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42nd PARLIAMENT, 1st SESSION

EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 028

CONTENTS

Tuesday, March 8, 2016




Emblem of the House of Commons

House of Commons Debates

VOLUME 148
NUMBER 028
1st SESSION
42nd PARLIAMENT

OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Speaker: The Honourable Geoff Regan

    The House met at 10 a.m.

Prayer



ROUTINE PROCEEDINGS

[Routine Proceedings]

  (1005)  

[English]

Immigration

    Mr. Speaker, pursuant to subsection 94(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, I have the honour to table this morning, in both official languages, the annual report on immigration, 2015.

Public Service Staffing Tribunal

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and pursuant to the repealed section 110 of the Public Service Employment Act, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, the 2014-15 Public Service Staffing Tribunal annual report.

[Translation]

Public Service Labour Relations Board

    Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Minister of Canadian Heritage and pursuant to the repealed section 251 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act, I am pleased to table, in both official languages, the 2014-15 Public Service Labour Relations Board Annual Report.

[English]

Business of the House

    Mr. Speaker, if you seek it, I believe you will find consent for the following motion:
    That, notwithstanding any Standing or Special Order, at the conclusion of the debate on today's opposition motion, all questions necessary to dispose of the motion be deemed put, a recorded division deemed requested and deferred until Wednesday, March 9, 2016, at the conclusion of oral questions.

    (Motion agreed to)

Petitions

Sex Selection 

    Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present two petitions today.
     The first petition deals with the issue of sex selection and pregnancy termination. The petitioners are calling on members of Parliament to condemn discrimination against girls, which is occurring through sex-selective pregnancy termination.

Palliative Care  

    Mr. Speaker, the other petition has to do with palliative care. The petitioners are pointing out that it is impossible for a person to give informed consent to assisted suicide or euthanasia if appropriate palliative care options are not available to them. Therefore, our petitioners are calling on Parliament to establish a national strategy on palliative care.

Democratic Reform  

    Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to bring a petition from my riding of Sarnia—Lambton regarding fair electoral representation. The petitioners are looking for an equal and effective vote to be presented fairly in Parliament and to have proportional representation.

Impaired Driving  

    Mr. Speaker, I am honoured to present two petitions.
     The first is from Families for Justice, a group of Canadians who have lost a loved one by an impaired driver. The petitioners believe that Canada's impaired driving laws are much too lenient. They want the crime to be called what it truly is, vehicular homicide. It is the number one cause of criminal death in Canada. Over 1,200 Canadians are killed every year by a drunk driver. Canadians are calling for mandatory sentencing for vehicular homicide, and for this Parliament to support Bill C-226, Kassandra's law, and Bill C-247.

Palliative Care  

    Mr. Speaker, I am also honoured to present a petition regarding palliative care. The petition requests that the House unanimously pass the motion from the last Parliament to create a national strategy on palliative care. It also highlighted that in Carter v. Canada, the Supreme Court ruled that a competent consenting adult who has a grievous and irremediable medical condition that causes enduring and intolerable suffering should be allowed access to physician-assisted suicide, but also that the individual be required to have quality palliative care, so that the person can make informed consent. The petitioners are therefore calling on Parliament to establish a national strategy on palliative care.

Questions on the Order Paper

    Mr. Speaker, I would ask that all questions be allowed to stand.

  (1010)  

    Is that agreed?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Air Transportation  

