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House of Commons Hansard #10 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was transport.

Topics

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

11:50 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Liberal Bonavista—Exploits, NL

Yes. In response to the other issues, I will go back to the bill itself, which is of course something for the respected employees we have. In many cases, when they would look for the answers they would have to go here or go there. What the bill does is answer the concerns, not just for our bureaucrats but also for the respected people in the industry itself. When it comes to pleasure boats and when it comes to environmental measures, we have responded in this case. Changes were made and were implemented back last December. What we have done now is that we have caught up with that in the bill. We have certainly responded to the concerns.

The issues the member brings up will be addressed in the future. I do not think the comments brought up earlier really stand up to that, because what we have right here is that as part of the Canada Shipping Act we are taking care of the concerns on small vessel regulations, boating restriction regulations, competency of operators of pleasure craft regulations, and marine navigation services. All of these concerns are being addressed in the bill. That is why I wholeheartedly support Bill C-3.

The Canadian Coast Guard, under DFO's purview, continues to manage the aerial surveillance, which gives respect to what it does best. By having DFO keep the aerial surveillance, fisheries and security, we are listening to the concerns of our bureaucracy and we are listening to the concerns of our people. We are listening to the concerns of all Canadians.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

11:55 a.m.

Yukon Yukon

Liberal

Larry Bagnell LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased today to rise and speak to the House about the importance of Bill C-3, an act to amend the Canada Shipping Act, the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, the Canada National Marine Conservation Areas Act and the Oceans Act, as introduced by my colleague the Minister of Transport.

As we know, the transportation industry as a whole is a vital component of our economy. When looking at the marine sector of this industry, we must keep in mind that it operates in the context of not only a domestic environment but also an international one.

In recent years a substantial amount of work has been done in an effort to modernize our national transportation system and prepare this sector to meet the needs of the coming century and the demands of the global marketplace.

To meet these goals, the government has undertaken a number of initiatives with regard to all modes of operation, focusing primarily on simplifying acts and regulations. These initiatives are consistent with the overall federal transportation framework, which emphasizes a national vision with regard to security, safety, efficiency and environmental accountability.

On December 12, 2003, the Prime Minister announced that responsibility for policy on marine security and safety would be centralized under the Minister of Transport. To that end, some parts of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans were transferred to the Department of Transport.

As a result of all these changes, all policy responsibilities and certain operational responsibilities relating to pleasure craft safety, navigation services, pollution prevention and response, and navigable waters protection now lie with Transport Canada.

These are very important changes for the marine industry and its stakeholders. Canadians will now have a single point of contact for these policy issues associated with marine safety and security. This consolidation of responsibilities is expected to improve efficiency in both marine policy and operations.

As the content of this bill is considered to be policy neutral, these changes can only be looked upon as neutral and positive ones by the marine industry, and the consultations have definitely shown that.

The intent of Bill C-3 is very clear to us today. Most important, it clarifies each department's responsibilities as a result of the transfer on December 12, 2003. It consolidates all aspects of policy responsibility for marine safety into one federal department. It improves the responsiveness, coherence and consistency of the marine regulatory framework in Canada. It enhances service delivery on marine matters for all stakeholders. It ensures that the roles and responsibilities of the government remain the same in whatever department they are found.

It preserves the authorities of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to carry out the operational role assigned to it by orders in council. It ensures that the powers, duties and functions transferred from the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans to the Minister of Transport are unambiguous, in order to prevent litigation or any contentious issues. It preserves the logic and the coherence of the affected statutes.

The changes introduced in this bill are changes that marine stakeholders have been suggesting for some time. In addition, these changes are welcomed by both the Department of Transport and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The enactment of this bill is a vital step in effecting the Prime Minister's announcement of December 12, 2003.

At this time, I would like to reaffirm my support of Bill C-3, as tabled by my colleague.

I want to emphasize the point that this is just a small bill putting into legislation administrative changes. It just confirms administrative changes. It does not make all the other changes that people would like to have made to the Coast Guard and to environmental regulations and safety. That is for another time and for other bills. This is just an administrative bill that the industry wanted. It just solidifies these cases.

