Madam Speaker, I am pleased to be able to make a few comments with respect to Bill C-4, an act to implement the convention on international interests in mobile equipment and the protocol to the convention in mobile equipment on matters specific to aircraft equipment. This would provide a continuation of the development of the security law sector. It is a step forward in the right direction. I think it should be viewed by members and Canadians as part of a continuation of the history of providing security.
Hon. members in the House who know or practice law will know that going back a couple of hundred years the only security generally that one could get was the mortgage on one's property or house. It worked very well because lenders were prepared to lend money on the basis that if they were not repaid the house or property could be seized. As a result, the lowest interest rates were always available for mortgages.
However, with the development of trade and other types of assets, it became necessary to find a way to provide security and obtain financing. For the most part, in the 18th and 19th centuries, that was confined to shipping, which was the common way of trade between countries. Over a couple of centuries, a body of law developed, which was referred to as the admiralty law, that contained a whole host of rules and obligations to govern shipping throughout the world. For the most part it worked well because it lent certainty to individuals who were in the business of trade throughout the world. There were consequences to those individuals or countries that did not pay attention to the rules.
A number of instances took place in the 19th century where ships were seized or impounded in various places around the world and in short order a number of individuals and countries discovered that a royal navy gunboat was in the harbour to back up the security.
As the 20th century developed, that style of enforcement of securities did not lend itself as well to modern trade, not only because of the directness of that approach but because there were other types of security. The development of the aircraft industry in the 20th century meant that other types of security would be necessary.
That has been very difficult because if we do not have a way of enforcing security throughout the world, lenders, understandably, become nervous about forwarding money. If one owned an airplane in Canada and the person wanted to fly to various countries around the world, those providing the financing would, understandably, want to know what would happen if the owner could not pay, especially if the plane were in a part of the world with different laws or perhaps no laws at all. As a result, lenders were very reluctant to forward money on that basis because they could not be certain of the security or of being able to realize on their security if the aircraft or other piece of equipment on which financing had been forwarded were in some other part of the world.
It was difficult for people in the aircraft industry to obtain financing and if they could obtain financing it was very expensive. That really did not work in anyone's interest. It does not work in the interests of those in the aeronautical industry and it does not work, quite frankly, for passengers. Those of us who use airlines want the fares at the lowest possible price but if the aircraft company is having difficulty getting financing that gets passed on the passengers and in turn it is bad for everyone.
I see something like a convention that would include, among other things, as the parliamentary secretary said, aircraft, aircraft engines, helicopters, railway rolling stock which is another type of equipment that moves outside of the country, and, interesting enough, space assets. Presumably we could put security on a satellite.
The good thing about it is that it is one stop shopping. Apparently, it will be available on the Internet so that throughout the world individuals can check to see what the security is on a particular piece of equipment. This would give peace of mind to everyone involved.
Canada has a very important aircraft industry. This will assist it. There has been quite a bit of talk about the struggles within the airline and aircraft industries. If they are able to obtain financing, this will go a long way to helping them. It would benefit everyone.
I asked the parliamentary secretary about the question of provincial jurisdiction and I would like to explore it a little bit further when this matter goes before the transport committee. For the most part contract law is within provincial jurisdiction. Each province has laws and rules that govern contracts. Indeed, the province with which I am most familiar, Ontario, has something similar to that called the personal property security act.
If we obtain financing for an automobile, it gets registered, and it goes into the computer. Anyone interested in buying or otherwise financing our car would be able to quickly find out through a computer station located at registry offices across Ontario what the security interest is in it. The province already has a regime in place, as do other provinces, and it has a huge interest in it.
I, for one, would be very interested to know when other provinces will be ratifying this agreement because we cannot have the federal government ratify something like this when so much of the jurisdiction is with the provinces. In particular, I would be interested in knowing the timeline of the Province of Quebec, which has a huge stake in the particular industry covered by the bill. Indeed, I would be very interested in the comments it may have on this. That is one of the aspects I would like to see addressed in committee and to hear what the provinces have to say.
Be that as it may, I want to assure the House that we believe on this side of the House that the bill should go forward. This is a step in the right direction and I will be interested to hear from all the players in the industry. I think it will be widely accepted and quite frankly, welcomed. Any time we get anything that is 100 pages long, there may be some surprises in it, but let us deal with it at the second reading stage in committee because I definitely think this is a step in the right direction. I look forward to Canada ratifying it, our provinces ratifying it and indeed, all the other countries of the world getting on board with this regime.