Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Transport and Communications

Issue 9 - Evidence - March 14, 2007 - Afternoon meeting

VANCOUVER, Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Standing Senate Committee on Transportation and Communications met this day at 2:05 p.m. to examine and report on current and potential future containerized freight traffic handled at, and major inbound and outbound markets served by, Canada's Pacific Gateway container ports, east coast container ports and central container ports and current and appropriate future policies relating thereto.

Senator Lise Bacon (Chairman) in the chair.


The Chairman: I will call the meeting to order.

This afternoon, we have with us from the Vancouver Container Truckers Association, Mr. Paul Uppal, business agent, and Mr. Pete Smith, who is a national representative of Canadian Auto Workers, CAW.

Welcome to our committee. When Mr. Dufresne arrives, we will add him to the panel.

Pete Smith, National Representative, CAW, Vancouver Container Truckers Association: We want to talk today about the problems in the container truck industry in the Port of Vancouver and on behalf of the Canadian Auto Workers and the Vancouver Container Truckers Association, CAW/VCTA Local 2006. Thank you for taking the time to hear from us on this important matter. This is another opportunity for us to put forward our concerns about labour stability at the Port of Vancouver this coming summer.

The CAW/VCTA Local 2006 has organized over 600 of the 900 to 1,000 owner-operators that regularly move containers to and from the Port of Vancouver. Of these 600, there are about 500 currently covered by collective agreements. In addition to the regular trucks, however, there are literally hundreds more that have licences for access to the port for containers. At last count, there were 4,600 licences for access to the port.

Arbitrator Vince Ready issued a memorandum of agreement, MOA, that ended the shutdown for the Port of Vancouver in 2005. This MOA established the rates for container hauling to and from the port. Although the MOA itself is quite flawed in terms of resolving all the issues facing container truck drivers, it has resolved a major dispute. It has not resolved the issue of the raise for hauling to and from the ever growing number of off-dock facilities, however.

As you may also be aware the MOA expires this summer. This is an immediate concern. Given that there has been little progress made on some fundamental issues that faced the container truck drivers in the last 20 months, there is not likely to be a resolution to these issues in the next four months. This is the basis of our presentation today.

The first problem is that Vince Ready has not enforced the memorandum of agreement. We have made many attempts over the last year to get Mr. Ready to call a hearing on various violations of the MOA, and he has not done so. There has been evidence put before him on specific violations, but he has refused to act.

There are a number of reasons why this is not being enforced by Mr. Ready. The commercial arbitration process required by the MOA is very legalistic and cumbersome in dealing with evidence. There is also a much anticipated challenge to the status of the various parties to the MOA.

At the very least, the enforcement of the MOA has become a giant sandbox for the lawyers engaged by a few of the employers who continue to be totally opposed to the MOA. These companies will not rest until the MOA is destroyed, and they can return to the days of unbridled competition where they were profitable at the expense of the truck driver, who could not make a living.

After considerable pressure, the Vancouver Port Authority, VPA, amended the licence program at the beginning of the year to provide for suspensions of companies that do not pay their rates as per Mr. Ready's MOA.

We provided the VPA with all the information about one company that was blatantly violating the MOA rates. The VPA, after a considerable amount of time provided for the company to respond, eventually suspended this company's access to the port. This was the first company to be suspended.

Without missing one minute of access time to the Port of Vancouver, this company, Bestlink Transport Services Inc., had switched the name on the trucks to another name, ironically called WE CAN, and continued on its merry way. The company WE CAN has essentially the same owners as the previous company. We have been told that this company is also under investigation. The VPA is waiting for more information before it will act.

There can be no doubt that once this company is suspended there will be another company conveniently waiting in the wings to provide Bestlink Transport Services Inc. with uninterrupted access to the port while the VPA does yet another investigation. At this time, it appears to the owner-operators who haul the containers that there are absolutely no consequences for flaunting the port's authority.

The MOA was implemented to end the devastating strike of 2005. This is the lynchpin of the whole scheme to bring stability of pay to the container truck drivers now and in the future. If this cannot be enforced, there is no doubt that the pay for the container truck drivers will again spiral down and lead to another dispute.

The biggest problem immediately facing the stability of labour relations to the Port of Vancouver is the expiry of Mr. Ready's MOA. This will expire at the end of July. There is nothing to take its place. The VPA has consistently said they will enforce the rates that are established by someone else, but the VPA will not establish those rates.

The small, and in some cases, single truck companies will remain unorganized. These owner-operators are not covered by a collective agreement. Traditionally, it has been the small and single truck operators who are cutting the rates that others enjoy. Although they are a minority, the small operators can do the most damage in terms of applying downward pressure on the rates.

In order to avoid this, there must be some means to establish minimum rates for container hauling in the Port of Vancouver. There needs to be legislation at both the federal and provincial level to establish a commission to establish minimum rates. Having been through this for as many times as there have been shutdowns of the port, we at least know that eventually the rates will be driven down.

At this time, neither the federal nor the provincial government is doing anything about this. We talked to the B.C. Minister of Labour and they say that the Ministry of Transportation is the lead ministry on this issue. We walked to the Ministry of Transportation and they questioned whether the provincial government should be required to legislate rates. We have spoken to the offices of the Minister of International Trade, who is also the Minister of the Pacific Gateway. We are told that he is watching and very interested in ensuring that there is stability on the waterfront. Having said all that, all both governments are doing, it appears to us, is pointing fingers at each other and neither is doing anything.

As we said, these are the biggest issues threatening to destabilize the Port of Vancouver again this summer once the MOA expires. If there is no enforcement of the existing MOA now, it does not appear possible to get any kind of agreement to regulate how much the container truck driver will be paid in the future. Furthermore, in the event that the VPA continues to issue licences as they have been over the last year, the work at the port will be so diluted that no one will be able to make a living.

We all agree the last thing the Port of Vancouver needs at this time is another labour dispute. It appears, however, that the people that have the authority are sitting on their hands and not willing to do what they have the ability to do to prevent that from happening.

In closing, thank you again for hearing our presentation. We trust that your committee can provide some influence on what needs to be done to ensure stability on the waterfront this summer.

The Chairman: Thank you.

Mr. Dufresne, do you have a presentation to make?

Tom Dufresne, President, International Longshore and Warehouse Union: I do not have a presentation, but I look forward to answering any questions the Senate may have, particularly on the issue of security and the federal policies promoting intermodal transportation.

The Chairman: We are told that there is an alarming demographic problem in transportation in general, and all transportation workers — and especially those in trucking — tend to be older than the average worker. It is difficult to recruit workers given the long hours involved in long-distance trucking. What can be done to attract more qualified workers in long-distance trucking?

Mr. Smith: We are not involved in long-distance trucking. We are mainly container trucking in the Port of Vancouver.

The Chairman: Just in the port.

The Montreal Port Authority recommends that all port employees be required to comply with the Marine Transportation Security Regulations and not just employees working in certain zones. According to the Port of Montreal, the zone approach is not practical because labour is hired and deployed throughout the port on a daily basis. The regulations are also inconsistent with the policy of the United States where all port employees will be required to undergo background checks by 2009. Do you agree with that?

Mr. Dufresne: On behalf of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, no, respectfully, we do not agree.

We are working with Transport Canada on a zone type program called an R2. The problem we have with the marine facilities relating to the Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program is the fact that the program, as it is currently written in the regulation, has no transparent affair appeals process included in it. They have included an Office of Reconsideration contained within Transport Canada. We feel that it should be an independent quasi judicial body where a person might take an appeal of a decision to deny them their clearance.

Senator Tkachuk: Mr. Dufresne, will you be making a presentation as well?

Mr. Dufresne: No, I am just speaking on if you had any questions that you wanted to ask me.

Senator Tkachuk: Okay, yes, I do have questions. We are all trying to develop some expertise on the issue of ports for the Members of Parliament. We are unfamiliar with the topic, so much of this is very new to us. The labour situation, the truck operator and the owner-operator is a little confusing. I am wondering if you could just sort it out for me. We have the companies that hire truck drivers — and some of them probably have many trucks. We have the individual owner-operators, the ones who own their own trucks and operate independently on their own. Then who else do we have, and who do you specifically organize? Do you organize companies or when you are talking about organizing 600 of the 900 owner-operators, are you talking about individual truckers, or small companies?

Mr. Smith: We have organized 600 mainly owner-operators that work for various companies. Therefore, they are owner-operators who work for various companies that makes them dependent contractors under either the provincial code or the federal code; those are who we have organized mainly.

Many of these companies that have the owner-operators usually have a small component of their own employees who operate their trucks, but they are a very small minority.

Senator Tkachuk: Outside this group, who else is in that trucking field or is the Port of Vancouver covered by this group alone?

Mr. Smith: Teamsters Canada has a few certifications as well that represent workers, owner-operators that transport containers to and from the port. They were the major player at this point.

Senator Tkachuk: When you say ``to and from the port,'' where is that?

Mr. Smith: Where is the Port of Vancouver?

Senator Tkachuk: No, no, where do they go?

Mr. Smith: From the port, they go to the various customers.

Paul Uppal, Business Agent, Vancouver Container Truckers Association: A container will be coming from China loaded with household products or clothing; it will come to the port where we will show up with a chassis on the back of a tractor, pick up that container, take it to one of these major warehouses, such as Hudd Distribution, which does a lot of work for Wal-Mart and Ikea. They will unload the container at that point. It might take a week for them to do it, or two weeks, depending on how backlogged they are. Then that container will ultimately end up going back to the port.

However, between that there are exporters as well that export pulp and lumber products and scrap metal products. Sometimes those containers will be taken to an exporter, loaded with this export product and delivered to the port.

Senator Tkachuk: Is this container taken by the trucker from the bay or whatever warehouse you have here, and taken to Prince George, for example, to pick up product or is it product that is arriving and put into a container?

Mr. Uppal: It is product that has arrived into the Lower Mainland, stored in warehouses and then stuffed into containers.

Senator Tkachuk: We were told by a group yesterday that the memorandum was a result of the last work stoppage, the result of violence and intimidation; that was their side of the story. I would like to hear your side of the story. How did the strike originate? Was it a legal strike? How was the process forced to come to the table to make an agreement?

Mr. Uppal: In late April of 2005, all the truck drivers got together over a dispute, which was led by a racist remark by somebody somewhere along the chain. The drivers all got together and, talking amongst each other, decided to have a meeting. About 150 to 200 people showed up at the first meeting. There was another meeting held a couple of weeks later, which ultimately got bigger and bigger, and everybody realized that nobody was making any money. It was not just me who was not making any money, it was everybody. It was all on the backs of the companies for which we worked.

Ultimately, all the drivers just got together. We had meetings with the companies in rooms similar to this, and there were 52 company owners at that time. We tried to explain our concerns, and they said, ``Yes, we understand you guys are not making money, but there is nothing that we can do. Let us go talk to the customers, the importers, the exporters and see what we can do to bring the rates up a little bit.''

They came back and said there was nothing they could do for us, but that we should just hold out, not do anything, not shut the port down — do not do this, do not do that. The guys were at the end of their rope. They had another meeting and everybody voted that they would be withdrawing their services as of such and such a date, and that is what ended up happening.

Senator Tkachuk: How many were there?

Mr. Uppal: There was, I believe, over 1,000 truckers at that time.

Senator Tkachuk: Were all the truckers involved? Would this be all the truckers or just a portion of them?

Mr. Uppal: I would say that 95 per cent of them were involved.

Senator Tkachuk: The companies that had a larger number of employees involved, that had employed truckers working for them, they continued to move product or were they forced out?

Mr. Uppal: There were some that continued to do work and others just chose not to work.

Senator Tkachuk: When they made that claim yesterday of intimidation and violence, how much intimidation and violence was there to enforce your strike? You had to enforce your strike somehow. Was it an illegal strike?

Mr. Uppal: We had no intimidation. It was just a withdrawal of service. It was not a strike because we were not, at that point in time, a legal entity at all. We were just a bunch of independent owner-operators that got together and decided to withdraw our services.

As for the intimidation, I was at every one of these locations where they had pickets set up — pickets, per se — and at those locations there was no intimidation as far as I could see. As the trucks arrived, they would stop and give them a leaflet or talk to them and ask them what they were doing and let them know what we were doing. The trucks would go through. However, the majority of trucks decided to support us and just turned around and left.

Senator Tkachuk: Are you organized now?

Mr. Uppal: We are organized now, yes.

Senator Tkachuk: Have you been recognized by the owner-operators as an organized group? You seem to have difficulty coming to the table, and I am just wondering what the problem is.

Mr. Uppal: Do you mean the problem with the whole 1,000 of the truckers?

Senator Tkachuk: Yes.

Mr. Uppal: It is an ongoing process through the B.C. Labour Relations Board. The owner-operators are trying to organize while the company owners are putting up a fight against it. It has taken us almost two years now, but we have been moving along slowly but surely, and we are getting ahead. We have not fallen backward yet.

Senator Tkachuk: They claim that this MOA that they have is too onerous and that once the time limit runs out, they will go back to their old ways, so to speak, and you will be forced to take action again I would imagine.

Mr. Uppal: We will not be forced. The drive downward will inevitably bring it on, as we have seen from history in 1999 and 2005. I believe there was one earlier than that, before my time.

