House of Commons Hansard #222 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was species.

Topics

Cn Commercialization ActGovernment Orders

4:35 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, what is the point of this debate? Why are we here? I have been sitting here day after day. Are we wasting our time?

I have listened to the debate and the speeches which have been made on both sides of the House. I know a heat wave is hitting the country. I wonder if it has been caused by the intense debate we have heard over the last week or so. I am not sure. Is the only thing we are accomplishing the generation of a lot of hot air?

Last week I took a break and went down the hall to the other place which is known as the Senate. I sat in there for a while and listened to the debate. I heard some very good speeches on euthanasia and other topics. I thought to myself, nobody is listening to these speeches. Nobody in the country is looking at what is happening here. These people have gone to a lot of work and nobody is listening. Suggestions are being made and nobody is listening.

Then I came back to this place. I thought to myself, it is no different here. Nobody is listening. Nobody is paying attention.

The Reform Party has made suggestions. It has worked with the government to fine tune the legislation to ensure it is acceptable to all Canadians. We find that, by and large, our efforts are useless. The speeches we make are falling on deaf ears. Nobody is listening. What is the point of the debate?

During the election campaign my strongest opponent was the NDP candidate who is now running for the leadership of that party. He made a big point of the Senate being unelected and unaccountable. He said that because it is appointed, the people in the other place are not very effective, the balance which it should provide between the regions is not there.

However, my hon. opponent in the election forgot to mention that this place could really use some fixing. This place is not democratic. This place is not doing what it should be doing. The debate here is often very meaningless. The suggestions which are made in good faith are completely disregarded. My feelings about the other place are also the feelings I have toward this place.

People are frustrated because Parliament is not doing its job. I want to use this bill to illustrate what I mean.

I have been here for almost two years now and that time has shown me that this place is guilty of many of the same problems of which we accuse the Senate. What is changing because of the debate we are having here? This debate is coming to a close. In fact, this session of Parliament will soon be over. We have been debating day after day. I wonder if it is accomplishing anything and whether the work we put into our speeches is really effective.

For those who are watching on the parliamentary channel and may not be aware of how legislation is created, very simply the legislation is introduced in the House, generally by the government, but there are private members' bills. It is introduced and receives first reading. It goes through second reading, goes to committee, is reported back to the House and then goes through third reading. That does not mean it becomes law. Then it goes to the Senate and it goes through the same process. Then if the legislation has passed, it becomes law.

As we go through all of these processes, as we work in committees, there should be amendments proposed. There should be open and free discussion. That has frustrated me. A lot of what we do is hidden. It is behind the scenes. It is in the committees. A lot of the work, the research, that is done and the proposals that are made, Canadians are not aware of.

In order for democracy to work that process should be open. Every member of Parliament should have input. By and large that is not happening. The agenda is driven by only a few elected people in the House of Commons. That is unfortunate.

When the debate on Bill C-89 first began, I suggested four things. I was one of the first speakers on the bill. If we are going to produce good laws these suggestions should have been dealt with but by and large they have not. I have heard several reasons why they have not.

If we look at the reasons we begin to realize that they do not hold water. They are not acceptable. First I said that prohibiting the government from arbitrarily cancelling all or part of CN's debts prior to privatization should not take place. I also mentioned that removing the requirement to leave CN's headquarters in Montreal is something that the government should take a serious second look at. We proposed amendments for that. We thought perhaps a lot of politics was involved. What I have seen today probably underscores that fact. I do not think it is a wise business decision.

Another suggestion I made was to remove the requirement that CN comply with the government's policy on official bilingualism. It was pure politics. My hon. colleague has pointed that out very well. I also said remove the 15 per cent ownership restriction.

I heard the members arguing that we do not want to destabilize the company. Any owners who would take over would not want to do that. The arguments which have been presented on the other side are superficial. They do not hold water.

That is why we have to do more in this place than simply generate a lot of hot air. We have to begin to listen to each other and do the fine tuning of legislation that would make it good legislation.

We agree with the privatization of CN. It is a good thing. The government has an opportunity to make it a great thing. I want to suggest that the government use this, its first major attempt at privatization, as a testing ground for the privatization of other crown corporations.

