Mr. Speaker, everyone regrets when 2,600 people lose their jobs as a result of a company going bankrupt, but what do the NDP members propose that we actually do about it? They say that we should apply the Air Canada Public Participation Act. On that point, I asked the assistant deputy minister for business and regulatory law at the Department of Justice during the March 29 committee hearings. He is an independent and non-partisan public servant.
I asked him, “Is there anything in the Air Canada Public Participation Act that would require Aveos to come out of bankruptcy protection? Is there any section in the Air Canada Public Participation Act that would compel taxpayers to provide a bailout to Aveos to bring it out of bankruptcy protection?”
His response to both questions was “No”.
I asked, “Could the Government of Canada ban Aveos from filing bankruptcy protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act?”
Mr. Legault said, “The Government of Canada has no relationship with Aveos itself, so I would not speculate on that.”
I said, “What I'm saying is that if ACPPA is being violated now, as the opposition argues, there is nothing to stop a court from independently finding that after a complaint is brought.”
Mr. Legault said, “Possibly they could do so.”
I said, “So the Government of Canada does not have the legal authority to compel a company to end its bankruptcy filing?”
Mr. Legault replied, “It's in the hands of Aveos.”
I asked, “Can you list the sections in the Air Canada Public Participation Act that require Aveos to continue operating?”
He replied, “Aveos is not mentioned in the act.”
I asked, “And what sections in the act compel Air Canada to receive its maintenance and overhaul services from Aveos?”
He replied, “All the act provides is that Air Canada has to include in its articles an obligation to continue maintenance in the three cities.”
I asked, “Through Aveos?”
He replied, “No”.
The reality is that there is nothing in the law that can force Aveos not to go bankrupt. There is nothing in the law that can ban it from going bankrupt. There is nothing in the law that can bring back these 2,600 jobs.
Perhaps the NDP is proposing that we introduce a special bill that would ban just this company from going bankrupt. It would be the only company in Canada that the law would forbid to declare bankruptcy. However, I am not sure how an act like that would be enforced. Would we send in the police and force the company to spend money it does not have on wages or any other expenditure? I do not know. I look forward to the member explaining how exactly such an action would be taken.
Given that the opposition has proposed no remedy whatsoever to compel Aveos and its 2,600 jobs back into existence, we can only assume that it is proposing a bailout. However, the company has burned through $1 billion in investor money in the last five years. To keep it operating for another five years, it would need another $1 billion of taxpayers' money.
It should be noted that Air Canada offered a partial bailout of $15 million to Aveos, which it rejected. Aveos also rejected coming to explain itself before a parliamentary committee in this chamber. Yet the opposition continues to propose that we take $1 billion out of the economy through taxes and spend that money bailing out a company that has clearly failed. We reject that proposal.