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House of Commons Hansard #174 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was firearms.

Topics

Questions Passed as Orders for ReturnsRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The Chair has notice of a question of privilege from the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake.

Press Release by Member for Etobicoke CentrePrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

10:15 a.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake, MB

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a question of privilege based on a press release issued by the member for Etobicoke Centre in which he makes false statements, and accuses me of plagiarism and voting against a motion I did not vote against.

I believe this allegation by the member for Etobicoke Centre is an action taken with the intended affect of having me withdraw my private member's bill, Bill C-459, which directly affects the representation of my constituents and performance of my privileged parliamentary duties.

In order to begin to correct the public record on this issue, I want to outline the factual course of events culminating in the presentation of my private member's bill, Bill C-459, An Act to establish a Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day and to recognize the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-33 as an act of genocide. All of these events can be backed up by emails sent and received by my office and those of my colleagues and legislative services.

First, as someone of Ukrainian heritage, I was in communication with other members of this House as early as last year on my interest in working on issues related to the Canadian Ukrainian community and my interest in Ukrainian issues.

In the spring of this year it was suggested to me that recognizing the Ukrainian famine as genocide with a memorial day in November would be an important issue to address this year, as it is the 75th anniversary of the famine of 1932.

I discussed this with Lisa Shymko of the Canadian Friends of Ukraine and my colleague Senator Andreychuk. I was also part of a meeting with the executive director of the Shevchenko Foundation on various issues related to the Ukrainian Canadian community in Canada and holodomor was discussed. I recently received an appreciative letter from this organization for my work on presenting this bill.

I want to give full credit to Senator Andreychuk who moved a similar motion a few years ago in the other place which was adopted unanimously. The senator shared her expertise and encouraged me to proceed with a similar motion or bill in the House, and provided assistance to me with the wording and communications strategy for my bill.

I consulted with two of my colleagues over the wording and whether it should be done as a motion or bill. I decided it should be a bill and I submitted my wording and requested legislative services on May 3, 2007 to have the bill drafted. My office received a rough draft of the bill on May 8 and it was approved on May 16. The request for final formatting and translation was made May 16, 2007. I gave notice of my bill on May 31, 2007, before the member for Etobicoke Centre gave notice of his bill, and I introduced the bill for first reading on June 13, 2007.

The member for Etobicoke Centre did not give notice of his bill until the day after I gave notice of my bill and he did not introduce it until much later. The notice paper, legislative services and my office emails can confirm all of these dates.

As is clear from this record of dates, I could not have possibly known of the content of his bill and therefore his accusations of plagiarism are truly false. I was only informed that there was a bill related to mine, but that the two bills were substantially different from each other and that there was no problem in proceeding with my bill.

I want to make it very clear that the wording of my bill was established in consultation with my colleagues in April and submitted for drafting on May 3, over a month before I heard about the member for Etobicoke Centre's bill and more than a month before his introduction of Bill C-450 only after which I would have first had the opportunity to see the text of his bill. Clearly, I could not have possibly plagiarized his bill.

On the evening of June 13, 2007 in the House, I sought further confirmation from the table officer on duty on the determination of any substantive difference between my bill and the bill of the member for Etobicoke Centre, who I was now aware had given notice of and introduced a similar bill.

I received confirmation on Monday, June 18 that the decision on whether a bill is substantively different is made by you, Mr. Speaker, after an initial assessment by the journals branch.

I am therefore raising this point of privilege because I believe, based on the events as outlined above, that it is clear that the member for Etobicoke Centre, who knows full well that I could not have seen the text of his bill when I gave notice of my bill, Bill C-459, and yet proceeded to issue the press release in question.

Further, when I submitted my wording and asked for it to be drafted in April of this year as a private member's bill, I had no knowledge of the member for Etobicoke Centre's intention to submit a similar bill.

Further to my question of privilege, he states in his press release that I voted against his motion to adopt his bill at all stages when he knows that I did not vote against his motion. That is the normal procedure for both Conservative and past Liberal governments not to fast track private member's bills, whether it be my own bill or an opposition member's bill.

The order paper is full of worthy bills and they all follow a uniform process of debate and vote in a fair system of precedence. The member for Etobicoke Centre is trying to queue jump in front of others in the order of precedence.

