Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to speak on behalf of the Bloc Québécois, to address the amendment to Bill C-23 proposed by the Conservative Party.
First of all, my colleague from Eglinton—Lawrence, who spoke on behalf of the Liberal Party, was quite right to make the comments he did concerning this amendment. It is a very superficial amendment, but it is so important that it is delaying the passing of the bill. Once again, I have a very hard time listening to the parliamentary secretary, a Conservative member. They seem to want to blame the opposition when it comes to discussions on the amendment. Yes, it might seem very minor, since it is an amendment to align—which the Bloc Québécois will support—but it is also important to say that it is a mistake on the part of the government. If Bill C-23 has not yet passed and, once again, the entire marine community does not benefit, it is because the bill was not completed by the Conservative government.
The Conservatives can say what they like. I would very much like to be able to support the government—in committee, the Conservatives were proud that the Liberal Party and the Bloc Québécois were supporting them—but I hope they will show a little respect here today when they ask us, once again, to vote in favour of this amendment. We will do so, but it is also very important that they understand that they are the framers of the bill. If there was a mistake in the bill, the Bloc Québécois and the Liberals are not to blame. It is the Conservative Party's fault.
I trust it will be democratic and permit us to explain to all those listening, to the citizens in our ridings and to all those interested in marine transportation, that Bill C-23 must be made complete and that this amendment will improve it. Yes, the Bloc Québécois will support it, but it is important also that the Conservatives understand that the bill was delayed because they did not do their job. Once again, they were in too much of a hurry to introduce the bill. Of course this is typical of the Conservative Party, which is not very rigorous in the way it operates. There is a reason why several committees are paralyzed in this House. That is how the Conservatives operate. However, they will never be able to prevent us from rising to point this out to them and to make them understand this, even if we do support them on occasion.
Bill C-23, first introduced by the Liberals, was reintroduced by the Conservatives. The Bloc Québécois supported it then and will do so today. We wish to help the marine transportation sector. However the bill must be complete.
The proposed amendment is being made for consistency. Those following this matter closely will say that the devil is in the details. Today, this small detail is forcing the government to ask for the support of the House in order to adopt this amendment, which is an important one, even though it is small and consists of only one line. We want to prevent legal proceedings from being taken against the minister—in this case—which could jeopardize the application of all of Bill C-23.
Naturally, I hope that the Conservative members and the parliamentary secretary will understand that it is important for the citizens watching us to know why such minor amendments are made. It is because they are important to an understanding of the law as a whole. We will need it if we ever have to go to court. We have to have a complete bill in order to prevent port authorities from having certain situations, that they believed could arise, challenged in court. That is why this amendment, although minor, is important. And, I will say it again, we will vote in favour of this amendment.
To us, everything is important. Every line, every sentence, every clause in Bill C-23 is important. The government can count on the full support of the Bloc Québécois in implementing this bill, as amended by this amendment, which the government had neglected to make. Once again, the Conservative Party is the legislator and it had neglected this. Again, we can assure the government of our full support so that the marine sector can have space to develop. That is what was lacking.
This is what will enable Bill C-23, as amended, to really help the marine sector develop fully. The port authorities that own the ports and manage the land adjacent to seaports must be able to borrow the money they need and move forward. This bill will mean they can get what they need to develop and keep pace with the surge in marine transportation. This sector is expanding rapidly and needs Bill C-23, as amended by today's amendment.
I hope that the Conservatives will understand that this is important. People who followed the progress of Bill C-23 in committee were wondering why it had not been adopted. It was because the bill contained a small typographical error that the Conservative Party had neglected to correct. Today that error has been corrected, and the Bloc Québécois is proud to support this measure in the interest of the entire marine sector.