Madam Speaker, the central point I was trying to make was that CN has had a record of losing money ever since its incorporation. The fact that it is losing money at a slower rate today is a blessing but it is like dying by inches, you are still going to die sooner or later.
If this deal is going to be palatable in a private market, if it is going to be saleable and if it can be privatized, it will only be privatized because those who will invest in it see the opportunity of making a dollar. That is the way our system works. That is the way it should work.
Concerning the restriction of 15 per cent, if a potential purchaser had the resources to take 20 per cent of the shares, it would ensure there would be a very strong hand at the helm. The other 80 per cent of CN would be widely dispersed in pension funds, in RRSPs, with people all over the country.
However, we had better make damn sure when we are doing something like this that this business is not being run by a committee. It had better be run by somebody who knows exactly what he or she is doing, exactly how he or she is going to do it and has one overriding ambition, to make a profit. There is no other reason for CN to be purchased by any potential investor anywhere.
That person must purchase it with the intent of making a profit. It has nothing to do with the Canadian identity. It has nothing to do with being a good Canadian. It has nothing to do with how much money has already been lost. It is strictly whether there will be a return on the investment when those shares are purchased.
That is the only consideration that anyone who buys a share in this should have. If Bobby Gimby decides he is going to be the head of Canadian National and this becomes part of the national dream then we are sunk. We will end up with another B.C. Resources Investment Corporation where thousands of widows and orphans are going to buy shares in this creature. They are going to see the share value plummet and be resentful beyond words.
It is our responsibility to ensure that whoever buys this baby has the opportunity to turn it into a profitable venture. Otherwise we are going to wear that can around our necks and we will deserve it.