I would like to point to a statement made by a previous Speaker that I think applies to this situation. Speaker Fraser said:

The unjust damaging of a Member’s good name might also be seen as constituting an obstruction. The privileges of a Member are violated by any action which might impede him or her in the fulfilment of his or her duties and functions. It is obvious that the unjust damaging of a reputation could constitute such an impediment.

I think the statement makes it clear that my privilege has been violated by the member for Etobicoke Centre's slanderous and intimidating acts.

There are further examples where items published in newspapers and actions taken outside the House have been found by Speakers to establish a prima facie question of privilege due to their intimidating and chilling effect upon a member's ability to perform parliamentary duties. I point to Speaker Bosley's ruling of May 6, 1985, where a newspaper advertisement was deemed to impact a member's privilege. He said:

Any action which impedes or tends to impede a Member in the discharge of his duties is a breach of privilege. There are ample citations and precedents to bear this out.

Further examples include Speaker Jerome's ruling of December 6, 1978, as well as a ruling on a March 9, 1998 question of privilege where a newspaper article was argued to constitute an attempt to intimidate the Speaker and collectively the House. Speaker Parent ruled that there was a prima facie case of privilege.

On March 16, 1983 Mr. Mackasey raised a question of privilege in order to denounce accusations made in a series of articles appearing in the Montreal Gazette, to the effect that he was a paid lobbyist. On March 22, 1983 on page 24027 of Hansard the Speaker ruled that he had a prima facie question of privilege. The reasons given by the Speaker from page 29 of Selected Decisions of Speaker Jeanne Sauvé state:

Not only do defamatory allegations about Members place the entire institution of Parliament under a cloud, they also prevent Members from performing their duties as long as the matter remains unresolved, since, as one authority states, such allegations bring Members into “hatred, contempt or ridicule”. Moreover, authorities and precedents agree that even though a Member can “seek a remedy in the courts, he cannot function effectively as a Member while this slur upon his reputation remains”. Since there is no way of knowing how long litigation would take, the Member must be allowed to re-establish his reputation as speedily as possible by referring the matter to the Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections.

On page 251 of Joseph Maingot's Parliamentary Privilege in Canada, 3rd ed. there is a reference to members. It says:

The House of Commons is prepared to find contempt in respect of utterances within the category of libel and slander and also in respect of utterances which do not meet that standard. As put by Bourinot, “any scandalous and libellous reflection on the proceedings of the House--” and “libels upon members individually--”.

I would also refer to a Speaker's ruling from October 29, 1980 at page 4213 of Hansard. The Speaker said:

--in the context of contempt, it seems to me that to amount to contempt, representations or statements about our proceedings or of the participation of members should not only be erroneous or incorrect, but, rather, should be purposely untrue and improper and import a ring of deceit.

I also want to object to another factual error in his press release which is damaging to my reputation in the community. The member for Etobicoke Centre stated that I and the government House leader voted against his motion to pass his bill at all stages. Neither of us voted against his motion.

I therefore insist that the member for Etobicoke Centre immediately issue an apology and a retraction request to the Canadian and Ukrainian press for libellous claims and false statements. Further, I ask that he apologizes in the House for making a statement so damaging to my reputation.

Finally, I am very disappointed in the member for Etobicoke Centre for not even approaching me to discuss this issue and to get his facts straight before launching his offensive and slanderous press release.

Press Release by Member for Etobicoke CentrePrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Paul Szabo Liberal Mississauga South, ON

Mr. Speaker, these matters have come before the House in the past. There are some details which have been put on the record by the hon. member. I will undertake to get the blues to him as soon as possible, so that he can consider the appropriate steps that the member has suggested.

Mr. Speaker, I would ask that you withhold or defer your decision until the member has had an opportunity to address them.

Press Release by Member for Etobicoke CentrePrivilegeRoutine Proceedings

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

There is no need to withhold a decision. I have listened with care to what the hon. member for Selkirk—Interlake has had to say.

