Mr. Speaker, the hon. member for Mercier has provided me with the opportunity to say a little more on this.
The budget was a disappointment to me because there is not one cent for shipbuilding. Positive things should be mentioned when they come up, and there has been an interesting event in the industry committee on which I sit. In its report, which was tabled in the House on Tuesday, the committee made two recommendations to the government. For once, it admits that there are particular problems in that area.
One recommendation asks the government, via the various departments concerned, to adopt new measures to help the shipbuilding industry. Another is aimed at negotiations with the American government in order to gain an exemption from its Jones Act for Canada.
Shipping and shipbuilding are not exempt. If there were an exemption from the cost—people have studied the potential impact of this measure—there would be a return of full employment or of the level of employment existing prior to 1993. An increase in demand is expected for the next five years.
Yes, the budget was a disappointment, but things do look better than they did a few months ago in shipbuilding, since Bill C-213 was passed at second reading.
All that remains is committee work, which is scheduled for May 30. We would have preferred it sooner, but there is a chance it may be passed before the end of the session. It has to be or it will be an incredible stratagem. The Liberals would pretend to support it—in case there is an election in the fall—with the bill before the election, but if it is not passed at third reading, it would make no sense.
I thank the member for Mercier for giving me the opportunity to explain this matter and to explain to my colleagues the importance of acting on agreements in principle reached on a bill. We must go further and pass it at third reading.