Brian Masse on Public Ownership

39th Parliament 1st Session
Unofficial Version • NUMBER 93
Thursday, December 7, 2006

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP) :

Mr. Speaker, the private investment firm Citigroup recently commissioned a study on public and private ownership of bridges. The group study concluded that private ownership increases the tolls 35% to 45% higher. Despite that evidence, the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has now put the Windsor-Detroit border crossing, the most important one, on the auction block.

What I want to know from the minister right now is this. Will he guarantee that the crossing there will be publicly owned, operated and accountable so we have the lowest cost fares and the busiest, most accountable border crossing?
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Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC):

Mr. Speaker, first what we have to indicate is that the government is committed to increasing Canada's competitiveness. The government is committed to being able to get across the border our products and services in the best fashion possible.
We have indicated that we will look at the different options that are available and we will take the best decisions in Canada's interest.
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Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP) :

Mr. Speaker, my community is not up for sale. This community deserves the proper crossing, and that is what the study proves. More important, it is the same practice across the country. Why is Windsor being treated differently?

We have to signal to industry that we are serious about fixing this problem and it has to be done with accountability. It has to be done with support for the city.

I ask the minister to make sure that there are no new toll roads and no new high toll bridges where private pockets are lined at the expense of citizens.
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Hon. Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC) :
Mr. Speaker, I would have expected congratulations on behalf of the hon. member.
This morning I was with the provincial Minister of Transport, Donna Cansfield, to announce the creation of the gateway for southern Ontario, another move that will increase Canada's competitiveness abroad.
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