I have stressed previously that in my view press releases issued by members are not things that are subject to questions of privilege in the House. All the examples that he cited in his argument were printed newspaper articles. He has not cited a single case where this press release has made it into print. It may be that people who saw the press release knew more about the facts than as suggested by the hon. member and did not think it was accurate, and so chose not to print part of it. I have no idea.

However, unless the hon. member has some evidence that this has been printed, and even then I may have doubts about this one, there appears to be a dispute as to facts. The hon. member has raised the issues. He has made clear what his position is in respect of allegations that were made by another colleague. It is a dispute as to facts. I do not think it is a matter of the member's privileges being breached.

The fact that somebody has suggested that because his bill is a copy of somebody's else's that this somehow constitutes a breach of privilege, to my mind, is unlikely. He has made it clear that it was not, for whatever reasons. He has given his reasons, and he has indicated the dates of filing and all that. It seems to me the matter has been cleared up by his statement and I do not think it is necessary for either the House or a committee to get involved in a discussion about the details of all these disputes.

If the hon. member wishes to go to the committee and raise the matter there, I am sure the committee can decide whether it wants to bother hearing the issue. However, from the point of view of the House and the Speaker making a ruling whether the hon. member's privileges have been breached, I am afraid I am at a loss to see a breach of privilege in the fact that some other member said something else outside the House about what somebody else did.

That is the position I have taken on these kinds of disputes for some time now, as the hon. member, I am sure, is aware and I take it again now. In my view, there is not a question of privilege raised in the issues that he has brought to the House today.

The House proceeded to the consideration of Bill C-6, An Act to amend the Aeronautics Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts, as reported (with amendment) from the committee.

Speaker's RulingAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

There are 16 motions in amendment standing on the notice paper for the report stage of Bill C-6.

Motions Nos. 1, 3 and 13 will not be selected by the Chair as they could have been presented in committee.

All remaining motions have been examined and the Chair is satisfied that they meet the guidelines expressed in the note to Standing Order 76.1(5) regarding the selection of motions in amendment at the report stage.

Motions Nos. 2, 4 to 12 and 14 to 16 will be grouped for debate and voted upon according to the voting pattern available at the table.

I will now put Motions Nos. 2, 4 through 12 and 14 through 16 to the House.

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

moved:

Motion No. 2

That Bill C-6, in Clause 8, be amended by deleting lines 1 to 25 on page 8.

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

moved:

Motion No. 4

That Bill C-6 be amended by deleting Clause 12.

Motion No. 5

That Bill C-6, in Clause 12, be amended by deleting line 35 on page 11 to line 5 on page 16.

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

David Emerson Conservative Vancouver Kingsway, BC

moved:

Motion No. 6

That Bill C-6, in Clause 12, be amended by replacing, in the French version, line 15 on page 13 with the following:

“(8) Les normes et les règles établies par”

Motion No. 7

That Bill C-6, in Clause 12, be amended by replacing, in the French version, line 9 on page 18 with the following:

“à qui que ce soit des renseigne-”

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

David Emerson Conservative Vancouver Kingsway, BC

moved:

Motion No. 8

That Bill C-6, in Clause 12, be amended

(a) by replacing line 26 on page 21 with the following:

“(5) Information reported by an employee under the program”

(b) by replacing line 28 on page 21 with the following:

“used against the employee to take any reprisals,”

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

moved:

Motion No. 9

That Bill C-6 be amended by deleting Clause 35.

Motion No. 10

That Bill C-6 be amended by deleting Clause 36.

Motion No. 11

That Bill C-6 be amended by deleting Clause 43.

Motion No. 12

That Bill C-6 be amended by deleting Clause 44.

Motion No. 14

That Bill C-6, in Clause 49, be amended by deleting lines 14 to 16 on page 78.

Motion No. 15

That Bill C-6, in Clause 49, be amended by replacing line 14 on page 78 with the following:

“(2) Sections 5.31 to 5.393 of the Aeronautics Act, as enacted by section 12 of this Act, shall not have”

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Loyola Hearn Conservative St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

moved:

Motion No. 16

That Bill C-6, in Clause 49, be amended by replacing lines 14 and 15 on page 78 with the following:

“(2) Despite subsection (1), sections 5.31 to 5.38 of the Aeronautics Act, as enacted by section 12 of this Act, come into force three years after the day on which this Act receives”

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate your ruling. However, I think it is fair to say it is difficult at report stage to debate what are essentially contradictory amendments. We have a series of amendments from the NDP where we attempt to address some of the egregious mistakes made in Bill C-6, either intentional or otherwise, that diminish air safety in our country. There is also an amendment from the government that essentially guts whatever good work the transport committee was able to do. Essentially we are debating two different series of amendments, a series from the NDP which attempts to save Canadian lives, and a series from the Conservative government which will diminish our safety even further.