Reformers do not want a lot of unnecessary regulations that restrict companies in keeping down their costs. We do not want that. Yet the government is tying their hands somewhat.

When Reformers ask why tie the hands of the new owners of CN by stipulating that the headquarters remain in Montreal, the Liberals answered and that they wanted to provide a level of certainty that potential costs from relocation of the headquarters will not ensue. Think about the absurdity of that answer. A company would not relocate its headquarters if it would result in some financial disadvantage.

On the other hand, what if there was an advantage financially to moving the headquarters to Winnipeg or some other western place or to the east? What if there was an advantage in doing that because it might be more central to the bulk of the business? Why should they not be allowed to do that? Would they make decisions that were not wise for the company? They would not. That is why the answer that I have heard to to this question is absurd. Seventy per cent of CN's business is done in western Canada. Why put in the stipulation that the CN headquarters must stay in Montreal?

The Bloc says that we are Quebec bashing. We are not Quebec bashing. Where is the consistency in the government's reasoning? When the ancestor to Air Canada moved its headquarters from Winnipeg to the east, westerners argued that this was a Winnipeg based company. The government in its big bubble here in Ottawa said "Oh, no, most of the airline's business is in the east, so we should move the headquarters to Montreal". When the shoe is on the other foot and CN's business is mostly in the west, it has a completely different argument. There is no consistency in what the government is saying. By using the government's own reasoning, it should allow the company, if it wishes, to move the headquarters out of Montreal.

When history and tradition fail the west the Liberals say it does not matter. However, when history and tradition favour the east they write it into the law. Something is wrong. Why run a company 2,000 miles away from its main operation?

In 1987 Madsen Pirie, who was president of the Adam Smith Institution in London and a world renowned expert on privatization, spoke at a Canadian symposium on privatization organized by the Fraser Institute. He had this to say about the fundamentals of privatizing a crown corporation:

When government engages in an activity such as privatization, it is speaking to several audiences. Among the audiences the government speaks to are the managers of the Crown corporations, the workers who are employed in them, the members of the general public who are customers of the Crown corporations, the general public who are taxpayers and who pay the subsidies to support the losses of those corporations, potential investors who might buy shares in those corporations, the financial and business community which takes an interest in their performance, and the media commentators who observe this process and comment on the results and declare it to be a success or a failure. Every act of privatization speaks to all of these audiences and every act should be tailor-made to maximize the support of each of these different groups.

When we review this bill we should test against Dr. Pirie's list of vested interests or audiences, or stakeholders as the government likes to call them. Bill C-89 must address each of the groups affected by the privatization: the managers, the workers, the customers, the taxpayers, and the investors. If Bill C-89 does not specifically address each of the needs and interests of these groups, then amendments will be necessary. That is what we proposed.

This is what frustrates me as we come to the end of this debate. I do not think one thing we have said here today is going to change the government's mind. We are generating a lot of hot air in the midst of a Canadian heat wave and it is doing us no good.

Dr. Pirie also outlined three key principles of privatization. His first principle was never cancel a benefit. If people are deriving a benefit from the public activity of a crown corporation, never cancel it, no matter how unjust it is. In his second principle he said to make friends out of your enemies: "Find out who the people are who might lose on the privatization process and structure the policy to make sure they gain instead". The third principle he gave was disarm the opposition: "Identify all possible objections to privatization and tailor the policies so that every single one of those objections are dealt with in advance".

Has the government done this? I brought this up months ago, and nothing has been done. That is why I still maintain that a lot of the debate here is not really effective. Has the government done this? I doubt it. The government should ensure that it has considered each of Dr. Pirie's three principles in planning for this privatization.

Has the government explored the idea that came from one of my constituents and which I presented to this government that we could have two or more government objectives rolled into one? For example, the government is giving landowners in the west a one-time payout for the elimination of the WGTA subsidy for the railways, which is commonly known as the Crow rate. Would it be possible, I asked, to give western farmers the choice to have their Crow rate buyout in the form of shares rather than cash? It could be made fairly attractive and then farmers would have a direct financial interest in the economic performance of CN.

