Mr. Speaker, I listened closely to the parliamentary secretary's comments and I suspect his exhortation to the House for support will be favourably received in most quarters. I have two questions.
Throughout the member's remarks and in previous debate I have heard words like “efficiency, flexibility and facilitation”, all of which probably add up to potential increased productivity for our port authorities and ports, period, whether there is a port authority present or not. Forgive me if I am wrong on this, but I did not hear the word “productivity” mentioned very much. That may or may not have been the case.
Has the ministry done any kind of a workup on productivity and does it plan to do one? This is always an issue for us in Canada as the productivity of our country is compared to other economic competitors.
Second, the member talked about flexibility for our port authorities but, as most of us know around here, from time to time our port authorities, which are federal instruments, can go rogue. They can cease to be good partners with their municipal and provincial counterparts or they can fail to be accountable. I recall the Hamilton Harbour Commission at one point having to do some somewhat serious accounting at one of our committees.
These port authorities can go rogue, can cease to be good partners, and can be empire building little entities in their federal instruments. Can the parliamentary secretary assure the House that within this legislation there are adequate measures to assure accountability by the port authorities and to make sure that they are good partners with our provinces and municipalities?