensure that it is run efficiently. Most members have indicated that we have a tremendous opportunity to create a new CN with greater efficiencies.
I highlight two questions that have been posed to the government. The first concerns no restrictions to foreign investment. The Canadian taxpayer has helped to build Canadian National and the Canadian taxpayer deserves to get the maximum benefit for that investment. Therefore the experts have indicated to us that to ensure the maximum benefit, one cannot impose certain restrictions on the share offering to try to get the best possible value for Canadian National.
Second, we have put a restriction on individual shareholdings to a maximum of 15 per cent. A number of opposition members have indicated that certain unaffiliated or unrelated companies could band together to essentially take over Canadian National. I want to say with regard to that concern that the experts have told us it is impossible. The reason we have drafted the bill with
such detail is to ensure that unrelated companies and individuals could not band together to essentially have control of Canadian National.
I want to make two other points. The Minister of Transport indicated this morning that regulatory reform would be coming up soon. It is as important as CN's privatization to ensure that we have an efficient railway transportation system.
We all agree that transportation is key to our competitiveness, to creating jobs and to exporting. That is why we want to create a national, affordable integrated railway system in the country that will allow us to be able to move goods and people as efficiently and as effectively as we possibly can, and to ensure that those jobs remain in the country and that we continue to export.
Bill C-89 is going to committee and when it comes back I am sure we can look forward to the support of all members of the House.