I heard one of the Liberal members opposite several hours ago argue that we could never raise the capital in Canada to even have someone grab hold of the major amount of shares in CN. That is ridiculous. Does the member not realize that the crown payout of approximately $1.6 billion is equal to the price the government is asking for CN? What does he mean the capital is not available? Right there is the capital. The main users of the railway are the grain producers in this country, and they could use it. It would give them the benefit. It would meet some of the negative aspects that often come with privatization.

That is why I am saying the government should have been listening. As this idea is being picked up they could have floated the idea. Maybe this is a bad idea, but they should have looked at it. This idea comes from some of the constituents in my area, and it should be dealt with.

Look at the recommendations of previous studies. The government spends million and millions of dollars on royal commissions and studies. One of the recommendations made was that rolling stock could be privatized but the government could continue to maintain the rail beds, maybe as a private corporation eventually. They could maintain the rail beds just as they do the highways in the country. It would allow small entrepreneurs that do not have the capital resources to buy a huge railroad to at least use the efficiency of the rail beds in transporting their products.

The Economic Council of Canada published a report called "Minding the Public's Business". In chapter five, entitled "Government Enterprise and Business", the Economic Council made the following recommendation: "Entry into rail carriage could be promoted in different ways. The provisions of the proposed legislation could be expanded to make running rights more easily available and to open entry into rail carriage to anyone who can meet the basic requirements related to safety and liability coverage. Instead of regulating the activities of CN and CP in their capacity as providers of the rail bed, the management of all track could be assigned to a new publicly

owned track authority. This would require the nationalization of CP's roadbed and the separation of CN's track from the other components of its operation. Alternatively, a public track authority could be created based exclusively on the infrastructure of CN."

We have put this to the government. It seems to ignore it. I do not know why. Why does the government spend all these millions on commission and studies? They come forth with some sensible recommendations and the government promptly dismisses them. This is an idea whose time has finally come and the government should give serious consideration to establishing a public track authority that would operate similarly to our highway system. This would eliminate the tax disadvantage placed on rail companies.

Rail companies are at a tax disadvantage. They pay fuel taxes and they also have to maintain their rail beds. That is not fair. On the other hand, trucks pay fuel taxes, but the highways, their road bed, are maintained at public expense.

A public track authority could charge user fees to rail companies based on the use they make of the tracks. As a result, they would be self-financing. At some point in the future the public track authority could even be privatized.

The Chamber of Commerce supports a fully user pay rail infrastructure and had this to say in their 1994 submission to the special joint committee reviewing Canada's foreign policy: "Canadian businesses are increasingly pointing to an unlevel playing field between the Canadian and U.S. commercial environments. One tangible example among many can be found in the Canadian transportation industry. Rail, for example, provides the most economic mode of transportation for a large part of Canada's freight and for many shippers is the only cost effective mode. It is fundamental to Canada's trade, moving 40 per cent of Canada's exports, and provides a fully user pay infrastructure not liable to ongoing public funding."

Finally, I want to return to a point I have made repeatedly in speeches before the House for the last couple of years. I would like to comment on the importance of the port of Churchill to the farmers of Saskatchewan and Manitoba. When I said that the government should be looking at more than one initiative, this is another thing it should have looked at.

The privatization of CN should be seen as an opportunity to privatize, expand markets, modernize, increase exports and imports through the port of Churchill. This will take more than just the privatization of CN. It would take the cooperation and likely the privatization of both VIA Rail and Ports Canada at Churchill. It will take the cooperation of the federal government, the government of the province of Manitoba, the cooperation and support of every community and producer whose future will be improved by taking advantage of the most cost effective shipping route for bulk commodities to our customers in Europe, Africa, and South America.

I respectfully ask the government not to look at the Churchill line and the port of Churchill as a liability but as an opportunity requiring creative thinking and a cooperative and creative privatization strategy. I have worked on this quite a bit, and that is why I say one government department must work together with the other one.

One of the main obstacles to making the Hudson Bay route and the port of Churchill viable is the Canadian Wheat Board. Unless the Canadian Wheat Board becomes more open and accountable to grain producers, prairie producers will continue to be routed through costly eastern ports.

Yoy cannot just look at the railroad in isolation. You have to see how it all connects. Why is it that we have this problem? Because the railroads and eastern interests benefit in having the grain go through the traditional route rather than through the port of Churchill.

Farmers are asking important questions that will not be answered until the process of grain sales in routing is opened up.

