Mr. Speaker, the federal government is a very bad owner.
It allowed the wharves in Les Escoumins and Trois-Pistoles to deteriorate to the point where the Compagnie de navigation des Basques was prohibited from using the wharf at Les Escoumins, thus depriving the regions of Charlevoix and Les Basques of $5 million in economic spinoffs.
Worse still, after getting assurances from the Minister of Justice, who is responsible for Quebec, that the work would be done this fall, we have now been now told by the federal Minister of Transport that he cannot guarantee that the repairs will be completed in time for the 2003 ferry season.
The transport minister's carelessness is unacceptable and the unfulfilled commitments of the Minister of Justice are scandalous. It is no wonder that the Compagnie de navigation des Basques, the stakeholders from the tourism industry and the whole region are upset.
The federal government must get its act together and announce this fall that the repairs will be completed. The very existence of a powerful tool for economic development and tourism is in jeopardy, and this is strictly because of the federal government's ineptitude.