Senator Mercer: I was trying to get a better handle on the picture. Therefore, there is no collective agreement in place.

Mr. Smith: No, sir, there is a collective agreement in place that covers about 500 of the 600 owner-operators that we have organized.

Senator Mercer: Is that under your union, the CAW?

Mr. Smith: Yes, that is right.

Senator Mercer: Does that collective agreement end this summer?

Mr. Smith: No, the collective agreement runs until 2008.

Senator Mercer: 2008.

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Senator Mercer: Therefore, you have a collective agreement in place.

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Senator Mercer: If the collective agreement is in place and the date of this memorandum of agreement comes and passes, will that affect the collective agreement?

Mr. Smith: No, it will not affect the collective agreement so much, but the employers, who we are certified with, will not get the business because the MOA will have run out, and all the other owner-operators that are not covered by our collective agreement will be able to cut rates below what is now the MOA; the customers will, therefore, go to those carriers.

Senator Mercer: Should it not work just the opposite way? I mean there is a collective agreement in place. It would seem to me that that is the group that has an agreement, which goes on to 2008 you said.

Mr. Smith: Yes. Mr. Ready's MOA covers every owner-operator.

Senator Mercer: Regardless of whether they are members of CAW or not.

Mr. Smith: Yes, exactly right.

Senator Tkachuk: Excuse me, could I just ask on that. What would a longshoreman do when that happens, when they ignore the collective agreement and bring on truckers who will obtain the lower price? Would you be supportive of this group? What will you do?

Mr. Dufresne: Well, if the truck drivers are on strike or locked out, we will certainly give them all the support we can. If they get into this downward spiral again, I imagine — well, one does not want to have to imagine — we would offer them our support and solidarity, but the other truck drivers are free to come and go on the port. There is no obligation to belong to a union. However, I believe if they do away with the MOA and the port licensing, as Mr. Uppal says, once again the truckers would be into a downward spiral where we will have trucks breaking down on our roads and highways. The trucks will not be properly maintained, and we will have excess pollution on the roads. In the past, during the government's blitz, when they would pull over these trucks, we have seen upward of 40 per cent of the vehicles not passing safety inspections, and that was a direct result of people not earning adequate money to maintain their vehicles.

Senator Mercer: I believe Senator Tkachuk was trying to get at it; if we get to this point, and the truckers withdraw their services, you have a collective agreement with the employer.

Mr. Dufresne: That is correct.

Senator Mercer: Will you work if there is work?

Mr. Dufresne: We worked through the last work stoppage when the truck drivers were non-union. There were not very many street trucks coming in, but we managed to store containers on open areas on the port and at other facilities that were not quite so busy.

Senator Mercer: However, now the CAW is recognized as a bargaining unit for a group of the truckers. This may not be a CAW withdrawal. If I understand it, it is a withdrawal of independent truckers across the board whether they are members of the CAW or not. What happens? I come from a place where unions do not normally cross picket lines — and I am not even sure that this is a picket line. That is what I am trying to figure out here.

Mr. Dufresne: Yes, well, we would not be crossing any picket lines, and we would not be operating any vehicles or anything. However, I guess that is something to see. The truck drivers and the unions representing them will have to work out whether or not they will withdraw their services, whether they could legally withdraw their services or whether they will be compelled to keep working because they are under collective agreements that remain in effect. Therefore, I do not want to put the cart before the horse.

Senator Mercer: No, I appreciate that. Are there any discussions currently?

Mr. Smith: There are no discussions currently. We have asked for another meeting with Emerson's office and we have not confirmed the meeting as of yet.

Senator Mercer: However, you have not had any meetings with the Vancouver Port Authority on this matter.

Mr. Smith: We have had a few meetings with the Vancouver Port Authority on enforcing the licence, and they are moving very slowly.

Senator Mercer: Getting to that point, in your first issue you talked about calling a hearing on various violations of the memorandum of agreement. What, specifically, are some of those violations? It may be a long list, so give me quick example.

Mr. Uppal: The main violation of the memorandum of agreement is the owner-operator not being paid the rate that is set out in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2.

Senator Mercer: That is pretty fundamental.

Mr. Uppal: Yes, that is the complaint that we put forward to the VPA. They are calling it anecdotal evidence because all we can provide to them is a statement. Sometimes the statements that we get from the company owners for whom we work look like a receipt you might get in a corner store. It is very serious; it is like that, handheld.

Senator Mercer: It is curious. By the way, you mentioned in your presentation, at last count, there were 4600 licences for extra support. We were told, sometime in the last couple of days, that it was much higher than that; that there are many more truck people who have licences, and now some of those people are not here in Vancouver — they may be coming in and out from Saskatchewan or Manitoba — but the licensing numbers are much higher than that.

Mr. Smith: Yes, at the last stakeholders' meeting there was mention of some cursory calculation closer to 6,000 licences that are issued. It is probably closer to 4600 in the Province of B.C. A trucking company in Saskatchewan, for instance, that may need to come to the Port of Vancouver to pick up a container will license all their trucks just to make sure that if one needs to get here, they can get in.

Senator Mercer: This morning we heard evidence from the Western Transportation Advisory Council, WESTAC. Ruth Sol was here, and those of us from the East were rather impressed by the council because it seemed to have management, labour importers, exporters, the shipping lines, the customers, the whole mix of people involved in using and making the Port of Vancouver work or the Pacific Gateway work; are either the CAW or the longshoremen a member of that? I believe the longshoremen are, are not they?

Mr. Dufresne: Yes, they are both members.

Senator Mercer: Okay; and CAW is a member?

Mr. Smith: In terms of rail, we are involved with WESTAC.

Senator Mercer: Is that because you represent the CN and others?

Mr. Smith: That is right.

Senator Mercer: There is an interesting process; I am bringing them up because in our exchange, we talked an awful lot about labour shortage: The shortage of workers and specifically the shortage of truck drivers. I do not believe I am misquoting; it may have been her or her colleague who said that one of the best ways to fix the shortage of truck drivers is to pay them more, which made some sense to me. However, now I find that there is an agreement to pay truck drivers more, which has been neglected by the companies.

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Mr. Dufresne: Yes.

Mr. Smith: There are many companies that are paying less than what they should be paying, yes.

Senator Mercer: Are these companies part of the memorandum of agreement.

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Senator Mercer: Are they all signatories of the memorandum of agreement?

Mr. Smith: I do not believe they are all signatories, are they?

Mr. Uppal: Yes, they are all signatories.

Mr. Smith: They are all obliged to follow the MOA in order to get a licence at the Port of Vancouver.

Senator Zimmer: What is the rationale in not paying?

Mr. Uppal: There are truck drivers who come in who, traditionally, used to work on the highway, long haul. They would not see their family for four, five, six days in a row. Since our dispute in 2005, our rates have now jumped up so that we are making a living. These truckers now decide to come in off the highway, drop the rate down a little to come into town to do some work and be with their families. They are not making as much money as they did on the highway, but they are cutting the rate that we are making in town and then that is the beginning of the end, right.

Senator Mercer: They are home every night.

Senator Mercer: Someone in our discussion yesterday and in part of our discussion today, we talked about the reputation and image of the Port of Vancouver. One of the items we discussed was what is viewed as frequent disruptions in service because of labour disputes with various unions and/or groups. Are you concerned about this? I am not asking you to abandon your commitment to your memorandum of agreement. However, does this concern your members and the union itself?

Mr. Smith: Of course, senator, if the Port of Vancouver is damaged any more by its reputation, the container traffic in general will be reduced, which will reduce everybody's available work whether it is longshoremen, container truck drivers or whatever; we can see it. We know how other ports can pick up the slack if need be, and those containers can go elsewhere. That is the last thing we want. It begs the question of why, then, neither level of government is making any effort to prevent that from happening in the future in terms of providing legislation for continuing the MOA or some form of MOA, so that there is some minimum payment for the container truck drivers to prevent another work stoppage.

Senator Mercer: Now, I gather from what you have said in your presentation that this company, Bestlink Transport Services Inc., was suspended?

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Senator Mercer: It came back as WE CAN.

Mr. Smith: Yes.

Senator Mercer: The next version will be ``WE WILL,'' I suppose.

Mr. Smith: There is money on that one.

Senator Mercer: I want to get in on the pool.

Does it specifically say in the memorandum of agreement that the Vancouver Port Authority is charged with the responsibility of policing this?

Mr. Smith: It does now. The regulations in place allow the port to issue licences, and, as a condition of a licence, the employers will abide by the memorandum of agreement, so it is the port's authority.

Senator Mercer: Okay, that makes sense to me, and if that were enforced, there would be no work stoppage this summer.

Mr. Smith: However, the MOA expires in July. Therefore, there will be no MOA for the Vancouver Port Authority to enforce.

Senator Mercer: It is much easier to talk of future agreements if you have honoured the current one.

Mr. Dufresne: If I could make a comment on that, with your indulgence. One of the problems with MOAs is enforcement mechanisms, adequate enforcement mechanisms and a willingness to enforce the memorandums.

As I said, this one company got suspended, but they need to police it, if you will, where people can make complaints without putting their livelihood in jeopardy. They need to be able to say that XYZ Company is not paying the proper rate. Otherwise, as the other gentleman said, it will be a downward spiral where everybody will be charging a rate that is $5 cheaper or getting paid the same rate and kicking back some money to a dispatch system in order to get the work. That will just drive down the quality, which will hurt the reputation of the Port of Vancouver.

We have done a lot of work to promote the reputation of the Port of Vancouver. Just two days ago, I met with the trade commissioner from the Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada here in Vancouver. They are in town on a training forum. A number of people came and spoke from the Port of Vancouver and from the shipping community — the shipping lines, container lines — and we made presentations on the work we are doing. We have travelled with the port and with our employers to promote the Port of Vancouver, and that is one of the reasons for growth in trade, we believe, aside from the fact that China is booming, which is why Vancouver became the port of choice.

Senator Mercer: I am from Halifax, and I met with your counterparts in Halifax not too long ago. We talked about some of the problems that they are having, about training. Is adequate training being provided in the Port of Vancouver by the Vancouver Port Authority or by other entities?

Mr. Dufresne: As provided by our employers with our members doing the training, well, adequate is a difficult way to describe it. We are training on a two-shift-a-day basis, six days a week. One of the issues that is that over the course of the next four years, probably 900 people will retire out of a workforce of a little over 4,000 people. When those people retire, many of them carry what are called ratings or abilities to do certain jobs, so with 900 people retiring we could take anywhere from 1,600 to 2,000 positions that will be retiring.

Therefore, there is a lot of training going on. There could be more certainly, and they are, in fact, building a training centre now out in Richmond, which will be run by the British Columbia Maritime Employers Association, BCMEA; and International Longshore and Warehouse Union, ILWU. It is being built on port property with the intention of more ongoing training.

Senator Mercer: Would that facility house the simulators that are used for training?

Mr. Dufresne: That is correct. There will be two simulators. The facility is being drywalled and painted at the moment.

Senator Mercer: If I wanted to become a longshoreman and work on a simulator, where would I get my training now?

Mr. Dufresne: There are no facilities that you could get any training in unless you were part of the hiring process. I should have brought the presentation that I did the other day with me. We will be hiring in a couple weeks for about 400 positions. Last time we did this in 2006, 10,000 people applied for 1,500 positions. Out of the 1,500 positions, 400 people were drawn in a lottery style draw and out of those 400, only about 238 people made it all the way through the process. First, they have to undergo the two-day safety orientation program and write a safety comprehension test. If they pass that, then they get into the training programs.

Senator Zimmer: You mentioned the MOA expires in July of this year. Are there ongoing negotiations right now and any chance of one being in place in August of this year?

Mr. Smith: At this point, no, there are no ongoing negotiations. As I have said in the presentation, nobody seems to be taking any responsibility in either the federal or provincial government to extend it, provide a mechanism for a new memorandum of agreement or establish a minimum pay rate past the expiry date in July.

Senator Zimmer: My next question is on security clearance. Is your membership affected by the federal Marine Transportation Security Clearance Program, which requires certain port employees to submit background checks, and, if so, what impact do you expect it will have on the efficiencies capacity for handling or transporting containerized freight?

Mr. Smith: Senator, we are not covered by that.

Senator Zimmer: You are not covered, okay. Are you Mr. Dufresne?

Mr. Dufresne: Yes, we are covered. We are currently working with Transport Canada to identify certain positions — safety sensitive positions or security sensitive positions, if you will — that would require a security clearance program.

As I said earlier, one of the issues that we have is that there is no fair transparent independent appeals process contained in the regulation. One of the issues that we are dealing with is security and efficiency. However, we also want to see built into that, our rights as Canadian citizens not to be unduly subjected to background checks without a proper recourse mechanism or some mechanism that would allow a person, who is wrongfully denied the ability make a representation, to have the decision overturned.

Currently, as I said, within Transport Canada they are setting up their own Office of Reconsideration right down the hall from the person who just turned those people down, and we do not feel that is acceptable under Canada's system of governance. Also Justice O'Connor, in his second report on the Maher Arar inquiry, reported on the fact that Transport Canada is becoming more and more a security-intelligence organization than it started out to be. They have their own marine security, marine intelligence and airport intelligence. They have all these different departments in there, and yet they report essentially to nobody except the Minister of Transport.