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4:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

I am sorry, the time has totally expired. Questions and comments.

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4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Madam Speaker, I really do not want to address the issue of the bill that is currently before us. However, I did want to ask the member about some comments he made.

He criticized the quality of the debate and suggested that somehow government members were responsible for that quality of debate. Throughout this day and throughout a good part of last week the majority of speakers on any bill, by a margin of four to one, sometimes nine to one, ten to one, have been Reform Party members. If 90 per cent of the speakers on the bill are Reform Party members and only 10 per cent are government members, would this not suggest that it is the Reform Party members who are responsible for the inadequacy of the quality of debate?

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4:55 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, I wish the hon. member had been listening carefully to what I said. The point of what I am saying is that those members are not listening carefully to what we are saying.

We have made suggestions to the government. We were not complaining about the quality of debate. We are coming up with speeches, coming up with amendments, working on committees. We are doing all of these things that a good parliamentarian should be doing, but it is useless.

It is no different from what is happening in the Senate. These people make these wonderful speeches and it is to no avail. We come to this House and it is still to no avail because we do not

have democracy built into the system. We debated gun control, and when it came down to it we were not even allowed to vote freely on the issue. Liberal members were told how to vote.

We made suggestions as to how to improve some of the legislation in this House. My point was very clearly made that the speeches we made and the work we did was by and large ignored by the government.

I would like to conclude some of the other remarks I made in regard to the Churchill route because they may be misconstrued if I do not. Suspicion grows that the grain companies, the government bureaucrats, the railroads, and the eastern interests drive the agenda while the western farmer continues to be ripped off, not realizing the full benefits of his labour and his enterprise.

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4:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Point of order.

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4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Madam Speaker, I will be delighted to ask the member a question and to drop the point of order. The point was to have been in fact that the member was entering into debate. If I can continue with questions and comments, which is the time-

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4:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

We have questions and comments. Point of order?

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4:55 p.m.

Reform

Stephen Harper Reform Calgary West, AB

Madam Speaker, I was rising on questions and comments.

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4:55 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

I think the member is well aware that when the opposition parties are speaking we normally allow government to question the party.

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5 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Madam Speaker, contrary to the statement just made by the member, I was listening very carefully. It was the quality of debate he was criticizing. If he reviews his blues in Hansard he will find out those were the words he used.

I can only say again that 90 per cent of the debate has come from the Reform Party compared with government members and therefore I know who to blame for the quality of debate.

On the point of listening, the member is well aware, and I am surprised he has not said this in the House, there has been a great deal of listening. There were over 40 amendments to the gun control bill in committee. There were dozens more amendments debated-

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5 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Did the member not rise on a point of order?

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5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

She retracted and went back to questions and comments.

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5 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Would I not have a chance to finish the remarks I was making? Is she allowed to interrupt me?

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5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

I am afraid the hon. member was back on debate.

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5 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Liberal Ottawa West, ON

Madam Speaker, would the member not concede there were over 40 amendments in committee, that there were dozens of amendments debated in the House last night on the bill? We voted on over 30 motions last night. Clearly amendments have been put forward with debate.

If the member were to be totally honest with the public he would concede even some points brought forward by members of the Reform Party in committee on the gun control legislation, which he referred to, were incorporated in the gun control legislation and that we have been listening. Listening is not the same as agreeing with everything the Reform Party says; otherwise we would both be on the same side of the House.

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5 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

Madam Speaker, I was involved with C-68, the gun control measure, and if the she wants to debate that, I would be very willing to. I think that is not what is-

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5 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

I ask the hon. member not to refer to other members in the House as "she". The hon. member is the deputy government whip.

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5 p.m.

Reform

Garry Breitkreuz Reform Yorkton—Melville, SK

In relation to Bill C-68, the changes the government made that responded to Reform suggestions were simply changes where a word may have been clarified. Virtually no other changes were made by the government. They were so minuscule as to be almost useless, very small wording changes.

With regard to Bill C-89 when we asked about allowing a company to move the headquarters from Montreal, the government did virtually nothing to act on that. When we questioned the government's official bilingualism policy being applied to a private company, it remained virtually unanswered, as did the question of the 15 per cent ownership restriction. All of these things we raised were not properly addressed. The answers we were given were superficial. They were not effective answers.

