Mr. Neil Young (Beaches-Woodbine):
Mr. Spieaker, there is absolutely no question that Bill C-62 is very complicated in my reading of it. The hon. member for Okanagan-Shuswap, our critic on communications, has
been extremely helpful in my gaining a better understanding of the legislation. The amendment the member for Okanagan-Shuswap just introduced in the House raises a concern I have that it changes the whole concept people have of their relationship with Bell Canada and other telecommunication companies in the field.
It is my understanding the bill indicates a consumer or a customer of a telecommunications company would rent equipment from that company's telephone pole in the middle of the street, that is the wire that goes from the pole to the house. Once that wire goes into the house, however, it becomes the consumer's responsibility to maintain the wiring within the house, apartment building, hotel or wherever it happens to be.
That is quite different from how customer relationships have been established over the years with telecommunications companies. If this legislation goes through without that amendment being included in the act, an awful lot of people over the next 10 years or so will have a rude shock whenever they have a problem with the wiring within their places of accommodation and suddenly get a bill from Bell Canada or some other telecommunications company for repairs.
Generally speaking Bill C-62 proposes sweeping changes to the framework surrounding the telecommunications industry. They reflect the present government's philosophy on deregulation and privatization of everything that moves, walks or sleeps.
The complexity of the bill is clearly understood when we consider the number of amendments the government has brought forward to the bill introduced for the first time on February 27,1992. It is my understanding the bill requires such clarification that it has been changed something like 74 times from the time it received second reading to report stage. That is an awful lot of amendments, especially by a government that drafted the bill. Before it introduced it in the House I would have assumed it would have been satisfied the bill met what it intended it to do. That clearly is not the case. Considering the number of amendments that are being moved by members from both sides of the House it clearly is not a very satisfactory bill.
June 1, 1993
I would certainly make an argument that the amendment that was placed before the House 10 or 15 minutes ago deserves full consideration by members on all sides of the House, whether on the government side or not, because it does not seem to me that it offers consumers the protection from those telecommunications companies that they have enjoyed for many years.
If this bill passes without that amendment I will be receiving letters from people in my constituency over the next number of years complaining quite bitterly about how Bell Canada is now charging them for maintenance and repair costs that they never had to pay in the past. I do not think that would do the consumers of Canada any good at all.
Topic: GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic: TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT