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STANDING COMMITTEE ON TRANSPORT

LE COMITÉ PERMANENT DES TRANSPORTS

EVIDENCE

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]

Thursday, June 8, 2000

• 2008

[English]

The Chair (Mr. Stan Keyes (Hamilton West, Lib.)): Colleagues, it's now 8:10 p.m., and we're starting clause-by-clause consideration of Bill C-34.

The ink is still wet, but the agenda is being passed around now for this meeting, meeting number 65, our seventh meeting on Bill C-34.

In the past, we've gone through the bill and decided what clauses we agree on, and then we've set them aside. Since there are only 21 clauses in the bill, I think we'll skip that procedure and just deal with clauses 1 through 21 one at a time and have our discussions.

Mr. Fontana.

• 2010

Mr. Joe Fontana (London North Centre, Lib.): On a point of order, Mr. Chair, if I can ask the clerk or the legal people at the table here, I had three amendments.

The Chair: Okay, I'm getting to that.

Mr. Joe Fontana: Okay.

The Chair: You'll also notice in your package of amendments that you don't have them all yet. That's because legal counsel has just gotten through looking at these amendments, and they are now being photocopied as well. They'll be added to this package. You'll see how the amendments that you have in hand now are the amendments that we'll deal with at the early stages of this bill, clauses 1, 2, 3, and so on. Then when we get to other clauses, we'll be receiving the other amendments as they come in.

Mr. Joe Fontana: It's just that I want to know, of those three amendments that Mr. Comuzzi and I were proposing with regard to proposed subsections 153(1), 153(2), and 153(3) of the Canada Transportation Act, can I be told at what clauses I would be able to talk about them? I take it that they've been ruled out of order, therefore at some point I want to be able to ask why they're out of order.

The Chair: When they come up, we'll deal with it. It looks like proposed subsections 151 and 152 are way up at clause 10.

Mr. Joe Fontana: Okay.

The Chair: We have enough amendments to take us only as far as just before clause 10. So as they come, we'll deal with them.

While we wait for the agenda, could I have the witnesses that are at our table introduce themselves?

Mr. David Byer (Legal Counsel, Legal Services, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada): My my name is David Byer. I'm with the Department of Justice, at the branch or unit at Agriculture.

Mr. Howard Migie (Director General, Policy Branch, Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada): I'm Howard Migie, director general in the policy branch of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

Mr. John K. Dobson (Senior Policy Adviser, Rail Policy and Programs Branch, Department of Transport Canada): I'm John Dobson, senior policy adviser, Transport Canada.

Ms. Guylaine Roy (Director General, Surface Transportation Policy, Department of Transport Canada): I'm Guylaine Roy, director general, surface transportation policy, Transport Canada.

Mr. Ian S. MacKay (Senior Counsel, Legal Services, Department of Transport Canada): I'm Ian MacKay, Department of Justice, with legal services at Transport Canada.

The Chair: So, colleagues, we have assistance in any explanations you need on any of the clauses that will be presented.

Do the witnesses have a list of the amendments before them as well? I'm sorry if it appears I'm going slowly here, but I want to make sure we're getting everything right, one step at a time, because we have people who are coming in as we speak.

(On clause 1)

The Chair: I understand there are amendments. There is a PC amendment on our list first.

Mr. Borotsik.

Mr. Rick Borotsik (Brandon—Souris, PC): Mr. Chairman, unfortunately the PC that's identified here is that of Mr. Bailey. That's not my amendment. However, I do have an amendment that is identified as being after page 18, which has not been submitted here with this package of amendments. It's on line 18 of clause 1. So I would like to have the amendment.

The Chair: We'll straighten that out right now. Just give us a minute.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: No, it's line 18 on page 1.

Mr. Bailey, do you agree that this is your amendment?

Mr. Roy Bailey (Souris—Moose Mountain, Canadian Alliance): Yes, I do.

The Chair: Then while we sort out where your amendment is, Rick...

Colleagues, change that PC-1 on the top right-hand corner to a CA-1.

Mr. Bailey, do you want to speak to your amendment, please?

Mr. Roy Bailey: The purpose of this amendment is that regarding the information that is required for the purpose of monitoring the grain transportation system and so on, the minister is the only person who is authorized to communicate the information, and any person responsible for monitoring the system is authorized to communicate the information only to the minister. I know the minister stressed that point when he was here, but I don't think the language is strong enough for confidentiality within this model.

• 2015

The Chair: Mr. Dromisky, do you want to speak to this amendment?

Mr. Stan Dromisky (Thunder Bay—Atikokan, Lib.): Well, really, I could be speaking to all of the amendments that are more or less being directed at clauses 1 and 2.

The Chair: Let's start with CA-1, right in front of you there, the first amendment.

Mr. Stan Dromisky: Okay.

I think we have to point out to everyone that in terms of confidentiality being misused or misappropriated, we already have rules and regulations and laws to protect the individuals who are involved in any of these contracts. The Privacy Act and other clauses guarantee that there is protection here.

Now, I don't know how far and what kind of purpose we have here, what the ultimate aim is. If, in this monitoring model, we're expecting all parties to agree, in other words, to the sharing of information, I think it's quite obvious to everyone that the information will never be shared.

Basically what we're talking about is something that we already have. This act is opening the door so that the information will flow freely. Under the privacy acts we have at the present time, and the confidentiality aspects of any of the regulations that are in existence today... That is an extremely important fact.

The Chair: Ms. Roy.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: I think it might be important that I explain the current bill.

I think the member of Parliament is right in saying that the current law already protects the confidentiality of the information. What the bill does is ensure that the minister may gather information for monitoring purposes and that he can share that information with a third party, but the current act already provides that the information has to be kept confidential.

If the members of the committee want, I can go through the current act and the bill and explain how it works.

The Chair: No, it's all right. We'll skip that part.

Mr. Easter, you wanted to say something.

Mr. Wayne Easter (Malpeque, Lib.): I think the point's been made, Mr. Chair, by Ms. Roy that you have to take the amendments and pull them into the Canada Transportation Act, and in section 51 of that act it accomplishes what Mr. Bailey is after here. I think it's adequate. I think the amendment is unnecessary.

The Chair: Okay.

We're going to move to a vote on amendment CA-1.

Roy, are you voting against it—or do you want to pull it?

Mr. Roy Bailey: I'll pull it, yes.

(Amendment withdrawn)

The Chair: The next amendment is LF-1, the “LF” standing for “Liberal, Fontana”.

Mr. Joe Fontana: Mr. Chairman, notwithstanding what both the parliamentary secretary and Ms. Roy have said, the Canadian Transportation Agency and Transport Canada presently have very strict legal requirements as to how they handle commercially confidential transportation information that must be disclosed to the government.

Transport Canada—and what this bill now does—is considering the data monitoring requirements that go beyond that which is required today. Now, they are also proposing that this monitoring activity be done and handled by a third party; the minister talked to us before. As to who that third party might be, no one knows. The terms of reference are yet to be established. How in fact they will gather the information is yet to be established.

I suggest that the proposed wording now in the bill does not adequately protect the confidentiality in these new circumstances. I must tell you, I thought the minister was very, very firm in indicating that confidentiality would be primary for this third-party monitoring group to essentially respect the confidentiality of those particular contracts.

Therefore, Mr. Chair, I'm prepared to move this amendment, which essentially gives greater clarity and certainty. It essentially replaces line 18 on page 1 with the following:

    dling system, provided that any such information is confidential and neither it nor any non-aggregated information derived from it shall be disclosed or communicated to any person without the prior written consent of the parties to the contract.

• 2020

Essentially what it does is this. We know that the requirement currently in Bill C-34 as well as CTA is that everybody, in order for this monitoring program to work, will have to submit their information, and nobody has any... There's a great deal of confidence with regard to that information being handled by the CTA as well as Transport Canada now, but we are introducing the third-party monitoring person or entity, which we have little knowledge of.

So to make sure that monitoring group, which is not going to be an agency of the government, probably, and is not going to be a government entity... We want to make sure, with regard to the confidential information they in fact are getting, that when they release it they will respect the confidentiality of those contracts.

This wording ensures that the confidentiality of those contracts will be protected in the subsequent reports of the monitoring agency or the monitoring entity. That's the reason for this greater clarity.

Again, confidentiality is key to everyone feeling comfortable with regard the information they provide to this monitoring group. One, they will do it because they will know their information will be kept confidential, and two, they have the assurances of the government and the minister that their information is going to be kept confidential in the strictest of all possible terms.

I think this amendment just clarifies. I don't think it detracts. I don't think it takes away anything from the bill. I think it just adds that comfort level for all those participating stakeholders who will be required to submit information that their confidential information will not be put out there unless the consenting parties agree.

The Chair: Thank you, Joe.

A point of order from Mr. Cardin.

[Translation]

M. Serge Cardin (Sherbrooke, BQ): M. Chairman, I just wanted to point out to you that the interpreter did not have the amendments to the bill and was therefore enable to follow and interpret the proceedings. This problem has now been rectified.

[English]

The Chair: They have them now.

Ms. Roy, did you want to respond?

Ms. Guylaine Roy: Sure.

I think the amendment proposed by the member tries to do two things. The first is to protect the confidentiality of the information, and as I've already said, the act currently protects the confidentiality of the information.