Some people have used the opportunity to talk off topic about other things on the Coast Guard and reports and everything. Of course I have my own wish list that I could talk about, such as expanding the Coast Guard in the north as part of the northern sovereignty agenda, which was in the throne speech. Those debates will come in time, but this bill is just an administrative function. It has nothing to do with those who were waxing eloquent on the democratic deficit.

If they want to use this opportunity to talk about that, I would just like to congratulate the Prime Minister, as I have numerous times in this House, for the incredible change he has made in the democratic deficit. On the day he came into power, suddenly a huge number of votes became free votes for the members on this side. It was demonstrated right away with people voting their conscience on a number of items.

As members will see in committees, there is more freedom. It has been a great change to Parliament. I think that has been a great addition. If people want to talk about that, I think it is one of the great pillars of the Prime Minister's agenda for Parliament and it has been very successful to date in a very short time.

This is just an administrative bill to transfer some responsibilities that it makes more sense to have in the Department of Transport. That is what people have asked for and that is what this bill does.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

Noon

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, I have listened with keen interest to the speeches made about Bill C-3. It is of great interest to me, as I live very close to the St. Lawrence river and, from time to time, I have encounters with the Coast Guard, or what is left of it. People have to realize how difficult it is for it to fulfill the mandate it has been entrusted with.

The member argues that now is not the time to talk about that, because the only thing the government is currently doing is transferring the Canadian Coast Guard to another department. However, at the same time, it says it is following what the committee recommended.

In my view, that is not altogether accurate. The committee took the time to study the serious problem that the Coast Guard currently faces. Various stakeholders and a number of specialists, as well as representatives of all parties in the House, were heard. That led to a unanimous report to the effect that things within the Coast Guard had to be done differently. It was not a matter of just changing departments. Therefore, I do not understand the deputy saying that now is not the time to talk about it. I would like to know where and when we will be allowed to take the time to talk about these things. When, in his opinion, will it be important enough for us to act as soon as possible?

His colleague has also mentioned that we will be able to consult with the department of Transport twice a year. There was a study by a parliamentary committee in which all stakeholders were invited. Do we need further consultations to act? What's the member's view?

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I have no problem with what the member has just suggested. Unfortunately, I did not hear the previous speeches so I do not know what recommendations were being referred to. What I did say in my speech was that this particular bill deals with one recommendation and that is to make this administrative change.

I have no problem personally with moving quickly on those other agenda items. I suggest the member ask the parliamentary secretary or the Minister of Transport about those other recommendations and when they will be implemented.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse NDP Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, I had a chance to serve with the member on the industry committee and I know he does his work. However, I see a double standard. The claim is that this is essentially a housekeeping bill and that the government is doing it because the industry has asked it to do it. I agree that the industry has asked it to do this, but then later on the member is critical of other discussions points, things the industry is also asking the government to do.

We know that port authorities and ports across this country have been literally crying for the resources to be able to perform and to ensure that they are safe and secure. There are significant repercussions with our U.S. relations regarding homeland security and Canadian national security.

If the government is acting on this because the industry has asked it to, when is the government going to act with significant resources, and not just a paltry amount, which the government has been criticized for? Some small improvements have happened, but not nearly enough. The Minister of Transport has himself I believe called his own ports sieves.

When is the government going to listen to the industry's needs to have better support in order to ensure the security of our port system? If we are going to listen to industry now, let us listen to it on the other things it needs as well.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

Liberal

Larry Bagnell Liberal Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed serving with the member on the industry committee. I do not take issue with anything he said. I would provide him with the same advice as I did the other member. He should ask either the Deputy Prime Minister, who has security responsibilities, the parliamentary secretary, or the Minister of Transport as to when these items will be brought forward.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:05 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to make some comments on this bill.

I want to thank my colleague from Halifax who spoke on this bill on Friday and emphasize the lack of work that was being done on the issue of Sable Island to ensure that environmental precautions were in place, and that there was follow-up to ensure that there was no damage being done to Sable Island as well as other areas.

We have heard a lot about this bill and the reasons why it is before us. It is just mechanical and not really important. It is just moving one thing from the other and not really changing anything. However, this piece of legislation is one of the most blatant examples of what was happening with this government. It is one of the most blatant examples of incompetence

It shows how the year prior to the prime ministerial change and the time following has seen a government in disarray, not properly looking after the business of the country, overall incompetence in financial mismanagement, and being out on the bottom line figure by $7 billion. That is what we have been dealing with. Now we are told we have to fix this mess, and that we are going to do it by just switching it over in this piece of legislation.

