This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #89 of the 39th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was application.

Topics

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those opposed will please say nay.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on the motion stands deferred.

The next question is on the Motion No. 9. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

No.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

All those opposed will please say nay.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Nuclear Liability and Compensation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

In my opinion the nays have it.

And five or more members having risen:

The recorded division on the motion stands deferred.

The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded divisions at the report stage of the bill.

Call in the members.

The recorded division on the motion stands deferred until the end of government orders today.

The House resumed from November 20, 2007 consideration of the motion that Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

When we last discussed Bill C-14, there were 10 minutes left for questions and comments for the hon. member for Hamilton Centre. Questions and comments?

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I rise in this House today to support Bill C-14, an Act to amend the Canada Post Corporation Act, on second reading. This bill recognizes the reality that international remailing companies have been operating in Canada for several decades.

Why should we punish these small businesses that play an important role in our economy? As I will try to show this afternoon, it would be preferable to examine the bill in committee than to defeat it, as some members of the House would like to do, without hearing from experts and those who will be affected.

This bill seeks to address an existing weakness in the Canada Post Corporation Act. A difference in the wording of the English and French versions of the provisions of the Canada Post Corporation Act dealing with the exclusive privilege of the corporation has allowed other companies to deliver mail to people in other countries.

Acting on this difference in wording, the Canadian International Mail Association has been able to collect and distribute letters weighing up to 500 grams addressed to foreign recipients for 20 years—I repeat, for 20 years. Recently, Canada Post decided to exercise the exclusive privilege giving it a monopoly over mail to foreign addresses.

International remailers have been in operation for more than 20 years. They operative almost exclusively in three large metropolitan areas—Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. The revenue of these international remailers here in Canada is estimated at about $50 million per year, which is less than 0.8% of Canada Post’s annual revenue. There is no competition in other areas. They do not compete for distribution of mail in small rural communities where Canada Post may be an important employer, if not the most important. Nobody competes with Canada Post for the role of the standard bearer of our presence in Canada, a contact point between government and citizens all across the country.

This sector has prospered for more than 20 years. Obviously, its success is not so great as to significantly affect Canada Post’s revenue. Last year, Canada Post generated total revenue of $7.3 billion. While the postal delivery sector was stable, remailing companies did not take in much more than $50 million. One can see that they do not represent a Trojan horse for Canada Post, despite what the corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers may say. I am a former member of that union. In fact, I was a shop steward.

As my hon. colleague, the member for Eglinton—Lawrence, put it so eloquently in his speech in this House on this very bill on November 20, 2007, and I quote:

As members of the House of Commons, our first obligation is to ensure that no legislation goes through the House that damages the potential available to any Canadian and, concomitant with that, the obligation to nurture an environment that gives Canadians that same opportunity.

Indeed, members of the Liberal opposition and I have been aware of the potential impact killing this legitimate business, killing this legitimate competition, and its impact on Canadians. We have been working hard to remedy the situation.

I would like to give a little history of what Liberals have been working on, on this issue. On March 22, 2007, the member for Etobicoke Centre wrote the Minister of Transport as the then Liberal critic for crown corporations. He insisted in his letter that the government make the necessary legislative changes to continue to allow these firms to operate. If I may just read the actual letter:

Dear Minister: I am writing to you about the ongoing concerns of members of the Canadian International Mail Association who face difficult challenges due to pressure being applied by Canada Post Corporation to eliminate competition in the international mail market in Canada.

It is my understanding that the government supports the maintenance of the competitiveness of the international mail delivery market and has indicated its intention to make the necessary legislative changes to enable these firms to continue to operate.

I note that during question period on October 26, 2006, you stated that:

And my colleague is referring to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities:

“many members from all sides of the House have indicated support on this issue. Indeed, the new government supports small businesses and competitive economic conditions needed to ensure their survival. This is why the government will be coming forward in a few weeks with substantive steps to deal with the issues regarding international re-mailers”.

Then my colleague from Etobicoke Centre goes on in his letter to say:

Please be assured that should you introduce this important legislation, there would be significant support from the opposition members.