The second part, though, says “it shall be disclosed or communicated to any person without the prior written consent of the parties to the contract”. That could mean that before the monitor can have access to some confidential information, both the railways and the shipper would have to give consent. So it could have the impact that some information will not be shared with the monitor.

The purpose of the bill is to ensure that the minister can get information and pass this information to a monitor and the confidentiality is there. It's protected.

The Chair: Just before I move down the list, Mr. Fontana, can you respond to just that one element?

Mr. Joe Fontana: Yes.

I've heard this argument before. The act is pretty clear: everybody is obliged to give the information to the monitoring entity. But it's what the monitoring entity does with that information, because they have to report it to the minister, and what the minister decides to do with it—that's the problem I have.

This is in no way an attempt to not have the monitoring agency gather the information, or have to go to the railroad, or to the other entity in the contract. This is after they have submitted all of the information to the monitoring entity. I think it's pretty clear that you have to read all of the section in order to get that, though.

The Chair: Thanks, Joe.

Mr. Morrison.

Mr. Lee Morrison (Cypress Hills—Grasslands, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Fontana, this actually goes quite a bit further than Mr. Bailey's amendment, which was withdrawn. I have concern about the part of it that says the information “shall not be disclosed or communicated to any person”. Now, I would think that “any person” could even include the CTA, and I don't think we want to deprive the CTA of access to the information that the monitor might have. Is that your intent, that the CTA would not be able to get this information?

• 2025

Mr. Joe Fontana: No, there's no intent to keep it from the CTA, Transport Canada, or the minister, or the monitor, for that matter. It's beyond those people, after the monitor.

Mr. Lee Morrison: But the way it's worded, could it not be interpreted that way?

Mr. Joe Fontana: And you would want to do that, because what if the monitor, for one reason or another, decided to or was asked to give out that information? Wouldn't you want your private contract protected? It's worded in such a way as to make sure that no person, other than the CTA, Transport Canada, the monitor, and the ministers, gets this information. Anybody else would be detrimental to that confidentiality and therefore would require the consent of the parties.

So I think you would want to make it very tight to make sure no person... But it doesn't talk about an entity such as the CTA or Transport Canada.

The Chair: Mr. Easter, please.

Mr. Wayne Easter: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I disagree very, very strongly with the amendment put forward, which was the amendment put forward by the railways as well.

Joe made two points, Mr. Chairman. One was that the information be kept confidential. Legal counsel has indicated that under section 51, that is indeed covered. But the other and perhaps as important point—and witnesses who come before this committee have talked about its importance—is monitoring, finding out what's going on in the system, so that you can enforce accountability and take action on it.

So what's really important to the bill is not the monitoring specifically itself, but what it tells you. I believe that in order to get what it tells you, you would need, with this amendment, written consent. Therefore, in my view, the railways, the shippers, could in fact prevent that information from occurring so that you could indeed make all players in the system accountable. I think it's an unnecessary amendment.

Thank you.

The Chair: Mr. Benoit.

Mr. Leon E. Benoit (Lakeland, Canadian Alliance): What we're dealing with here is I believe a flawed concept and a flawed piece of legislation, but we have it and it's going to go through. I tend to—

The Chair: Mr. Benoit, you haven't been at our hearings all week, and we—

Mr. Leon Benoit: I tend to agree with Mr. Easter on—

The Chair: Mr. Benoit! Mr. Benoit, you haven't been at our hearings all week. We're at the point of clause-by-clause.

Mr. Leon Benoit: I understand that.

The Chair: I'm not going to accept any kind of partisan baloney. Any comments you might have about the legislation and the flaws and the parties, we're not going to have that here. That's not the way this committee works. Make your statement.

Mr. Leon Benoit: As I was saying, we have to work with what we have, I guess, and I would like the legal counsel to comment on Mr. Morrison's question about whether the CTA is likely to have access to this information if this amendment in fact is inserted in the bill.

Mr. Ian MacKay: Mr. Chairman, our assessment is that if this amendment were permitted, neither the CTA nor the minister nor the monitor could get access to this information.

Mr. Leon Benoit: Thank you.

The Chair: Mr. Fontana, do you have a last comment before we move on?

Oh, Mr. Comuzzi, do you want to say something?

Mr. Joe Comuzzi (Thunder Bay—Superior North, Lib.): Yes.

The Chair: Go ahead, Mr. Comuzzi.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I, with respect, disagree with the legal counsel at the table. I disagreed with them earlier in the day. I'd like to clarify Mr. Morrison's question, if I may.

All of the parties who have to report are statutorily bound to make those reports to the person, or the institution—and I think we heard from the minister that it will be an institution... Those people are statutorily bound to report all the information that's necessary now to the third party, which is called the monitoring agency or the monitor. All we are trying to do by introducing this part of the legislation is secure further confidentiality with respect to the information each respective agency must present to the monitor.

• 2030

We know full well that the monitor compiles all of the information and then releases the statistics so the operating agencies can make the right decisions. But to that point, all the information that's given is absolutely confidential. It's only when it's in the hands of the monitor or the monitoring agency... We've heard from Minister Goodale about how an auditing firm, whoever it may be, is going to be appointed.

With this amendment, we're trying to say to the monitor, “You cannot release any information you have received unless you get the written consent of the person who has supplied the information.” That's further assurance that the confidential aspects of entrepreneurial business are protected.

I don't think they have any disagreement with that.

The Chair: Ms. Roy.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: Maybe to clarify things, I can read section 51 of the current act, which will apply.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Mr. Chairman, we have it all in front of us—

The Chair: It is necessary.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: —unless we're going to be here all night.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: Okay. I'll read to you section 51(1):

    Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act or any other Act of Parliament, information required to be provided to the Minister pursuant to this Act is, when it is received by the Minister, confidential and must not knowingly be disclosed or made available by any person without the authorization of the person who provided the information or documentation, except for the purposes of a prosecution of a contravention of section 173.

So it's already protected.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I disagree with that interpretation.

The Chair: Okay.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Nowhere—

The Chair: Whoa, Mr. Comuzzi. We have to keep this in order. You've made your statement and she has made a response. I'm going to Mr. Fontana for a wrap on this.

Mr. Fontana.

Mr. Joe Fontana: Mr. Chairman, the legal counsel just read you section 51 of the Canadian Transportation Act, which has existed for a long time. What she says is correct. The information going to the minister or the CTA is confidential.

If everybody would turn their attention for a moment to Bill C-34, what do you think we're doing in Bill C-34? We're amending the Canada Transportation Act because we are now setting up a monitoring group. Does the CTA in section 51 deal with a monitoring group? Of course not. It didn't exist. It exists now. Therefore, for greater clarity and assurance, my amendment says that the monitoring agency or monitoring group must protect the confidential information of contracts within the context of Bill C-34.

You want that. It adds to the Canada Transportation Act and protects the people and everyone else putting information into the monitoring. It doesn't take away, as my friend Mr. Easter says. This is going to be used by people to not give to the monitors. They have to give, by law.

We're trying—Wayne, you've had your opportunity—to protect that information, when it resides in the monitoring entity, from getting out to the public inadvertently or knowingly, without some additional protection. This amendment just further protects it, because there was no monitoring entity before, but there is today with Bill C-34.

The Chair: Okay. This is why they pay no money extra to the chair. He has to decide when there's been enough discussion.

(Amendment negatived)

The Chair: According to our list of the minutes, we now have CA-1, Mr. Bailey, on clause 1.

Mr. Roy Bailey: We want to amend clause 1 after line 18. Because this is a new bill and we're introducing a new procedure, we're asking that within three months following the crop year, which ends on July 31 each year, the minister bring forth a report on the grain transportation and handling system and cause the report to be tabled in the House of Parliament on any first 15 days, and so on.

• 2035

We think it would be a valuable tool, not just for this committee but for everyone engaged in representing agricultural constituencies. We're not looking for detailed information. We're asking for an assessment of the monitoring group so we can evaluate, along with the minister and the monitoring board.

I recommend we pass this because we're dealing with a brand-new concept in the tendering process. If it does move up to 50%, as the bill calls for, it will become more imperative that this clause become part of the act.

The Chair: Does anyone need a point of clarification before we vote?

Ms. Roy.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: I'd just like to indicate that there will be continuous monitoring and reports to the three ministers involved—the Minister of Transport, the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food, and the Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board. It was not intended that there would be other reports to Parliament on the grain handling and transportation system. The intention was to have reports from the continuous monitoring to the three ministers. So this is over and above what the government decided to have.

The Chair: Mr. Morrison.

Mr. Lee Morrison: With respect to Ms. Roy's comment, the intent of this amendment is that Parliament be informed. We know that the ministers are going to be informed, but we want Parliament to be informed, not every day, but on a three-month schedule.

I think it's reasonable. Why wouldn't anybody want Parliament to know what the monitor was doing?

The Chair: Mr. Sekora, do you have a question?

Mr. Lou Sekora (Port Moody—Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam, Lib.): Yes. I'm just beginning to wonder why we couldn't ask the minister to come to our transport committee and give us a report every six months on it. It's up to us to ask.

The Chair: That's not the amendment, Mr. Sekora.