It makes no sense what the government is proposing as amendments today, particularly in light of what we have seen with rail safety over the last few years. The railway companies were basically given responsibility to manage their own safety systems. The former Liberal government basically got out of the safety business.

What do we have today? We have an epidemic of derailments across the country. Many communities have been impacted, particularly in British Columbia because some companies, having been given that responsibility to manage their own safety without oversight, have been irresponsible. Lives have been lost. There has been environmental devastation.

Instead of learning from that experience of the erosion of safety that took place under the Liberals in railway transport, the Conservative government is trying to do the same thing with the airline industry. What is wrong with this picture? At a time when Canadians are increasingly concerned about derailments in the railway system, the Conservatives are moving forward to do the same irresponsible things to our airline industry. Nothing embodies that recklessness, that irresponsibility of the Conservative government more than the amendments the government is bringing forward.

Let us see what the Conservatives are trying to strike from the record. I am sure Canadians who are watching the parliamentary deliberations today will be very interested in learning what the Conservatives want to take out of Bill C-6. It is already a bad bill for a number of reasons. It is a bad bill because it gives a get out of jail free card to companies that violate with impunity safety in maintenance and safety generally. An airline company that does that, as long as it follows some sort of internal process, will get a get out of jail free card. Airline companies can be irresponsible. They can even cost lives. However, if they have set up some sort of internal mechanism and they say that they are following the dictates of that internal mechanism, they get a get out of jail free card. The CEOs can be as irresponsible as they want and the government is giving them a get out of jail free card.

Also, the government is not providing any sort of whistleblower protection in any real form. We were able to get some amendments in committee but it does not in any way protect a whistleblower who has raised real concerns about company irresponsibility.

In addition to all that, the Conservative government is moving forward and rather than having just two exemptions to the Access to Information Act, we will now be looking at nine areas that are cut off forever from access to information. The Canadian public will never find out what companies are being irresponsible and what companies are putting Canadians' loved ones in danger.

These government amendments that are coming forward today take out the safety management systems that any internal programs that companies set up have to have a responsible executive. The government is taking that out. There will not be a responsible executive for whatever purported safety mechanism that is set up.

The government wants to remove the appointment of an executive who has to be responsible for operations and activities authorized under a certificate issued pursuant to a regulation made under the act and accountable for the extent to which the requirements of the applicable safety management systems have been met. The government wants to take away the requirement of putting in place remedial action required to maintain the highest level of safety.

Canadians are finding out that the government presented a bad bill. The government wants to repeat the same errors we have seen occur with our railway system, the derailments, environmental devastation and death. Seeing what the Liberals did there, the Conservatives have decided to do the same thing with the airline industry. They are taking out the reference to the implementation of remedial action required to maintain the highest level of safety.

If we could have a clear picture from Conservative members, if they walked around with a sign on their foreheads, it would say “We want to make sure that we don't maintain the highest level of safety”. That is what the Conservative members are attempting to do with this bill. By bringing forward these amendments, they are gutting a section that requires a responsible executive of the company, to which they are turning over safety management, to put in place remedial action required to maintain the highest level of safety. The Conservatives are saying they do not want the highest level of safety maintained.

What else are the Conservatives taking out? They are taking out responsibility for continuous monitoring and regular assessment of the level of safety achieved. They are taking that out. What could be a clearer notice of intent of where the Conservatives want to go with this?

For those Canadians, quite rightfully, particularly in British Columbia, who are concerned about what they have seen in the railway system, now the Conservatives are doing the same thing with the airline system. They are taking out references to continuous monitoring and taking out the requirement for remedial action to maintain the highest level of safety.

