Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Elk Island for in effect finishing his speech. I note that as the first speaker for the opposition, he had some 40 minutes to speak.
I followed the circuitous routing of his speech throughout the 40 minutes with great interest. He raised a lot of very relevant topics, one of which was to enlighten the House to a certain extent with his own personal experience as a former truck driver quite some years ago. I think he referred to ox carts and dirt trails or something like that.
At any rate he raised a number of interesting issues, one of which was the safety issue of our intersections. All joking aside it is a very serious issue as he noted. The results of that are innumerable accidents, many of them involving death or substantial serious injury over the years at our intersections. He proposed a very interesting potential way to help alleviate some of those accidents, and I certainly support his thinking in that regard.
I think it is quite appropriate because the issue that we are discussing of course is the need for national safety regulations as it pertains to trucking and buses. I want to use a bit of time now to use an example, as he did when he used several examples during his intervention, to talk about how ridiculous it is to have different regulations from province to province.
Last summer I was made aware of an incident in my riding of Prince George—Peace River involving a bus of tourists. Of course tourism is a very important industry in British Columbia, in particular northern British Columbia. We always welcome and try to extend western and northern hospitality to all tourists who make it up to the beautiful riding of Prince George—Peace River and the Peace River area of Alberta and British Columbia.
In this particular instance a bus of tourists from Quebec travelled all the way across Canada. Of course as such the bus had to stop at weigh scales as it travelled across the provincial boundaries and borders. Then it arrived in the Peace River district of British Columbia. When they pulled into the weigh scale at the city of Dawson Creek, lo and behold they found out that they were overweight. They were fine in Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.
They were to travel up the Alaska Highway to Yukon and Alaska as part of their summer trip. Many of them had planned this for probably a year in advance. They were quite excited about this trip up the Alaska Highway, but when they got to mile zero of the Alaska Highway the bus was brought to a standstill because the regulations concerning the maximum vehicle weight for buses is different in British Columbia.
They tried to sort it out. We can imagine a busload of tourists held up and inconvenienced. They have places they have to be at certain times. Their schedule is planned for meals and for overnight stays at hotels on up the route. There they were stopped at a weigh scale in Dawson Creek.
Finally they had to hire an old school bus, in effect, and offload the luggage from their Greyhound style sightseeing bus onto the school bus, which carried the luggage behind them and followed them to Alaska or at least until they got out of British Columbia. I do not know what happened when they crossed the border into the Yukon. Maybe they loaded all the luggage back onto the bus and carried on, but for that 500 miles or so from Dawson Creek to the Yukon border they had to have this extra vehicle.
We can imagine what this does for tourism. I see that my colleague from the Liberal Party who represents the Yukon is here. Maybe he could add some words to this debate. We can imagine what that type of inconvenience does for the tourist industry in northern British Columbia and on into the Yukon and Alaska.
It is more than appropriate that where there are genuine safety concerns we have uniformity and harmonization of trucking and bus regulations and safety rules, with the national safety code harmonized across the country. What I am trying to allude to is that there is a need for it in very practical and economic terms, certainly in the area of tourism. That is the real point I am trying to make with this story.
With that I will conclude and see if anyone else would like to add something to this debate about the national safety code and the need for harmonized trucking and busing regulations across our country.