If we cannot get the appeals process in front of somebody, such as a judge, we feel that it would be more proper to appeal to the Transportation Appeal Tribunal of Canada. They have told us it will take five years to enact legislation to allow that. However, we believe if there was a will amongst all the parties in the House of Commons to make sure that people had their Charter rights guarded, they should be able to get party consent to get something such as that through; or they should just do it through Order in Council, and we would work with them to get the agreement.

Senator Zimmer: To accomplish that.

Mr. Dufresne: Yes.

Senator Zimmer: The other question is in the area of passports. Is your membership affected by the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative, which would require Canadians crossing the U.S. border by land or sea to carry a passport starting no later than June of 2009 and probably earlier? If so, what impact do you expect it would have on your efficiency capacities for handling or transporting containerized freight?

Mr. Dufresne: In the area of passports, it would not affect us so much in the containerized section, but Vancouver is a very big cruise ship facility. I cannot remember the number of passengers we handle in a year. I assume it is well over a million and we feel that many people may not bother coming from the U.S. to get on these ships to go up to Alaska, and it may affect Canadians who travel to Seattle. There are different ports where they can get on the vessel and do the 14-day tour, 10-day tour or 7-day tour.

Therefore, it may impact the business quite a bit with Americans not wanting to get a passport to come into Canada and it may affect people going down to the U.S. to board in Seattle.

Senator Zimmer: They just bypass the process.

Mr. Dufresne: Yes.

Senator Zimmer: From your perspective, is there labour peace in the containerized transportation industry and, if not, what conditions do you believe need to exist; and can the federal government play a role in this?

Mr. Dufresne: At our end, we believe there is peace in the container industry. There is much aggravation right now at the railways and the choke points. There is the feeling that the containers are being held hostage by Canada's two national railways by shortage of supply of proper railcars to haul the containers back and forth across Canada and that there should be something done to ensure that there be an adequate supply of railcars.

Senator Zimmer: We have heard a fair amount of testimony about that.

Mr. Smith: There is, at this point in time, stability in container trucking. There will not be after the expiry of Mr. Ready's MOA at the end of July. That will be the beginning of rate cutting. We have been through this so many times now that we know exactly what will happen: The rates will be cut, it will spiral down leading to instability in the port, followed by the possibility of an another work stoppage sometime after that.

Senator Zimmer: Can the federal government play a role in this and, if so, what?

Mr. Smith: The federal government can play a role in this as they did in the past, and that is by providing legislation that allows somebody — an arbitrator or a commission — to be able to set minimum rates to prevent the undercutting from happening.

Senator Zimmer: Thank you. Thank you for your candour.

The Chairman: I have some information with which we were provided before coming here. It says that Transport Canada introduced regulations in November 2006 that allowed the Vancouver Port Authority and the Fraser River Port Authority to issue licences to container truckers and require them to meet certain conditions including complying with the port's reservation and tracking systems and paying rates set by law. The regulations are expected to bring certainty to the issue and increase the reliability of ports to shippers and clients around the world.

Are you aware of the regulations of November 2006?

Mr. Smith: Yes. This is what we speak of. Those are the rates and the licences, which the Vancouver Port Authority issues, that they are talking about, the ones that are established in the MOA.

The Chairman: Okay.

Mr. Smith: The memorandum of agreement expires at the end of July. The port, therefore, will have no rates to enforce after that. That is the problem.

Senator Mercer: Mr. Smith, could you put on your other hat as a representative of the CAW and talk about the railways. This morning, we were told that about 50 per cent of the workforce in CN — I believe it was CN they were talking about — will be eligible to retire in the next five years. Is your union addressing that with the employer and making sure that there are enough replacements with the proper training?

Mr. Smith: Our union represents 265,000 people Canada-wide. I cannot speak for people on the rail. I know nothing about it at all.

Senator Mercer: Okay. Good. Thank you.

Senator Tkachuk: I would like to go back to the owner-operators, just so I understand this issue as clearly as I can. I believe these owner-operators are people who buy a truck and figure there is market out there for something that they do because they like driving a truck, so they hunt for business. They may find a company that is in the trucking business that contracts them to haul whatever it is that they want to haul in Vancouver from the port to the customer. Am I okay so far?

Mr. Uppal: Yes.

Senator Tkachuk: Therefore, the person is an independent businessman, so to speak. It seems to me that the only reason that that person would not make enough money is if there were too many truckers; if there were too few, then they would be paying a lot of money because there is much traffic with an abundance of product coming through. Is that part of the problem, oversupply? You have too many truckers seeking the same customers.

Mr. Uppal: That is precisely the problem.

Senator Tkachuk: Is it because it is warm in Vancouver? We do not have those issues somewhere else, it happens to be here.

Mr. Uppal: It is not that it is warm in Vancouver.

Senator Tkachuk: It is zero in Edmonton, and they do not want to be there.

Mr. Uppal: It is much warmer at home in their own bed than it is sleeping in their truck somewhere on the side of the road. That is the problem. The highway truckers are coming into the town and flooding the market with more trucks, hence rate cutting.

Senator Tkachuk: Yes, that is what they are doing; right?

Mr. Uppal: That is exactly what they are doing, yes.

Senator Tkachuk: I am trying to figure out how this is a problem. When you say that the highway truckers come in here, are they taking a little holiday, spending time here with their family rather than being on the road on cross- country trips, or have they decided that this would be a more permanent solution to their problem.

Mr. Uppal: These are truck drivers who are long-haul drivers based out of Vancouver. They live here with their families, but drive their trucks five or six days on the road either southbound to California or eastbound toward Toronto. They are gone for a number of days, but are based in Vancouver —- that is where their home and family is and where their children go to school. Therefore, it is preferable for them to be home with their families every night — they already have their equipment, which is the truck that they own — to stop working for whomever they are working doing that long-haul trip. They take that particular tractor and either start up their own company, going around cutting the rate and taking work away from other people, or they work for a company of a friend that they may have.

Senator Tkachuk: They enter the marketplace here.

Mr. Uppal: Yes.

Senator Tkachuk: They drive the price down.

Mr. Uppal: That is right.

Senator Tkachuk: By setting a minimum price, are you not encouraging this? Will there not be even more truckers out there, because now the only thing that would be a deterrent to them entering the marketplace is the low prices? That is a deterrent from the long-haul drive, if I was a trucker, and you said you have a minimum price now, I would say, ``Hey, this is good, I am in here, the heck with the long haul.'' That is not good though, is it? You disturbed the market to such an extent that now you have a total oversupply of trucks all here and less people doing the long hauls.

Mr. Uppal: That is exactly what happened in 2005 with the Vince Ready's memorandum of agreement. It set a minimum standard, people came into the industry and that minimum standard was not being enforced whatsoever, so they drove it down a little and that is what we are fighting with right now.

However, on the other side of the coin, the Vancouver Port Authority's licensing system has put a stop to new owner-operators entering the system. As of January 15, there are no new owner-operators allowed to enter the system unless they are a company that owns their own trucks and chassis and have company drivers working for them.

Senator Tkachuk: That is what happens when you do this. You have to restrict the marketplace to keep this up. Therefore, now you are preventing those people with the long hauls from setting up shop in Vancouver because if they are not part of the MOA, they cannot haul. That is what you want to have happen. You do not want them to haul. You are trying to prevent them from entering the marketplace.

Mr. Uppal: That is right.

Senator Tkachuk: Okay. I understand that. I am not sure I like it, but I understand it.

Mr. Smith: The other issue, of course, is that there is a shortage now of long-haul truckers.

Senator Tkachuk: I am sure there is.

Mr. Smith: The long-haul truckers, similar to container drivers, have been exploited for many years and I believe that is turning around. All these companies are saying that, in order to keep their long-haul truckers, they will have to pay them more money, so it may draw them back, in fact.

Senator Adams: I believe after Senator Tkachuk asked you a question, I know why you are looking for something to change the policy. Right now, you have a union and a policy with legislation. Is it different for truck drivers? Senator Tkachuk asked you about long-haul truck drivers that take away your business. Are you looking for some kind of legislation for that?

Mr. Smith: No, the Vancouver Port Authority has already limited the number of licences that will be issued from early this year forward. We are looking for legislation to provide a minimum standard after July when the Mr. Ready's MOA expires, and consequently there will be no minimum standards. We are seeking legislation that will provide at least the mechanism to provide those minimum rates from that point forward.

Senator Adams: Do you have some kind of have a law right now within government that just has to be amended?

Mr. Smith: I do not pretend to know the mechanisms of law. Both the provincial and federal governments have to cooperate and provide some law or legislation that allows a commissioner, arbitrator or third party to establish minimum rates for the container trucking industries as is provided now with Mr. Ready's memorandum of agreement.

Senator Adams: The gas and oil prices went up last year. The company does not want to negotiate because they do not make enough money with prices being so high now. What is the problem with the company? They do not want to negotiate about salaries or overtime.

Mr. Smith: We have negotiated a collective agreement for the owner-operators who we represent. We are concerned about the owner-operators who we do not represent and the employers again starting to cut rates from what they are now as provided for by legislation and the memorandum of agreement. After the memorandum of agreement expires, those companies do not have anybody to negotiate with because their workers are non-union, so that is our concern.

Senator Tkachuk: I would like to talk about the safety issues because there was something that you said that was quite interesting. You said that when they had done the last audit or safety check of trucks they found that, I believe you said that 40 per cent had safety issues or safety problems. Is that right? Are there no provincial regulations on safety issues or how is that applied?

Mr. Uppal: These tractors have to go through a safety inspection every six months. However, something could happen after the inspection. For example, if I was to get my inspection today and something happened to my truck tomorrow or the week after, I have the whole six months to repair it; but, during that time, if there was something flawed with my truck, and I was to go through a roadside inspection, the inspection would pick up that problem.

Senator Tkachuk: Therefore, what happens?

Mr. Uppal: Then I would have no choice but to get it fixed if it is unsafe for the road.

Senator Tkachuk: I see, okay.

Mr. Uppal: At that point in time, I would get a loan from my bank if I could not afford the repairs.

Senator Tkachuk: You mentioned earlier on that, when they had done the safety check, some 40 per cent of the trucks or tractors, as you call them, had problems. That seems like a lot to me, especially if they are checking the vehicle every six months. I do not get it. Is there something I am missing here?

Mr. Dufresne: That was a point I made, senator. When that was happening, was there a lack of enforcement or inspection by vehicle inspectors? People did not have the money to do the repairs or could not get bank loans to repair their vehicles, so they had more of a tendency to try and run the vehicle until they could get the money to fix it. If they are working independently, it is a lot of money for tires, brakes and maintenance.

Senator Tkachuk: Sure. Therefore, is it a problem that there are not enough inspections? Is the province not fulfilling its obligation to have more inspections, or are they letting instances go that should not be let go and letting trucks on the road that should not be on the road?

Mr. Dufresne: No, my point was that before the memorandum of agreement and before the rates were set under that memorandum of agreement, there was a large problem. The motor vehicle inspections were not being performed perhaps as regularly as they should. However, the federal and provincial governments put together a panel and came around to people to find out a solution to the issue that was happening at the ports with the truck drivers. That was one of the factors that they found: If people were not paid properly, then the vehicles would not be maintained and people could not make a living.

Senator Tkachuk: Therefore, the reason that the inspectors were slack was because the truckers were not paid well.

Mr. Dufresne: No, the reason the trucks were not getting repaired is because people were not making adequate money to do the proper repairs.

Senator Tkachuk: What happens if the truck is found with faulty brakes or below a minimum level? Is the truck taken off the road by the inspector or are they issued a letter of compliance saying they have so many days to have it fixed?

Mr. Uppal: That is exactly what happens. If it is unsafe for the road, it will be taken off immediately on a tow truck to a shop. If it is something that is not safe but is okay for the time being, a conditional pass is given for a certain period of time to make sure the repairs are done and copy of the invoice for the repairs is produced.

Senator Tkachuk: Right, that is what I thought. Therefore, with that inspection with 40 per cent of the trucks being unfit, there would have been a heck of a lot of trucks taken off the road at that time.

Mr. Uppal: You have to understand that these inspections and these scales, which are set all around the province, are in locations where there is always a way to divert that inspection.

Senator Tkachuk: I see.

Mr. Uppal: Truck drivers can speak to each other. However, that is not the case now; that was back in 2005. Now, there are inspections going on quite vigorously. There has been a blitz this last week. Even in the monsoon rains that they had here last week, the inspectors were out there inspecting the trucks and very few of the trucks are going out on the hook.

Senator Tkachuk: That is good.

Mr. Uppal: That is good, but that is because the rates have come up and people are repairing their vehicles at this point in time. Mr. Dufresne was referring to the situation in 2005.

Senator Mercer: The other day when we went to Roberts Bank to Deltaport, as we were entering the causeway, there was a provincial government transport inspection — spot inspection on vehicles.

Mr. Uppal: Yes, that is right.

Senator Mercer: How often does that happen?

Mr. Uppal: In the bad weather, it does not happen as often, but spring is usually when they start their blitz. They go through all the trucks and put decals on them for the particular month that they were checked. Therefore — come the fall, when they see the vehicles going through the scales — they know when that truck was checked and whether or not to check it again. They monitor them.