This is an opportunity within this bill to clean up some of the problems, such as the Coast Guard not being adequately funded, as my colleagues from the Bloc have mentioned. This will be an opportune time to do that. I would suggest that in committee we are going to do more than just a little mechanical change. There may be robots on the government's side that are operating mechanically, but I can tell members that most of my colleagues here in the House from the opposition side are not acting on purely a mechanical change. We are going to fix what was wrong to start off with and ensure it gets done in committee.

The government has actually admitted to this incompetence. One needs only to look at the parliamentary secretary's speech on Friday. He talked about how they did this one day, then by an order in council they did that, and then they tried to fix it on another day. It is so blatantly there. It is important that the rest of us in the House from the opposition side ensure that we are not going to tolerate that incompetence. The government is in a position to finally do what it should have done with recommendations from that previous report.

There have been numerous overlaps and there is confusion in departments. We are going to see a lot more of that in other departments as well. I saw the new list of ministers with ministers acting under different departments and their bailiwicks over there. Within one department, it looks like there are two or three ministers looking after the same issue. There is a mess throughout the whole process. The number of ministerial increases directly relates to the number of promises the Prime Minister had to make to his loyal leadership people. We saw many more people put in place and much more confusion happening within the government. What we see in this department, we are going to see elsewhere if we do not keep on top of things and ensure that taxpayers' dollars are not being wasted as a result of government incompetence.

I am looking forward to this bill going to committee. We certainly do not want to hold it up. Transport is going to be having its initial meeting this week and I want it to have some legislation to work with. I am not going to say any more on this issue, but I want to make these things clear to the government, to the minister, and to the parliamentary secretary who I know will be at the transport committee. In spite of the fact that through democratic reform we did not want to see parliamentary secretaries in committees, they are going to be there. We are going to take them to task and ensure that proper legislation is put in place.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Scarborough—Agincourt Ontario

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for her speech, short as it was. There was absolutely no substance regarding the bill. She talked in generalities.

However, I want to make a comment to set my colleague on the straight path. She talked about incompetence and she called ministers and departments incompetent. I must reassure members that the Department of Transport has the most competent people. A lot of the people within the Department of Transport, I would say something like 60% to 70% although I could be wrong, are engineers. Being an engineer myself, I take it as a slight when my colleague speaks about incompetence.

The member should walk in the shoes of an engineer, and then come and talk to me about incompetence. If there is any incompetence here, it is when a member makes a speech and only speaks in generalities and not with substance. I would ask my colleague that when we bring this to the transport committee, we talk about substance and not generalities.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

NDP

Bev Desjarlais NDP Churchill, MB

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my colleague for acknowledging that there is no substance in the bill. He has indicated that himself. It is just a change from one department to another. It is not the Department of Transport that is incompetent, it is the government that has been incompetent. It is the government that mickey moused around with this piece of legislation. It said it was going to do this, it was going to do that, then said no, it has to switch it over here. Now we have to have it before the House so that we can make it clear because there is such confusion. That is the problem. I certainly look forward to going to committee.

The reason I did not respond further to the bill was because I listened to a number of my colleagues from all parties talk of what is happening within this piece of legislation and I did not want to take up anymore time going on about that. However, I wanted to make the government fully aware that we are going to ensure that the piece of legislation that flows through and comes out of committee with recommendations will have substance, and it will be clear as to what is going to happen. We are not going to put up with the incompetence of the government.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:10 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Bloc Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, since this is the first time in this Parliament that I rise officially to make a speech, I would like of course to salute the people of my riding of Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher, who put their confidence in me for the third time. I want to thank them and to reiterate my commitment to defend their issues and the cause of Quebeckers, which is Quebec's sovereignty, in case some may have forgotten.

I also want to reiterate my commitment to the people of Boucherville. My riding has changed; it now includes half of the City of Boucherville and half of the City of Longueuil. These two halves now form the vast riding of Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher. I salute them and I thank them for putting their confidence in me.

I am pleased to address Bill C-3, which was introduced by the Minister of Transport. The only purpose of this bill is to transfer certain responsibilities from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, which is responsible for the Canadian Coast Guard, to the Department of Transport.