    That the House: (a) acknowledge the contribution Bombardier makes to the Canadian economy and the aerospace industry; (b) recognize that there is a market solution already available that could support Bombardier; (c) acknowledge that Bombardier has designed the quietest and best aircraft in its class that is well suited to urban airports like the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport; (d) recognize that the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is a major economic driver for the Greater Toronto Area that supports both business and leisure travel; (e) recognize that the expansion of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport would allow airlines to purchase Bombardier aircraft; and (f) call on the government to reverse its decision on restricting the expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
     She said: Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to rise this morning and speak to this motion.
    Last November, just days after being appointed to his new role, the Minister of Transport took to Twitter to announce that he would block any future expansion of the Billy Bishop airport. In fewer than 140 characters, the Minister of Transport unilaterally blocked the right of the City of Toronto to hold consultations and decide whether to allow their local airport to expand and grow along with the city.
    In April 2014, Toronto City Council voted unanimously to adopt a city staff report that allowed the city, the Toronto port authority, and the federal government to negotiate conditions before proceeding with a proposal to add jet service and extend the runway at Billy Bishop airport.
    Consequently, the City of Toronto ordered a full environmental assessment, an airport master plan, and a runway design plan, at an estimated cost of $4 million. All three studies were reportedly 90% complete and due for release shortly after the minister sent out his tweet, effectively removing them from the decision-making process on this issue. Even the Toronto Star called the minister's politically motivated decision to shut down discussion on the expansion of the airport before all the facts were in ill-advised.
     For a government that obsesses about endless consultation on everything, the deliberate lack of consultation in this case is telling. When asked why the government acted with such haste to halt the proposed Billy Bishop airport expansion, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport noted that all three parties of a tripartite agreement must concur with any amendments for the agreement to be ratified. Having a veto over any amendment to an agreement does not mean that the government should use it without consulting with those most affected, in this case the City of Toronto.
    To date, I have not heard the minister state a single reason that falls under federal jurisdiction to oppose this project, whether it be safety for passengers or concerns about aircraft congestion in the GTA. I hope that over the course of this debate today, we will hear a sound rationale as to why this project should not go ahead.
    My concern is that the minister acted so quickly to oppose this development because he feared he would be hard pressed to explain why he opposed a position taken by the City of Toronto or the port authority once they had held their extensive consultations. We are having this debate today because I believe that the Minister of Transport clearly failed in his responsibilities when he neglected to consider the full range of the implications of his actions.
    When it comes to economic growth and job creation, the federal government should act as an enabler, rather than an impediment, as it has done in this case. As a result, the federal government must now contemplate ways to support Bombardier that will cost taxpayers in the billions of dollars, while ignoring the private sector solution that will not cost the taxpayers anything.
    Here are the facts. A Canadian company has signed a letter of intent to purchase up to 30 C Series aircraft from Bombardier, contingent on the airport expanding its facilities to accommodate it. The C Series aircraft has been described by the minister himself as best in class. I should note that the C Series is the best in its class because it is quieter than the Q400 turboprop aircraft, uses less fuel than any compatible aircraft, and has the lowest break-even load factor.
    People travelling to and from Toronto from underserved destinations, like Timmins, Thunder Bay, and Moncton, will benefit from flying in a state-of-the-art aircraft that burns less fuel and is therefore more environmentally sound and cost-effective to operate than those of its competitors. In addition, Bombardier gains a major client.
    This is a win-win for Canada. Yet, by blocking the potential expansion of the Toronto city airport, the minister is allowing Bombardier and its employees to be disappointed. They have designed a best-in-class aircraft that is ideally suited for operating out of this airport. Furthermore, he has reduced access to the thousands of businesses and business travellers who rely on the airport as a convenient, time-saving alternative to Pearson airport.

  (1015)  

     In 2015, the Toronto island airport served 2.5 million passengers, making it the ninth-busiest airport in Canada and the sixth-busiest Canadian airport serving the United States. This airport is responsible for 6,500 jobs, $385 million in wages, and over $2 billion in economic output. It is also a major contributor of taxes to the City of Toronto and the federal government.
    Just last week, the Billy Bishop airport was named the third-best airport in North America by the Airports Council International, considered to be the world's benchmark measure of airport excellence. This makes the minister's unilateral rejection of an expansion all the more stunning. If the minister had stated any evidence-based reason for his denial of a potential airport expansion, then the proponents of the airport expansion would have been in a position to address those concerns and perhaps alter their plans. His sudden refutation of this airport expansion leads me to wonder when the minister would ever consider reopening the tripartite agreement.
    For example, what if his own department recommended to the Toronto port authority, the owner and operator of the airport, that the main runway be extended for the installation of a runway safety area. As the minister knows, the Transportation Safety Board includes the issue of landing accidents and runway overruns to its watch list of the transportation safety issues posing the greatest threat to Canadians, with the runway safety area identified as a key mitigating measure.
    Alternatively, would the minister consider reopening the tripartite agreement if his own department recommended, based on scientific evidence, that aircraft of any type would be able to take off and land more quietly if they could use a longer runway and therefore not have to accelerate as quickly?
    The tripartite agreement has been reopened twice before. In 1985, the agreement was opened to allow the de Havilland Dash 8 onto the list of aircraft allowed to use the airport. In 2003, the agreement was once again opened to expand the hours of operation of the airport and allow for the construction of a tunnel linking the airport to the city. Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to use that tunnel, and it was quite convenient to get to the airport.
    These were both reasonable amendments that gave travellers greater access to a convenient travel option in Toronto. Innovation and the adoption of new technologies and practices drive Canada's economy, and government regulations should change to adapt along with new technologies.
    When the tripartite agreement was first signed in 1983, the only aircraft allowed to land at Billy Bishop was the Dash 7 aircraft. This was a four-turboprop engine plane with a maximum speed of 450 kilometres per hour. The first Dash 8 added to the list of aircraft that could land at Billy Bishop, after the 1985 tripartite amendment, was designed for 38 passengers, was 73 feet long, and had a cruising speed of 500 kilometres per hour.
    The Q400 variant of the Dash 8 aircraft, which is commonly used at Billy Bishop today, seats 68. It is 107 feet long and has a cruising speed of 667 kilometres per hour. Amazingly, the sound profile of the Q400 aircraft is actually quieter than the Dash 8-100. Today, I believe we have reached a similar point where technological innovation in the aerospace sector is forcing a change in our laws, and government should be flexible enough to adapt.
    A decade ago, none of us could have imagined that a Canadian company would build a 100- to 150-seat aircraft that would be quieter than a Q400 turboprop, which was also an incredible achievement in its time. Two decades ago, none of us would have imagined that a turboprop would be able to carry nearly 70 passengers from Toronto to Winnipeg.

