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House of Commons Hansard #113 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was countries.

Topics

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, every time there is a crisis in the country the Liberals are exposed as having no policy, no plan and only responding in panic. We have seen that in the softwood lumber issue. We have seen it in terms of national defence where the resources are not there for our courageous troops. We see it in the airline industry problem.

I would like a specific yes or no answer from the Minister of Transport. Yesterday when he stood in the House and assured us that the airline industry and specifically Canada 3000 was fine and on schedule, he said that specifically, did he know yesterday at two o'clock in the afternoon that Canada 3000 was on the verge of shutting down?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are all concerned about the announcement that was made to cease operations of Canada 3000. This is indeed a blow to many Canadians, not only to the travelling public but the employees and I think everyone, including the Leader of the Opposition who should have led off with his questions by exhibiting some degree of sympathy for what the airline industry is going through.

The answer to the specific question is that yesterday when I stood here in the House I gave the answer I did, which was the accurate answer at the time.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, unbelievable: yesterday he gave the answer he did. That took rocket science to figure out that response.

I am asking the question specifically. Yesterday at 2 p.m. as this minister was assuring Canadians that everything was fine in the airline industry he specifically commented about Canada 3000 on schedule, on time. Did he know at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon that Canada 3000 was on the verge of shutting down, yes or no?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, that decision to shut down was taken last evening by the board of directors and was made official at midnight. Therefore, of course I did not know at 2 o'clock yesterday afternoon.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Canadian AllianceLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, there is a problem of confidence in the airlines among consumers. Personally I find that security is greater than ever and that is why I do have confidence flying, but many people are not flying because they do not see the government stepping up to the plate with increased training, with increased technology and with a commitment to air marshals. We do not see any commitment on any of this.

When will the government table the legislation that shows it will deal with these matters and that it will deal with the question of who is going to be funding the extra security? How much longer do we have to wait?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:15 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is typical for the Leader of the Opposition. Once he is knocked off his game plan he goes to plan B, which in this case is security.

Let me come back to the earlier issue because he talked about the airline policy. I wish to remind him it was his party, his members, that supported the government on Bill C-26. We have all supported the policy that got us to a competitive state before September 11 and I think the hon. member should not stand in this place and say the contrary.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada 3000 has been the only domestic competition and the only domestic alternative to Air Canada in Halifax, St. John's, Montreal and Toronto. Competition in those cities may now be dead. Thousands of jobs have been lost because of failed government policy.

What does the transport minister have to say to countless stranded passengers, thousands of people who are now out of jobs and the death of airline competition in some of Canada's largest cities?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, in 35 seconds it is going to be difficult to answer that particular question, but with respect to those people who are affected other arrangements will have to be made.

Air Canada, WestJet and Air Transat will make arrangements. We have been on the phone this morning and we know that there will be some extra capacity. Many of the people affected are protected under provincial and federal regulations with respect to tour holidays and packages and they will be covered. It is going to take a little while for this situation to actually work itself out.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

James Moore Canadian Alliance Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, since 1993 CanJet, Canada 3000, Canadian Airlines, Greyhound, RootsAir, Royal and VistaJet have filed for bankruptcy or have been taken over on the Liberal government's watch. This is a clear demonstration of failed transportation policy by a failed transportation minister.

Canadians deserve the best in airline competition that we can possibly have but the transport minister is failing them. The transport minister owes an apology to all those Canadians who are going to be losing their jobs and he owes an apology to Canadians for killing airline competition in this country.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member again talks about policy, policy that his party supported 18 months ago and has continued to support. I do not think that they should fool Canadians with that kind of rhetoric.

This is a very difficult situation and just before question period we had been in touch with officials from Canada 3000. They have contacted us. They do believe that they can still operate, that parties are coming to the table. This particular situation is just not finished.

Young OffendersOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, Senator Lapointe, freshly appointed to the other place by the Prime Minister, stated yesterday that he would vote against the young offenders bill in favour of the Quebec approach, where the focus is on rehabilitation.

Since there is increasing support in the other place for the consensus in Quebec, does the Minister of Justice plan on amending her bill in order to respect, once and for all, Quebec's distinctiveness?

Young OffendersOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the answer to that is very simply no. The legislation is before the Senate and the Senate will conclude its processes, but the simple answer to the hon. member's question is no.

Young OffendersOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, obviously this is a great disappointment and Quebec will not soon forget it.