Respectfully,

Member for Etobicoke Centre

Critic for Crown Corporations

That is not all. On October 17, 2007, the Leader of the Opposition affirmed this support in a letter to the president of the Canadian Union of Postal Workers, Ms. Deborah Bourque. He explained that while Liberals supported international remailers, we do not support the deregulation of Canada Post. I would like to read that letter dated April 17, 2007:

Dear Ms. Bourque: On behalf of the Liberal Party of Canada and our Liberal Caucus, I am pleased to have this opportunity to respond to your letters and clarify our position in regard to international re-mailers and the deregulation and privatization of Canada Post. I regret the delay of this response.

As you can appreciate, this complex matter has stirred much debate in the past few years from all affected parties. After careful consideration and study of the issue it is our intent to support the continued operations of international re-mailers within Canada.

Although I understand your concern in regard to this issue, it is important to note that international re-mailers have been operating in Canada for several decades now. The Liberal Party does not believe that hurting these small business owners would be in the best interests of Canadians.

That said, it is also important to note that the Liberal Party does not support the deregulation and privatization of Canada Post.

As your correspondence and related material will also be of interest to...the Liberal Critic for Crown Corporations, I have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of our exchange for his consideration. I am certain that he will be happy to provide a more detailed response to your concerns.

In the meantime, I hope the above helps to clarify our position on the issue. Thank you for taking the time to write, and please accept my warmest regards.

Leader of the Official Opposition

Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada

As early as March and then in April 2007, official spokesmen on behalf of the Liberal parliamentary caucus and the leader of the official opposition and Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada made it very clear that Liberals would support and do support maintaining the right of international remailers, and that we do not support any move to privatize or to deregulate Canada Post. I hope that no one in the House will try to mix both issues, because they are separate issues.

Let me go on and continue to provide a little of the history.

So, on May 9, 2007, the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence, as Liberal critic for transport, infrastructure and communities, brought forward at the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities a motion which I think would settle the issue between Canada Post and the remailing companies. After several hours of discussion, my hon. colleague's motion was passed, as amended, by a vote of eight to three.

On May 18, the motion put forward by the hon. member for Eglinton—Lawrence, on which other Liberal members of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities had worked, was introduced in the House of Commons as part of the fifth report of the committee. The report stated, and I quote:

That the Committee recommend that Government issue a directive to the Canada Post Corporation pursuant to the Minister of Transport's authority under Section 22 of the Canada Post Corporation Act and in accordance with the Financial Administration Act, stating that:

i) The Corporation shall, at its option, either discontinue, withdraw or consent to a judicial stay of proceedings in respect of allegations or judicial findings that entities have or continue to violate the exclusive privilege in Section 14 of the Canada Post Corporation Act with respect to letters intended for delivery outside of Canada and, where an injunction has been issued with respect to letters intended for delivery outside of Canada, the Corporation shall consent to an application brought to dissolve such an injunction, until the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has the opportunity of reviewing the matter and formulating recommendations to the Government and Canada Post.

ii) The Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities conduct this review of section 14 of the Canada Post Corporation Act by end of 2007.

The government drew inspiration from this fifth report of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities for its Bill C-14, introduced on October 19, 2007. That is the bill we are debating today.

I also heard from people working in this sector in my own riding. On October 24, five days before the minister actually tabled government Bill C-14, I wrote to the Minister of Transport requesting that he take such action on this important issue. I would like to read my letter into the record. It states

Dear Minister...

I recently met with a representative from Spring Global Mail, an international mail delivery service company, which has an office in my constituency. The representative from Spring informed me about the deep concern he had for the international mail service industry in Canada. As of November 2004, Canada Post was granted a permanent court injunction to enforce its monopoly powers over this sector, thereby making this industry slowly disappear.

This simply is not right as it would dissolve a growing Canadian market that not only includes international mail delivery companies but small and medium sized businesses, as well as some of Canada's largest corporations in printing and financial field[s]. It would be a shame to lose a twenty year old sector of our country's economy to unequal economic practices.

I support equal economic opportunity for all Canadian businesses and would completely disagree with Canada Post having full jurisdiction over this sector. Fixing this injustice is simply the right thing to do. I would support legislation that would revitalize this industry and reverse the court injunction so as to stop the bleeding.

I signed it “Sincerely”, with my name, as member of Parliament for Notre-Dame--de-Grace--Lachine, with a certified copy to Mr. Stephane Forget of Spring Global Mail.

