Safeguarding Canada’s Seas and Skies Act (Bill C-3)

Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. friend for his thorough review of Bill C-3. Had the Prime Minister not prorogued, the bill probably would have been passed already. It is largely made up of inconsequential and non-controversial measures but they certainly would not achieve the much vaunted rhetoric that flows along with them.

My hon. colleague quite accurately described the legislation as somewhat incoherent in relation to these issues. Does he think we might have done better by taking the recommendations of the environment commissioner on the thematic purpose of where the gaps are in our transportation of hazardous goods, whether by rail, air, pipeline, tanker or by road and truck? Should we have taken those recommendations and looked at all the ways hazardous goods are transported in Canada? Are we addressing whether this are being done safely, whether municipalities have access to information that they should have about what materials are running through communities, and ensuring that the entire scheme of the transport of hazardous goods is addressed?

David McGuinty: Mr. Speaker, once again my colleague has asked a very insightful question, and in my view she is spot-on. There is an opportunity here to go back and examine the commissioner for sustainable development’s report and recommendations to examine precisely the gap she has alluded to.

In July we convened a fairly urgent meeting of the transport committee. I was asked to speak a bit to an NDP motion at the time. I said it was going to be important for us to look back at what reports have been issued, such as the recent recommendations of the Senate report, which made a number of good recommendations. Here I would like to single out the good work of my colleague from Alberta, Senator Grant Mitchell, who really put his shoulder to the wheel to help think through exactly the kinds of ramifications the member’s questions raise. We could be looking at other recommendations from the Transportation Safety Board in the past, which I alluded to in my closing remarks.

There is an opportunity here for us to collate and bring together the important good energies, which have already been expended to see how we can improve, and come up with a much more coherent and comprehensive approach.