Madam Speaker, overall we are not satisfied with the response.
The cabinet member who is now the Minister of Foreign Affairs was in Windsor. We were having a meeting with representatives for both sides of the border. I remember raising with them that the big issue right then was the need for the U.S. side to expand the number of gates into the U.S. side. The American side was way behind what Canada was doing at that point in terms of providing the proper services at the border crossings to allow the free flow of goods at the same time as providing security.
I agree with my friend from Mississauga South that there is a need for balance. There have certainly been times that we in the Windsor area in particular have felt that the security demands from the U.S. side were unreasonable. On a number of occasions we have been able to convince them to take a step back so that goods and passengers would flow freely.
On the basic question about whether the government's response has been as fulsome as it should have been, I said in my opening comment that I did not think so. I am going to use as an example the provision of a ferry service that we have in the Windsor area. There is litigation going on about this right now which may be close to being settled finally, but even before 9/11 we had set up a system that allowed the bridge company, which is a private company, to receive customs services for free. It is not charged anything.
On the other hand, the ferry service is being charged a per vehicle cost in order to have customs and border security people at the crossing. It is a small company in comparison with the bridge, which is a huge corporation, but the government has refused a simple change in the regulations that would make it possible for customs people to be there, to move vehicles across in an efficient way without costing the service that amount of money. That service would be a good alternative to deal with some of the backlog at the bridge and the tunnel in the Windsor area. The government has refused to follow through on that.
With regard to the member's other question as to marshalling guards, that has been considered. It was proposed by the former mayor of Windsor. It has never been taken up by the government and it still has not responded to that request.