I think this makes it quite clear that the issue of international remail delivery has been something that Liberals have been active on, as I am sure other members sitting in the House have been, and which I believe needs to go to committee.

As I said, there are people in my riding who have been working in this sector and who have been working legitimately in this field for over 20 years. Should Canada Post and CUPW succeed in their efforts at painting this as an issue that impacts rural mail delivery and succeed in having the bill killed before it truly can be examined, it will not help the honest Canadians in my riding and in other ridings in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver, the centres where these companies are located. These centres are not located in rural ridings. They are not even located here in Ottawa. They are located in three main urban centres: Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

I am assuming, but I could be wrong, that the NDP may be supportive of Bill C-14. I hope it is supportive, but it would not surprise me if the NDP is not. Should Canada Post and CUPW and the NDP succeed in killing this bill, they will also be killing the jobs of many hard-working Canadians. To attempt to claim that this has anything to do with rural mail delivery is simply false.

I worked for Canada Post. I was a shop steward for Canada Post. I am a defender of rural mail delivery. I can tell members that Canada Post's efforts in its study on rural mailboxes, for so-called health and security reasons, are going to endanger rural mail delivery much more than international remailers will ever do.

I would say that anyone, including CUPW, the NDP and Canada Post, that attempts to link this to the protection of rural mail delivery or to privatization or deregulation is simply not stating the facts and is trying to fearmonger. This has absolutely nothing to do with any of those three issues.

I would beg colleagues in the House not to attempt to make that linkage, because it is a tenuous one at best and that is putting the best spin that I can on it. It is simply not true.

I will end there and say that I urge members in the House to support Bill C-14 being referred to a committee and also to protect our honest, hard-working Canadians in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver who depend on those companies for their jobs.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

Order, please. It is my duty, pursuant to Standing Order 38, to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, Guaranteed Income Supplement and the Budget; the hon. member for Montmagny—L'Islet—Kamouraska—Rivière-du-Loup, Manufacturing and Forestry Industries.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta

Conservative

Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine and the congratulations that she offers to the minister, the Prime Minister and this government for bringing forward this legislation.

Indeed, I have three questions for her. First, is it true that there are approximately 10,000 jobs in the industry, which is what has been represented to me, that those jobs indeed would be lost in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver if this legislation is not brought forward? That is the first question.

Second, why did the Liberals not bring forward legislation to correct this particular issue during the period of time they were in government and this was an ongoing issue? It took this government to do so.

Finally, her seatmate two seats away, the member for Halton, has advocated privatization of Canada Post. Although this government is clear that we are not taking any steps that way, does she agree with the member for Halton that privatization of Canada Post would be in the best interests of Canadians? We certainly do not believe that is the case.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

I will begin with the last question first.

I read the letter from the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Party of Canada that was addressed to Deborah Bourque, the president of CUPW. In it, our leader makes very clear the Liberal policy. The Liberal parliamentary caucus and the Liberal Party are opposed to privatization and deregulation of Canada Post. It is clear. No, we do not support it. N-O.

In terms of the second question the member asked, about the representation that approximately 10,000 Canadian jobs are dependent on the passage of Bill C-14, I believe the member is correct in that figure. I believe that is the approximate number of jobs. These jobs are located principally in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver. That is why I made the point that I did. When certain elements attempt to fearmonger and say that should the international remailers be given the legislative authority to continue to compete on that little slice of Canada Post business it will somehow put into jeopardy rural mail delivery, it is simply not true. It is not.

Shame on anyone who attempts to make that argument. If it is CUPW, shame on CUPW. I am a strong unionist, but it is not because one is a unionist that one is without error and that one's argument is always right. And it is certainly not because one belongs to the NDP that one is always right. I would say it is more that one is usually wrong.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Royal Galipeau

I recognize the hon. member for Berthier—Maskinongé, but I would like to point out that other members would also like to ask questions. We have six minutes remaining.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will ask my question quickly.

I understand that the Canada Post Corporation is not in a deficit position; it is currently making a profit. I live in a rural area, and I am convinced that the postal service there has not improved in many years. Post offices have closed, meaning that people in rural areas must now drive several kilometres to pick up their mail.