Mr. Lou Sekora: I realize that.

The Chair: You can't bring in new ideas...

Ms. Roy, clarification.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: Yes. I just want to highlight that when the three ministers were here on Monday, this question was raised to Minister Collenette, and the minister clearly indicated there would be continuous monitoring. There would be reports to the three ministers responsible. They would be in a position to react, in terms of the monitoring, on what should be done next. So there was no need to go further in terms of reports to Parliament. The three ministers involved would decide if and when they wanted to make a report public.

I just wanted to express the views of Minister Collenette on Monday. Again, there would be continuous monitoring and reports to the three ministers responsible. They would certainly take appropriate action, one way or the other.

The Chair: Any there any other questions?

Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: To either Mr. Migie or Ms. Roy, what are the trigger points, so to speak, that would provoke the ministers to make this information public through Parliament, or however they would make it? The ministers themselves, and many witnesses before this committee, said that monitoring was extremely important to determine accountability. What would provoke the ministers to make that information available, so others could utilize it to change the system, if it required changing?

The Chair: Ms. Roy.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: First of all, the three ministers are accountable to Parliament, so they have that responsibility. The ministers would have to decide when they saw these reports from the monitor. To tell you today what would trigger the release of a report would be presumptuous. I cannot speculate on what will trigger the sharing, but for sure the ministers will seriously consider the reports. Because the ministers have put this monitoring system in place, they are in favour of transparency, obviously, and they will make sure it's clear how the system works and so on. I can't speculate for ministers, but they want to have these reports and make a decision on these reports.

• 2040

The Chair: Mr. Dromisky.

Mr. Stan Dromisky: Oh, you're calling on me.

The Chair: Unless you changed your name.

Mr. Stan Dromisky: No, I thought you wanted to whisper something to me.

I think one of the great safeguards is the model that's in operation and one that's being expanded and developed even further. We have several thousand monitoring agencies in western Canada, and there is our safeguard. They have a network of communication in central and western Canada that's far more complex than the highway system and the railway system in Saskatchewan, and that is extremely complex. The word spreads like wildfire. There'll be agencies, organizations, associations, unions, farmers, and everybody you can think of demanding to hear the outcome of any investigation. The public will be constantly putting pressure on the ministers. It doesn't make any difference what government is in power. It's going to be in effect.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Dromisky.

Mr. Borotsik.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I don't share the confidence of the honourable member or, for that matter, Ms. Roy.

The Chair: He's the parliamentary secretary.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Oh, I'm sorry. I really don't share the confidence of the parliamentary secretary.

This is a rather important addition, I think, to this piece of legislation. We see in the MOU—which, by the way, was not terribly forthcoming until the chairman put pressure on the minister to get the MOU here—that the information on the monitor and the reports are to be made public only if “These Ministers shall determine the public availability of such reports”. I would like to see, Mr. Chairman, a requirement in the legislation that would insist that the ministers bring forward that report.

Again, Mr. Chairman, I don't have quite the confidence in the Canadian Wheat Board that perhaps the parliamentary secretary does. It has had a tendency to be somewhat secretive over the past years, and this in fact would then allow a report to come forward even though the Canadian Wheat Board might be seen in a rather dark light. I think it's important that we have this safeguard in this piece of legislation. Therefore, I will be supporting the amendment.

The Chair: Next is Mr. Jackson, and then a word from Mr. Fontana.

Mr. Ovid L. Jackson (Bruce—Grey, Lib.): Mr. Chairman, it's always interesting. I've been at this game since 1974. We always expect perfect legislation and perfect things, and it's only going to be perfect if the people are perfect. If somebody goes home and divulges it to their wife or somebody takes a little more whiskey or something like that, these things are going to happen. I think to some degree, unless the thing fails, we don't need to put all this stuff in there.

What happens if it's the summer months and there's three months before the thing comes out or something? What do you do then? You have to be careful putting these layers in. People are accountable, and in today's real time, I don't know why we concern ourselves so much. I think the old brown paper envelope is the best thing, anyway.

The Chair: I should play back some of the stuff you said during the airline restructuring bill, Ovid. Nine amendments that we moved to—

Mr. Rick Borotsik: A point of clarification for the member.

The Chair: No. That's a nice bootleg, though.

Mr. Fontana.

Mr. Joe Fontana: Mr. Chairman, I like the intent of what this says, but I'm just wondering about the timelines. Just so that I understand, three months after the end of each crop year... I'm not a farmer, but—

Mr. Rick Borotsik: August 1, that was my point.

The Chair: It's Mr. Bailey's amendment.

Mr. Joe Fontana: On the first one it would be very difficult, so if you want to say August 1 of each year or whatever the case may be... The intent is fine, Mr. Bailey, but I think the timelines are too tight here, especially for the first one.

The Chair: Mr. Bailey is going to wrap it up.

Mr. Roy Bailey: To the staff and my colleagues on the standing committee, what we have here is something that I believe is quite unique in that there are three ministers very much involved with this piece of legislation. Actually, after “the Minister” there should be a bracket with “Ministers”. This not only involves, as I say, the three ministers, but this is a whole new concept.

• 2045

This doesn't ask for the divulgence of any confidence. We want a general statement from these three ministers, collectively or individually. We'd like to know the assessment of this monitoring agency on how this is going. What's the procedure? I can't for the life of me think of any better way of doing this. I want a joint statement. We want to know what's going on. It may be only one page. But because it is new, I think this belongs in this bill.

The Chair: Colleagues, we're going to vote on amendment CA-1.

Mr. Joe Fontana: Could I put forward a subamendment to change it from three months to six months? Then I'll support it.

The Chair: We have a motion to move an amendment to the amendment, if Mr. Bailey...

Mr. Roy Bailey: I could agree to the six months, yes.

The Chair: Joe Fontana moves what, Joe?

Mr. Joe Fontana: Just strike “three months” and put “six months”.

Mr. Roy Bailey: All right. It may end up being better.

The Chair: Strike “within three months after” in the first line and replace it with “within six months after”. The first vote will be on the amendment to the amendment moved by Mr. Fontana.

Mr. Wayne Easter: Mr. Chair, on a point of information, can I ask the officials a question on the amendment?

The Chair: Certainly. Ms. Roy, we're moving from—

Mr. Wayne Easter: What are the implications of this report? I'm supporting the principle too, but what are the implications on the ability to monitor and do what the intent of the legislation is?

Ms. Guylaine Roy: I think the intention of the government was clearly to put continuous monitoring in place and have reports as to how things were going. There will be reports from the monitor to the three ministers, and they will make their decision. To add on one more report six months after the crop year triggers the question, what will be in this report? The monitor will report back to the three ministers with a transparent report. The monitor will have access to some confidential information, which he can share with the three ministers, and they can take action on this. So the intention was for the three ministers to get the report from the monitor and then take appropriate action.

The Chair: Mr. Kilger.

Mr. Bob Kilger (Stormont—Dundas—Charlottenburgh, Lib.): Mr. Chairman, in the discussion with Minister Goodale when he appeared before the committee, he gave examples of other agencies and other gathering of information where confidentiality is maintained and retained with a report that reflects the gathering of the information without divulging the individual information. So I'm sure there is enough creativity amongst all the stakeholders and the parties and each minister and each department that they will be able to...

If we are in fact creating something new and we're asking, I think it's safe to say, some adversaries to reach out a little bit and maybe develop a little bit of trust and respect within this new framework, I think it's incumbent upon us within Parliament also to have a role in receiving that information and to be assured that in fact what we are doing today continues to be in the best spirit and interest of Bill C-34. Unless there is an impediment to parliamentarians receiving that information, I have yet to be convinced, and I would tend to support the amendment as amended.

The Chair: We'll now call the vote on the subamendment moved by Mr. Fontana.

(Subamendment agreed to)

The Chair: We'll now call the vote on the amendment as amended.

• 2050

Mr. Bob Kilger: I think we made a...

The Chair: Yes, that's right. CA-1 was PC-1, which is not a PC amendment. So this is CA-2. Which number do you want us to refer to? There's a reference number on the top left corner, 11707. So it's 11707 or CA-2.

(Amendment agreed to—See Minutes of Proceedings)

The Chair: Colleagues, we have one more amendment on clause 1, but it's in the second parcel that's being printed right now for us. It's Rick's amendment. I'd like to stand down clause 1 and return to it when we get the last amendment there.

(Clause 1 allowed to stand)

(On clause 2)

The Chair: Moving to clause 2, we have amendment LF-2, or 11746 at the top left-hand corner. Mr. Comuzzi, you want to do this one?

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: With Mr. Fontana's permission, I'll take the lead on this.

This is much the same as the issue we discussed a few moments ago. I get the distinct feeling that when you plead your case here... It's no happenstance that the whip is sitting beside me.

Voices: Oh, oh!

Mr. Bob Kilger: I just wanted to make sure I sat between you and Easter, that's all. You're still on the same side.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I get the distinct feeling that the jury has been tampered with.

The Chair: Well, now, that's on division. Carry on, Mr. Comuzzi.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: This is much the same. Let me go through this again; I think I may not have explained it adequately.

