Madam Speaker, I would just like to comment on this grouping. We are really only dealing with one amendment put forward by the Bloc regarding where the agency's national office will be located.
The parliamentary secretary for the minister of agriculture just spoke and talked about the accountability that is in the system, and that this type of amendment is not required. I agree with him only on one point. This type of amendment should not need to be required. If there were accountability it would not be required.
I want to review with the hon. member some facts that prove that his argument is a bunch of hogwash. He says that the minister and the agency will be accountable. Let us look at the record of the Liberal government. Location is very important.
We have seen governments from as far back as I can remember playing political games with locations of head offices. Even recently in this Parliament the Liberals brought forward a piece of legislation that privatized CN Rail, which means that basically it should be able to run its own affairs. In the legislation it stated that the national office of CN Rail had to be located in Montreal. Talk about politics. What a bunch of foolishness.
The previous Tory government decided that for political reasons the national office of the Farm Credit Corporation had to be in my province in the city of Regina. That was a political decision. Where was the accountability? Where is the accountability now, where was the accountability then?
It is not only with the locations of office locations, it is with the granting of contracts. All of western Canada was infuriated when the Conservative government offered the CF-18 maintenance contract to Canadair instead of Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg even though Bristol Aerospace had the best tender with better quality and a lower price to offer.
Because of political expediency there was no accountability. It was a joke. A few members ran into Prime Minister Mulroney's office and demanded that the contract with Canadair be accepted for political reasons, and the Prime Minister bowed to their wishes.
What should be the criteria for determining the location of the national office? Has it even dawned on anybody to debate the criteria? The criteria for the location of an agency's head office should be cost effectiveness, efficiency and productivity. The most effective and productive location for the head office of the Farm Credit Corporation may just be Regina, I do not know. I do not think a cost benefit study has ever been done to determine where that national office should be.
The most cost effective location for the single food inspection agency might be the national capital region, but we do not know. That was not even a consideration. The minister said because there are other departments involved, this may be the right place. But nobody looked into it. Nobody crunched the numbers. That was the last thing on the agenda.
The first priority has always been political expediency: "How are we going to maintain the most votes? If we are in trouble in Atlantic Canada, then we had better put some office in Atlantic Canada. If we are in trouble in Alberta, we had better put something in Edmonton or Calgary".