Given that other Liberal senators agree that the current bill works against Quebec's interests and that the new senator, Senator Lapointe, is commending the Bloc Quebecois on its wonderful job of defending the interests of Quebec, will the minister realize that Quebec's success at rehabilitating young offenders must be allowed to continue, and will she allow Quebec to opt out of this legislation?

Young OffendersOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, one of the main components of our new youth justice legislation is effective rehabilitation and reintegration of young offenders back into society. In fact if the Bloc stopped its senseless opposition to this law and got on side, we could start to provide more resources to agencies in Quebec that are trying to do just that.

Young OffendersOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the anti-terrorism bill, the Minister of Justice claims that she will consider all stakeholders' opinions, which remains to be seen. Yet, when it comes to young offenders, she has turned a deaf ear to the many opinions from the coalition, as she has done to those of the senators who are urging her to take into account Quebec's specific approach.

Could the minister tell us what is behind these two completely contradictory attitudes?

Young OffendersOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should be aware that we made substantial amendments to the original youth justice legislation when the bill was reintroduced in the House earlier this year. We listened very intently to witnesses when the bill was first introduced in the House. We listened to witnesses at standing committee and made substantial amendments to reflect much of that which we heard.

Young OffendersOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Guimond Bloc Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC

Mr. Speaker, what will it take for the minister to understand that these measures do not satisfy Quebec? What we want is for Quebec to be exempt from the legislation, as is the case with other laws, such as immigration laws.

How can the minister justify constantly ignoring the consensus in Quebec?

Young OffendersOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Edmonton West Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan LiberalMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, as I have said on a number of occasions in the House, this legislation is sufficiently flexible to permit the province of Quebec and the agencies that work with young offenders in the province to continue the work that they do. As I have said on numerous occasions, we are willing to provide them with more money to do it.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

November 9th, 2001 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Transport. The minister has now set a world record. He has been the minister presiding over the death of about six airlines. I am thinking of Greyhound, Canadian, CanJet, RootsAir, Royal Airlines and now Canada 3000.

Yesterday in the House the leader of the NDP asked the minister to act before it was too late. Now it is too late. I would like to know why he did not act. Why do we not have a vision of a national airline transportation policy in this country? Why has he not put that into effect? Why do we not have a national airline stabilization fund? Where is the plan? Why did he not act?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has to recognize that the airline industry in the world is in a state of crisis since September 11. For him to stand in the House and talk about only the Canadian context is wrong and is misleading Canadians.

I would remind him that since September 11 we have offered a package of $160 million by way of compensation. We have dealt with the war risk liability insurance. We have a bill in the House right now to help Air Canada raise capital. This government is acting, will act and will continue to act.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom NDP Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, let us put a human face on this. Yesterday the minister was advising and encouraging people to buy tickets on Canada 3000.

What does he have to say to those people who followed his advice and bought tickets on Canada 3000? What does he have to say to people who are stranded all over the world because the airline went under? What does he have to say to thousands of workers who have lost their jobs? Can he tell us what he is going to tell those people who have been following his advice?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member made a false assertion. I did not state that yesterday. I stated that the company had informed me it would continue to operate. It looked at the situation last night and decided it could not continue. Therefore it chose to shut down overnight.

I do not mind defending the government's policy and dealing with the facts, but let us not have wrong assertions on the part of the opposition.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Canadian Alliance

Chuck Strahl Canadian Alliance Fraser Valley, BC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that there is no policy that anybody can understand other than to let the airlines all go broke.

The Minister of Transport has acknowledged since he was first appointed that restructuring in the airline industry was inevitable. This is not new. It has been evolving for years, yet the minister has done nothing to ensure that it takes place in an orderly fashion. While he has been in charge six airlines in this country have gone belly up.

Since the minister did not and does not have a plan for the airlines' restructuring, when will he table a plan for recovery, or is it just to let them all go broke?

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley East Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette LiberalMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it is nice to stand in the House and play these partisan games while people are hurting and while travellers are stuck in places they do not want to be.

I will remind the hon. member from the fifth party that, when he was with the Alliance or Reform or the opposition, he supported Bill C-26 and he supported the current policy, and I would hope that he would have the guts to stand up and continue to support it.

Airline IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Progressive Conservative

Bill Casey Progressive Conservative Cumberland—Colchester, NS

Mr. Speaker, the minister refers to partisan games, but just days ago I saw him on television huffing and puffing and boasting that the government did not extend loan guarantees to Canada 3000. Therefore the government has no risk. What he did not say was the plan put Canadian passengers, creditors and thousands of employees at risk.

The airline industry was in chaos long before September 11. Will the minister now tell the House if he has plan to end the chaos in Canadian air transportation?