There is no question that the parties involved have to make a statutory declaration with respect to the authenticity of what they give to the new person who is put in place, the monitor or the monitoring agency, as a result of section 34. The monitor or the monitoring agency has no place or no jurisdiction in the present CTA as written.

All we are trying to impress upon the monitor or the monitoring agency is that with all of the information that is given to him or his corporation, he is bound not to divulge any part of that information. He is bound to make a report when he gathers all of the information in its totality, but he is bound not to give any confidential information that he receives from any party that is statutorily bound to give him that information without first receiving the written consent of the party. That's it.

The Chair: Ms. Roy.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I don't think it's covered in the present statute.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: Basically what this amendment does is to say that... Section 51 says that information provided to the minister is confidential and the bill says that it doesn't forbid the minister to share the information with a third party. This amendment says “unless the information is confidential”. So what the amendment says is that the minister could not provide confidential information to a third party. If you read the act, the amendment reaches a contrary purpose.

The Chair: Mr. Fontana.

Mr. Joe Fontana: Now I know why it is that I don't like lawyers. I don't know how somebody could take such a simple explanation as what Mr. Comuzzi gave, which is simply to say that if there is some confidential information there, you have to be careful with it... You can make the report, but you have to be careful about that confidential information. For a lawyer to suggest that in fact that means that no information is going to be given and so on and so forth I think is stretching it a little bit. I know they're paranoid, I know they get paid big money to give ministers some—

The Chair: Okay, Joe, let's not get personal.

Mr. Joe Fontana: I'm not getting personal.

The Chair: Yes, you are.

Mr. Joe Fontana: I'm tired of this mumbo-jumbo that comes out of some of the legal people.

The Chair: Let's speak to the issue, Joe.

Mr. Joe Fontana: The issue is easy. As the minister said to us today, he is concerned about confidentiality. I think we would want to protect that confidential information. If you read proposed paragraph 51(2)(c) and the amendment proposed by Mr. Comuzzi and myself, it says “unless the information is confidential”. It's as simple as that.

The Chair: Ms. Roy.

Mr. Joe Fontana: Oh, no. Give me a break.

• 2055

Ms. Guylaine Roy: I guess what I'm saying is that you have to read the amendment here with the current act. Subsection 51(1) says that the information provided to the minister is confidential and it has to remain confidential, except that subsection 51(2) says that subsection (1) does not apply so as to prohibit the communication of information by the minister for the purpose of monitoring the grain transportation and handling system. That's what we have here.

If you add the amendment there, “unless the information is confidential”, it means that the minister cannot provide information to the third party. You have to read it all together. You have to read the current section of the act and add the amendment, and that's where you can see the logic.

The Chair: Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: I think legal counsel has provided the explanation, Mr. Chairman.

Joe, if you do read subsection 51(2), it's almost a reverse onus. That's what you're dealing with here. The way that subsection 51(2) is worded—

An hon. member: I don't know that you know what reverse onus means, Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: Yes, I do, very much so. I have a doctorate of law degree, Joe.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Did you get a law degree, though?

Voices: Oh, oh!

An hon. member: He hates the lawyers.

The Chair: Order, please.

Mr. Wayne Easter: Mr. Chairman, quite simply put, the bottom line, in any event, is that it's already covered under section 51.

The Chair: Mr. Comuzzi, you have the last word before the vote.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I have the last word. Let me just say something, and I'm not getting into—

Mr. Bob Kilger: I hope you're not offended by what Mr. Fontana said about lawyers.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: No, absolutely not.

Mr. Bob Kilger: You are one, though, right?

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: I used to be. I left the bar gracefully. I wasn't asked to leave the bar.

The Chair: You didn't owe any money or anything like that. All right.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: There's a fundamental rule in law. If anyone's trying to interpret the law, as I'm sure my colleagues there will agree, it's not the words; it's what is the intent of the legislature, what is the intent of the body that's sitting around this room with respect to what we're trying to accomplish in this whole piece of legislation with a thousand million words.

The intent of this legislation is confidentiality. That's all we're trying to do. The intent of the legislation, with the advent of the monitor into the scene, is confidentiality and protection for all of the players. That's all we're trying to ensure, regardless of whether it's two or four or this or 51(2) or 66.600. It's what our intention is. And our intention, I think, to a person in this room and at this table, is the confidentiality of the information that's submitted.

The Chair: We are now voting on amendment LF-2, or 11746.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: Can the parliamentary secretary vote? Is he a member of the committee?

The Chair: Yes, he can.

Mr. Joe Comuzzi: When did we change that rule?

Voices: Oh, oh!

Mr. Wayne Easter: Ten years ago!

The Chair: May 12, 1967, I think it was.

(Clauses 2 and 3 agreed to)

(Clauses 4 to 6 inclusive agreed to on division)

(On clause 7)

The Chair: Clause 7 has two amendments. In the package, it begins with NDP-1, so we'll deal with that first. It's 11749, NDP-1.

Mr. Proctor, do you want to move that?

Mr. Dick Proctor (Palliser, NDP): Yes, I would like to move that. Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.

This amendment simply proposes that we deduct the cost of any government improvements on branch lines from the purchase price. It seems to me that what we've heard is that we want rural communities to survive, we want branch lines and short lines to thrive. Many tens of millions of dollars have been spent out of taxpayers' money to upgrade these lines, to upgrade the steel in these lines, over the last number of years. What we're saying is that those improvements that came at taxpayers' expense should be deducted and should be factored into the selling price of the short line.

• 2100

The Chair: Thanks, Mr. Proctor.

Ms. Roy.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: Sir, I'll turn to my legal adviser to start the response.

Mr. Ian MacKay: Just by way of background, Mr. Chairman, last year the Canada Transportation Agency considered the Cudworth case, the abandonment of the Cudworth line in Saskatchewan, and considered whether the net salvage value on the line included the value of the assets that were paid for under the branch line rehabilitation program. The agency determined in that case that the contribution was part of the railway assets for the purposes of determining the net salvage value. This particular amendment seems to speak to that type of contribution, as I understand it.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: If I can expand on that, the bill reflects, in terms of the determination of the net salvage value, the fact that if the railways remove infrastructure associated with the line in order to reduce the traffic on the line, then it could be deducted from the net salvage value. This is a remedy to help in the determination of the net salvage value.

What is proposed here is outside the scope of what was considered with regard to the policy decision.

The Chair: Mr. Bailey, please.

Mr. Roy Bailey: I have a question in regard to the comments made by counsel, Mr. MacKay. When you spoke of “the agency”, you were referring to which agency?

Mr. Ian MacKay: Sorry—the Canada Transportation Agency.

Mr. Roy Bailey: I thought so. Now, what you were telling us was that they ruled that the money... Let's say that a line got $20 million. They ruled that in the sale of that line, CP or CN didn't have to reduce their price by the $20 million. Is that correct?

Mr. Ian MacKay: Yes.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: That's correct.

Mr. Roy Bailey: Was that decision made by the agency? Do you deem that to be a legal decision or is it just the agency's decision?

Mr. Ian MacKay: It's a precedent of the Canada Transportation Agency, so if they're faced with a similar case, they will likely rule the same in a future case. I'm not sure I understand your question.

Mr. Roy Bailey: Well, okay. You're quite right that they would rule on it, but my question is, what if it is challenged in court? That's what I'm getting at.

Mr. Ian MacKay: Any decision of the Canada Transportation Agency can be appealed on a question of law or jurisdiction, so if someone thought the agency got the law wrong, they could appeal that.

Mr. Roy Bailey: What we're dealing with here is something that is very close to home on the Prairies, all right? It's very close to home. When people go out to make a purchase of the branch line, they say it's unfair to have to pay the price being asked for the line plus that which was given out of taxpayers' dollars. It seems to be a contradiction that this shouldn't be subtracted.

So I just have to, with all good conscience, support this amendment, because it is fundamental. It is fundamentally wrong to have people who have been serviced by a line into which the government has put, say, $20 million, for example, paying that back to the railway when it was a gift to them by the taxpayers of Canada. So I think I'll have to support this.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: If I may... The agency looked at all the facts of this case, and considering all the elements, they made a decision. From what I understand...

Was there an appeal of that decision, Mr. MacKay?

Mr. Ian MacKay: Not that I am aware of.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: There was no appeal—

Mr. Ian MacKay: Not that I am aware of.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: There was no appeal of that decision. So in proposed subsection 144(3.1) in this bill, we're dealing with the specific remedy that was attached to the Kroeger process. This is something that was decided by the agency on legal grounds and was not appealed, so I don't see how it fits within the purview of this bill.

The Chair: Mr. Jackson.

• 2105

Mr. Ovid Jackson: Mr. Chair, again, I always have difficulty when we try to change laws on the fly.

On the one hand, we're saying that if you're going to give the assets over to the community and the rest of Canadians have to pay it, we should obviously maybe give them a benefit. I would prefer to see that in upfront dollars, and I'll tell you why: because if that rail line is abandoned and the asset is diminished, what happens to the price of the asset then? That's just one question that comes out of making a decision on the fly.

The Chair: Mr. Morrison.

Mr. Lee Morrison: I would like another clarification from Ms. Roy. I appeared before the CTA on the case in question. I understand that they made a decision on the basis of law and that it hasn't been appealed. As I understand it, what Mr. Proctor wants to do is change the law—

An hon. member: That's what we do here. That's right.

