MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Masse Questions Baird on Toyota

Hansard – April 13, 2010 - Toyota

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, when it comes to accountability and Toyota, the government has abandoned public safety. In fact, Canadians have been forced, through their own private measures, to uncover the truth and get justice for themselves.
Now it appears that contrary to their claims, Toyota executives have known about acceleration problems for the past five years.
The Motor Vehicle Safety Act allows for a criminal investigation. This has been done in Japan and also in the United States. Will the minister commit to pursuing a criminal investigation so Canadian families can get the justice they deserve and compel Toyota to finally follow the law?

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC): Mr. Speaker, as the member said at the outset of his question, the safety of Canadian motorists and Canadians on our roads is the utmost priority for the Department of Transport. Let me also be very clear. They have had a significant amount of work to ensure that vehicles are safe.
In Canada, cabinet ministers cannot direct criminal investigations. That would be a rather frightening prospect for members of this cabinet to launch criminal investigations against people or companies. Those are done by the non-partisan public service.

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, that excuse does not cut it. The Prime Minister can do so and his department could start to do some work on this file.
It is amazing when we look at what is happening out there in the rest of the world: Europe and the United States have been looking at this matter; Japan has been looking into it and actually bringing criminal investigations back to 2006.
Why will the minister not do anything when public safety is at risk and consumers are getting whacked by this? It is time for the minister to act and to do something for a change.

Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC): If the member of the New Democratic Party had been to the transport committee, Toyota officials, officials from my department have come forward and testified. They have talked about the significant number of investigations that have taken place with respect to Toyota and with respect to other motorists.
If the hon. member wants to talk about action, this government has delivered more for Windsor in terms of infrastructure than any government in Canadian history, and we can be very proud of that.

***To set the record straight, Mr. Masse was at Transport Committee and ironically, the Minister was not. Mr. Masse is very proud to have forced record investment in Windsor.***