This proposal that we are debating seeks to take $48 to $50 million of Canada Post Corporation's profits. I am almost certain that this would have an effect on rural areas and mail delivery. It would eat into the revenues. We typically never reduce the postal services in Montreal, Toronto or Vancouver. It is usually the rural areas that feel the cutbacks.

Citizens are currently very unhappy with postal services. I do not think that this bill will improve these services.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will answer very quickly.

In 2006, Canada Post had revenues of $7.3 billion, with a net profit of $320 million. The remailing industry has been around for more than 20 years. This industry is not what has hurt rural mail delivery.

I worked at Canada Post and I was unionized. I can say that this has nothing to do with remailing. It is simply Canada Post's desire to make its deliveries as cost effective as possible. Canada Post did not even think that it had exclusive rights over international mail. So it has never challenged the existence of this industry.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, as much as the Liberals do not want anyone to think this has anything to do with rural mail delivery, privatization or deregulation, the fact is that it speaks to the very heart of the ability of Canada Post to remain the entity that it is, to provide the service it provides and to do it in a manner that does not cost the taxpayer, through any extra subsidies, any extra money. It is a stand-alone, self-sustaining organization that employs 55,000 proud Canadians.

The Liberals would have us believe that they will be supporting this, but even if it is the unions that are supporting this position, we should not let anyone say that this has anything to do with rural mail delivery.

The fact is that if we bleed away Canada Post's ability to be financially viable, we ultimately will deny it the ability to provide the service. Is that just CUPW, which, I am sure, is very proud of their former member?

It is not only the NDP. I want to ask the member a question with regards to what Justice MacFarland said on May 8, 2007, one year ago, on behalf of a three panel judge after Canada Post had won the first court case. The private enterprises that the hon. member mentioned appealed and at the appeal court the justice said:

The purpose of the statutory privilege can only be to enable CP to fulfill its statutory mandate or realize its objects. It is meant to be self-sustaining financially while at the same time providing similar standards of service throughout our vast country. Profits are realized in densely populated areas which subsidize the services provided in the more sparsely populated areas.

If we deny Canada Post the revenue it needs to be viable, rural service will be affected and the ability of Canada Post to exist as a crown corporation will be at risk.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Speaker, the answer is very simple. In 2006, Canada Post generated $7.3 billion.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

An hon. member

Is that with a “b”?

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Yes, that is with a “b”, not an “m”, $7.3 billion, and $320 million net profit.

No one should attempt to tell Canadians and the thousands of Canadians who work for the international remailers in Canada that their jobs should be lost because that business generates $50 million.

I would like to remind the member that Canada Post had a 12% interest in one of these remailers from 1992 to 1996, and one of them has an office in my riding. At that time it was called TNT Mailfast but it is now called Spring Global Mail. Canada Post did not have any problem then.

International remailers do not jeopardize Canada Post's ability to earn profits. I might add that if the NDP succeeds in eliminating this business, it will not create one more job for CUPW.

Canada Post Corporation ActGovernment Orders

4:30 p.m.

Conservative

Ed Fast Conservative Abbotsford, BC

Mr. Speaker, I was very pleased to actually hear the Liberals support Bill C-14. There is very little we agree on in the House but from time to time we sing from the same page. Unfortunately, the NDP still is not getting that this is all about saving Canadian jobs.

This is not a complicated bill. Actually, it contains one simple clause. For most Canadians, it will have no significance that they know of but to the thousands of Canadians whose jobs will be lost if we do not pass this bill, it is critical to their livelihoods and their families.

What is remailing? Let me explain for those who do not understand what that industry is all about.

As we know, there are people in Canada who mail letter mail to each other. It is mail that is sent within Canada, collected within Canada and delivered within Canada. That mail is delivered by Canada Post and Canada Post has what is called exclusive privilege, which is simply another name for a monopoly. Canadians accept that. Our government accepts that. I believe all the parties in the House accept the fact that there is exclusive privilege for mail that is collected, distributed and delivered in Canada.

However, there is also other mail that is sent from Canada around the world. What businesses find is that the cost of that mailing can in some cases be very expensive. If a business is sending out thousands and thousands of pieces of letter mail a year, those costs can add up. They can affect one's competitiveness in a fiercely competitive international market.

