Mr. Speaker, having listened to the proposed amendment of the hon. member from the Bloc, I can indicate that this amendment
would have one effect. That effect would be to tie the government's hands in fulfilling its commitments under the agreement on internal trade. The amendment would in effect unilaterally change the provisions which were agreed upon by all provinces and the federal government.
This is but an implementation bill. The proposed amendment would prevent the federal government from honouring the obligations that were agreed to by all parties. In fact the proposed amendment is intended to respond, I would suggest, to pressure from those within Quebec who have indicated that they wish to keep certain barriers in place.
In presentations to the industry committee, the Association des cammionneurs artisans du Québec made it clear that it wished to retain current measures that restrict trucking of bulk commodities in the province. Those measures are based on Quebec legislation which depends on part III of the Motor Vehicle Transportation Act for its effectiveness. The federal government in the internal trade agreement has agreed to repeal this provision. It is interesting to note that the Quebec government agreed to this provision being repealed in the Motor Vehicle Transport Act when the agreement was signed.
The Bloc is trying to have it both ways. It cannot agree to remove barriers on one hand and insist on keeping them on the other hand. That is the effect of the BQ amendment.
Further, the amendment would, for practical purposes, require that the federal government not fully comply with the agreement on internal trade. It would not be acceptable for the government to go back on its agreed obligations to suit the convenience of a single interest group that wants to maintain internal barriers.
If it was the desire of the Quebec government to change the agreement on internal trade, which it has already agreed to, then it would have to take that matter up with the 12 other parties to the agreement, not just with the federal government.
Trying to amend this bill to avoid meeting the obligations of the agreement is, simply put, not an acceptable way to proceed. For that reason, the government is not in favour of the proposed amendment.