MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Exchange with Minister of Transport on Toyota Recalls, Consumer Safety and Fairness for Canadians

Hansard – March 10, 2010

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the inaction of the government on dealing with Toyota recalls has left Canadian consumers with nothing compared to their American neighbours. Toyota is providing rental cars and vehicle pickups to Americans but not to Canadians.
A new Toyota research centre is going to the U.S. but not to Canada. U.S. Congress is getting full disclosure on recalls, making discoveries like the book of secrets and documents where Toyota boasts of saving $100 million by delaying recalls.
Why will the government not stand up for Toyota's Canadian consumers?

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC): Mr. Speaker, one of the most important priorities for us at Transport Canada is the safety of Canadian motorists and others who use our roads. At Transport Canada, we will ensure that all legal measures, the full force of Canadian law, are used to ensure that all efforts will be taken to ensure that Canadians are safe now and in the future.
Canada has a strong record of leading in recalls. Many of the major recalls that have been taken have been led by Transport Canada. We are proud of the work we have done. We welcome the opportunity for hearings so that those who are in decision-making positions can be held accountable.

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, last November, while this minister was busy congratulating Toyota, U.S. investigations were launched by several congressional committees: the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and also a criminal probe by Manhattan's U.S. attorney. Meanwhile, Transport Canada decided on no further investigation and the result is that Canadians are getting second-class treatment.
Is the minister going to demand that Mr. Toyota do what he has done in the United States, come here, apologize and make the same commitments to Canadians that he has made to Americans, yes or no?

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it was actually a Conservative member of the committee who first called for hearings for the committee. The government is very pleased to support that.
We have offered members of Parliament a briefing on all the fine work the Department of Transport has done on this important issue. We have offered media a full briefing. We have indicated to the committee that we will provide all necessary documents to help it do its work.
We believe the safety of Canadians is tremendously important, and we will work to ensure that all manufacturers and importers are held to the highest standard under Canadian law.

Point of Order
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, during the answer by the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, he indicated the Conservatives had actually called for hearings first. However, the fact of the matter is on February 24 I called for hearings. It is very clear and it is public. I would like to offer the opportunity for the minister to correct the record, if he likes, because this is well known publicly.
Just a day prior to that, the Conservatives were denying hearings, which is rather interesting. I would offer the opportunity to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities because the record clearly is that on February 24 I had already called for hearings.