At first glance, one might think that this bill does not really have any impact and that it merely clarifies the act and formalizes a December 2003 order in council transferring certain operational responsibilities from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to the Department of Transport.

First, I want to reiterate the Bloc Québécois' position, which was very well presented earlier by my colleague, to the effect that we are opposed to the principle of this bill, for the simple reason that our goal is to truly improve, in the long term, the chronic underfunding problems of the Canadian Coast Guard, and to dissipate the confusion that prevails regarding the sharing of responsibilities in the area of water safety and marine pollution prevention. These are extremely important issues, both in terms of public safety and environmental protection.

I really wonder why this government would not opt for a long term vision, instead of a game of musical chairs that will have no effect at all on the fundamental problems of the Coast Guard. I really wonder about this decision, particularly in light of the unanimous report tabled in March 2004 by the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans, which highlighted a series of problems affecting that organization. The committee concluded that the problems experienced by the Coast Guard could not be solved through cosmetic changes to the organization. Incidentally, the hon. member for Haute-Gaspésie—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia, who sat on the committee, spoke extensively on this issue. He told us about the work of the committee that led to these conclusions.

This report proposed a series of recommendations that could be implemented, namely those stipulating that the Canadian Coast Guard should be an independent agency and, especially, that it should have adequate funding and a sufficient independent budget for its current roles, its new mandate and the additional responsibilities recommended in this report.

What worries me, as a parliamentarian, is knowing what this government is doing with this unanimous report. What does the government do with any report tabled in committee? I will tell you. When a report suits the government, then there is no problem. However, when the unanimity of a committee bothers the government, it shelves the report and moves on to something else. This is unacceptable. It is an insult to democracy and committee work.

The unanimous report on employment insurance, tabled in May 2001, is still fresh in our memory. What did the government do with that report? It shelved it. The Bloc Québécois is still working hard today to have that report implemented. What did the government do with the report of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans? It shelved that report as well. This government has to stop being so arrogant and start recognizing the work of the committees and parliamentary democracy within the committees.

We do not know what the future holds. Maybe one day it will be this government's turn—the Liberals' turn—to be shelved by the public. Despite the Prime Minister's fine speeches on the democratic deficit, nothing changes. If the Minister of Transport, the Prime Minister's lieutenant, truly wants to make his mark, then he should propose viable long-term alternatives, not just cosmetic ones. He should implement the recommendations of the Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans—measures that address the true basic problems.

I expect a little more from the Minister of Transport. I hope he will at least read this important report that offers a sustainable and serious solution to the challenges faced by the Canadian Coast Guard. For these reasons, the Bloc Québécois will vote against Bill C-3.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:20 p.m.

Bloc

Marcel Gagnon Bloc Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to add my voice to those of my colleagues on this bill. Of course, we cannot support a bill that, in the end, does not solve any problem other than changing the department.

Yet, a lot could have been done. The report of the parliamentary committee is the result of serious work. It asked the government to act as quickly as possible to correct some things, to clarify the mandates of the Coast Guard and to give it money it needs as soon as possible.

It seems to me that it would have been easy, while changing the department, to define what the Coast Guard must do, particularly since we are in a period where there is no deficit. The federal government has money; so why does it not act in a sector that it is responsible for?

I swear that if this were a provincial jurisdiction, the government would probably have found a way to get in through the back door, or through another door, to finally work against the provinces. If this had had anything to do with health, education or some other sector, the government would have found a way to get in to annoy the provinces. However, this is clearly an area of federal jurisdiction. It concerns the oceans, the St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes. There are things to do and it is urgent to do them.

As I said earlier, I have been living along the St. Lawrence River for a long time in a sector called Champlain, in the Mauricie area. It is quite incredible to see what is happening on the river. We see that the Coast Guard is totally overwhelmed. We often talk with these people and they tell us, “We do not have the mandate, we do not have the people to fulfill our role”.

This bill could have been significant in dealing with urgent problems. It could have given a clear mandate to the Canadian Coast Guard as well as the money it needs to do its job.

Along the St. Lawrence we see all kinds of things. Some islands in the St. Lawrence are disappearing. Some villages are disappearing too for the simple reason that there is no monitoring, especially regarding the speed of vessels. It is incredible.

