Roland DE CORNEILLE

DE CORNEILLE, Roland, B.A., S.T.B., M.Th.

Personal Data

Party
Liberal
Constituency
Eglinton--Lawrence (Ontario)
Birth Date
May 19, 1927
Deceased Date
December 30, 2014
Website
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roland_de_Corneille
PARLINFO
http://www.parl.gc.ca/parlinfo/Files/Parliamentarian.aspx?Item=ef1388ad-345b-4646-895f-26d8923ecf1b&Language=E&Section=ALL
Profession
administrator (human rights), clergyperson

Parliamentary Career

May 22, 1979 - December 14, 1979
LIB
  Eglinton--Lawrence (Ontario)
February 18, 1980 - July 9, 1984
LIB
  Eglinton--Lawrence (Ontario)
  • Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs (March 1, 1982 - February 29, 1984)
September 4, 1984 - October 1, 1988
LIB
  Eglinton--Lawrence (Ontario)

Most Recent Speeches (Page 2 of 99)


July 14, 1988

Mr. de Corneille:

First, it is generally the ruling of the Speaker that comments about a person's presence or absence are regarded as being out of order. This has been a most impolite comment that has been made about whether or not the Member was present.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   AIR CANADA PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ACT
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July 14, 1988

Mr. de Corneille:

Indeed that would fit the philosophy of Adam Smith. That is a nice theoretical concept which is not borne out by the facts. It is tragic that the Hon. Member is unable and unwilling to look at the fact that cutting corners in order to be more competitive is an inevitable by-product that also comes from competition. Perhaps, in some cases there is cheaper service, but there is not safer service.

Those who are wealthy are in a position to be able to buy seats on airlines that have good records and will provide the service that they want in a nice, comfortable corridor between Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Quebec. But it does not guarantee and does not provide that safety for companies that are operating on a shoe-string budget that want to provide minimum service in order to be profitable in areas that are more remote.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   AIR CANADA PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ACT
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July 14, 1988

Mr. de Corneille:

I am glad you said that, Mr. Speaker, because I agree with you that it is most inappropriate to make comments about people's attendance in committee or in the House of Commons.

July 14, 1988

In terms of what was said about what other countries have, the thing that has to be said is what Canada has may be peculiar to a nation which has a very large geographical area and a very small population. What may apply to France does not apply to Canada.

Second, it is quite obvious, if there is nothing wrong then why fix it. For the reasons that I have cited one does not try to change something if there is nothing wrong with it. Over the years Air Canada has shown itself to be very competent and efficient.

I was asked about the salaries of employees and whether they would be dropped if there were some type of recession. As I pointed out, Crown corporations are less prone to start cutting because they would be cutting off routes if it were less efficient and less profitable than would be companies that do not have that mandate from the Government to perform. The whole point is that the Government of Canada has to mandate a protection of the remote parts of Canada whether or not those routes are always profitable. That is the Government's responsibility. The purpose of having a government is to look after the well being of the total population, not only those who are rich or happen to live in affluent areas.

This Government is not prepared to share the wealth with those areas that are less profitable. All this does is encourage Canadians in remote parts of the country to pour into the few cities, and that is not a direction that Canadian people want to have. That is why in this particular Bill there is another step in this direction. It is a negative direction and gives the message that the Government is not going to look after, encourage, and uphold the people in more remote parts of the country. Air Canada and Crown corporations will be less inclined to dismiss employees if their profits are threatened than companies that have to make it no matter what and have to survive because profit is their sole reason for existence.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   AIR CANADA PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ACT
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July 14, 1988

Mr. de Corneille:

Yes, Mr. Speaker, in listening, I noticed we were entering into a debate from the very beginning. I am sure you now notice that as well.

Continuing with my observations about the objectives of the Government in serving the people of Canada, I think we are all concerned, if we have any kind of sincerity at all, about service to people in remote areas of this country. If we are going to allow our public services to be governed by motives of profits, we are going to betray the development possibilities of the remote parts of Canada. They must be, as they were with the CPR, given some advance Government encouragement. That is what the people of Canada have always felt. That is how our country has been governed. That is why I suggest that this Bill in itself threatens the well-being of the people of Canada as a totality because when our remote areas are threatened, our future is threatened. We want to encourage people to go to the remote areas and feel they are Canadians with an equal chance. That is where the future of Canada may indeed exist.

First, I am opposed in principle to this Bill because it tends to move us from national concern in the field of air transport towards the realm of profit motives which may not necessarily be in the national interest.

The next point I wish to make is that we must examine the Bill itself. Where does the mandate come for the privatization of Air Canada? Was this the platform of the Conservative Government in the last election campaign? I do not recall hearing that and I guess I would have noticed it if it had been there. I do not remember that the people of Canada were told that if the Conservative Party was elected to become the Government of Canada that it would move to privatize Air Canada. In fact, I think there were some comments from the present Prime Minister (Mr. Mulroney) to the effect that Air Canada was not for sale.