Mr. Lee Morrison: —so that it can't happen again. The question we are faced with here is not whether the CTA was right in its decision under the existing law; the question, in my view, is, do we want to change the law?

An hon. member: Right on.

Mr. Lee Morrison: Is that correct?

The Chair: Mr. Proctor gets the last say. Then we vote.

Mr. Dick Proctor: It seems to me, listening to Ms. Roy and Mr. MacKay, that there was some confusion around whether it had been challenged or challenged yet, but I think the points made by my colleagues... Really, what we're talking about here is the tax on tax, which I think is fundamentally offensive to a lot of Canadians, especially those in western Canada, and I think we should obviously be voting in support of this amendment.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: Mr. Chairman—

The Chair: No, the last word had to go to Mr. Proctor, Ms. Roy.

All right. We're voting on NDP-1 or reference 11749.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

The Chair: Now we move to amendment CA-2, clause 7, reference 11729, moved by Mr. Morrison.

Mr. Morrison, do you want to explain that?

Mr. Lee Morrison: What we want to do here, and I know that the lawyers are going to have fits about this—

Voices: Oh, oh!

Mr. Lee Morrison: —is to remove a little bit of the uncertainty as to what “good faith” means. There's a lot of suspicion, believe it or not, among the various stakeholders in the grain business.

I believe that if you require that the agency provide some guidelines as to what good faith is, it gives a little more confidence to all parties that they're not going to get the shaft, if you will. I don't think it requires any further embellishment. It's not that we want to put in the legislation what good faith is; we want the agency to be able to provide some guidelines. That's basically the way this government operates anyway, and we'd like to see that go.

The Chair: Now, now—

Mr. Lee Morrison: No editorializing.

The Chair: No editorializing.

Mr. Bailey, go ahead.

Mr. Roy Bailey: I think this is fundamental, because this whole Kroeger process, this whole Estey process, started with a charge from the Canadian Wheat Board that the railways didn't act in good faith. They eventually paid a phony fine, and I don't think they were totally guilty.

But as for the terms of good faith, they didn't act in good faith simply because they failed to make deliveries of cars at a certain time when the bloody railways were plugged with snow.

We're talking here about how the “Agency may, by regulation...”. I don't necessarily want to know it, but if somebody among the stakeholders finds that they are being charged by not providing service, that they didn't act in good faith, how are they to know as a player in this thing what that good faith is?

I think it's incumbent upon us to take a look at this. Look at the shareholders you have: the farmers, the elevator companies, and the railways, and you have any other number of organizations at the present time, probably 50 of them altogether. Even that person who has a siding where he gets three cars allocated to him has to be able to understand if the railway was acting in good faith or if the provider was.

• 2110

So this good faith standing by itself is simply not good enough.

The Chair: Thanks, Mr. Bailey.

We'll go to Ms. Roy, but I don't have a lot of difficulty with the amendment myself. We're just saying the agency “may”, so it's not implying or applying anything that the agency “shall” or “must” do. But at the same time, Lee, I have a problem with trying to define good faith.

Good faith is something that's sort of just understood as good faith. If you can try to nail down for me, while we're getting a definition from Ms. Roy, how you might even come close to defining good faith, you'll have me. But I don't know, it's kind of nebulous.

Ms. Roy.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: Yes. The only thing I could add is that the agency can make guidelines on anything, so they could make guidelines concerning the meaning of good faith during negotiations. Again, I agree with you that it's kind of difficult to define what good faith is, but my point is that they already have the power to make guidelines.

[Editor's Note: Technical Difficulty]

Mr. Roy Bailey: ...good faith.

The Chair: The question is on the amendment. Seven for, seven opposed. You guys are great.

Mr. Murray Calder (Dufferin—Peel—Wellington—Grey, Lib.): It's what you get paid the big bucks for.

The Chair: The amendment is lost.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

The Chair: I don't know how you define “good faith”. That's why I wasn't convinced.

(Clauses 7 and 8 agreed to on division)

(On clause 9)

The Chair: On clause 9, I have amendment 11747, moved by Rick.

Do you want to move that?

Mr. Rick Borotsik: I do, Mr. Chairman. And I get to speak to it, Mr. Chairman.

First of all, I'd like to do two things. Number one is to congratulate the clerk and the drafters for a job extremely well done.

The Chair: I usually save all those good words for the end.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: They've been scrambling around here and they've misplaced a couple of amendments, but I have to tell you, this has been a very compressed process and I think they've done an extremely good job. So I'd like to thank them first of all.

The Chair: Hear, hear!

This applause is for you.

You can all join me.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Second, Mr. Chairman—it's not going to be anything that needs applause—I should tell you that I'm disappointed that some of the members of government have left. Those who have sat through the last day and a half of hearings—

The Chair: Rick, we're not going to go there.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: We've listened to an awful lot of witnesses.

The Chair: I held back when I saw that there were no Bloc members all week. Now we have one. But let's not get into it.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: We've listened to an awful lot of witnesses, Mr. Chairman, and the witnesses had an awful lot of very good points to make.

One of them, Mr. Chairman, was specifically made with respect to the shipper. Now, this is without question the guts of the whole legislation, Bill C-34.

The Chair: In your opinion.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: The reason I mention that is that we have not had the members who were listening to those witnesses here today to cast their vote, so I register that as a bit of a complaint, Mr. Chairman.

What I would like to do in this particular resolution is, as I said, identify the shipper in respect of a contract with a carrier for the movement of grain as meaning the person who's identified as the shipper on the bill of lading. This is without question the transportation bill that was meant to come forward by Mr. Kroeger, where the person who then takes delivery of that grain will be identified as the shipper, not the Canadian Wheat Board.

• 2115

I will not debate this at length, Mr. Chairman, because I know it's not going to carry in this august transport committee. I know Mr. Easter wants to jump all over this one. I know there are other members there who don't even understand what the term “shipper” means with respect to transportation in the grain industry.

So I will leave it at that, and have Mr. Easter have his say with respect to the Canadian Wheat Board, and then call the question on the amendment.

An hon. member: Why don't you move into the chair?

The Chair: I know you're biting at the bit to be chair, but you're just going to have to wait your turn.

Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: I'm not going to jump all over it, Rick. But the resolution is fundamentally wrong.

Mr. Bob Kilger: I agree with you.

I just happen to agree with him.

Mr. Wayne Easter: The fact of the matter is that once the Canadian Wheat Board makes the initial payment, the Canadian Wheat Board is the legal owner of the grain. Actually, the shipper issue is fundamental for the Canadian Wheat Board's ability to negotiate rates.

So for those reasons, you cannot move forward with the amendment you're proposing, because the issue of shipper is very important in the ability of the Canadian Wheat Board to do its job. Maybe Mr. Migie or some other witnesses could further that explanation, Mr. Chair, but that's certainly how I feel about it.

The Chair: Mr. MacKay.

Mr. Ian MacKay: Mr. Chairman, just by way of clarification, again the term “shipper” is already defined in the CTA as a person who sends or receives goods by means of a carrier, or intends to do so. I think Mr. Easter's doctorate of law is serving him well, because he's pointed out that from a legal point of view the CWB, to the extent that it is permitted to make arrangements for transportation—as you've seen in the memorandum of understanding—would require the status of shipper.

The Chair: Well, not to defend Rick, but he's probably looking for greater clarification.

Mr. Bailey, can you speak to this one?

Mr. Roy Bailey: Under the Canada Grain Act, shipper means a person who holds a grain dealer's licence. We're not necessarily talking specifically about the Wheat Board. If I happen to be growing chickpeas, then I am the shipper of those peas because my name would be on the bill of lading. Now, that doesn't contradict what Mr. Easter said.

I think we have to take a look at this, because I know we're predominantly thinking of board grains, but as we stated, over 50% of the value of goods now shipped aren't board grains, and many carloads go out under the name of the producer. So I think we have to redefine this word “shipper” without contravening what Wayne has said. It's very necessary.

The Chair: Mr. Migie.

Mr. Howard Migie: If I could just add one comment, you'd really have two shipper definitions under the Canada Transportation Act—a different one for the movement of grain from all others. There are a lot of implications in terms of standing.

Right now with the current definition, it will really depend on what's in the contracts that the Wheat Board or the grain companies have. If you think of the tendered portion, there are a lot of things in that tendering the CTA would have to look at to determine for what things the grain company would be the shipper and for what things the Wheat Board would be the shipper. That's the way it normally is. They have a definition to look at.

Whereas if you have more than one definition, with a lot of implications under the act of when you have standing or not... because it's different from the Canada Grain Act, where there's a particular purpose. This is the Canada Transportation Act, and you'd have two different definitions: one for grain, and one for everything else.

Mr. Roy Bailey: Clarification, please.

The Chair: Clarification, Mr. Bailey?

Mr. Roy Bailey: Thank you, Mr. Migie. The point I'm making is that—

The Chair: Are you asking for clarification?

Mr. Roy Bailey: No, I'm asking a question.

If I shipped my canola with a direct market myself, I would be the shipper of that canola. If I sold that canola to Pioneer Grain, they would be the shipper. So we have to have two different terminologies of the term “shipper” in the bill.