We are talking about Bill C-89, not Bill C-68, a whole different matter. I would gladly address that if we were debating it. What about the cancelling of CN's debts prior to privatization? In all fairness to the government, it addressed that question somewhat. By and large a lot of the suggestions we made fell on deaf ears. That is the problem with this place; that is the problem with much of the debate that takes place here.

We can speak 90 per cent of the time but it makes no difference. I wonder if Canadians realize we are acting as the

official opposition, that we are examining this legislation in minute detail. This is our job but by and large the government is not responding to the positive suggestions we have.

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5 p.m.

Reform

John Duncan Reform North Island—Powell River, BC

Madam Speaker, I am happy to talk on third reading of the CN privatization bill.

Railway politics in Canada take a prominent place in our history. I know from growing up in this country and working on the railways part time I have a great sense of history. The member for Kenora-Rainy River is another part time railroader. The ra ilways are very important historically to the country.

I am reminded of the railway on Vancouver Island, E&N Railway, very important in the development of the west coast. There is an ongoing contractual commitment in this country to keep that railway going despite some pressures the other way. Those contractual commitments date back to prior to the turn of the century.

In terms of our contemporary history, we are seeing great changes, the stability of our railways, or the instability in the beginning. It is a whole new ball game now. Why is it a whole new ball game now? Government operations and crown corporations can no longer function in the way they functioned for the last several decades.

This is unavoidable because of our fiscal situation and I am reminded of this every day. Two-thirds of government revenues are derived from personal federal income taxes. One-third of federal revenues are to service our national debt. It does not take much of a mathematician to figure out 50 per cent of people's personal federal income tax is going to service our debt.

This situation despite the last budget is getting worse because part of our revenue dedicated to servicing debt is increasing over the next couple of years. We are treading water and sinking slowly. This message is slowly being accumulated by the population at large. It is being expressed in a lot of different programs of government and it is being expressed in how we unavoidably must deal with our crown corporations.

The transport committee, the task force appointed by the minister in September of 1994 which put its finding forth in January of 1995, identified a number of things which I think were largely known to most.

CN and CP are both facing very strong competition from other industries and from the U.S., particularly on the north-south routes, north-south markets. The railways are losing market share to trucking. Deregulation of the U.S. railways is obviously impacting a great deal on the Canadian railways. The eastern routes are losing money and the western routes are declining in profitability.

This same task force also identified that all major North American railways were privately owned with the exception of CN. One wonders why Canada would have such a different contemporary situation. This bill is quite predictable. The privatization was to occur. All the market pressures were there and governments around the world are privatizing crown corporations.

The task force also identified that as a crown corporation CN had been subject to many politically motivated moves and that much of this results from the president and the board basically being patronage appointments. There is a message in all of this for other crown corporations of government.

The standard provisions of any privatization bill are essentially the same no matter what crown corporation is being privatized. What is different are the bells and whistles which deal with investor attractiveness, some of the social ramifications, how it deals with existing employees, how it deals with the public interest and those kinds of things. Essentially that is what most of the debate in the House and in committee has been about. The amendments proposed by the Bloc and by the Reform Party have largely been about the bells and whistles of the bill.

In terms of investor attractiveness, the bells and whistles are a very strong signal of what kind of regulatory environment the new owner is to face when they try to run the railroad. The signals we are sending out with this bill are all wrong. Most of the amendments deal with the signals we are sending to potential purchasers of the railway.

One amendment is the requirement that CN's headquarters remains in Montreal. We have heard several times in the debate that this requirement is absurd because the marketplace can make that decision better than anyone else.

That it exists in Montreal today may have some social and employment ramifications which is why a sunset clause is not a bad idea. We have seen in the history of Canada that different jurisdictions over time have different natural advantages. There are population shifts and differences in trading patterns and all kinds of rationale for which private investors would want to retain the option to move their office to a different location.

Before I get into further amendments I will talk about the way the bill was handled in the House. The bill went to committee after first reading, which was a new process. Normally a bill goes through first reading when the legislation is tabled and through second reading debate and then the bill goes to committee.

