Madam Speaker, I rise as a follow-up to a question I asked on October 21, a long time ago. A lot of things have happened in the aviation industry since then but my question is still valid.
My question on October 21 referred to a report written in 1993 and that report is still valid. It was based on the concept that if Canada had one major airline, we would have very little competition and no protection for consumers. That was valid in 1993 when the Competition Tribunal wrote it. It was valid on October 21 when I brought it up, and amazingly enough, we are right back where we started. The government is now considering what conditions it will apply in the event of a dominant carrier and one airline in Canada.
Considering that everything is the same as it was in 1993 and back in October, I would like the very distinguished parliamentary secretary to address my question about what is happening right now. What assurances are being demanded by the federal government and the federal minister in his negotiations with the successful dominant carrier in respect to divestiture of regionals, for example, to allow for competition throughout the country?
What protection is being given to discount airlines against this giant monopoly that we will have? What conditions is the minister demanding of the dominant carrier insofar as slot availability, ticket counter availability and all the other things necessary at airports across the country? What is he demanding from Air Canada in the interests of consumers? What demands is he making of Air Canada about price gouging?
We recently noticed that Air Canada increased the prices by 3% to address the increased fuel costs in Canada where there is no competition, but it did not apply the increases to international flights where there is competition. This is a very serious issue that is already coming to the table.
The minister, as we speak, is negotiating behind closed doors with Air Canada to determine what concessions will be made to protect consumers and what regulations will be devised to assist Air Canada to become the national airline that it wants to be, and that is a monopoly.
Just exactly what conditions is the minister demanding of Air Canada with respect to divestiture of regional airlines, price protection for consumers, protection for regional airports, protection for discount airlines and all the things that we need in the country to protect consumers and make sure that we have a good, viable format for airline passengers to travel in the country at competitive prices?