• 2120

Mr. Howard Migie: But that could be true for any commodity that you're referring to, and the CTA have had a lot of experience with the definition in the act. That seems to have worked fairly well. They would then have to look at the contracts and see who had the various responsibilities.

The Chair: Rick, final say. Then we vote.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: I think the arguments have been stated, Mr. Chairman, and as I said, there's a lot of—

The Chair: No, no. Let's not go there.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: I have a question on the motion, Mr. Chairman.

The Chair: No, I'm not going to go there, though.

Mr. Bob Kilger: I'm being treated unfairly because I did not physically sit here all week while the committee was being covered by television and so on and so forth—

The Chair: Mr. Kilger. Mr. Kilger—

Mr. Bob Kilger: —and while

[Editor's Note: Inaudible]

The Chair: Mr. Kilger!

Mr. Lou Sekora: Yes, yes, this is good.

The Chair: Look, colleagues, some of you have come in, and that's just lovely; that's just part of the job of government. But, first, I would ask that you respect the chair when he asks you to keep quiet.

Second, I don't want to get into this kind of stuff, because it just gets out of hand and we don't go anywhere. Let's just look at this stuff logically and get through it.

The question is on amendment 11747, moved by Mr. Borotsik.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

(Clause 9 agreed to on division)

(On clause 10)

The Chair: Colleagues, we have four amendments in clause 10 and they're all moved by Mr. Proctor.

Mr. Proctor, do you want to move your first one, 11744?

Mr. Dick Proctor: Yes, thanks very much.

This has to do with rate differentials. It says that no railway shall establish a rate in a tariff in respect to single-car or multiple-car movement.

There have been many witnesses, Mr. Chair, as members of the committee who have actually been here will know, who talked about concerns around this and the fact that, even though the legislation talks about 3%, in fact there will be considerable variances beyond that. The gist of this is in the last three lines. It says that the rates shall not be more than the difference in cost, as determined by the CTA, of the different type of service. So I would move that amendment.

The Chair: Mr. Dobson.

Mr. John Dobson: This would clearly result in a much more significant level of re-regulation. It could potentially get the agency involved in cost-based rates on a movement-by-movement basis, which is even more significant regulation than we had under the Western Grain Transportation Act. It's not consistent with the government's policy decision to move to a more commercial system, and I think it could be even worse than it was under the Western Grain Transportation Act.

The Chair: Any other discussion or questions?

Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: I have a question on that point.

There's been concern raised by a number of witnesses on this point that the railways can in fact use this section of the act with single-car or multiple-car rates and the 3% differential, to basically manipulate far in excess of that 3% by other means. Do you have an explanation for that? Can they or can't they? There is a lot of fear out there on this point that the railways can in fact use this to manipulate far beyond.

Mr. John Dobson: With respect to the single-car rates, that's regulated. There is a 3% differential. But that's all that's being regulated. The government is not intending to regulate multi-car rates.

Mr. Wayne Easter: But therein lies the problem. Therein lies the problem that we're not regulating multi-car rates and then you can get big variables. That's what people are concerned about. On the single-car rate, it's okay. But when you get into the multiple-car rates, you could find that the farming community has been gouged by the railways. Is that not true?

• 2125

Mr. John Dobson: The government wants to provide some protection to shippers on branch lines and it's decided to use the 3% as a reasonable approach, but the intention is to try to move to a more commercial system and minimize the degree of freight regulation.

The Chair: Ms. Roy.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: I'll ask my colleague to reply.

Mr. Ian MacKay: I was just going to comment that the first level of protection of course is the revenue cap. The second level of protection is the ongoing monitoring, and of course then the third level of protection with respect to these particular rates on branch lines is the 3% rule on single-car rates.

The Chair: Rick.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: I have a comment. I finally agree with the bureaucrats on this one. I don't believe we should be sitting in a position of micro-managing. What we've said to the railroads—and there's no love lost for the railroads, trust me on this one—is that you'll give up $178 million on your revenue cap. You then have to make it up in some other fashion. To micro-manage each and every car movement along all of their lines is almost impossible and should not be regulated.

We're trying to get out of regulation, Mr. Chairman. We're trying to get into a commercialized system. This is the exact opposite direction into which we would head with respect to regulation, so I would definitely speak against this particular amendment.

The Chair: Mr. Proctor, you have the last word before voting.

Mr. Dick Proctor: I want to say again that I think this was a major concern among the people who appeared before this committee, and to me this would help to clarify and resolve that in a favourable way for them.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

The Chair: Mr. Proctor, 11748.

Mr. Dick Proctor: Instead of saying “shall not include”, this basically says “shall be reduced by”.

We're dealing here, Mr. Chair, with incentives and rebates, with performance penalties charged by the railways and with compensation for running rights, and I move the amendment as it appears.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Proctor.

Ms. Roy.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: I'm not too sure about the intent of this motion, but what I can explain is that the current provision provides that the revenue of a railway shall not include the following, which is (a) incentives, rebates and so on, and this is there to give some flexibility to the railways, to encourage some improvement of the efficiencies, and to have a more commercial system.

I can go on to (b) and (c). So the intent is that there's a revenue cap, there's a revenue on the railways, but it shall not include when they give incentives, rebates and so on. So this is there to make sure the railways can share their gains and ensure more efficiencies in the system.

So the current section should stand as is.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

The Chair: Mr. Proctor, 11743.

Mr. Dick Proctor: Yes, thanks very much.

This is at the top of page 7, lines 1 to 11 basically, and it deals with industrial development funds. And as members of the committee heard, there is concern that under the revenue cap the railways can charge things to industrial development funds, thereby stay under the cap and reduce the amount of moneys that go back to the producer. And by deleting lines 1 to 11 on page 7 we would be fixing what I perceive to be a problem.

So I would move the amendment.

The Chair: All right, Mr. Proctor is referring to a different amendment from the one I called. He's referring to 11730, which is the one after the one on the list.

• 2130

So that's okay. We'll just go with 11730 now—that's the explanation that was given us.

Mr. Dick Proctor: On a point of order, which one did you call?

The Chair: I called a different one, but that's all right.

Mr. Dick Proctor: I'm not sure I have it. That's why I'm—

The Chair: Yes, 11743, which is the longer one amending 153.

We are dealing right now with 11730 because that's the explanation Mr. Proctor gave to us. Does everyone have 11730? Any questions? Anyone need an explanation?

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

The Chair: Now we'll go back to 11743, Mr. Proctor.

Mr. Dick Proctor: It's 11743 on page 9, right?

The Chair: That's the one.

Mr. Dick Proctor: Yes. We're at line 16 on page 9. This particular amendment deals with the sharing of productivity gains. This is something that was of considerable concern to a number of groups that appeared before the committee this week. It says:

    Within three months after the end of each crop year, the Minister shall, in consultation with shippers, railway companies and any other persons that the Minister considers appropriate, conduct and complete a review of the effect of this Act, and in particular this Division, on the sharing of efficiency gains as between shippers and railway companies.

And for the benefit of some people who haven't been here this week, we know that since 1992 the argument has been made that productivity gains have not been shared with the producers. This would strive to correct that, and I would so move.

The Chair: Mr. Dromisky.

Mr. Stan Dromisky: I understand the intent of it. You're a little more specific than Bailey's amendment in clause 1. Roy's terms are more general, and I think they are more inclusive. They could include a great number of components or facets or strategies or whatever within the whole examination of the implementation of this bill. So I feel that yours is in a sense redundant, because I think his is more encompassing and covers far more than yours does. His will include your concern.

Mr. Dick Proctor: Can you just elaborate on that last point—that his will include...

Mr. Stan Dromisky: In his amendment he's asking for a full report on all aspects of the information that's flowing into the ministers, and the ministers have to make a report to Parliament. Basically that would include... You're talking about one aspect of the total picture, the total operation. Therefore that would have to be included within the total report that is given by the ministers.

The Chair: Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: I'd like Mr. Proctor, if he could, to give us an explanation of proposed subsection (2): “The Agency shall incorporate the results of the review into its determination of a prescribed railway's revenues”. Are you asking that productivity gains be returned? In fairness to the railways, they are taking an 18% cut in revenue; I'll give them that much. What specifically are you asking for there?

Mr. Dick Proctor: I think it's clear, Mr. Easter, as it's written that the agency shall incorporate the results of its review into the determination. I don't think there's anything particularly specific meant by it, just that the agency will have a role to play.

I'm just wondering whether we might get, Mr. Chair, some clarification from the legal counsel here to pick up on Mr. Dromisky's point, to see if in fact this is covered by Mr. Bailey's amendment.

The Chair: Yes.

Mr. Ian MacKay: I'm not sure I understand what the question is that's being asked.

Mr. Dick Proctor: Mr. Dromisky is saying that my amendment would be included in the amendment that has been carried, Mr. Bailey's amendment in clause 1. I'm seeking clarification from you.

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Ms. Guylaine Roy: Yes, that's right. If I understand your amendment, you're looking for a report on productivity gains from the railways, and you're asking for the agency to incorporate the results of this review within the prescribed railway's revenues.

Basically, the government has decided to move toward a more commercial system and not to regulate productivity gains. The railway is already taking an 18% cut on their revenues. So this is away from what the government is trying to do, which is going toward a more commercial system and not to regulate productivity gains from the railways.

