Madam Speaker, the hon. member indicated a number of employees live in his riding. As well, in London, Ontario there are a number of CN employees.
We have through the CN privatization bill encouraged them to be involved in the ownership. We believe that will be good for the new corporation. Each employee will be able to buy shares in the company which will give them a more meaningful role in the affairs of Canadian National.
We wanted to ensure the employees knew their pensions would be protected in a number of ways. The Pensions Act and a number of safeguards Parliament has passed over the years will ensure each one of those pensioners and the people who work for CN now and in the future will have guaranteed pensions.
The hon. member is right, the privatization of Canadian National was not in our red book. What was in our red book was to build an efficient, affordable and integrated transportation system, be it in air, in marine or in rail.
We believe CN does not have to serve the public policy role. That is for governments to deal with in terms of regional economic development and so on. A railroad is a railroad and should be allowed to function as a railroad so it can provide the services it must to its customers.
We believe a privatized CN will be better for the country, better for its employees and better obviously for its clients. It will be stronger and able to manage a number of things without the encumbrances of government.
Therefore the deregulation package we put forward in the House today will ensure a viable rail industry for CP, CN and the creation of short line industries. Unless the country can move its goods and services in the most efficient and cost effective manner, we will not be able to deliver or export our goods and nobody will have a job. We need an efficient and affordable transportation system. That is what CN privatization is all about and that is what the deregulatory process is all about.
The member spent some time talking about the Quebec bridge. If he had spoken to his colleague he would have known CN has an obligation to maintain that bridge. A letter from Mr.
Tellier to the Quebec transport minister indicates the bridge is in need of repair, but there are studies which indicate it is safe.
It also has indicated that perhaps the province of Quebec ought to pay its fair share for the maintenance of the bridge. While it is very important for rail traffic, 75 per cent of the traffic on the bridge is vehicular, which comes under the jurisdiction of the provincial government.
We heard from people in committee who talked about the historical significance of the Quebec bridge. We believe in that as well. They are prepared to raise money. They are prepared to look at ways of restoring its historical significance.
I wonder if the member has heard from the minister of transport in Quebec as to whether Quebec is prepared to pay its fair share for the bridge to ensure it is safe and properly maintained for historical and transportation purposes. Has he heard from the minister or will he undertake to the House that he can use his good offices to talk to the PQ about paying its fair share?