Finally, the government amendment is also taking out the involvement of employees in the development, implementation and ongoing operation of the applicable safety management system. The transport committee heard testimony which was conclusive, clear and constant that for any safety management system to work, the employees have to be involved.

Reference to a responsible executive is being taken out. Implementation of a remedial action required to maintain the highest level of safety is being taken out. Continuous monitoring and regular assessment of the level of safety achieved is being taken out. The involvement of employees and their bargaining agents in the development, implementation and ongoing operation of the applicable safety management system is being taken out. Let us gut whatever minor protection existed in the bill. Let us just go to the wild, wild west of air safety.

We heard testimony from witnesses saying that this was exactly the wrong way to go. The Conservatives are saying, “No, that is fine. We do not care about Canadians' safety. We do not care about ensuring that there are high standards. We do not care about all of that”. What the Conservatives want to do is just get out of the safety business, just turn it over to the companies and in addition, if they break the law, there will be not be any punishment or consequences. As long as a company is incorporated, it would seem to be able to do anything in Conservative land. For individuals, the full breadth of the law will be brought down on their heads, but as long as a company is incorporated and has wealthy corporate lawyers protecting it, it can do anything it wants in this new, strange, bizarre world that the Conservatives seem to want to bring forward.

The Conservative amendment is absolutely outrageous. It is gutting what components might have existed in Bill C-6 which is already a pretty reckless and irresponsible piece of legislation. Now the Conservatives have brought forward an amendment to gut what provisions may have existed to actually require companies to maintain a high level of safety, to take remedial action when there were problems, to ensure that employees were involved, employees who are at the front line.

If anything was revealed by that terrific series on air safety done by The Hamilton Spectator journalists who basically went in and saw the various levels of safety violations that occur even now with Transport Canada oversight within the Canadian aviation system, it was the importance of having employees involved. Now we have a so-called safety system, we call it self-serve safety, where corporate CEOs can take whatever they want and leave whatever they want behind.

By gutting these amendments that were put in place by the transport committee, essentially to assure at least some measure of safety, what the government is doing is revealing its agenda, and that agenda is not to protect the loved ones of Canadians. The agenda is not to increase the confidence that Canadians may have in the airline system after what we saw happening to the railway system. No, the agenda seems to be purely ideological: to simply gut those safety systems and hand them over to the companies and see if it all works out.

We oppose that. We oppose this amendment. We had hoped to have discussion on the NDP amendment separately from these irresponsible government amendments.

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Denise Savoie NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate my colleague for his speech. He made an excellent comparison between what is currently going on with the railway system and what is going to happen with the airline industry. Everyone knows that there are a growing number of accidents in Canada's railway system because of decisions made by the Liberal government in past years and because of the refusal to take employee recommendations into account.

I would like my colleague to speak more about the ideology that underlies the amendments he spoke about, an ideology that would leave the fox in charge of the henhouse.

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:40 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague from Victoria for her question.

What the Conservatives want to do makes no sense and should concern people across the country. We have already seen the consequences of all these rail accidents, in Quebec and elsewhere. The companies were given responsibility, and the result was many more derailments in cities such as Montmagny.

Now, the Conservatives want to do exactly the same thing with the air transportation system. This amendment, which is clearly and completely irresponsible, seeks to eliminate continuous monitoring and regular safety assessments and prevent the appointment of an executive responsible for all the operations of the safety system. The government also wants to do away with the involvement of employees and their bargaining agents in the development, implementation and ongoing operation of the system.

The Conservatives are removing the whole aspect of responsibility that the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities put in place. The only possible reason that I can imagine is that this is an ideological choice.

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Liberal

Joe Volpe Liberal Eglinton—Lawrence, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am going to reserve my own substantive discussion for my own 10 minutes.

This is not really a question. It is more a comment than anything else. I know that the member has allowed himself to be transported by his desire to be very partisan on this. He has made some suggestions and allegations about the continuity of a government position that goes back to the time when I was in government, so I feel duty-bound to defend those aspects of this discussion that refer back to my colleagues in government, who of course cannot be captured by the member's desire to paint all members of government as those who are deliberately out there to do damage to the Canadian public.