Mr. Dick Proctor: Right.

The Chair: Last word, Mr. Proctor.

Mr. Dick Proctor: Specifically on the point the parliamentary secretary has made, I'm just trying to get clarification whether it would be included under what we've already passed.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: I guess this is motion CA-2. From my reading of it, it's a report on the monitoring to Parliament. So I see a difference between this motion and your motion.

Mr. Dick Proctor: So you would not agree with Mr. Dromisky's assessment of it—that we're included.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: I believe there is a difference between the two motions.

Mr. Dick Proctor: Thank you.

The Chair: Mr. Kilger, and then Mr. Proctor for the last say.

[Translation]

M. Bob Kilger: M. Chairman and Ms. Roy, M. Proctor's proposed amendment will not enable us to ensure that the grain transportation and handling system operates in a transparent way, which is what we all want.

[English]

Ms. Guylaine Roy: If I read this motion well, it's not only a report on the efficiency gains, but also the second paragraph says that the agency shall incorporate the results of the review into its determination of a prescribed railway's revenues. So the purpose of this is not only to have a report on efficiency gains, but also that this be taken into consideration in the agency calculation of a railway's revenue, which means to almost regulate productivity gains. The government is moving away from that, and more toward a commercial system.

The Chair: Mr. Proctor, last word.

Mr. Dick Proctor: It's just that I think obviously it's not included in Mr. Bailey's amendment. I think it's a good amendment to this and deserves to be supported.

(Amendment negatived)

The Chair: That takes care of your first package, so throw that under the table so you don't get all mixed up.

Now, in your second package you'll notice that the first page is clause 1, but we'll come back to that one. We're still on clause 10. So if you flick ahead to 11742, we'll just stay with clause 10 while we're here.

Mr. Borotsik, you're up.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Okay, Mr. Chairman, I'll get to this very quickly.

All this is trying to achieve, Mr. Chairman, is to put into the piece of legislation the dollars that have actually been promised by the ministers responsible. What this particular clause says is that we would like to have the identifiable $175 million. As you are aware, that is not part of the legislation. It is only a promise at this point in time. We would like to include that in this piece of legislation.

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As well, in 154(1), what I'm suggesting there by amendment, Mr. Chairman, is that the $178 million be guaranteed by the consolidated revenue fund if in fact the dollars are not achievable by the revenue cap from the railroads.

The Chair: You get full marks for creativity from me, Rick.

Voices: Oh, oh!

Mr. Rick Borotsik: I'll take the creativity.

The Chair: Are there any questions on this one? It's pretty clear.

Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: The fact is the minister has said that's as good as cash in the bank, so why would you want more?

Voices: Oh, oh!

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Do I get a rebuttal to that comment?

The Chair: You have the final word right now.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: That comment was also made about AIDA, that it would be cash in the bank, and unfortunately a number of my producers would not say that at this point in time. It's not quite cash in the bank.

Question on the motion.

The Chair: The mover of the motion has asked for the question. That's good enough for me. I call the question on amendment 11742.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

The Chair: The next page, colleagues, is also on clause 10, and it's amendment 11728.

Mr. Bailey.

Mr. Roy Bailey: Mr. Chairman, this deals with the memorandum of understanding between the Wheat Board and the minister responsible for the Wheat Board. In order to encourage the commercialization of the transportation system we are moving into, any contracts to be tendered in accordance with the memorandum of understanding would then be between the shipper and the prescribed railway company.

The Canadian Wheat Board, although they're involved with the sale, should not be involved in the negotiations between the railway and the company handling the grain. Otherwise, the movement towards the commercialization of the system would be hampered by that third party being there. That's all we're saying here.

Then the next proposed subsection reads:

    On or before July 31, 2005, the commercialization of the transportation and handling system is to be complete and all contracts for the movement of grain are to be tendered in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding.

I believe we need to have this enclosed within the act so that we don't have three parties tendering, but the tendering for the 25% or into the 50% is between, let's say, Agricore and CP Rail. The contract for the sale of the grain has been made; it's just between those two people. I see no need whatsoever for the third party to be in there, because they're not paying the price or anything else. That's what this is all about, and it brings it up to what we expect in a commercialization of the system.

The Chair: Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: No, I didn't have a comment.

The Chair: All right; thank you.

Mr. Wayne Easter: But I will—

The Chair: But you will comment.

Voices: Oh, oh!

Mr. Wayne Easter: Mr. Bailey's amendment would in effect make it difficult for the Canadian Wheat Board to do the job it is mandated to do under the Canadian Wheat Board Act. But I would refer to witnesses, Mr. Chair, to further explain, if Mr. Migie could.

The Chair: Lee.

Mr. Lee Morrison: I would point out that the whole intent of the legislation is commercialization, and the 25% tendered was originally offered as a test of the process. If you're going to have the board interfering on the 25%, then you're not testing anything, which is contrary to the whole object of the game.

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The Chair: Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: I was wondering if Mr. Migie, who's had experience in this for years, could comment.

The Chair: Mr. Migie.

Mr. Howard Migie: One of the reasons there's a memorandum of understanding is that on something such as the tendering, where you're going 25% at least in the first year, 25% in the second, and then into 50% and more, you're really getting into how the Canadian Wheat Board exercises some of the discretion that's under their current legislation. Conceptually, just to try to fix that in legislation means you're really reducing any flexibility.

Whatever you pick as the memorandum of understanding, whether it's the current one or the changes you have in it, you're really putting something that is normally a commercial entity... Things do change, but you're freezing it in terms of legislation. That's one of the reasons it's better to have the notion of whatever you're going to do on this tendering in something such as a memorandum of understanding than to try to put it in law.

The other point is, as the minister has said, the memorandum of understanding outlines in a very limited way where the Canadian Wheat Board does have a role. For other things, it spells out where the person who wins the tender gets to choose things such as where the grain comes from, which railway they use, what terminal, etc. So it splits it out.

The Chair: The last say goes to Mr. Bailey.

Mr. Roy Bailey: I'm sorry, but if we are in fact going to move, even with the memorandum of understanding behind us, to a commercialized system, as is the intent of this bill, if we are not going to make that 25% truly commercial, then how can you ever possibly be able to report back and say it functioned?

The Wheat Board could say to UGG or whatever company, “We have so many tonnes of grain”, and they could bid on that. Then they would go to the railway and say, “We have to move that much grain. What's the price you will give me?” I don't see how the Canadian Wheat Board has any role to play in that, outside of the fact that they made the sale.

Get busy and make your agreement with the railway and make it a true commercial system. If you're going to report back at the end of the second year and you've gone 50% but the Wheat Board's very much involved with it, that's not a true commercial system. So you're defeating the very function of the act in the first place. You're not moving commercial if the Wheat Board is going to become a player within these negotiations.

The Wheat Board sells the grain. The grain companies and the railways negotiate a freight rate.

The Chair: That was the final say. I call the vote on amendment 11728.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

The Chair: The next amendment to clause 10 is LF-3, or 11751, and it has been ruled out of order. It's on the last two pages of your package. That particular amendment was ruled out of order.

(Clause 10 agreed to on division)

The Chair: Colleagues, I ask now that you go to the fourth page in the package. The first thing I have to do is ask for unanimous consent to return to clause 9 so that we can consider two amendments that were not in the first package and were misplaced into the second package.

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Mr. Rick Borotsik: On a point of order, one of those you're dealing with, I assume, is 11747?

The Chair: Yes, sir.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Which is my PC-3 as identified. We dealt with that in clause 9.

The Chair: Oh, all right then. We can scratch that.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: If you want to pass that, you're more than welcome to.

Voices: Oh, oh!

The Chair: Well, we can do anything by unanimous consent.

Wayne's still awake. Okay.

Voices: Oh, oh!

The Chair: So we have just the one. First, can I have unanimous consent to return to clause 9?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

(On clause 9)

The Chair: Mr. Bailey, it's CA-4, 11727.

Mr. Roy Bailey: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

Let's get into the new century. Let's take a look at the different types of people or agencies that are moving grain.

First of all, you have a huge grain company, Agricore, that has gone through the Wheat Board. Agricore is a shipper, but that's the property of the Wheat Board, so they would determine the shipper. That's example one.

Example two is, I am growing canola and I have a contract overseas, and I have made a deal with the railway to spot me three cars to sell that canola directly. I am the shipper, nobody else. Nobody can deny that I would be the shipper.

Now let's go to the branch lines, and there could well be another determination of non-board grain if it belonged to another agency, organization, cooperative, or anything else.

This clause brings us into this century, the way it is out there. This is the way it is. With chickpeas, you have a car spotted, and the person whose chickpeas go in there is the person who holds a grain dealer's licence under the Canada Grain Act or is the producer of the grain. If that isn't in this act, then I'm sorry, but what we're encouraging—the extension of the branch lines and so on—is going to be really fouled up, because a lot of people, as I witness now, even on main lines, are filling cars on a siding.

They are the shipper. Nobody else is the shipper. They grew the grain, they harvested the grain, they sold the grain, and nobody else's name can go on that. So all this is doing is bringing us into the year 2000. That's all it's doing.

The Chair: Mr. Jackson.