Conceptually there are some very nice things about sending legislation to committee after first reading when in a non-partisan way people can get all their points in before the legislation becomes set in any way and then a better bill can come before the House. The concern with respect to this bill was that if the environment was not there after first reading when it went to committee, to take all the best of everything people had to say about the bill to make it the best legislation possible we have really missed the opportunity of second reading debate. We want to have a very close look at the process before we commit

ourselves to a continuation of it whereby we essentially eliminate debate at second reading.

The next point I would like to speak to is about restricting the percentage of shares that any one individual, corporation or association may own. This has a very negative impact on bringing in the kind of investor that would like to purchase a major portion of the new company and bring in a management style that would revitalize the whole company.

The chair of the transport committee, the member for Kenora-Rainy River, said that this had been looked at. The 15 per cent restriction was quite plausible because CP had never had more than 11 per cent single ownership. Surely our view of the world extends beyond the gaze of Canadian Pacific. We have to look at this on a global scale. We have to look at it from a totally different perspective. Government once again is talking about privatization yet government still wants to retain control. There is an irony about this and it is inappropriate.

One investor said that the 15 per cent restriction circumscribes the deal. It certainly does. It dampens investor confidence. It freezes out many investors who would otherwise look at this. It sends out all the wrong signals.

With respect to CN's debt, this is repetitive but CN currently owes about $2.5 billion. It has been established by experts that CN will never sell this debt level. It must be reduced to a level which would allow access to a BBB credit rating. The general concurrence is that amount would be about $1.5 billion.

CN currently has $300 million to $400 million on hand through recent company sales such as CN Exploration, and excess capital reserves. The market value of CN's non-rail estate assets are $400 million to $600 million. In a perfect world this alone would be sufficient to attain a BBB credit rating.

Clause 12 of the proposed legislation gives the minister the power to reduce CN's debt to any amount he chooses. This is a major problem. This is something the other place should look at very closely if we cannot change anyone's mind in this place because there are two major risks in this.

The minister may choose to reduce the CN debt well below the amount at which the taxpayers can receive a return on the sale. This would raise the cost of shares making it appear more attractive but producing a lower yield for taxpayers. As well, excessive reduction in the debt of CN would put CP at a disadvantage which is all too familiar. This was done during the privatization of Air Canada. The intent of the Reform amendment was to limit the minister's power in reducing the debt of CN.

Clause 15 provides for a permanent requirement that CN retain the official languages policy and operates under both official languages. Once again, this is another signal of a regulatory atmosphere that is inappropriate when one is trying to attract investors.

The government does not have official languages control over the private sector. Privatization of CN removes the mandatory compliance of the Official Languages Act. The Reform amendment was to include a five year sunset clause on the mandatory retention of operating under both official languages. Unfortunately this was voted down.

Then we have the Canada clause. The bill does not provide any restrictions of foreign ownership, nor should it. However, the Reform amendment would have allowed a 90 day sale period open to Canadian individuals and corporations before opening it up to foreign markets. This provision would have allowed all Canadians first crack at investing in a Canadian institution. What could be more appropriate? This would have allowed a win-win situation but once again it was voted down.

The marine strategy report proposes that all national ports must become self-sustaining and that all loans must be obtained from the private sector without government backing. Reform agrees with that proposal.

The Sarnia tunnel is a viable access from Atlantic Canada to the American midwest. The Halifax Port Corporation believes that through upgrading the port facilities in Halifax it will secure the handling of the new high capacity deep draft freighters and thus the economic future of marine operations in Atlantic Canada. In order to secure the financing, it needs to ensure that CN connections will be there to connect the ports to the rest of Canada.

The Reform amendment would have included a clause ensuring rail service to the port of Halifax for a period of 10 years, thereby ensuring the development of the port facilities allowing them to compete with U.S. ports on the eastern seaboard and ensuring investor confidence once again. This amendment was not allowed. We call that the Atlantic clause.

The Reform Party supports the bill although the provisions laid out in it are too restrictive and involve too much government interference in what should be a much more complete move to the private sector.

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5:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for Leeds-Grenville-Gun control.

Questions and comments. Is the House ready for the question?

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5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

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5:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

The question is on the motion for third reading of Bill C-89. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

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5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

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5:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

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June 20th, 1995 / 5:20 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.