Mr. Speaker, thank you for the opportunity to speak to Bill C-322 this afternoon.
My experience with crossings is a little different from my colleague's. In my riding, the issues around crossings have typically been the removal of them, particularly in small towns. Train lengths have gotten longer and longer, and we now find freight trains that are two miles in length. The rail companies have actually come in and removed crossings, in their words, to try to remove the danger of people trying to cross at those places. It has made it inconvenient for a number of small communities whose people often have to go around another way to get back to the place where they started.
The second issue I have had with rail crossings in the riding is CPR removing crossings that were used privately and actually not even acknowledging our contacts with them to try to get them to explain what they had done.
I sympathize with my colleague on this issue, but I do not think she has found the correct solution to the problem. In short, the bill before us proposes to amend the Railway Safety Act to give the minister of transport the power to order a company to construct a railway crossing and to authorize the payment of subsidies in that regard. The bill is designed to address a particular problem in Montreal.
I find this to be typical of my NDP colleagues' approach to legislation. The solution is always more and more government intervention and bigger and bigger government. With these issues that should be resolved locally, they always seem to take a national hammer to them to try to repair them that way. I think that is what is happening here.
For those of us who have lived under NDP governments, this is a very familiar picture for us. We believe the solution is not always more and more government involvement and government telling people what they need to do. Of course, in my province it has had a huge impact over the years. We find ourselves, after 50 years of the NDP running the province, with an economy one-third the size of that of our neighbouring province, and it is for that particular reason. Every solution was seen to be more and more government involvement until people left and businesses left and we did not have the economic development that we actually needed in our province. We ended up with, I think, up to 80 crown corporations in a population of less than a million, and nationalized industries, such as potash, which was just about destroyed before it was sold into private hands and then became a crown jewel in our provincial economy.