Friday: Senate Transport Amendments Return to House

Friday: Senate Transport Amendments Return to House

UPDATED May 11, 2018 3:30pmET

MPs will vote on the government motion in favour of ignoring the Senate amendments on Tuesday, May 22.

The House of Commons will once again debate Senate amendments to the government’s transportation bill (C-49), after the upper chamber voted yesterday to “insist” that two rejected changes be considered again.

One amendment calls for extending a remedy for long-distance rail shippers to the Maritime provinces. The other deals with arbitration between freight carriers and shippers.

The Senate’s formal message includes:

That the Senate insists on its amendment 7(c), because all regions of Canada should be treated equally, with fairness and respect. The House of Commons rejected the Senate amendment “because shippers in the Maritimes will continue to have access to other shipper remedies in the Act”. As the proposer of the Senate amendment pointed out in committee, this is unfair for the maritime region, since there are roads and therefore other modes of transportation in areas like Prince Rupert and northern Quebec where an exemption is provided;

That the Senate insists on its amendment 8, because this amendment entitles a shipper to obtain a determination of the railway’s cost of transporting its goods to assist an arbitrator in final offer arbitration to determine whether to select the offer of the carrier or the shipper. By declaring that final offer arbitration is a commercially based process and not cost-based, the House of Commons has removed that entitlement from the shipper.

Today’s government motion in response on the order paper “respectfully disagrees” with both suggestions. This follows the House of Commons agreeing to some, but not all of the Senate’s initial list of amendments last week.

Time permitting, MPs will also return to the elections bill (C-76).

-Andrew Thomson