Repairs needed to protect the village of Champlain, which stretches over some 15 kilometres along the St. Lawrence, are currently estimated at $4.5 million. Ships, vessels—our Prime Minister knows the industry quite well—are simply not abiding by the speed limits because there is nobody to enforce them.

Last fall in Champlain around 1 o'clock in the morning a ship sailed by so fast that it sent a wave crashing onto the shore completely swamping a house. The basement door had not been properly closed and water got in. It is several metres above the river level; the ship was just going too fast. The person affected came to see me and identified the ship. I lodged a complaint and was told that responsibilities were not clear enough in the matter and that they lacked the equipment to keep an eye on that kind of thing.

It is an area under federal jurisdiction though. It seems to me that if you take the trouble to move such an important body as the Canadian Coast Guard from one department to another, those problems should be dealt with at the same time. The committee invited a number of experts and representatives from various levels of government affected by the Canadian Coast Guard problems, as well as competent employees of the Coast Guard itself, who told us that what was needed was money and ships in good repair.

Earlier my colleague talked about the age, quality and performance of the ships guarding our coasts. It does not make sense.

A Liberal member said that the legislation must first transfer the Coast Guard to another department. In my opinion, we must act first and not only leave the impression that we did act. We are going through a period of prosperity and high returns. There are big surpluses, but major environmental problems. All our waterways suffer from them. We now want to know what will happen, for example, to Lac Saint-Pierre, the whole St. Lawrence River and the Great Lakes.

However, when legislation like this is presented, why do they not try to deal with some of the problems that were identified by experts and on which the parliamentary committee was unanimous? During the election campaign, the Prime Minister said how important democracy and the democratic deficit were for him. Is there something more democratic then hearing members from all parties, than inviting members of the public and hearing them all say that there are needs and that we must act urgently? I believe that would be a way to deal with the democratic deficit.

Somebody told me: “When we are invited to appear before a committee in Ottawa, we wonder if it is not only a way to make us waste our time”. The report was done well, and it was unanimous.

Like my colleague who just spoke, I am sure we could not agree with nor vote in favour of a bill that is meaningless. It does not meet any of our needs.

I swear it is time for us to do something about the St. Lawrence and do it quickly. I am using every forum I can to talk about this issue. Disaster is imminent; it has already occurred. For example, there is the shoreline, or as I mentioned, there is the problem of the unexploded ammunition in lake Saint-Pierre. Disasters are bound to occur. About two years ago, a ship upstream from Trois-Rivières almost hit the bridge there. We have been told that, had this ship hit a bridge footing, the damage would have been incredible. I am sure of that.

Why should we pass meaningless bills? Why not do something to solve problems or prevent potential problems? This is what legislators should do. Obviously, we are ready to cooperate in order to improve bills, but not to support meaningless legislation.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Is the House ready for the question?

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Question.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

No.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

All those opposed will please say nay.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And more than five members having risen:

Canada Shipping ActGovernment Orders

12:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

The recorded division on the motion stands deferred until later this afternoon.

International Interests in Mobile Equipment (aircraft equipment) ActGovernment Orders

October 18th, 2004 / 12:30 p.m.

Outremont Québec

Liberal

Jean Lapierre LiberalMinister of Transport

moved that Bill C-4, an act to implement the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol to the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

International Interests in Mobile Equipment (aircraft equipment) ActGovernment Orders

12:30 p.m.

Scarborough—Agincourt Ontario

Liberal

Jim Karygiannis LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it gives me great pleasure to stand before the House today in support of introducing Bill C-4, which is proposed legislation that seeks to implement the Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment and the Protocol to the Convention of International Interests in Mobile Equipment on Matters Specific to Aircraft Equipment. The convention and aircraft protocol were concluded in Cape Town, South Africa in November 2001.

I believe we all agree that a strong competitive aviation industry is an important underpinning of Canada's economy today and into the 21st century. Furthermore, I think we all recognize that this sector has faced significant challenges over the past few years.

As the House is aware, the aviation sector is particularly vulnerable to economic shocks and other world events: 9/11, SARS and record high fuel prices. All have had a negative effect on the sector. Industry stakeholders have been calling on the Government of Canada to implement broad measures to assist the difficult situation facing the airline and aerospace sectors.

