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Interventions in the House of Commons
Interventions in Committee
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I call to order this meeting of the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 42nd Parliament. Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, September 20, 2017, we proceed with consideration of Bill S-2, an act to amend the Motor Vehicle Safety Act and to make a consequential amendment to another act.
We have from the department today, as witnesses, Kim Benjamin, Donald Roussel, Alain Langlois, and Marie-France Taschereau.
Welcome. Thank you so much. It's nice to see all of you again.
Pursuant to Standing Order 75, consideration of clause 1 is postponed until the chair calls clause 2. We can start that discussion now.
Mr. Lobb, go ahead.
Madam Chair, I wonder if the legislative clerk could tell us which, if any, of the amendments are out of order at this time. Are any of the amendments out of order?
We have to wait for that. As the amendments are introduced, the legislative clerk.... There is one that will be ruled out of order.
I wonder, as well, if you'd indulge me in asking one of the Liberals, Mr. Fraser, a question. If he has taken a look at all the amendments submitted by the opposition, I was wondering whether there are any amendments that the Liberals would be supporting or if they would be voting against them all.
I find it odd that the question is posed to me specifically. I don't know which amendments are going to be moved. I think the ordinary course is to go through motions when they are moved and debated, deal with them in that order, offer commentary and discussion on them at that time, and take feedback from the officials as well.
Madam Chair, I think proceeding under the ordinary course is probably the right way to go.
Mr. Chong, go ahead.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I think what my colleague from Huron-Bruce is trying to do, in the interest of dealing with this legislation expeditiously, is make our use of time efficacious and avoid having to go through a whole bunch of amendments if the outcome is preordained.
I would suggest that we suspend for five minutes, if it is the will of the committee, and have quick, informal discussions about which amendments will be truly considered and which ones will have preordained outcomes, so that we don't have to go through amendments that we know are going to be defeated. We could possibly deal with this bill expeditiously before the votes take place in about an hour and a half.
I think we can probably deal with it expeditiously by calling out each clause, which is the proper way to do it. Anyone who has moved an amendment has the right to speak to that amendment.
I think we are all aware that at 5:15 the bells will go off and that we'd like to get this completed today if possible, but we are dealing with legislation and we have to do it the way it is required of us to do it.
Mr. Badawey, go ahead.
Thank you, Madam Chair.
I would agree. With respect—and in respect—not only to the members of the committee, but also to those who may be watching it on television, to go over each amendment.... As well, there may be dialogue that might be initiated based on each amendment. Whether it is supported or not supported, we can have that dialogue. Again, in respect and with respect to those who are watching on television, the due course that we always follow should be followed through with.
Is there any further discussion?
(Clauses 2 to 4 inclusive agreed to)
(On clause 5)
The Chair: Mrs. Block, would you like to speak to that, please?
Thank you very much, Madam Chair.
I think the amendment we have put forward was an amendment recommended by the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers' Association.
I'll just quickly summarize their rationale. This amendment would put the onus on the minister to have a legitimate suspicion—i.e., evidence that a problem exists—before he or she can exercise the power to order tests. It would also restrict the minister's power to order tests if he or she suspects a defect or non-compliance. It would restrict the ordering of tests to that, rather than having to prove compliance without a reason for ordering the tests. Finally, it would instruct the minister to consult with the manufacturer, before using his or her powers, to determine if the tests already exist.
We ask the department to comment.
The reason we put forward this particular clause is that there may be times when we are not certain whether or not there is a defect or a non-compliance and need to study it to find out more. We are concerned about spending a lot of time, in these circumstances, debating whether there is enough evidence to conduct the search or to ask for the studies.
I'll give you one example in which this might have been of benefit for us. That was during the Takata issue a few years ago, when there was a defect in the U.S. but we weren't certain whether there might be an issue in Canada. At that point we asked manufacturers whether they would be willing to conduct studies and asked what information they had.
This would have been a tool. It took a while to get the information we were looking for, and I can't remember whether all the manufacturers complied. It would have been a way of determining much more quickly, however, whether there was an issue in Canada. That's why we've put it in: not to say that we know that there is a defect or that there is non-compliance, but that we believe there is an issue we need to address.
Thank you, Ms. Benjamin.
Go ahead, Mr. Hardie.
I looked on it as an application of the precautionary principle, which is a pretty big point in our fisheries committee as we look at things that might be happening. The idea is that when in doubt, look into it. If a doubt is raised, it's probably good sense to go in and require things to be checked out, rather than leave something unresolved and then end up having a dangerous situation.
Hon. Judy A. Sgro - 15:34
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