Senator Mercer: Do they sort of say, ``We have not looked at this guy's truck for four months. We should have a look at him''?

Mr. Uppal: Yes, and they pull him in.

Senator Mercer: You talked about the fact they used to be able to get around them. However, if they set one up going into Roberts Bank, there is no way around it.

Mr. Uppal: There is no way around that one.

Senator Mercer: There is one way in and one way out. Is that it?

Mr. Uppal: Yes.

Senator Mercer: That is not the case with the other ports or terminals?

Mr. Uppal: No, they set up everywhere. They set up around those terminals. I am referring to the scales themselves, the actual scales, where they are located. They are stationary; they cannot be moved.

Senator Mercer: Okay, but the scales can be avoided.

Mr. Uppal: The scales can be avoided, but not those inspections. They will pop up anywhere.

Mr. Dufresne: I just wish that the committee, at its leisure between now and December, takes a look at the Marine Facilities Restricted Area Access Clearance Program and reviews the provisions. If you would like, I will make sure that we send our last submissions to Transport Canada to the committee also, so you could review it. Thank you very much.

Senator Mercer: We would appreciate that. Thanks.

The Chairman: We are pleased to have with us from the Corporation of Delta, Her Worship Lois Jackson, who is the mayor of the city. His Worship Colin Kinsley, the Mayor of Prince George, will join us soon, and we have Mr. Robert Paddon, Vice-President of TransLink, Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority.

Her Worship Lois Jackson, Mayor, Corporation of Delta: Thank you very much for the opportunity of speaking to you today.

With something so large, sometimes it is very difficult to cover such a huge amount of information and many of the concerns from people in a short period of time. However, I will attempt to do that in a couple of different ways.

First, I believe we have distributed a presentation to everyone. Our engineering department put together some facts and figures for you for easy reference. I would like to introduce Ian Radnidge, who is the director of engineering in Delta.

From that perspective, I would like to relate to you some of the concerns that Delta council has had for a number of years. We have had, of course, the growing trade container movements. You can see the gateway and how Delta is in the focus of the gateway with Fraser port, Vancouver port, BC Ferries, the regional traffic, et cetera. We have trucks, we have trains and we have traffic. I understand that you were able to get to Roberts Bank yesterday. We are very happy that you were able to see first-hand.

BC Ferries has 2.8 million vehicle trips that compete with the trucks coming from Deltaport Way, which you saw yesterday. We have seen a huge growth in the truck traffic coming through Delta onto other points, and in 1999, we had a daily truck-movement count of approximately 22,000 vehicles per day. That is a lot of trucks moving in our municipality, and I know it is higher today.

Delta's direction from council through our staff is to promote truck-orientated transportation solutions for many years, and we have encouraged that in our own provincial funding, which has been sparse to say the least. A solution has to be found to the growing impact of the truck traffic and the heavy truck conflicts with pedestrians and general purposes, residential community roads.

Just by way of interest, I live in the North Delta area, which is a place you did not go through. There are 50,000 people there, and we have a residential road probably like the residential road on which you live. We have between 2,000 and 4,000 transport trucks going down that road every single day that children have to cross the road to go to school. My original quest, back in 1990, was to try to get that done. Residences and residential folks are having a great deal of difficulty managing.

We have many safety concerns. I could not help but note some of the comments that were made earlier. If you flip through the presentation, you will see some of the collisions in Delta and some of the significant impacts. Interestingly enough, I was coming back today through North Delta, and there is a transport truck upset on the curve on Nordel Way. We have had trucks overturn where people have been killed under that truck as it was turning a corner. We have had two or three fatal accidents. One of them had to do with four young people along Deltaport Way. Truck safety is a huge concern of ours. We are very fortunate to have our own Delta police force, which has a truck unit and does the blitzes you heard about a little earlier. In April 2006, 544 commercial vehicles were inspected over a three-day period by a force of about 25 officers throughout the province, and 154 vehicles failed and were pulled out of service. That is a tremendous responsibility for senior government to understand that we have got such vehicles on the road. You heard about the owner-operators' problems.

In the presentation, you can see some of the problems of the vehicles and how they were dealt with, the number of parking tickets, the rollovers, et cetera. These are all illustrated in the photos, and sometimes tell a better story than I can.

In 2005, Delta council had resolutions that were sent to the British Columbia municipalities. I will not go over them, but you can see that even then there were many issues happening to which, in fact, there has not been a response unfortunately. We continue to request Transport Canada and the province to enact regulations that would require, in this case, shippers to have certified container contents, et cetera. I will leave you at your leisure to fill in the other blanks.

Delta has had problems with, in particular, our agricultural lands, which are being removed from agricultural use and used for container storage. We are worried about the neighbourhood livability and the environment relative to the waters of Georgia Strait.

As you flip through the presentation, you can see where we are located on that small map. The Gateway Program, which is the South Fraser Perimeter Road, has been announced and appears to be proceeding; along with the port expansion, which appears to be proceeding. I am a realist, and I believe we must move forward with these important projects.

One area, which I do not believe has been completely commented upon, is the question of the George Massey Tunnel. If you went through that tunnel, you would realize just how inadequate it is to deal with the number of vehicles travelling north into Richmond, the City of Vancouver, Whistler and other points north. We are very concerned, of course, about rail. I am very happy to see the expansion of the rail network as it ribbons across Canada. We are concerned somewhat though about the host communities having to pay some of the offsets for overpasses and grade separation. We have the problem of the overpasses from here right through to Abbotsford and beyond traversing the rail. As you probably know, the trains are getting to be almost three miles long, and it can really tie up many resources waiting to traverse the rail. There is also the question of safety and that sort of thing.

The one thing that Mr. Emerson's people did tell us, however, was that the overpasses would be identified in terms of priority for each of the five municipalities, which would be Delta, Surrey, Langley City, Langley Township and Abbotsford. However, the request was that the municipalities pay for 25 per cent of the at-grade intersection or the separation, and that is really hard for a local municipality. Many of us are becoming very concerned that the property tax is being used to fund some of these huge undertakings, and yet we do not really have a way of collecting taxes. As you are probably aware, the provincial government has put a cap on taxation for ports, whether it is North Fraser, Surrey Fraser, Van Port or Deltaport, and that is a major concern to us as well. The reduction in the assessment values of those ports is also of concern. There is the question of train whistles; there are so many issues from the local communities that have not been dealt with. As I said earlier, I could probably sit here for an entire day just speaking to you about some of the problems that we see and undertake every day.

Delta council has some resolutions that they have put forward to different levels of government. As I mentioned earlier, there is the question of agricultural land being removed. It has been a huge debate relative to the Tsawwassen First Nations Treaty and the question of huge tracts of land, hundreds of acres being taken basically at a stroke of a pen out of the Agricultural Land Reserve that would be used, we assume, for containers. Unfortunately, there are also historic farm families who are unable to regain ownership of their land as others were years ago. We find it quite troubling that our senior government would allow that to happen as an expropriation to these farm families at Brunswick Point a second time. People are very concerned about the footprint of the rail. We were recently informed by one of the farmers that there would be 17 rail at the foot of the port, and that is yet to be actually determined.

You can see that we have a growing number of points that council has put forward. The question of port policing and hazardous goods has been with us for a long time as when, you might recall, port police were disbanded. We have our own Delta police force for which we are very thankful. We like to believe it is one of the best forces in Canada. The question of hazardous goods is one that is always with us. I will not go into any of the stories that have happened, but we had to create our own haz-mat team for Delta council because we were having so many situations that had to be attended to. That, again, comes from the property tax base, which is serving a port that is not a municipal port, if you would. The environment, if I could be so bold, has become a very sexy word in Canada. The provinces and Delta have been looking at environment and port expansion since Roberts Bank was first instituted. South Delta and Ladner, where the port and BC Ferries is located, has many folks that look at the Pacific Flyway, air quality and all of those concerns, as we sit in a very important part of the world and try to maintain a pristine area in the waterways.

To finish, we have had storage container questions — and you may have been briefed on that by the provincial government. Delta has been trying to place container areas in a place that make a lot of sense from an industrial point of view because we do not want to have containers sprinkled everywhere. We want to manage that in relationship to the very limited amount of zoned industrial land that we do have left in the Lower Mainland. There are only ten years left of industrially zoned land in the Lower Mainland, which encompasses the area from Langley up through to Squamish, so it is a great concern.

As I mentioned, the port taxes have been capped. We have great difficulty with that not only from a Delta perspective, but also from a regional perspective. All of the 18 municipalities and cities that are touched by ports are very concerned about the question of equity relative to port taxes. The last two pages of the presentation are really, I guess, why we are here; they look at the obstacles to intermodal container movement, competitiveness and our highly populated area. Maybe you saw the newspapers today, and how we are growing so quickly and thriving, but it also has to be balanced with the livability that people want to maintain in this area.

We have a consideration for the short sea shipping, which would bypass the mainland and go up the Fraser River. We are also very happy and thankful for the expansion of the ports in Prince Rupert because that will really take much of the goods straight through without having to take the slower route through the populated areas.

Communities that are host to industry are impacted when they are not thoroughly considered and addressed. Many people in British Columbia are very concerned about maintaining the quality of life, fresh air and the environment here. Not to cast aspersions on Toronto, but every summer we see the problem with smog and the terrible time they have there. We would like to be able to maintain what we have, and it will take a lot of work to do that.

As I mentioned, there is so much more to present to you here, but I realize our time is limited. There were many people who thought that Terminal 2 and Berth 3 would be analysed at the same time. Terminal 2 was pulled out of that analysis, if you might recall, and Delta did send a lot of information to both the province and the federal government relative to the environmental assessments and the cumulative impacts that are found as they continue to grow.

We were also disturbed somewhat to realize that just this week there has been a deal made between Vancouver port and the Tsawwassen First Nation, TFN, which was executed in 2004. The Canadian and the British Columbia governments were a part of that as well, and, in fact, the TFN is paid in increments by the Port of Vancouver, as the approvals take place over time. That was somewhat troubling to many people, particularly when we realized that the federal government, even today, is still the overseer of the rights of the Aboriginal people in Tsawwassen.

We also had questions relative to the number of containers that will have to be stacked here. As we understand it, of the containers that arrive here only 20 per cent are going back to China and other areas, which means we have to store a great number of empty containers here. I am not sure that that is healthy even from a sustainability point of view. China is having its own difficulties. We have expressed our concerns of the many negative impacts on Delta residents, disregard for some of our heritage sites and farms, alienation of the ecology as we know it today, the land and water, and are wondering how this will be managed.

I understand, in speaking with people from Ottawa, that there is concern about the democratic process here. As we look into this entire situation, I believe many people are very concerned that they have not had their voices heard and that mitigation is not imminent.

The Lower Mainland, as you can see by our mapping — and if you know our area here — has a physical obstacle and a very small area, which is bounded by the mountains and the Georgia Strait. We have almost 2.5 million people now in the Lower Mainland. We are all trying to live in harmony, which is sometimes difficult at the local level because, as you know, the local level is really a product of the provincial government. Unfortunately, we do not have much input into these important plans until after they are announced.

The Gateway Program, which has the roadway taking a new alignment up through North Delta into the entire circle out to Highway 1, has impacted many acres from the Tsawwassen lands right through to residential lands.

I would like to be really clear, though, from my perspective and the perspective of the majority of people. We are all in favour of a strong economy, one which will provide jobs, profits and a high quality of life. We can have it all, but we have to remember that people at the local level have to be informed and have to be allowed to make presentations, and perhaps recommendations, to senior levels — which even in my own experience seem very far away from me. This is my seventh year as mayor, but my twenty-seventh year on Delta council, so it is very difficult sometimes to simply look at a provincial government and know that we really do not have much access to the federal government.

The Senate of Canada, of which you are members, is the most senior level of government. I hope you are positioned to provide a check and balance against the politically driven House, which sometimes looks to the next election, in my opinion, as opposed to a 50-year program that would stand in good stead for 50 years to come.

As the gateway has unfolded, the Greater Vancouver Regional District has had some questions particularly about the amalgamation of the port; how we will be represented. We are meeting with a young man from Ottawa, who is looking at these questions with us to attempt to change the Canada Marine Act to allow representatives from the Greater Vancouver Regional District to sit on the new Vancouver Port Authority board in order to represent the actual people that are affected here as opposed to only the business side of the venture.

I had so much to say. I came down on a bus from Kamloops today in the blizzard, and I did not quite get it all put back together, but I do want to thank you very much for the opportunity to speak with you. I wish there was more time, but we are limited in that regard.

The Chairman: I want to welcome His Worship Colin Kinsley, the Mayor of Prince George.

His Worship Colin Kinsley, Mayor, City of Prince George: Thank you very much Madam Chairman and senators. I apologize for being late. I too was flying to get here. I was not in a blizzard, though; I was fortunately in 90-degree weather at a NASCAR race in Las Vegas.

The Chairman: You were coming from the other direction, were you not?