The proposed legislation is one way the government is demonstrating its commitments to long term viability of the Canadian airline and aerospace industries. Adopting the bill will help these industries compete more effectively in the global economy by facilitating their access to capital markets.

Improving the competitiveness of the Canadian airline and aerospace sectors will work to maintain highly paid, specialized jobs in Canada leading to positive spin-offs in all regions of Canada and throughout the economy. Consumers also will benefit through increased airline services and/or lower fares. Another benefit of facilitating the acquisition of modern aircraft is that air transportation can become safer and environmentally cleaner.

In summary, through this bill and the ratification of the convention and aircraft protocol, the Government of Canada will actively support all elements of Canada's aviation sector.

Canada played a leading role in the negotiation and the development of the Cape Town convention and aircraft protocol. The convention and aircraft protocol represent an unparalleled example of cooperation between governments and industry in creating an international regime. In fact, it was a Canadian delegate on to the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law, or UNIDROIT, that first proposed the establishment of an international registry for security interests in aircraft in 1988. Since then, governments and industry worldwide have cooperated in developing the convention and aircraft protocol.

Canada's active involvement in the negotiations leading up to the adoption of the convention and aircraft protocol highlighted Canada's commitment to seek global solutions to global problems in cooperation with the rest of the international community.

While it has taken more than 15 years for this initiative to come to fruition, it has met with approval from both the airline and manufacturing elements of the aviation industry as well as those providing financing for it. Throughout the process leading up to the tabling of this initiative, these stakeholders have been continuously consulted. Representatives of the Canadian industry were present and participated in many of the meetings leading up to the diplomatic conference at Cape Town as well as the meetings that formerly adopted these international instruments. It is clear that the adoption of the bill will be an important step in the creation of an international regime that the aviation industry sees as beneficial.

The convention and aircraft protocol will establish an international legal regime that includes remedies to creditors in case of default. New rules will reduce the risks associated with financing and provide greater certainty to creditors and aircraft manufacturers. This will lead to larger amounts of credit being made available to airlines at a lower cost, ultimately generating increased airline earnings and profitability and important spin-off benefits to the broader economy.

The convention and the aircraft protocol will create an international registry for rights in aircraft and will set the order of priority among purchasers and creditors. The creation of a single international registry will provide considerable advantage in terms of time, cost savings and improve certainty in resolving questions of priority of interests.

The proposed bill will give force of law to the provisions of convention and aircraft protocol that fall within federal jurisdiction. Amendments to the Bank Act permit the carving out of larger aircraft equipment from its purview and direct registrations to the international registry. Amendments to the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act and the Winding-up and Restructuring Act will provide greater certainty for aviation creditors, thus benefiting Canadian aircraft manufacturers, financiers and airlines on the international level.

The bill would provide for a special remedy in the case of insolvency that would impose a fixed date period of 60 days. After this period, creditors could reclaim an aircraft or aircraft equipment on which they have security, if the lessee has failed to meet its obligations under the lease. The adoption of this stay period would increase certainty in the system and would provide a level playing field between Canada and the United States. The U.S. industry already benefits from a similar provision under the U.S. bankruptcy code.

On March 31 Canada became the 28th state to sign the convention and aircraft protocol. Our signature was added to a list of all countries with significant aviation and aerospace industries including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Implementation of the convention and protocol in Canada will reaffirm Canada's leadership role in international civil aviation. The introduction of this legislation establishes that Canada is taking an important step toward eventual ratification of the convention and aircraft protocol.

Stakeholders have conveyed that substantial benefits are expected following the passage of this proposed legislation and Canada's ratification of the convention and aircraft protocol.

Airlines expect that the new regime will enhance their ability to obtain financing for their aircraft because the system would provide increased security for creditors. Since the rules provided for in the convention and aircraft protocol, and the bill reduces their financial risk, it is expected that creditors will make greater levels of credit available at a lesser cost. This will have a direct financial impact on an airline's bottom line by reducing the cost of borrowing money.

Aircraft manufacturers are expected to benefit from increased sales resulting from reduced financing costs. Consumers can also expect to benefit. Passengers stand to benefit from airlines that pass their realized cost savings to their end users. Furthermore, air transportation can become safer and environmentally cleaner by allowing airlines to purchase more modern aircraft at reduced costs.