Remailers are companies that will collect and bundle letter mail in Canada, take it to another jurisdiction, in most cases the United States, and mail it from there because the costs of mailing are significantly less. That is good for our economy because anything that allows Canadian businesses to compete better with the world markets is good. It is good for our economy and for families across this country, although the NDP just cannot understand that.

The change is very simple. The bill states, “does not apply to letters intended for delivery to an addressee outside Canada”. In other words, the exclusive privilege will not relate to letter mail that is collected in Canada but mailed from outside of Canada.

For 20 years this was not an issue. The industry, Canada Post, the unions, the remailers all accepted the fact that the Canada Post Corporation Act actually only provided exclusive privilege for letter mail that was collected and mailed within Canada to Canadians.

What happened along the way? The remailers started building their businesses. They starting investing a lot of money. They started creating jobs in Canada to provide a service to Canadian businesses. For 20 years there was no opposition to this. I am trying to figure out what happened.

Here is what I think happened. Canada Post obviously employs bright, young lawyers who are supposed to protect their interests, and that is fair. I am guessing that one day one of these bright, young lawyers checked the clause in the Canada Post Corporation Act, both in English and French, and, lo and behold, they found there was an inconsistency between the two clauses. The English clause did not say exactly what the French one said. It was an “aha” moment for the lawyer. He felt that he might have them and took the remailers to court.

The remailers were told that under the French version of the act they did not a right to exist and that the people working for them should not be employed in a remailing industry. The case was taken all through the courts until it ended up in the Supreme Court of Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada had to basically choose one or the other of the two interpretations, the English one or the French one. In the end, the Supreme Court of Canada decided, in its wisdom, that it was the French that should prevail.

That ruling came as a shock to the remailing industry and to our government. It came as a shock to most of the members of the House because we were at risk of losing an industry that employs some 10,000 people in Canada and an industry that is worth at least $100 million a year. Overnight this was going to be shut down.

I do not think that is fair. It is not the Canadian way and, quite frankly, it is not why I was elected as a member of Parliament. It is my job to stand up for Canadians, to defend Canadian jobs and to ensure we are fair with the Canadian people.

Our clause simply restates what everyone has accepted as the status quo for well over two decades. It says that remailers will continue to have the right to conduct their businesses, to take business mail within Canada, bundle it together and send it elsewhere in the world from another jurisdiction.

One might think that along the way Canada Post had been asserting its right to exclusive privilege over the remailing industry but that is not so. Back in 1988, Canada Post actually issued a magazine called Manager Magazine. In the April-May 1988 edition there was an article written by a lady by the name of Barbara Leimsner. In an article that she entitled, “Reaching for a Higher Plateau”, she said:

Outbound mail is not protected by exclusive privilege which leaves this lucrative business open to a new threat--aggressive competition from international remail companies.

That is Canada Post acknowledging that it was facing stiff competition and that it was taking on the remailers in the market legitimately. That was back in 1988.

Let us move on to 2005. A newsletter was issued by, I believe, Canada Post and, ironically, the newsletter is called , “Upfront”. It is actually in the form of a letter by the president and CEO of Canada Post no less, and is entitled, “Moving beyond our history”. The chief executive of Canada Post said:

Today, the notion of exclusive privilege is a thing of the past....We must all understand that today our customers have many opportunities to take their business elsewhere.

When she refers to taking business elsewhere, what else could she mean but that Canadian businesses have the ability to take their mail to a remailing company and have it mailed around the world from another jurisdiction.

Even as recently as 2005, Canada Post accepted the fact that exclusive privilege, this monopoly, only applied to domestic mail, mail that was collected within Canada and delivered within Canada. The CEO acknowledged in the article that exclusive privilege did not extend to the remailers.

Today, however, we have the court case that we must deal with. It says that there was an ambiguity in the law, that there was an anomaly between the English and French versions and that somehow we must reconcile those so they will choose the French version which has the impact of actually shutting down a major industry in Canada, eliminating some 10,000 jobs and $100 million worth of business a year.

The member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine referred to the fact that Canada Post actually owned a slice of the remailing industry for some four years. Is that not an irony? The very corporation that says remailers should not exist, actually invested in a remailing company some years ago and presumably made some money at it.

