Toyota set to be called before Commons committee
OTTAWA (CP) — It appears Toyota officials will be summoned to testify at a parliamentary committee about the recent safety issues plaguing the giant automaker.
Conservative MP Jeff Watson sent a letter to the chair of the House of Commons transport committee Friday, advising that he will propose a motion calling for “an immediate investigation with respect to the recalls made by Toyota Canada.”
The move follows pressure from the NDP to hold hearings and demand more information from Toyota.
Watson writes that he will ask the committee next week to call representatives from Toyota Canada Inc., Transport Canada’s Road Safety Division, and Transport Canada’s Defects Investigation Unit, among others.
“ I am very concerned that Canadian families have been exposed to potentially unsafe vehicles,” Watson writes.
“I have raised my concerns with the transport minister, and he agrees that this matter should be the first piece of business the committee attends to when Parliament resumes and committees are reconstituted.”
Toyota Canada quickly issued a statement saying it welcomes the opportunity to address the committee.
“As part of our continued efforts to communicate openly and broadly with all stakeholders — customers, Transport Canada and media — appearing before the committee is a natural next step in Toyota’s candid outreach regarding our recalls.
“ Toyota looks forward to the opportunity to participate in the formal hearings to ensure issues are on the record for all Canadians to understand.”
Toyota Motor Corp. officials have appeared before a congressional hearing in Washington and agreed to disclose information that was previously withheld concerning vehicle recalls.
New Democrat MP Brian Masse said Toyota turned down his request to provide Parliament with the same information. He said Canada is “receiving secondclass treatment.” MONTREAL (CP) — Gun-control advocates pleaded with Ottawa’s opposition parties to stand united against a move to shelve the long-gun registry when Parliament reconvenes next week.
The call came Friday from a coalition that included police, politicians, women’s groups, and Heidi Rathjen, a survivor of Montreal’s 1989 Polytechnique massacre.
They said they hold no hope of persuading the governing Conservatives to back away from one of their MPs’ private bill to end the registry, which was established as a result of the 1989 massacre.
So they’re urging the leaders of the Liberal party and NDP to mount a common front against the move.
“ This law is critical for the safety our country, for the safety of our kids,” Rathjen told a Montreal news conference.
“ To Mr. ( Jack) Layton and Mr. (Michael) Ignatieff, who both say they support gun control, I say words are not enough, it’s actions that count.”
If all opposition members voted together, those parties would have enough votes to defeat the Conservative measure. But the Liberals and NDP allowed a free vote on the issue last fall, and enough of their members voted with the Conservatives to abolish the registry.
The Tory private member’s bill to end the registry passed second reading in the House of Commons, and will be before a committee when the House returns from prorogation next week.
Both the Liberals and NDP say their respective leaders support gun control. With the bill still at the committee stage, they say they’re committed to working with stakeholders to have a registry that works.
Rathjen and others involved with the Polytechnique disaster will be in Ottawa to testify before the committee in the coming weeks.
The gun-control lobby was caught off guard by the bill last year, Rathjen said. But a second reading of the legislation got everyone’s attention.
The registry is lauded by law enforcement as an important tool and credited by anti-gun lobbyists as a key to fewer gun-related incidents in Canada.
But it has been dogged by cost overruns and the Tories claim it has done more to harass farmers and hunters than target criminals. The registry is a major issue in the more rural ridings across the country.
In Quebec, all Bloc Quebecois MPs voted against the bill. That party is now urging Layton and Ignatieff to order their troops to join them in blocking the Tories.