Mr. Kinsley: Yes, but you know, between your staff and my staff somebody made this opportunity for us, and we are most grateful because, quite frankly, it came out of the blue. We have a good story to tell, so I will get to it and tell it as quickly as I can. It is regarding a study that was done over the past six months highlighting the major opportunities for Northern British Columbia with international intermodal cargo. Government, economic development agencies and transportation organizations partnered in a strategic assessment of economic opportunities emerging from new transportation investments in Northern B.C. that will affect and enhance all of Canada. The study looked primarily at opportunities related to the Port of Prince Rupert, CN's main Northern rail corridor and planned development at the Prince George airport. The trans-Pacific container traffic continues to grow, as you probably already realize and have been told. However, trans-Pacific container traffic is growing dramatically. A United Nations study forecast that trans-Pacific container traffic will grow at an average annual rate of 7.5 per cent for eastbound shipments and at 4.6 per cent per annum for westbound traffic. That growth will reach numbers in the region of 26 million twenty-foot equivalent units, TEUs, and 10 million TEUs respectively in each direction.

The Port of Prince Rupert's container terminal creates an opportunity. The strong trans-Pacific traffic growth is creating a major economic opportunity for Northern B.C. and its communities. There are two reasons for this. First, the existing West Coast container ports and their associated traffic corridors are facing capacity constraints — as I am sure you have already heard from Mayor Jackson. These corridors create a genuine opportunity for container handling in the Port of Prince Rupert.

Ports across all of North America's West Coast currently operate with capacity constraints. Even with anticipated capacity investment doubling the container traffic by 2015, the rail corridor serving the West Coast ports are also constrained. There are only seven major North American rail lines that cross the Rocky Mountains: five in the United States and two in Canada. The five rail lines in the U.S. and the Southern B.C. corridor are now at capacity and suffering constraint. The only major Western rail line with significant available capacity is CN's Northern B.C. line, which terminates at the Port of Prince Rupert. In the past, this rail line could not be used to relieve sea container growth because the Port of Prince Rupert did not have a container terminal, only bulk breakout. I am told — and I do not know if it is in this study — CN Rail's line is at 10 per cent right now, so they have 90-per cent capacity, and it is very level. I ran across it here on the past tour on VIA Rail and was amazed at how flat it is.

The second reason for the emerging Northern B.C. opportunity is due to the directional imbalance in traffic. Projected westbound shipments are less than half the eastbound shipments. Because containers must be cycled back to their origin, the Northern B.C. corridor, as other West Coast rail and highway corridors, will have more than half of the containers returning empty to port. This enables reduced rates for container uses from North America to Asia. For Northern B.C., this creates an opportunity to ship existing export products to containers, where they will command lower loss and damage, higher quality and greater shipment reliability.

In many markets, containerized products command price premiums. Containerized shipments and shorter distance to port — Prince Rupert versus Vancouver — creates an opportunity for new ports at competitive prices from Northern B.C. That shorter route, we are told, is 30 hours across the Pacific. The Port of Prince Rupert is enabling the opportunity. The Prince Rupert Port Authority is currently undertaking phase one of their new container facility at its Fairview terminal. The terminal will include a berth and three container cranes and will have an annual capacity of 500,000 TEUs. The project, which is scheduled for completion in 2007, will cost $170 million, with funding provided as follows: $30 million from the federal government; $30 million from the provincial government; $25 million from CN Rail, and $85 million from the private sector — Maher Terminals out of New Jersey — and the Port of Prince Rupert.

Phase two of the project, to be completed by 2010, will add at least three new cranes and increase annual capacity to 1.5 million TEUs, with total on-site storage capacity of 25,000 TEUs — roughly enough for one week's traffic. Phase two of the terminal project is estimated cost $380 million. Even after completion of phase two, Prince Rupert will be able to serve only a small portion of the total projected increase in traffic for the Pacific sea corridor, which will rise to an estimated 33.5 million TEUs per annum.

The majority of trans-Pacific maritime cargo is destined for the U.S. Midwest or Eastern economies. The eastbound-dominated trans-Pacific container trade generates empty sea containers, which need to be filled or else must be shipped back empty. A key competitive advantage for any North American West Coast port is finding back haul traffic to reduce the number of empty containers. Revenue from filled containers is important to rail carriers, terminals and maritime liner carriers. The Port of Prince Rupert can increase its competitiveness — and serve B.C. exporters as well as all Western Canada exporters — by finding this back haul traffic. This can be accomplished by developing an intermodal facility, strategically located on the transportation corridor near the source of exports, that will fill the westbound containers. An example is B.C. forest products as a back haul.

Northern B.C. forest product exports to Asia are a potential source of this lucrative market. If this export opportunity via sea container is developed, it would support the competitiveness of the Port of Prince Rupert by providing the back haul traffic. It would also provide a short, fast, secure, lower cost route to Asia for B.C.'s forest products. An estimate of forest products produced in Northern B.C. for export to Asian markets showed that pulp and lumber alone could create enough exports to support an intermodal container facility. The resulting estimated potential market for annual forest product exports from Northern B.C. by container is shown in a chart that I will leave with you. I do not have copies. My staff were not able to get them down to me, but they will be forwarded to the clerk for your perusal later.

Here are some of the examples that are given as estimated potential exports: lumber to Japan, 51,000 TEUs; pulp to Japan, 21,000 TEUs; pulp to China, 45,000 TEUs; and lumber to East Asia countries — other than Japan — 7,000 TEUs. The total is about 123,000 TEUs of pulp and lumber just from North Central British Columbia.

The minimum level of annual activity required to support an intermodal centre is often considered to be 20,000 containers. With 62,000 40-foot containers, which is 124,000 annual TEUs, the analysis indicates that Northern B.C. should be able to generate sufficient traffic to support the operation of an intermodal centre. Any additional sources of containerized exports, such as other forest products or specialty grains, would increase the maximum number of containers that could be exported from this centre. The above estimate of 121,000 TEUs may, therefore, be a conservative estimate, especially when we do not know fully how the Northwestern Alberta agricultural industry will access these containers. In fact, a recent discussion with a Chinese group revealed the dramatic increase in their interest in beef in China, so we could see exports of beef from the region as well.

We need to understand how freight activity might operate at the terminal. A scenario was developed that assumes that 121,000 TEUs per year would arrive at and depart from an intermodal terminal. The containers would arrive and depart from the same area. The empties would arrive on westbound trains, be stuffed at the intermodal facility in Prince George and would depart for Prince Rupert. The location of the facility would need to be on the mainline rail corridor connecting the two cities with the rest of Canada. The location would need to be in proximity to major export producers by both rail and truck transportation. A six-and-a-half-hour trucking radius was used as a guide to have such an intermodal facility, and Prince George meets all those requirements.

On the job front, including labour at the terminals, trucking jobs, related rail jobs and other employment, the intermodal centre is expected to support up to 750 jobs in the region, which would represent 360 full-time positions. While approximately 75 jobs would be created at the site of the terminal itself, up to approximately 340 additional jobs would be spread out through the immediate region.

We have used average wages and multipliers to do the analyses for the following projected provincial economic impacts: direct jobs impacts equal 358 in person years of employment, $17.1 million in wages, $34.6 million of GDP and $83.7 million in economic output; indirect jobs impacts equal 344 in person years of employment and $50.7 million in economic output. There are also figures for the induced type of impact included, bringing the totals for projected provincial economic impacts to 856 in person years of employment and $148.9 million in economic output.

While the above numbers indicate that the potential new economic activity in the region would result if the initial intermodal terminal was developed, there is additional potential for this particular region. For example, with respect to the Prince George Airport runway, the federal government has announced that it will contribute $11 million from the mountain pine beetle fund in addition to another $11 million from the Northern Development Initiative Trust and potentially $11 million from the province to expand the runway to 11,400 feet, which will handle the heavy trans-Asia transportation traffic of 747s, L1011s et cetera. The potential for Prince George to handle that is real. It is believed that the initial key attendant would be one of the major companies, such as DHL Express or FedEx, probably from China. Potential job growth in this area, again, is quite substantial.

I will quickly speak to you about some of the key project findings. There is a genuine opportunity for an intermodal container facility in the City of Prince George. The opportunity is being activity explored by a number of transportation businesses. The scale, timing and probability of the opportunity are dependent on the completion of the Port of Prince Rupert container terminal. The high probability and near term opening of that facility creates a high probability for an intermodal facility in Prince George.

Developments in other communities in Western Canada, such as Edmonton and Vancouver, will have an impact on the type of opportunity that Prince George can realize, although the region around Prince George is a significant producer of export cargo suitable for shipment by maritime container.

While federal, provincial and municipal governments have important roles in this development — for example, taxation, provision of infrastructure and land use policies — rail carriers, maritime carrier lines and other transportation companies will guide and develop the opportunity. It will be done by the private sector.

Forest products in Northern B.C. in 2005 generated enough lumber and pulp exports to East Asia, as I said, to fill 121,000 TEUs. This base will be increased by using other types of cargo. The critical mass is there in Prince George. The development of the sea container port in Prince Rupert and the construction of pipelines across Northern B.C. will create significant sea container related opportunities for the Prince George region. It is estimated that the proposed new economic activity in exports will help support that movement of 121,000 TEUs. These container movements would primarily support the shipment of forest products initially. We could receive shipments from within a half-day's trucking drive of Prince George and increase that perhaps to a full day's drive — 13 hours — depending on the product to be exported and its value.

The export capabilities of other communities in the region will be enhanced by having the cheaper shipping rates for whatever products they may choose to develop or are already developing — unbeknownst to us — and shipping by other means. This in turn would support development of businesses and secondary industries throughout Northern British Columbia. The development of the warehousing and distribution capacity would create new opportunities and new jobs, such as a building materials distribution centre, for the entire region. We have already talked about the jobs that this could create.

The next steps are to get the container port open in August, as its projected to do; finish the expansion of the Prince George Airport runway to allow for the heavy traffic; and find the companies, such as FedEx, UPS and DHL Express, to utilize that figure, making Prince George, we would like to say, the gateway to North America for trans-Asia. Anchorage, for example, is at capacity, and that is where most of the heavy cargo comes in now. It is facing more and more challenges with its capacity and turn-around time. At capacity, the challenges of turn-around, fuelling and weather considerations are intensified.

We have the airport capability, and we are actively working on the intermodal capability. We have private sector people purchasing land and making plans. Therefore, it is just a matter of the federal government, provincial government and our entire region working together to make sure that this opportunity to enhance transportation, particularly with Asia, is realized. By doing this, we will also — and I think Mayor Jackson alluded to it — ease the congestion and the problems faced in the Greater Vancouver area, where environmental issues and transportation issues on road and rail are all very real. The issues are also very real in the Los Angeles-Long Beach terminals, where they experience long waits and a huge amount of congestion with rail, airlines, trucks, and highways.

I spoke to one manufacturer from China, who said that he is looking for another way to get his product to both New York and Montreal, because there is a 40-ship wait at the Panama Canal. He stopped shipping to Los Angeles- Long Beach and started shipping through Panama to get to the East Coast, and that is not working for him either. Therefore, there is a huge opportunity for us to enhance the economic opportunities in a very economically depressed area, especially Northwestern British Columbia, Prince Rupert and Terrace. They lost their pulp mill amongst other things. There is an opportunity for us to assist in reducing congestion in the Vancouver area, and a great opportunity for us to assist in the growth and development of Canadian businesses who wish to access Asian markets.

With that, I will thank you very kindly for this opportunity; it is very much appreciated.

Robert Paddon, Vice-President, TransLink (Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority): We appreciate the opportunity to be with you today.

I just wanted to say that TransLink's CEO, Pat Jacobsen sends her greetings. The issue of intermodal goods movement is very important to her and she regrets not being here. Just last week, our provincial government announced some changes to our governance structure, and she had to attend to some meetings in Victoria today on that matter.

You do have a copy of some prepared notes, which I will go through. It should not take too long. Just before I go into that though, you are probably wondering why a public transportation authority that is known for its public transit services is here to talk to you today about goods movement. I will deal with that issue and the relationship in a minute. However, I wanted you to note that in addition to transit and commuter rail, we also fund 2,200 lane kilometres of the major roads in this region. As well, we have a capital program right now of $250 billion, which we are investing over a three-year period in eight major road projects in the region. Therefore, we are in the roads business and understand the nature of goods movement. Further to that, I know some of you have had an opportunity to visit Greater Vancouver, but, unlike some of the other urban regions in Canada, we have very few provincial highways. There is probably a lot of history behind that. In any event, the major roads that run through our municipalities — all 21 municipalities of this region for the most part — carry a large amount of truck traffic and goods movement, which is servicing the economy of Canada. I just wanted to provide clarification as to our mandate here in Greater Vancouver.

Over the past several years, we have worked closely with the Government of Canada, the provincial government and key stakeholders, such as the Greater Vancouver Gateway Council to strengthen Canada's major transportation hub for the Asia-Pacific region.

The federal government has demonstrated that it recognizes the role this region plays in the Canadian economy. Through the Pacific Gateway Strategy, it has contributed almost $600 million to more than a dozen Pacific Gateway projects. In addition to government support, private sector firms have committed more than $3 billion in capital investments between 2004 and through to 2010 in Asia Pacific Gateway and Corridor- related projects.

The federal support for public transit also helps goods movement. Everything we can do to shift trips toward public transit, walking and cycling helps reduce the congestion that stalls goods movement on our regional roads. The federal contribution of $450 million to the Canada Line — I believe you can see the construction next door to the hotel here — is a vital part of building a comprehensive rapid transit network. The Canada Line will provide transit capacity equivalent to 10 major road lanes in a corridor that is home to one-third of the region's jobs and 20 per cent of its population.