I do not know if the Bloc is supporting the legislation, but the other suggestion being made by my NDP colleagues is that somehow the profits that the remailers make today, and that Canada Post would like to now make its own, is critical to continuing a rural mail delivery service across Canada.

That is absolutely not true. In fact, we heard the profit quoted earlier. Last year, Canada Post earned some $320 million in profit. It is not losing money. The suggestion that somehow the bill would cause Canada Post to lose money is absolute nonsense. It does not own that business now, and it has not for some 20 years. This is a business that was legitimately carried on by the remailers. For over two decades, they depended on what everyone understood the state of the law to be, which was the English version of the Canada Post Corporation Act. Now that has changed because the courts picked up on this anomaly and decided against the remailers.

We want to correct that situation. We want to send a message to Canadians, especially those who rely on the remailing industry for their livelihoods, that we will stand behind them.

I want to give credit to the Liberals in the House. They recognized that. They got it. They understood there would be an injustice foisted upon these workers and industries, which had been acting in good faith for such a long time.

A suggestion has also been made that this is somehow a step toward deregulating postal service in Canada and privatizing Canada Post. Nothing could be further from the truth. We have made it very clear, as a Conservative government, that we will not take steps to privatize Canada Post. We believe Canada Post is performing a very useful service in Canada.

We have ordered that a strategic review of Canada Post be undertaken to ensure Canadians receive full value from Canada Post, to ensure Canada Post continues to pursue the objectives and purposes for which it was created and to ensure the postal corporation remains vibrant within Canada.

The suggestion that now putting the heavy hand of the law on the remailers would somehow enhance Canada Post prospects or enhance the prospects of businesses across Canada, which would like to keep their costs down, is ludicrous.

I come from an area of the country where individual enterprise is valued very highly. The remailers that have invested for some 20 years in this industry have done so in good faith. They took risks. They built their companies. They hired employees. They continued to grow. They provided a valuable service to thousands of other businesses across the country. To suggest that shutting those businesses down and getting rid of those jobs is somehow serving Canadians is absolutely wrong.

If I could just summarize, in point form, what the bill would not do and then what it would do, I hope Canadians will understand why Bill C-14 is important to them.

As I have already mentioned, it is critically important to those who rely on the remail industry for their livelihoods, but it is also critical for Canada's ongoing economic prosperity because we depend on remaining competitive. Canada lags behind many of the other industrialized countries in productivity.

How do we improve on that? One way is to ensure that Canadian businesses can reduce their costs and compete in a fiercely competitive world.

What would the bill not do? It would not result in a loss of revenue for Canada Post because Canada Post never had these revenues in the last 20 years.

This is not about a loss of jobs. I do not believe the NDP is even suggesting that it is a loss of jobs in the industry. What we are doing is protecting jobs. What those members would like to see happen is that those jobs go elsewhere. In fact, members may not know this but a number of the remailer companies have shut down their business in Canada and have gone elsewhere. Do members now where those jobs went? They did not stay in Canada. They left the country. Therefore, why would we want to risk that happening to the 10,000 remaining jobs we have in Canada? It is not about a loss of jobs; it is reaffirming the status quo of the last 20 years.

Is this about deregulation? Absolutely not. We have made that clear. My colleague across the floor has made that clear. This is not an attack on Canada Post. We continue to support exclusive privilege to Canada Post and its critical role in allowing Canadians to communicate with one another.

This is about protecting jobs, protecting our industry, our remailers, ensuring that we protect the trust that Canadians have, especially Canadian businessmen, when they see government and Canada Post moving forward in reliance on a certain law, that we will not flip-flop down the road. Finally, this is about maintaining Canada's competitiveness in the global economy.

Is Canada Post an important federal institution? Absolutely. It has a presence throughout our country. Does it need the remail industry to survive? Absolutely not. The profits last year of $320 million speak for themselves. There is more than enough money for Canada Post to do a good job in ensuring that Canadians have good rural mail delivery. Canada Post will continue to collect and transmit mail within Canada, and it is entitled to compete with the remailers in sending mail outside of Canada.

This is about protecting jobs. It is about standing up for Canadians. I appreciate the opportunity to defend this industry today with Bill C-14.