Mr. Ovid Jackson: Mr. Chair, the English language is a great thing. I recall a police officer taking evidence. He wrote about this chap who obviously had committed a murder. The guy said “It's my wife. I feed her, I clothe her, I kill her.” But the defence lawyer took the same wording and said “M'Lord, my client did say those words, but here is how he said them: `It's my wife. I feed her, I clothe her. Would I kill her?”'

I rest my case, when it comes to words.

Voices: Oh, oh!

The Chair: Mr. Easter.

Mr. Wayne Easter: Basically this is a back-door attempt to do the same thing Mr. Borotsik tried to do in the previous resolution.

An hon. member: Oh, no.

Mr. Wayne Easter: Yes, it is.

The Chair: Order, order.

Mr. Wayne Easter: The CTA is really meant to regulate the providers of transportation in terms of the rates and nature of their business. So what you're really trying to do is deny the ability of the Canadian Wheat Board to do its job under another act.

Really, Mr. Chair, I think the amendment should have been ruled out of order, because you're trying to use one act to affect another. But in any event, the Canadian Wheat Board cannot do its job under this kind of amendment, because you take away the right for them to be the shipper.

The Chair: The amendment remains in order.

Rick Borotsik.

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Mr. Rick Borotsik: Mr. Chairman, I'm hurt to think that this would be a back-door operation to my very well-thought-out, logical amendment that was turned down.

Mr. Chairman, I believe we should support this amendment because it really does speak to the whole essence of Bill C-34, which is to commercialize the system. That is exactly what this amendment speaks to. I would support it, and I would certainly suggest that all members of the government support it as well, Mr. Chairman.

The Chair: Thank you.

The last word goes to Mr. Bailey.

Mr. Roy Bailey: Mr. Chairman, I have no intent whatsoever to do any back-door kicking the pants to the Canadian Wheat Board. I'm dealing with reality. I'm dealing with grain that doesn't fall under the Wheat Board. I'm dealing with peas and lentils and so on, where a shipper gets three or four cars in, and he has to be called the shipper. It has nothing to do with grain handled by the Canadian Wheat Board. I told you that.

We have to be able to designate. I can name you 20 different products that are being shipped out everyday all over the west. This is a new era. We're in a new century. The shipper is in many cases the producer, and he must be able to be designated as the... He makes the contract with the railway. So if he's not the shipper for that commodity, the question remains, who is?

The Chair: Does anyone need a further explanation?

Mr. Wayne Easter: Perhaps we should go to the officials.

The Chair: Personally, I'd like to hear something from the officials. Then I'll go back to Mr. Bailey for a last word. I always want to end up with the mover so that they can have their shot.

Mr. MacKay.

Mr. Ian MacKay: Mr. Chairman, the determination as to who is the shipper with regard to a particular movement of grain, in this case, is determined by who has entered into a contract with the carrier. That's who determines who the legal shipper is. To define the shipper as the person who holds the grain dealer's licence would only work if it was the person who holds the grain dealer's licence who entered into a contract with the carrier.

I'm not sure this particular amendment would accomplish anything. If anything, it would just confuse the matter. The legal shipper is the person who has a contract with the carrier. That could be the Canadian Wheat Board if they're involved in a particular movement, it could be a grain company, and it could be someone else.

The Chair: Thanks, Mr. MacKay.

Mr. Bailey, the final word.

Mr. Roy Bailey: I'll put this question to my colleagues here: would you deny me the right to enter into a contract with the Canadian Pacific Railway to spot three cars? It's my grain. I grew it. I have a sale for it. I am the shipper. Nobody else is the shipper. That's the point I'm trying to make.

The Chair: Wait, let's get an explanation of that. Mr. MacKay, what about that example?

Mr. Ian MacKay: Mr. Chairman, if Mr. Bailey entered into a contract with a carrier, then he would be the shipper.

Mr. Howard Migie: That can be the case now with producer cars, where the producer can in some instances be the shipper.

But there would be two definitions of “shipper” in the CTA. It is pretty awkward. You have one up front in the definition section, and then in the middle you see another definition that relates to holding a licence, which was meant for a completely different act, the Canada Grain Act, with a different purpose for the “shipper” term.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

(Clause 9 agreed to on division)

The Chair: Colleagues, we can go right back to the first page of that second grouping, which you received. We'll return now to the clause we stood down, clause 1.

(On clause 1)

The Chair: We have Mr. Borotsik's amendment 11740. Mr. Borotsik.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

This amendment was dealt with by Mr. Goodale when he was here. He indicated at that time that a number of regulations would be tied into this particular piece of legislation.

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What this amendment speaks to is that prior to any regulation being enforced with this legislation, the minister must first lay the regulation before the House of Commons. What this speaks to, Mr. Chairman, is openness and transparency, where in fact the House, or by extension the committee, would have an opportunity to review the regulation and to call witnesses with regard to that regulation and to have stakeholders say how they felt about the regulation or the terms of reference that the minister put forward. I think it's simply a matter, Mr. Chairman, of having an open and certainly transparent Parliament so that we in fact can get involved in a lot of the decisions that are being made currently by the minister and the cabinet. Mr. Chairman, I believe this is a very important amendment to make sure this Parliament and certainly this committee are involved in the process.

The Chair: Thanks, Rick.

Does anyone have a question on this one or need an explanation? Mr. MacKay.

Mr. Ian MacKay: Any regulation made by the minister under the existing proposal as it will be amended by the bill will be subject to the Statutory Instruments Act and would have to be published in part I. That's the process whereby you have public consultation on a proposed regulation. Any stakeholders can submit their comments at that stage of the regulation publication.

The Chair: Are there any other comments? Final word, Mr. Borotsik.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: I have a question of the legal counsel.

The Chair: Go ahead.

Mr. Rick Borotsik: If that is in fact the case, do you see any difficulty in having this particular amendment placed in this piece of legislation? Are you simply saying that it's redundant? If so, why would we not have this redundancy placed in this piece of legislation?

Mr. Ian MacKay: You could do that. It would be redundant, as you say. To be honest with you, I haven't had time to fully analyse it, because I only got it a few moments ago.

Ms. Guylaine Roy: I think the point to be made is that there is a process already in place. When regulations are made, there is consultation. There is a process already in place that involves the public.

The Chair: We'll have to agree to disagree, Rick.

(Amendment negatived—See Minutes of Proceedings)

Mr. Rick Borotsik: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I would like to withdraw amendment 11741, which you're going to come to next. We did deal with the minister on that.

The Chair: Thank you, Mr. Borotsik. Amendment 11741 is withdrawn.

That takes care of the second package that was in front of you.

(Clause 1 as amended agreed to on division)

(Clauses 11 to 18 inclusive agreed to on division)

(On clause 19)

The Chair: Colleagues, at clause 19 we had amendment CA-6, but the chair has to rule it out of order.

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Mr. Rick Borotsik: Mr. Chairman, I just want it noted that you said I was creative on one. This is creativity.

The Chair: Yes, it was very creative.

Colleagues, I appreciate the work that went into this. I'm serious. Mr. Bailey works very hard on this committee, and I do appreciate the work he put into this particular clause. But unfortunately—

Mr. Stan Dromisky: He's the only one who got an amendment through.

The Chair: Yes, he's the only one who got an amendment through tonight. There you go. Proof in the pudding.

Since the memorandum of understanding is not part of the bill, Mr. Bailey, technically it is not before the committee. It's a separate document altogether. For your edification, I am referring to Beauchesne's sixth edition, number 698, in case you want to check that out later. I have a copy of Beauchesne's right here if you'd like to read through it.

Mr. Morrison.

Mr. Lee Morrison: Mr. Chairman, could you elaborate a little further? Just because it isn't part of the bill... I think the amendment is, and we want to put it into the bill. Why is that... I don't follow your line of reasoning. I'm sorry.

The Chair: I understand what you're trying to do. As I explained at the beginning, the memorandum of understanding is not part of the bill. Since it's the bill that this committee is dealing with, we can't talk about a document that's separate and apart from the bill. This committee is seized with the responsibility of looking at the bill. So I have to rule the request that the MOU be put into the bill out of order, because we can't discuss the fact that this MOU could be part of the bill. We'll have to agree to disagree, I suppose.

Mr. Lee Morrison: Yes, I think so.

(Clauses 19 to 21 inclusive agreed to on division)

(Schedule 1 agreed to on division)

The Chair: Shall the title carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

The Chair: Shall the bill as amended carry?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

Some hon. members: On division.

The Chair: Shall I report the bill as amended to the House?

Some hon. members: Agreed.

The Chair: There's no need for a reprint of the bill. We can just staple the page to the back instead of reprinting the whole bill, according to my clerk, who's very knowledgeable on these things.

Oh, if our constituents could only see the work we do. We sat from 9 a.m. and it's now 10:10 p.m., and we've had intense hearings over the last four days.

I want to thank you all for your patience, your cooperation, and your dedication to this committee. As always, the Standing Committee on Transport has the reputation of working responsibly, and we've done that again.

The clerk informs me, by the way, that we're the most productive committee of the House this year. So congratulations to all of you.

Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

The Chair: I'll have my constituents send you all a certificate.

Thank you, colleagues. Our meeting is adjourned.

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