Mr. Speaker, I thank my colleague for introducing Bill C-627, which I will be talking about. This bill is a step in the right direction, but it underscores the gaps in existing regulations.
The NDP has long criticized the fact that companies are allowed to self-regulate and self-inspect. The objective is to provide powers to the minister and inspectors so they can intervene if there is a problem.
However, there are not enough inspectors. We have been looking at this issue for a long time in committee, and the problem has not necessarily been solved. Yes, we can grant more powers, but if there is nobody on the ground to ensure that rails and crossings are safe, that does not solve the problem. The Conservatives have cut the budget for rail inspection by 20% since 2010. The government is not investing in inspections.
I support the bill since it is a step in the right direction, even though it is a private member's bill and it conflicts somewhat with Bill C-52, which I talked about earlier. The fact that members have to fix government rail safety regulations shows that there are problems.
What is funny is that in committee, we examined Bill C-627, a private member's bill, before we examined Bill C-52, but we debated Bill C-52 first. Bill C-52 really should have contained mechanisms that referenced Bill C-627. It is a bit complicated and it shows that the government did not do its homework with regard to rail regulations. The government is rushing to fix things after the Lac-Mégantic tragedy, and it is improvising quite a bit.
In short, I will support the bill because it is a step in the right direction. However, the government could do more in terms of rail safety.