Because I am standing up in defence of a government that was trying to be progressive and that was making every effort to ensure that the quality of life and the standard of living in the country were constantly improved, I ask myself where the government members who were concerned with Bill C-6 are on this particular amendment, because the amendment is being spoken to and defended by somebody who has voted against the bill. It is not really a question the hon. member can answer.

I am just asking myself if I am going to be debating something that is important for Canadians, both in quality of life and standard of living, because the hon. member has scared off all government comment on this issue.

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I enjoyed working with the member for Eglinton—Lawrence on the transport committee.

I referred to the former Liberal government simply because I think it is a matter of public concern. We saw what happened with the railway system when SMS was brought in with railways. That should point the Conservative government in a different direction. If something has failed, we do not fix it by doing the same thing.

The hon. member's point is a very valid one. Why are Conservatives not standing up on this issue? I think the answer is very clear. They themselves are embarrassed by the government's position. What members of the Conservative Party can stand up in the House and say that they are fighting for less safety for Canadian families and fighting to put Canadian families in danger? What Conservative MP could do that?

They are silent. They may not agree with the government's direction, but we know that the Conservative Party is centralized. The Prime Minister's office gives the orders and Conservative members just follow. The reason why they are not speaking, the reason why they are silent, is that they simply cannot defend the position they have taken and it will be very difficult for them this summer, I think, to—

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order. I think this would be the appropriate time to resume debate and recognize the hon. member for Lethbridge.

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:45 a.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, it is indeed a pleasure to stand and speak to this as a member of the government. The member who spoke previously said we would be embarrassed to stand and support what we are doing on this bill. I have done it previously on comments directed to the aspects of this bill that deal with national defence and the safety and aeronautics aspects.

It is a pleasure to rise and offer some comments today on behalf of the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.

Bill C-6 is an act to amend the Aeronautics Act. The Aeronautics Act establishes the Minister of Transport's responsibility for the development and regulation of aeronautics and the supervision of all matters connected with civil aeronautics, as well as the responsibility of the Minister of National Defence for military aeronautical activities.

First and foremost, the intent of Bill C-6 is to provide for a modern and flexible legislative framework to further enhance aviation safety and to reflect the needs of the aviation community. The bill will update the act to make it more consistent with other transportation acts.

The standing committee began studying the bill in February and has heard testimony from dozens of witnesses, all of whom have a sincere interest in the safety of Canadians and Canada's aviation industry. I would like to touch briefly on a few of the major issues that were discussed during the study.

One of the amendments agreed to at committee includes a progressive enforcement program, which includes assurances of compliance and notices of violations without penalty. Transport Canada can and will continue to take enforcement action when necessary and audits can still be conducted if required.

With respect to resources, the number one priority within the department has and will continue to be providing effective safety oversight of the industry by allocating resources to those activities that will provide the greatest safety benefit.

It was also made clear at committee that the concept of designated organizations is being considered only for segments of the industry that do not carry fare-paying passengers or are considered to represent a low level of risk in relation to aviation safety. This was covered in an amendment to the original proposal.

Reporting systems were also discussed at length. To encourage voluntary reporting of safety related information, amendments to the act propose a universal, non-punitive, voluntary reporting program, as well as protections for information that may be obtained by Transport Canada when assessing or auditing the internal reporting system of a certificate holder. Data, once de-identified, is available to all for more analysis and distribution.

However, it is important to note that protections will never prevent enforcement action for deliberate and wilful commission of violations for which Transport Canada would have obtained evidence through its own investigations.

Whistleblower protection also formed an important part of this discussion. The amendments put forward are in the spirit of this type of protection, while at the same time holding true to the intent of encouraging the cooperation of employers and employees to proactively work together for safety.

I now would like to take a moment to address the five government motions that we have put forth in order to align Bill C-6. The amendments are all very technical in nature.

First, during committee deliberations, an amendment was introduced to clause 8 to establish a new rule-making authority for safety management systems. However, upon further review, we see that this same authority is already provided for in section 5.39. Therefore, it will create a redundancy in respect to the enabling authority to make regulations regarding safety management systems.

The paragraphs in section 5.39 are much broader and are consistent with the definition of management systems adopted by the committee in the definitions section of the act. It is more logical to keep the enabling authority under section 5.39 because this provision is followed by a series of other provisions dealing specifically with management systems.

