MASSE IN THE HOUSE: Questioning the Minister of Transport on Automotive Safety for Canadians and Toyota Recalls

Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, while the U.S. Congress, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and other officials conducted investigations into Toyota, Transport Canada was saying that no further investigation was needed. Under substantial pressure, Toyota officials finally appeared before committee only to say that they will continue to treat Canada as second class.
There was no apology from Mr. Toyoda and no Canadian safety research centre. However, they did shed light on one important fact: Transport Canada does not have the adequate resources or adequate staff to do the job. No wonder the minister did not want the hearings. Is there anything else Transport Canada is hiding?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we have tried to approach this issue in a non-partisan fashion. Road safety is not a partisan issue. I offered to the member for Windsor West today that we are prepared to hear any suggestions they have on what we can do to make road safety even better than it is today.
We have seen a steady decline in fatalities on our roads and that is because of the dedicated work of the professional public servants at Transport Canada and the industry working collaboratively to make things happen. We are obviously following up every single complaint that has come forward with respect to Toyota and other manufacturers. We will continue to do so.
Mr. Brian Masse (Windsor West, NDP): Mr. Speaker, this became a partisan issue because this minister refused to do his job last November when the problems first surfaced. Today at committee, we witnessed the worst sort of blame game, with Toyota blaming Transport Canada. Government members discovered for the first time that Toyota might be a problem.
We have all learned from the massive Toyota recalls that American regulators are doing more to protect Canadians' safety than the government. Does the minister intend to reform the Motor Vehicle Safety Act? As Toyota's plan stands today, it will still be done in the United States and Japan. Is he going to let foreigners determine the serious nature of the concerns of Canadians and protect ourselves over here?
Hon. John Baird (Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, CPC): Mr. Speaker, we have followed up every single complaint that was made by Canadian motorists and have looked into every single issue that was put forward. As I have already told the member in the House and before question period, if we can learn from the events of the past six months and work on a non-partisan basis to make Canadian roads safer, he can count on the full support of this government.