Federal gas tax revenues transfer to this region for public transit improvements. We are receiving $307 million through the gas tax transfer program and through the region. Mayor Jackson also chairs the Greater Vancouver Regional District, GVRD. The GVRD has directed that funding to go toward improvements of the public transportation system through to 2010. This will help us speed intermodal goods movement as well as supporting environmental objectives, such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions, protecting green space and maintaining an agricultural land base.

We are using the first $74 million in the gas tax revenue to assist in the purchase of the 225 new buses to modernize and expand our services. We also received a share of the Public Transit Fund — $40.3 million — which will help buy 34 new SkyTrain cars for the rapid transit network and 24 Community Shuttle buses. We also hope to share in the B.C. portion of the Public Transit Capital Trust program, which is about $120 million for the province.

Even the federal tax credit for monthly transit passes helps goods movement by providing an incentive for people to switch from private vehicles to public transit. I would just note that we have seen an increase in the sale of monthly passes since last summer, so the tax credit may be driving some of that. In addition, we had some fairly high fuel prices, but there is a trend toward more annual passes. Further support is needed for major infrastructure projects, such as the Evergreen Line light rail project linking our existing SkyTrain system in Burnaby to the municipalities of Port Moody and Coquitlam. I hope the federal government will be as generous to this region as it was to Toronto last week in its infrastructure funding announcement. We look forward to hearing more.

We are also very hopeful that the Senate will give assent to Bill C-11 to amend the Canada Transportation Act. Bill C-11 contains provisions that will level the playing field for commuter rail, so it has rights of access to host railways and the protections that entails. The right of access will create much-needed opportunities for commuter rail to benefit urban centres, the economy and the environment.

For many people, commuter rail is the only transit option that is attractive enough to compete with private-vehicle use — and just to digress for a second, our commuter rail system here is called West Coast Express. It services the eastern portion of our region north of the Fraser River, which is among the fastest growing areas in Canada according to recent numbers we have seen. To be able to service that area and to be able get people out of their cars, we need to have options. Today, on the West Coast Express, we are almost at capacity — about 9,000 people per day. Of those 9,000 people, 60 per cent leave their car behind. They have an option; they could drive but would rather take commuter rail, so this is an attractive transportation option for commuters, and it brings economic benefits to the region, the province and the country.

However, these benefits are not equally shared with communities where major infrastructure is situated, such as Deltaport. The structure of Canada's federal, provincial and municipal taxes reward senior levels of government for port business growth, but not the municipalities where they are located. With the tripling of traffic through Canada's Pacific Gateway in Greater Vancouver the federal and provincial governments will gain significantly increased sales tax and income tax revenue. Similarly, as business grows, railways, trucking companies, terminals and ports will gain revenues. Even infrastructure investments generate direct federal and provincial revenues but not local revenue. As Mayor Jackson spelled out early in her presentation, there are significant impacts to host cities.

At the national level, the current tax structure sees the federal government receiving about 50 per cent of all tax revenue, the provinces about 42 per cent and local governments about 8 per cent, mainly derived from property taxes. This tax structure problem is national and broader than the gateway, but it is exacerbated by the gateway growth through the rapidly growing, landlocked, urban environment of Greater Vancouver. The failure to solve this fundamental challenge of municipal taxation sources leads municipalities to assess businesses at higher rates for property taxes and challenges gateway expansion, yet the growth of the gateway is dependent on successful support of its home community. Ninety per cent of the traffic in the region is personal-vehicle traffic, and the population of the region is expected to grow by 1 million over the next 25 years. Port-related growth needs solutions to local traffic, sufficient industrial lands and a positive community reaction to environmental assessment processes for port, road, rail and terminal growth. In the United States, municipalities share directly in the economic success — volume — of port infrastructure and, therefore, do not need to turn to the property tax to generate revenue.

Rather than just address the problems for you, we will offer a few suggestions in my conclusion. We believe measures to match economic benefits and costs could include senior government investments in grade separations; payments to municipalities in lieu of lost property tax revenues for industrial land reserves; additional road funding on trade-dependent municipal corridors; restructured tax room from senior levels of government — for example, tax room in fuel tax — to local governments across Canada to address the overall fiscal framework; and a formula to share economic growth with urban centres significantly affected by business-gateway growth.

The costs to the municipalities are traffic congestion; reduced quality of life in neighbourhoods; road maintenance for the road and rail grade separations; services, such as water, sewer, and — as Mayor Jackson noted — policing costs; and land that is underperforming in terms of tax revenues.

In conclusion, we believe we have to get a balance between costs and benefits sorted out so that local municipalities can accept major infrastructure projects that serve the national interests for intermodal goods movement.

I would like to thank the committee for the opportunity to speak to you today.

The Chairman: The committee has been told that short sea shipping would allow major hub container ports to be established in Canada and containers to be transshipped to other ports without problems related to cabotage issues. One witness told us that it could be an economic solution if such an initiative allows them as ports to avoid dredging, which is almost impossible with the environmental restrictions in the U.S. Would you agree with what the committee was told?

Ms. Jackson: I believe, from the Fraser River perspective, short sea shipping could be entertained up the Fraser River, probably up to Hope, maybe beyond. However, I feel your comment about dredging is absolutely imperative. You have probably also been informed that we have the fifth largest snow pack on the mountains today since 1953. If Mother Nature is not kind to us, all indications are that we will have a major flood here this year, and that is hugely important. If we are to have short sea shipping, that dredging has to take place, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have to allow a window of opportunity to have that happen.

Even up in Abbotsford, if you took the ships up that far, there are sandbars that are, in fact, higher than the agricultural land around them. Something has got to be done in that regard, but I believe the opportunity for short sea shipping is certainly there under the right circumstances.

Mr. Kinsley: At the risk of being flippant, if we could send more traffic through Prince Rupert, there is no need for dredging or short sea shipping because it has the deepest, biggest, safest port on the West Coast of North America, and they can offload it right there onto rail. I know that is not a choice in some places; they have to do dredging. However, we could avoid it all by just concentrating and speeding up the projects in Prince Rupert.

Mr. Paddon: In our discussions with the industry here, there is potential for short sea shipping, but, for the most part, there are many limitations, as Mayor Jackson had noted. In addition, we have considerable infrastructure here, and I believe part of it is just trying to work to mitigate some of the impacts of that existing infrastructure for the future. I am not in a position to comment on how much of an impact Prince Rupert would have, but, imagining the future growth of China and Asia, we certainly recognize that there will be a large amount of goods to be moved through Canada, and for both the capacity at Prince Rupert and also the capacity here in Greater Vancouver.

Senator Tkachuk: I was reading your paper, Ms. Jackson, which I noticed that you did not quite follow. I quote from page 2:

Delta is the doorway to Asian trade. Delta is the doormat.

The Port, to date, has reduced our air quality, endangered the Pacific Flyway, befouled the waters surrounding the Port, and reduced the quality of life for our residents with noise, light and air pollution, traffic disruption and an endless stream of dangerous trucks driving through the heart of our communities.

You go on to say you are talking about the Tsawwassen people.

They will have the Port with its light, noise and air pollution, and the polluted waters between the two causeways at their front doors.

You talk about the huge container-storage area and a multi-track train yard. ``It will ruin their quality of life. But I guess money talks,'' you say, and then you go on to say further that the birds and fish are in danger. Further, you say:

The people are not happy in Delta. They are not happy in the other communities that are experiencing or will be experiencing impacts of this economic endeavour. And there has been no attempt to provide meaningful mitigation for those impacts.

You also talk about the quality of life and the fish, birds, wildlife and agricultural lands.

I note a little bit of strain and stress in your relationship with the Vancouver Port Authority. I am actually quite amazed at the language considering the testimony we have had here over the day and a half. There is obviously not much good feeling here, and this cannot be healthy for the port. It cannot be healthy for trade. It cannot be healthy for the communities here. I would just like to ask, what responsibility does the Greater Vancouver Region have to the country in providing at least some kind of a civilized conversation as to how these problems can be solved? The trade has to come through Vancouver, whether it comes from our province or from Alberta, Manitoba or anywhere in Canada. What obligation do the people of Vancouver have for ensuring that this is handled with some efficiency and some enthusiasm, because I see a lack of enthusiasm in this paper?

Ms. Jackson: Yes, and I think that is putting it mildly.

Senator Tkachuk: Yes, well, I am trying to put it mildly.

Ms. Jackson: I appreciate that.

Senator Tkachuk: You are the one talking here. I am just trying to ask questions.

Ms. Jackson: That paper, which I have handed out, you might recall in the beginning, I said I had a couple of different documents I wanted to present, one was the engineering report from Delta — that is a Delta perspective. Then I wanted to talk about what I am hearing through the emails and what the people are telling us throughout the municipality and even beyond, up the valley.

I would say that the presentation that I gave, which I did not read from totally but is for your information, is something that I have gleaned from the people who live in the communities relative to their frustration with looking at mitigation. I appreciate your comment about what is our responsibility, but the local municipalities in the Greater Vancouver areas have been taking it on the chin in many regards. We have had to take cap in hand while trying to get, for instance, the dredging done — I do not know what will happen there — the debris trap, there is no local money to do that and should not be done on the backs of the taxpayers from the property tax.

Everywhere in Canada — the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Great Lakes and so on — there is a lot of funding that goes in provincially and federally, I understand, to look after these major national interests. It is somewhat frustrating, and it comes out in this document. The frustration that the people are bringing to my attention, from policing to traffic to rollovers to hazmat, all of these issues I spoke of very briefly, is reflected in the paper. It tells the story of the people that we all represent.

Senator Tkachuk: Do you feel that way?

Ms. Jackson: In some regard, in some of the flavour that has been coming through, particularly as we hear it through some of the environmental discussion. Can we have mitigation for some of these lands, waterways or Pacific Flyway? I appreciate that, from big businesses' point of view, they have not always been totally responsive to some of the environmental situations.

However, I believe the Port of Vancouver has stepped forward. They have made some strides, and not everyone is completely happy with how that is happening. Many people are very concerned about amalgamation of all the ports into one port entity without much input. However, I was trying to bring to the attention of the Senate — and I believe that was the request that was made — the obstructions and the problems that we are hearing from the people.

There is much frustration, but I believe it can be overcome by working together.

Senator Tkachuk: Yes, there is that issue. As a matter of fact, we had talked about this with a number of groups. We had asked questions as to the kind of relationship that they had with the Greater Vancouver area and about working together to solve some of the issues of traffic and trains. We understand the health of the economy has been very beneficial to Vancouver and its residents. It has improved their property values and has given them great paying jobs, to go along with the beautiful weather and all the other things with which God has blessed you. However, in turn, there is an obligation to solve some of these problems and to help people solve these problems.

Everybody knew the port was here when they moved here. It might have been part of the reason they were brought here, perhaps because the port provided jobs. Everybody knew that this was a trade city. This is a city that is very important to the country. Therefore, when you talk about the environment, you are pretty strong. We were told that this is one of the most environmentally safe, better-managed ports in the world — right here, in Vancouver.

Ms. Jackson: It is not really Vancouver. There is a distinction here. The City of Vancouver has the Port of Vancouver, and we have Deltaport.

Senator Tkachuk: What are the issues there? What are the environmental issues there that caused such stress in this piece?

Ms. Jackson: I wish I had all the documentation relative to the Pacific Flyway of which I am sure you are aware. There are millions of birds that travel from Mexico all the way up to Alaska. We have Roberts Bank, where there are areas that house some of the greatest population of snow geese that exist. Many people are concerned about our ability to maintain and sustain what is there in terms of wild life, of what is happening in the water and to the aquatics et cetera. I am bringing that forward as something that people from this area and region are very concerned about and want to protect as much as possible.

I know Captain Houston has said to me that they will build the best and most environmentally-sensitive port in the world, and I applaud him for that as we obviously want to see that happen. I bring forward, as I said, the voices of people that feel strongly about these issues, yes.

Senator Tkachuk: One of the concerns that were raised by the people from the port and others was that they would like to see a land reserve for the port, that they know that they have adequate space to continue their growth. Of course, that is in your purview of the Greater Vancouver authority. You say you have ten years of growth. Will there be a land reserve?

Ms. Jackson: As you know, and I mentioned in my discussion, we are in a position here where we are hemmed in by the mountains and the ocean. In British Columbia, we have only 5 per cent of the entire province that is capable of growing anything. The Fraser River estuary is probably one of the richest areas you will find probably next to the Holland Marsh around Toronto. From my perspective, since we have very little land for agricultural and ten years of land left for industrial growth in the region at this point in time, we have to be very careful what we do with land.

It seems, to many people, that we could store containers on the poor soil that we have, not on the best soil. That is probably the simplest way I could say it.

Senator Tkachuk: You are responsible for finding that poor soil though, are you not?

Ms. Jackson: There is a large amount of soil around, past Hope. We talk about inland ports and Prince George, Kamloops, Cache Creek or any place that rail goes. Rather than store the containers, maybe we should look at it a little differently when we have such very scarce lands on which to grow food or erect greenhouses or whatever the case may be. It just does not seem reasonable, to many people here, that we should use the very best and most scarce land we have on which to pile containers.

