Mr. Speaker, I welcome this opportunity to join briefly in the debate to lend my support to this noble idea, this worthy initiative to revisit the made in Canada procurement policies generally.
In this case, the motion is specific to municipalities and their purchase of transit buses and transit systems, but we need to take this opportunity to contemplate our appalling made in Canada procurement system, which fails us in so many ways. I rise just briefly to interject, because something happened in the province of Manitoba in my home city of Winnipeg and, Mr. Speaker, in your home riding, just this last year, something of which everybody in the House should take note.
If we want to talk about a made in Canada procurement policy collapsing, falling down and failing to protect Canadian jobs and workers, there is the example of Motor Coach Industries. I believe we make the best buses in the world here in Canada, but when our army, our military, wanted to buy troop carrier buses, they ended up buying German ones.
Motor Coach Industries, in the heart of Winnipeg and the heart of your riding, Mr. Speaker--and this should frost your socks too--put in a bid that was $2,000 per unit more expensive than the German price. On buses worth $500,000 each, and there were 34 of these buses, the difference in price was $2,000 each and the Canadian military bought the German bus instead. That difference is less than the cost of a set of tires for those buses.
Our tax dollars are now creating jobs for that bus company in Germany. Perhaps the worst thing of all, and the reason that we should reconsider all of this made in Canada procurement, is that our NATO allies see Canadian troops getting ferried around in German buses, so the Canadians might as well say that if anyone wants a good troop carrier bus they should buy the German one.
That is what we did, even though in our own backyard and your own riding, Mr. Speaker, we make the best buses in the world, I would argue. Frankly, the Canadian military mostly runs MCI buses. The military now has to bring in new mechanics, new training, a new parts inventory and new warehousing just to accommodate this little cluster of foreign made buses instead of buying Canadian.
I am heartened and encouraged when the House of Commons is seized of an issue like a made in Canada procurement policy, but I had to reinforce the need for my colleague's bill by this graphic example in the heart of the city of Winnipeg and the heart of your riding, Mr. Speaker.
I hope that my colleague's motion will have a ripple effect and that we will revisit our made in Canada procurement policy generally for all of our government procurement.