Second, there are three motions at clause 12, all of which are editorial in nature and meant to correct inconsistencies between the French and the English. These changes are meant to ensure that both versions have the same meaning and, therefore, equal weight. The purpose of these motions remains consistent with the deliberations at committee.

Our final motion affects clause 49. The intent is much clearer than the proposed NDP motion for this clause and it still meets the intent of the committee, which is to delay by three years the implementation of designated organizations. This motion will also serve to correct the versions of both languages since as presented they do not have the same meaning.

In conclusion, Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world. This bill will go a long way toward ensuring that the required tools are in place to maintain and enhance the safety of Canadian aviation systems for the future.

Through due diligence, hard work and cooperation, Bill C-6 is now better than it was when originally introduced to Parliament last year. I want to thank committee members who gave their input and support to this bill. The standing committee has indicated support of Bill C-6 with the recommended amendments.

I would therefore encourage members of Parliament to adopt the motions and recommend the amended bill for third reading.

Motions in AmendmentAeronautics ActGovernment Orders

10:50 a.m.

NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I listened attentively. It is good to finally have a Conservative stand up. Of course, the member did not speak to any of the issues of diminishing safety, and he did not address any of the concerns raised by Justice Moshansky or the many witnesses who came before the committee and raised serious concerns about the direction the government is headed in.

He did not even address the government amendment that essentially guts any oversight of having a responsible executive that has to look to the implementation and has to ensure there is remedial action required to maintain the highest level of safety. He did not talk about why the government essentially is trying to move to gut what safety provisions were in this bill.

He did not in any way address why the government is moving ahead with the issue of diminishing airline safety when we have seen what happened with the railways. That is where the government has been completely incomprehensible about this. We saw what happened with railways. In fact, Transport Canada said it had to make changes because when railways violate with impunity the whole issue of safety, as they have, what we see now is the government having to take the railways to court in order to get action to protect the lives of Canadians.

Now we have the same sort of reckless and irresponsible behaviour taking place with the government proposing Bill C-6 and then trying to gut the few components within the bill that actually protect Canadian safety.

I am going to give the member a chance to actually address the issue. I will give him a chance to try to justify why the Conservatives--

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NDP

The Deputy Speaker NDP Bill Blaikie

Order. I will give the hon. member for Lethbridge the chance.

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Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate this chance you are giving me.

Witness after witness who came to committee, and I would say almost all the witnesses who appeared, said that the safety management systems being considered here will create a far safer environment in the aviation industry in Canada than already--

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NDP

Peter Julian NDP Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

That is simply not true.

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Conservative

Rick Casson Conservative Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, I gave that member a chance to do his ranting and I listened to him. Committee members had to listen to him week after week. I wish he would be quiet and listen to me for a second. After indicating that nobody from the Conservative Party would get up and talk, now he is trying to shout me down. It is very typical of that member.

Witness after witness who came to the committee indicated that safety management systems will create a better system in Canada and that 400% to 500% more reports would be brought forward. Once these reports are tabled and once they are available, all in the industry can access them. That, to me, is the key. That flow of information will allow other people involved in the industry to be able to access it to make the industry safer.

The International Civil Aviation Organization indicated that Canada is a leader in safety in the aviation industry and will continue to be a leader in this industry with the adoption of this bill.

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Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the only thing I would like to say to my Conservative colleague is that it is important to understand the whole safety management system.

I was one of the people who were opposed to this bill on first reading, However, I have been convinced of the value of this safety management system, which is being put in place to meet international standards.

The main problem is that the government is setting aside Canada's existing inspection system, the only one of its kind in the world. That is what the Conservatives want to do. Motion No. 2 introduced by the government seeks to abolish, limit or remove the definition of the safety management system on page 8. In so doing, the government is threatening the entire inspection system.

It is wrong to say that clause 5.391 replaces this paragraph, because the paragraph on page 8 stipulates that every carrier must perform continuous monitoring and regular assessment of the level of safety and mentions the involvement of employees and their bargaining agents in the development, implementation and ongoing operation of the system. I hope the member is aware that deleting this from the bill will endanger Canada's existing inspection system.