Senator Tkachuk: However, you would not build buildings on it instead and have condos or residences and such. Is that not part of the argument? The issue is not just the agriculture, but it is also residential. There are developers who want to develop the river banks, and I understand your concerns for the environment, but as a visitor to Vancouver, I see that you have let highrise buildings be built on the waterfront so that you cannot see the water from anywhere except those buildings.

Is it prettier to look at a condo or is it prettier to look at a container? That is the question. Therefore, is it agriculture or is it condo and residential development and other developers that want to use that land to build residences, neat boutiques and so on, rather than provide a place where people can actually find work?

Ms. Jackson: Your comments are well taken. In Delta, we have two highrises. They are 14 storeys high, and they are in North Delta. The City of Vancouver, Surrey, Burnaby and some of the other communities are densifying in order to save the green space and the agricultural lands that we have. We do, of course, as you know have an Agricultural Land Reserve in British Columbia, which was put in place a long time ago. Yes, the developers would like to build on that. Yes, they would like to go to the water and build on that. However, we have to have a balance of everyone's needs. From a job point of view, yes, we do have, for instance, Tilbury Island and Annacis Island in our community, and we are trying to densify those.

Some people are telling us from the provinces that containers should be allowed everywhere in our community. We are saying that we need certain areas for development and can we not take and configure containers in such a way that, most importantly, they are easily moved on the highways, but also taking up more poor soil to be located, and I feel the majority of the people agree with that. However, we have to sit down and figure out how we will do that because local government, as you know, does not have much power in this area.

Senator Mercer: Not only have I been in Delta this past week, but also in Prince George last Monday for another committee meeting, so I have been around to see everything.

I could tell you, though, Mayor Jackson, many municipalities would love to have your problem, your prosperity and the problems that go with it.

I have question about a couple of areas in your report, and I am glad that Senator Tkachuk drew my attention to your written report. I followed as you were going through it, and I will have to go back and read this in detail because the written version definitely has a rougher edge.

Ms. Jackson: Yes, I did not want to read it all. I did not have time, so I had to condense much of the material.

Senator Mercer: You were in a bad mood when you wrote it and a better mood when you read it, I understand. It has happened to me.

Senator Tkachuk: We do that too.

Senator Mercer: Yes, we do that all the time.

Ms. Jackson: Yes, I know.

Senator Mercer: I want to get to a couple of specifics. You mentioned the trucking queues, and my understanding is that the problem with trucking queues has been somewhat solved because of the new reservation system.

Ms. Jackson: I believe it has helped — we are told that it is helping. I am not sure that it is the total answer, but it is better than it was. I am not sure whether our engineer would like to speak to that current situation or not.

Ian Radnidge, Director of Engineering, Corporation of Delta: My understanding is that the port is continuing to explore additional measures that will enhance the monitoring and the control of container movement to and from the port. I do not believe we are there yet, but I believe the port is initiating further measures to improve on that.

Senator Mercer: Okay, thank you. You mentioned the volume of trucks on the streets and, while it is annoying, it is a sign of the prosperity. Is it the volume or is it the attitude of the drivers that is more annoying? I know that some people in the trucking business can be a little rough.

Ms. Jackson: Yes, the volumes are of concern. Our roads through North Delta area are two-lane roads, so we have vibration, diesel fumes and so on. As you can imagine, if you live right next to it and your front door is no more than a few feet away, how that would affect people's livability. I hope that will diminish. I hope that trucks, at some point, in time will be required to use biodiesel as opposed to heavy diesel. I hope that internationally, at some point in time, the Canada Marine Act will encompass the ability to use better fuel.

However, it is very hard to quantify because we have the trucks moving here, there and everywhere. We have problems with the speed of the vehicles and the condition of the vehicles. I am sure you have seen, in your areas, where it is posted that there is commercial traffic in the right-hand lane, but the trucks ride three abreast and, of course, when we come to a stop light everybody waits for the trucks. There are many small issues that have not been solved.

Senator Mercer: Recognizing that problem, let us talk about the solution or part of the solution for a moment. The South Fraser Perimeter Road has been talked about by you and by a number of other people, of course.

Ms. Jackson: Absolutely, yes.

Senator Mercer: Then others have talked to us about the long time it takes for environmental assessment. How long will it take to have an environmental assessment for the South Fraser route?

Ms. Jackson: I believe it is finished.

Senator Mercer: Is it finished and approved?

Mr. Radnidge: Senator, the environmental assessment processes carries on for the South Fraser Perimeter Road.

Ms. Jackson: There are 20 more days. That is right.

Mr. Radnidge: The approval process is not within the Corporation of Delta's or the GVRD's hands. It is a provincial and federal approval process.

Senator Mercer: Will it likely be appealed by somebody?

Ms. Jackson: I am not sure. I am a realist. I believe they are working their way through all of this process. It is a long process; I wish it were not.

Senator Mercer: You made a comment in your presentation that made my antenna go up; you say you are concerned about the democratic process. I am not sure what you mean. With respect to the highway, the environmental assessment has happened; the municipalities have had their say; the province has had their say; the Government of Canada has had its say. What was missed in the process or what is missing from the process?

Ms. Jackson: Maybe my textbook of philosophy of democracy is different than others, but when there is a huge problem — and you can see that it has taken a long time to get to this point from when Roberts Bank was simply a coal port — from the local government's perspective, we can hound a provincial government to death and get no response. In my experience, in trying to get some action from local government through to the provincial government, the majority of elected people at the provincial and federal levels simply say that local government is a creature of provincial government, and there will be no leapfrogging from the federal government to the local authority — and that continues. Though the local authority, as we progress, is planning for the future, and, if we are not very careful, we will have a future that none of us will want. The future will judge us by what we do today.

Senator Mercer: It always does.

Ms. Jackson: Yes, thank you.

Senator Mercer: Mayor Kinsley, as I mentioned, I was in Prince George a week or so ago with the Senate Agricultural Committee. You are not the first person to be here this week to talk about a city being a help for an inland terminal. Representatives from the City of Moose Jaw were here earlier in the week and made a very impressive presentation as well. The interesting aspect though is that you talk about Prince Rupert, where others have talked about mainly the Port of Vancouver.

There is an issue, of which you may or not be aware, of the availability of containers and railcars. We have not had an answer yet as to what will happen when Prince Rupert opens, gets some business and starts going up to the 500,000 TEUs? Where will they get their railcars and containers? I keep telling people that I am quite willing. I am from Nova Scotia; we build railcars. We would be happy to sell you some. However, everybody says there are enough in the system, just not in the right place. Except Mayor Jackson, who said that there are stacks of them lying around.

Ms. Jackson: Yes.

Senator Mercer: You said there can be 10-storey piles of empty containers. The people, who were here yesterday, would like to know where they are because they do not have them to ship goods back overseas. That was an issue, anyway.

Back to your issue, back to Prince George for a minute. Has your group analysed the problem with the railroad and the availability of containers and railcars?

Mr. Kinsley: No, it has not been brought to our attention, and, in fact, it was quite the opposite. The people at InterVISTAS, who we hired to do the survey, indicated to us that the containers would be shipped this way instead of Vancouver. They would come into Prince George, be offloaded, then stuffed there and shipped out. They have not identified that as a problem. However, if you are mentioning it to me, I will make sure they are made aware of it and then follow through.

Nine weeks ago, CN Rail ordered 50 new state-of-the-art engines for this north route. For two years now, they have been adding sidings for double tracking to allow a greater capacity. Even though they are at 10 per cent capacity, they are anticipating efficiencies of scale whereby they could increase that capacity and still have the trains operational by making those changes. They also spent in the region of $4 million in Prince George to build a sophisticated — I am not a railroader — siding arrangement whereby they can bring product in and ship it. They have a Prince George-Chicago express, which is a 90-hour, non-stop trip, regardless of whether it goes through Edmonton or Winnipeg or cuts down into the United States sooner than that. It has proven to be most successful. It is running at 11,000 feet without incident so far, and it carries mostly lumber products with some petrochemicals.

I do not know if their plan would be to follow that through with containers from Prince Rupert or not.

Senator Mercer: Lumber and byproducts are a major part of your business in Northern British Columbia, but you have a big problem with the mountain pine beetle, which is killing all the trees, and the clock is ticking on the harvesting of those trees.

Mr. Kinsley: Absolutely.

Senator Mercer: I appreciate that what you are talking about today is probably one of the things you are doing in response to that. The question I had last week, when I was in your city, was the following: What do you do when you harvest all the trees, or the trees become unharvestable because they have been standing dead too long?

Mr. Kinsley: That is another good question and another file that I have been working on rather extensively. I made two trips to China in the last six months due to that very subject. China has now taken over the world in terms of the manufacture of furniture, which comes as no surprise. Lodgepole pine is drying naturally in the forest. Therefore, if we can access customers and if we can sell the cants via container to China, that all just works together. Dimension lumber we use in Canada is the two-by-four that we buy to do our renovations. Dimension lumber has about 15 per cent moisture content, but furniture has to be below 11 per cent. These trees are drying naturally in the forest, so we save all the energy of running them through a Konus heating system to dry them out in lumber dryers. However, there is a time frame too because if they dry out too much, it is very hard to mill them. If we cut them in cants and containerize them, then send them to China, there is a market. There are flooring markets and panelling markets.

There is also biomass, which is really becoming popular because, again, it is environmental. Prince George leads the nation in production of wood pellets. We have been marketing them mostly in Scandinavian countries that recognized biomass some time ago because of lack of any other energy sources within their strict environmental rules, so we have been shipping to Sweden and Denmark in particular.

Senator Mercer: Via container?

Mr. Kinsley: No, by container in some cases, but mostly by bulk breakout out of Vancouver.

Senator Mercer: We saw some of that.

Mr. Kinsley: Yes. Ridley Terminals Inc., the coal terminal, is putting in silos, and there is an opportunity to load ships directly with pellets, just as we do with grain. Therefore, they will also do bulk shipping. There is talk that Prince Rupert Grain Ltd. will do the same. I was at a conference in China, and I had pellets with me, and the Japanese had more interest than anybody else that was attending. The Japanese would, most likely, want them to be delivered in containers. That will help with the beetle kill, because once the pine dries out too much — you are bang on — it will not be good for lumber, so we will grind it and pelletize it.

Maybe the agricultural people told you that there is a whole new industry up in the Chilcotin and Cariboo ranchlands; they are losing them to wild forest. We can create more ranchlands in our region, which will go into beef production.

Senator Mercer: I visited Quesnel, and there is an incubator operation there. They are doing some of this furniture you have described.

You have talked about shipping products out of Northern British Columbia. Other than wood products or wood related products, what else do you see being shipped out from Northern British Columbia?

Mr. Kinsley: I see agricultural products being shipped out from Peace River, Northwestern Alberta primarily, because the new line has opened up; they have joined Hythe and Dawson Creek. I believe that was closed down for some years; B.C. Rail shut it down. One of the commitments CN Rail had to make in the deal with B.C. Rail was that they had to open that line again. There is containerization right there and direct access by railcar to Prince George.

I understand the Alberta government has shown an interest in helping fund some containerization facilities in Grande Prairie; that was one city that was mentioned.

Other than agricultural products, we do not know what else may come of it, but we figure that the intermodal facility itself is feasible at 120,000 TEUs per year.

Senator Mercer: Thank you. Good luck.

Senator Zimmer: I was wondering how you balance between economic development, future planning, yet you have condos and such being built by developers, particularly at airports. It has happened in Winnipeg. They knew the airport was there. The developers came in and built all around it, and then the residents say, ``It is too noisy here, get the airport out of here.'' How do you manage that, as far as dealing with the people, the developers and the economic development?

Mr. Kinsley: We do not have the same pressures that they have in the Lower Mainland. Our city is growing. Surprisingly, I heard that the statistics from the census show Prince George has lost population, and that mystifies me beyond belief. We are having growth, but because we have a large area, it is a challenge to densify, and the lifestyle of those who want to move to Prince George is not densification. They want acreage, a single family dwelling, ranches and so on, and we try to discourage it as best we can. It is difficult because of our public transit system. We also get snow, and our snow-removal budget and ice management are outrageous because the people demand the best. We clean out the end of their driveway in Prince George, so when they come home from work there is no ridge to drive over — but it is expensive.

Our problem, getting back to your original question of how you balance it, is a tough one. We have not, as I said, had major challenges. We have them now because we are in a challenging air shed. We are at the junction of two rivers, and the main part of the city is in a bowl. We have three pulp mills, a couple of chemical plants and an oil refinery. The problem there is that sometimes we get inversions; it comes down. The pulp mills were built in the 1960s, and made Prince George double in size. The refinery came along a little later. Our challenge right now is to locate industry in such a way as to sell our community, because we are losing our young people to other communities, even though the University of Northern British Columbia has helped. Our challenge is to locate an industry in an area where it does not add to the air shed problems with particulate matter. We do not have any problem with noxious gases such as sulphur dioxide, SO2. Our problems are particulate matter in the form of road dust from vehicular traffic, PM10 and PM2.5, and that is probably our only challenge.

We do not have a challenge with highrises. We have had a challenge getting one river back, the Nechako River, since the 1950's. That is where logs were brought in and such, and, since the 1950's, the sawmills have taken up that part of the river. Along the Fraser River, we have parks and residential dwellings. It is not as exciting as the Nechako River because it is a very dangerous river, whereas you can go tubing, et cetera in the Nechako River.