I object to this because I do not believe the Government has a mandate to proceed with this Bill. Yet, with its heavy majority, it is proceeding nonetheless to put this Bill through the House at third reading. I do not believe that the public wants this. When I say that I understand that not long ago polls were conducted which asked Canadians whether they wanted to see Air Canada made a privatized institution. My understanding is that that poll indicated a rather strong opinion against privatizing Air Canada.

I understand that another poll was conducted later, a poll which asked about some of the company being privatized in order to give Canadians an opportunity to share in terms of giving capitalization to Air Canada. There were various reasons given as to why Air Canada might be privatized partially. Canadians are not conservative but careful. They thought that this proposal might be all right. They thought that to bring more capital into the situation in order to make the airline even more successful for the future was a good idea. The poll indicated that Canadians might be willing to go along with a partial and not a full privatization.

If we were to follow the wishes of the public, then we would see that this Bill does not achieve that. The Bill does not stipulate that the Government will stop at a partial sale of Air Canada. The Bill allows a large percentage of the company to be sold. While the Government may make announcements at the present time that it intends to sell 45 per cent of the shares, it might decide tomorrow that it would rather sell 90 per cent of it.

It is unfair for the Government to bring in a Bill which is as inaccurate as this Bill. It lacks in detail in that it asks the Parliament of Canada to pass a law which allows total carte blanche to Orders in Council or to decisions of a Prime Minister with respect to what he will do with something as important to the people of Canada as Air Canada.

It is tragic that in this Bill which I have in my hand one sees so little detail that protects the public, the workers and the future of the company. There is no statement about how much will be turned over finally. It is simply a press release. It is an opinion at the moment which considers how much right now the Government thinks should be sold. We have not been given proof that the sale of the shares that it does intend to sell is really going to bring about fair value to the people of Canada for what it is sold for. If 45 per cent is sold for $300 million, is it really worth it? Are not the company's goodwill and potential and present assets worth a lot more than that? Is it a good deal for the Canadian people? There are no figures, no commitments in the Bill put forward by the Government as to how much it will restrict itself to the selling off of Air Canada. Nor in this Bill are there any details relating to what the Government also promises verbally but which it refuses to put down on paper. There is nothing in the Bill about salaries.

What does the Bill say about salaries of employees in the future? What does it say about the pensions of people in Air

July 14, 1988

Canada who have devoted their lives and careers to this company and to the people of Canada, those people who chose Air Canada instead of some other carrier? What does it say in this Bill about their pensions? What does it say in the Bill about the pension fund that exists? I see nothing in the Bill about salaries, pensions or pension funds.

In the Standing Committee on Human Rights we have been studying the issue of older workers and their pensions. We have been worrying about what may be unfair to people who are older. We then find the Government turning around and not putting one word into this Bill to protect the human rights of these people. If some private group takes over and it has some power to exert its issues and views, some 22 per cent of the shareholders of the company can decide to eliminate, reduce or divert funds that belong to the workers, as we have seen in other corporations. There is nothing here in the Bill to protect them.

What is there in the Bill to consider the benefits of the workers? Where in the Bill is there a single word about their benefits? Where is there anything in the Bill about the relationship between unionized workers and the airline? Where is there protection about the agreements and understandings that usually take place between Crown corporations and their workers, the unions and their rights? Where are the human rights looked after? I also ask about employment equity. Mr. Speaker, can you find one word in this Bill which protects their rights or looks after these concerns?

I have spoken about the rights of Canadians. I am now talking about the rights of those workers who work for Air Canada. Their rights are not being protected. I suggest that efforts should be made to look at the Bill again in order to make it a decent Bill, a Bill that is worthy of being brought forward before the House of Commons. This Bill is simply in the loosest terms giving carte blanche to whomever may be sitting in power to be able to rule over the future of Air Canada on the one hand in terms of the percentage of shares or, on the other hand turning over to some unseen group of private people what has been over the decades built up as an equity by the employees in terms of the years they have worked. Not a word of protection has been put in the Bill by the Government because it is not concerned about the fate of these people.

Is this not incredible? I find it tragic that the Conservative Members do not want to protect the people. On the one hand we talk about human rights and all these fine pious ways in the committee on human rights and then turn around to see that the Government itself is not carrying out a protection of those people.

From the point of view of the people of Canada in general, or from the point of view of the people who are working for this corporation, I find this Bill to be unacceptable.

Air Canada

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   AIR CANADA PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ACT
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July 14, 1988

Mr. de Corneille:

Mr. Speaker, I protest. This is not a point of order.

Topic:   GOVERNMENT ORDERS
Subtopic:   AIR CANADA PUBLIC PARTICIPATION ACT
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