Not only will Canadians benefit by the adoption of this treaty, so will other developing nations. When implemented in developing countries, this convention and aircraft protocol will result in reduced financing costs and will make financing available when it is not otherwise available. As a result of increased certainty that is afforded to creditors, airlines will be more willing to allocate surplus aircraft to developing markets. These markets will then benefit from obtaining safer, more efficient and more environmentally friendly aircraft than they may currently use.

A second major feature that will be achieved through the adoption of the convention and aircraft protocol involves the creation of a worldwide Internet based international registry. This will be available to any individual or company 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The existence of a single, worldwide, electronic international registry for recording and searching aircraft equipment is viewed by stakeholders, including the legal community, manufacturers and financiers, as a considerable advantage in terms of time, cost savings and improved certainty.

The international registry will be set up and operated by Aviareto, an Irish-based company that was selected through a tendering process supervised by the International Civil Aviation Organization. A permanent supervisory authority will oversee the operation of the registry. It will, among other things, have the authority to appoint and dismiss the registry operator, make regulations dealing with the operation of the registry, establish procedure for receiving complaints, set the fee structure and report to contracting states.

As a signatory party and a key participant to date, Canada will continue to work through ICAO to ensure Canadian interests will be protected throughout this process.

It is important to note that provincial and territorial implementation legislation is also required before the convention and aircraft protocol can take effect in respect of Canada. The provinces and territories have consistently demonstrated their interest and support for these instruments.

Already, Ontario and Nova Scotia have passed implementing legislation that we could expect to enter into force following Canada's ratification of the convention and aircraft protocol. The provinces and territories continue to be consulted through the Uniform Law Conference of Canada and through the Department of Justice advisory group private international law.

For a country like Canada, the convention contains only a few major innovations. However, it will provide other countries with a considerable measure of legal improvements that may well assist them in getting the most out of their economies while at the same time providing enhanced opportunities for Canadian businesses.

As already outlined, the benefits to Canada of implementing the bill and ratifying of the convention and aircraft protocol include: greater security for creditors; increased competitiveness of the Canadian aerospace and airline industries; maintaining jobs in Canada; and spin-off effects for various regions within Canada.

I want to emphasize that the government consulted widely with stakeholders prior to signing the convention and aircraft protocol, and they remain supportive of this initiative.

The bill has been introduced prior to ratification of the convention and aircraft protocol because federal, and at least some provincial and territorial implementation legislation, must be in place before the agreements can come into force in Canada. Ontario and Nova Scotia have already passed implementing legislation and it is expected that other provinces and territories will follow suit, especially those with significant aviation interests.

In conclusion, adoption of the bill is an important step toward eventual ratification of the convention and aircraft protocol, which would confer significant benefits to the airline and aerospace industries and the Canadian economy more broadly.

International Interests in Mobile Equipment (aircraft equipment) ActGovernment Orders

12:45 p.m.

Bloc

Yvan Loubier Bloc Saint-Hyacinthe—Bagot, QC

Madam Speaker, the introduction of this bill gives me cause to wonder. Although we are prepared to support this bill to bring our practices into harmony with certain international agreements, it really makes me wonder about Canada's lack of aerospace policy.

Recent events have added concern to my reflections this weekend, in particular, the problems Bombardier is having and the kind of international prying the company is being subjected to by the Americans and the British. It worries me. In general, what the management of Bombardier and Pratt & Whitney in my hon. friend's riding of Longueuil—Pierre-Boucher are saying is that the government's approach is inconsistent. Probably the Minister of Transport, through his colleague, will be able to answer my question.

This industry is important for Quebec; the aerospace industry is to Quebec what the automotive industry is to Ontario. The economic benefits of this sector are extraordinary. We are talking about 40,000 jobs in Quebec, not just in the big businesses, but also in the small and medium-sized ones serving the sector. I believe annual sales are around $14 billion in Quebec alone.

Are we on the verge of formulating a genuine, consistent aerospace policy, with adequate support for the aerospace industry, so that this sector can prosper? We must not forget that nearly all the parts used in making intermediate and final products come to Canada from elsewhere. Therefore, there is a huge potential for our businesses. Is the government working on that? We are ready to help.