Senator Zimmer: You are actually in an envious position because it probably will happen for future generations. You are in a good situation right now in that you can plan for the future knowing those other problems.

Mayor Jackson.

Ms. Jackson: Yes, and it is a balance. In British Columbia, the big word for probably the past 10 years is sustainability. With respect to development of condos, port development, rail or whatever else, people look at three aspects: the economy, the social adjustments — jobs et cetera — and the environment. They call it the three-legged stool in terms of trying to aspire to the best we can be. I believe it is working fairly well.

There are many communities that are very much in favour of densification. White Rock is a perfect example. They have used much of their land even though White Rock is very small. However, they do not have much industrial land there. Therefore, the industrial land is sprinkled through different areas of the Lower Mainland.

Through the Greater Vancouver Regional District we have what we call the Livable Region Strategic Plan and all the mayors in all the communities in the Lower Mainland buy into that plan for an overall benefit of livability in the region. It is being upgraded now. We are taking land use and overlaying transportation, green zones and agricultural lands, so that we have a balance in order to create a sustainable area into the future, despite the fact that we know we will probably increase by another 2 million people in 20 years.

Senator Zimmer: Therefore, your good strategy then is a consensus.

Ms. Jackson: Yes. The key is consensus. Without being derogatory, one of the most difficult things that we see at the regional table with all those mayors sitting there together, working in all those committees that they do, is that so often the recommendations fall on deaf ears. That is really hard for me to watch, but nonetheless we keep trying.

Senator Zimmer: I have one more question to the two mayors and also to Mr. Paddon. We have talked about relationships, Greater Vancouver relationships, but thinking beyond that, the trade, the vision, the future and the attitudes of the citizens sometimes it is very myopic; paradigms are on and they do not think beyond that. With all those issues there, do Canadian citizens really recognize the greater global situation in China and India, the economic development that is occurring there and the impact that it has on their lives here in Canada? Many times, people just think of their own area. They do not have that understanding.

Mr. Paddon: It has been interesting to hear a number of the questions, and I believe we are starting to get at the heart of one of the issues. Canada is a trading nation, we have always been one. Greater Vancouver's history began with the port, and it continues to be a significant part. We are, without a doubt, very prosperous today in Greater Vancouver, and I believe most people appreciate that. With prosperity has come rapid change, and we are trying to contend with the impact of that rapid change on lifestyle. Some of which Mayor Jackson has illustrated. This is not about NIMBYism — ``not in my back yard.'' We certainly believe that the trade with Asia is a great opportunity for our region, for the province and for Canada. We want to get beyond the immediate issues of NIMBYism — you will have that no matter where you go if you put a highway next to someone. Rather, we need to find a way for a municipality to have the ability to say from an economic perspective that they do not have to grab the most lucrative deal in front of them — that is the condos on the waterfront, which are worth a fortune for people and immediate money — and would be willing to sacrifice industrial land. That is a challenge for them when they are dealing with so much other growth on a limited tax source, which is the property tax.

We are trying to say that we know we have industrial land, but it is limited. We have a certain amount of waterfront. It is difficult for many municipalities not to turn to developing that into a residential area and take some immediate money. Is there an opportunity to look at some solutions that might give a municipality an incentive to keep that industrial land and not turn to the finances they need?

In addition, the benefits of movement of goods through this region certainly go beyond here. They go into the Prairies, Eastern Canada, Central Canada and elsewhere. Therefore, looking at what the relationship with future trade would be, we are trying to find some way to balance these local impacts. When I hear the Mayor of the City of Langley talk about how ambulances have to sit and wait because the city shuts down when a two-kilometre long train goes through and that while they grew up there and have benefited from rail in the City of Langley, then it is obvious that the volume of rail going through Langley today and the now anticipated future growth is far beyond what anybody anticipated originally.

I know as we have gone forward and worked with all levels of government on the 204th Street overpass that that is extremely welcome in the community. They are saying that an initiative such as that, where all levels of government — local money, provincial money and federal money — go into it recognizes that if we could solve some of these local problems and facilitate the enhancement and growth of these ports, everybody will benefit. Our worry, at the Greater Vancouver Transportation Authority, is that the great paying jobs that are out there — and the transportation sector has some excellent paying jobs — will not be realized if we do not find some way to get on top of some of these local issues. We could just get bogged down in debate and controversy as people fight over the issues involved in port expansions and highway building. If we could find some systemic ways to be able to work out solutions, we will deal with the NIMBY issues — but some of these, I believe, go beyond NIMBYism.

Senator Zimmer: I will just put it in perspective. I do not believe people realize that we really only have two ports to get to those countries around the world: Vancouver and Prince Rupert. We can draw an analogy if we imagine that we had only two ways to get into the United States; it brings into perspective the importance of those two routes. Do you have any comments on that?

Mr. Kinsley: Well, I will tie the two together, if I could.

I am in another enviable position as an elected official because my community supports me. The media tried to attack my travels. I have been to China eight times in the last four years selling, and the media wants to know why I am doing that and why they have not seen me. If they do not see immediate results, they are on my case — as you must experience in your communities. The community has been very supportive. They said, ``Hey, we want to be there.'' They share my vision of reducing our area's dependence on the U.S. housing market. Everybody's job is cyclical and then there is the softwood lumber dispute, anti-dumping and countervailing duty, and all those issues have affected people dramatically. They are not anti-American; we just want to reduce our dependency upon them. Therefore, we want to try Asia, and although the culture is different there, and we may not sell them two-by-fours, we can sell them something. Our people are very supportive of having us there. They want us to be on leading edge. They are 100 per cent in favour of this inland port idea.

It is a different attitude of which I am very proud and that is why I went there in 1972. I came from rural Manitoba, went to school in Winnipeg and then went to Prince George. I promised my new bride I would find a better place in a couple years. The winters are cold in Winnipeg — they used to be; thank God for global warming. They are very supportive in Prince George; it is a great city.

We just did something that is almost unheard of in our budget this year. We put in our usual 1 per cent for more police officers and firefighters because that is sexy, and everybody wants police officers and firefighters; nobody gets mad. Our finance and audit committee discussed the fact that we borrow millions of dollars every year for road rehabilitation because we cannot access the gas tax for road rehabilitation. It has to go into green projects, which we do not need because we have the best water et cetera. We built all that years ago.

We decided to pay as we go. We figured out what that would cost for our annual road program and had public input. In three public meetings, we had 90 people show up; most were opposed, but there were only 90 people. Then I opened it up for the final budget meeting and asked Shaw Communications Inc. to televise it, so nobody would be left out if they wanted to come in to see what we were doing. There was no opposition, so we put it on top of the raises for the cost of living and the other costs to which everybody is subjected. We added 4 per cent right on top, so we could pay cash as we go to rehabilitate the roads. There was not a whimper; everybody says that is the right thing to do. Why give the banks an extra $200,000 a year in interest? We showed them a scenario where we would do a $3-million road program over 12 years, which would cost $4 million in interest on a $4.5 million loan.

There is great attitude there, and they are fully supportive. When we were lobbying for the Port of Prince Rupert, which started about four mayors ago — Prince Rupert's mayors have not been quite as lucky as me — Herb Pond and I went to Ottawa together. We had the Mayor of Grande Prairie and the Mayor of Prince Albert there wanting to get their pulp mill products to Asia in a shorter route.

The whole Northwest Transportation Corridor all works together, but we have room to grow. We do not have the challenges. We do not have congestion. In Prince George, our rush-hour is seven or eight minutes. Actually, it is worse now since we had to close one old bridge. We are trying to get some help to rebuild the Cameron Street Bridge. It is an industrial bridge, and all the trucks are going through the town slowing us down.

Our people recognize that we are a trading nation. We recognize that most of our trade is with the United States, and they are very anxious to get into Asia. We have about 135 Asian students now attending our university and college, which we never had before; just from one trade mission. It is not much, but we are getting there.

Ms. Jackson: I have to do a little blowing of horns too.

When I came on stream as mayor seven years ago we had about $65 million in debt. I am happy to say we have not borrowed one single cent under my mayorship, and we are down to about to about $30 million in debt. Those are some of the checks and balances I like to see. I feel people expect that of us.

To try to answer your question, the prosperity for Canada is very important. I am a huge Canadian. I come from Northern Ontario, from Sudbury, and I have been very lucky to see many parts of this country. I am an absolute booster of Canada. We are a wonderful country. However, I believe we have to also take care of the prosperity that comes from Vancouver right through to the East Coast, that people share the load of some of the problems that prosperity creates. I feel that is what I was asked to do when I came here. That is why I gave the white paper from the residents and the blue paper from the council. I could have come and just simply said everything is fine in River City, but it is not. I do not believe that is what you wanted from us. I want to be very truthful about that.

Yes, global economy is growing. Yes, we have many people from China who have come to live here and many from India. As you know, our demographics are there for the reading.

We also have to take some care about how we are setting examples for other countries, such as China and India. We should help to teach them from some of the mistakes that we have made; wherein we have to clean up rivers and plant trees and such. We have made mistakes in the past and are still a new country, but we should also be doing that outreach to teach others what we have learned through error.

I draw the attention to some of the questions because, as it has been mentioned, we take the brunt of the traffic and all the other consequences of port cities. Maybe we should look at another port up the coast. Maybe we should have three ports on the coast. Anything we can do in Prince Rupert would be wonderful because it is a much shorter distance for the traffic that comes from China, obviously. The people in China want their products delivered as quickly as possible. Prince Rupert to Chicago and Toronto and points East is much faster than coming to Toronto, but Prince Rupert will never deliver down to the Lower Mainland, of course. However, Prince Rupert has a tremendous opportunity to take that cargo.

I am not quite sure I am answering the question of whether the prosperity that will result from these important developments is necessarily felt in Delta. There are not that many jobs at the port, for instance. We are not necessarily getting any more money. As a matter of fact, I understand that we will probably get less. The assessments will probably go down. There has been a cap for five years on taxation of ports for all of the people in the Lower Mainland; that is of concern to us. Therefore, I have to just challenge the question about prosperity, at least for my community, at this point.

Senator Zimmer: I believe we have to balance all of this, and how we balance all of these issues is only in the deliverer, which is extremely important.

I just want to make the point that sometimes we may forget or not recognize what the economic advantages are around the world and how rich we are.

Senator Eyton: Like Senator Tkachuk, I had some difficulties with your remarks, Mayor Jackson, and I take particular issue with four or five of the comments you made, but I would like to finish on a positive note. I believe that would be more useful.

We had the benefit of seeing Deltaport yesterday. We saw an exceptional facility. It was put in place within ten years. It was clean and efficient and clearly had all sorts of people working there. It seemed, on our cursory look, to be working very well. I know it is a local undertaking and a B.C. undertaking, but I saw that as a vital part of a great national project. And, indeed, the Pacific Gateway project is a very key part of what all of us see as a national project.

We have heard many references to a pipeline, and the pipeline necessarily originates here — the West Coast, Prince Rupert, the Vancouver area and in Delta — and then it carries across the country to Montreal, Toronto and on to Halifax, with little side bars to Chicago and places of that sort. Therefore, to me, it is an exciting project and opportunity. I was surprised, thinking about Deltaport and this national opportunity, that there was almost nothing in your remarks over six or seven pages that was positive. I took heart in some remarks by Mr. Paddon, and I thought he summarized, at least to my satisfaction, the concerns. Mr. Paddon was positive about the opportunity and the prospect for growth, but then he enumerated the costs of all of this and some possible measures. They are well enough said and shortly stated that I would like to read it into the record. Mr. Paddon mentions the cost to the municipalities are traffic congestion, reduced quality of life and neighbourhoods, road maintenance and road-rail grade separations, services such as water, sewer and policing and land that is underperforming in terms of tax revenues. I feel the committee would be sympathetic to that and would understand that. Mr. Paddon went on to mention some measurements; not all, of course, but some. Again the suggestions were sensible: senior government investments in grade separations, payments to municipalities in lieu of lost property tax revenues for industrial land reserves and additional road funding on trade- dependent municipal corridors. All of that makes great sense. I look at that and say, ``Gee, that is fair, that is right.''

He went on to say they need to restructure tax room from senior levels of government to local governments across Canada to address the overall fiscal framework — that is a running discussion at every level in our Canadian government sectors — and share economic growth with urban centres, and I believe he meant to say, significantly benefited by business gateway growth. All of that is sensible. I would see that in the context of a national undertaking, with the Greater Vancouver area and Deltaport being a vital part of this undertaking that should benefit given some of the constraints and some of the solutions here, that should benefit local people and people in British Columbia and Canadians generally.

I wanted to finish on a positive note.

The Chairman: Thank you, Senator Eyton.

Thank you very much for your contribution to our stay. We are pleased to have you with us this afternoon; it was very interesting.

Ms. Jackson: Thank you. I was just wanted to ask if I could table a couple of reports that we brought.

The Chairman: Please do.

Ms. Jackson: We just brought the one group, if anyone wants to look at those.

As well, I wanted to say that I hope I have not been too negative, but our task was to look at the institutional physical obstacles to the competitiveness, so I attempted to bring forward the obstacles. Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.

The Chairman: Thank you very much.

The committee adjourned.

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