  (1020)  

    I believe Canadians should be embracing the opportunity to utilize this new aircraft across Canada. Instead, with his purely political decision to overrule a process of study and consultation that the City of Toronto was on the verge of completing and to block the development of the Billy Bishop airport, the minister is hurting jobs and Canada's leadership in the aerospace sector.
    Today's motion calls upon the House to acknowledge the contribution Bombardier makes to the Canadian economy and the aerospace industry. It calls upon the House to recognize that there is a market solution already available that could support Bombardier and would not cost taxpayers any money. It calls upon the House to recognize that the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is a major economic driver for the greater Toronto area, which supports both business and leisure travel. It calls upon the House to recognize that the expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport would allow airlines to purchase Bombardier aircraft. Finally, it calls upon the government to reverse its decision on restricting the expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
    Support for the motion would send a clear signal that Canadians support entrepreneurialism and taking advantage of a made-in-Canada aircraft that will be able to better serve underserved communities.
    The Billy Bishop airport is an asset that few major cities in the world can boast. It creates jobs and has become an important transportation asset for the GTA.
    Bombardier has designed an aircraft that is both best in its class and ideally suited for use in airports like Billy Bishop.
    It is my hope that all members will see that there is the potential for an incredible synergy here that would help create jobs in Toronto, at Bombardier in Montreal, and at every destination that is served from this airport.
    All of us were elected to look at issues through a national lens. The future of Bombardier and the Billy Bishop airport will have national repercussions, and members of Parliament should consider this a national issue.
    I also hope all members in this place believe that, when the private sector is ready and willing to step up and support Canada's aerospace champion, this is a preferable solution to one that has the Canadian taxpayers, who are already seeing over $30 billion in new deficit spending this year, having to do so.
    The Prime Minister has called the C Series a superlative product and an extraordinary plane, and just last week he asked the $1.3-billion question, “...how do we make sure that airplane is a success and how are we making sure it is a Canadian success story?”
     One way to ensure that the C Series is a Canadian success story is by staying out of the way of Canadian firms wanting to purchase the aircraft. By voting in favour of today's motion, the Prime Minister can restart the process of supporting the City of Toronto, the Toronto island airport, Bombardier, and the C Series aircraft program, without asking Canadian taxpayers to foot the bill.
    In closing, I will end where I started. I recognize that there are those who will ask why a member from Saskatchewan cares about the Toronto island airport and Bombardier, a company based in Montreal. My answer is quite simple. As the critic appointed to hold the Minister of Transport to account for decisions that just do not make sense—the decision to exercise a veto to block this expansion at the eleventh hour of the process undertaken by the City of Toronto—deserves to be challenged.
    The debate today will scrutinize the decision on a number of fronts. First and foremost, we need to ensure that decisions are evidence-based and that jurisdictions are respected.
    On that note, I ask all members in this House to support the motion.

  (1025)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am curious as to whether the member opposite has read any of the 25 reports that have been tabled with the City of Toronto, which include reports from the Board of Health, the executive committee of the planning department, as well as the economic development committee. I am curious whether the member opposite has talked to any of the residents, businesses, or stakeholders on the waterfront, including whether or not she has met with Mr. Deluce or Porter Airlines.
     I am curious whether or not she is aware that the cost of doing this project has been estimated at close to $1.6 billion, of which there is no source of funding. This would include the cost of filling half a kilometre of Lake Ontario and paving it over for the extension of the runway; the cost of a 20-foot wall that would run the entire length of the runway from Bay Street to Dufferin Street, which is almost a mile in length across the waterfront; the fact that the reconfiguration of this airport would require fitting an airport the size of the Ottawa International Airport into one-seventh of its mass, again with no funding source at all to pay for the land site improvements that would be required to move 4.3 million passengers; and it would also require additional dollars to be paid through an airport levy tax to do the lakefront.
    I wonder if the member has read any of those 25 reports and whether she has consulted with any of the stakeholders on the waterfront besides Mr. Deluce.
    Mr. Speaker, it is no secret that the member has been a vocal opponent of the airport expansion for any purpose. Since Porter began growing its operations out of the airport, the member has been the main anti-airport development force in the Liberal caucus.
    What I do have in front of me is a letter that was written by the City of Toronto stating:
     It is the City's expectation that the studies being undertaking by PortsToronto will address the conditions adopted by City Council, including the caps and phasing framework.
    Therefore, we absolutely know that the City of Toronto was in support of studying the expansion of the Toronto island airport. That is why I am speaking today. That process needs to be respected and supported, and it is up to the City of Toronto to decide whether the expansion should go ahead.
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her speech. I always enjoy hearing her speak in the House of Commons.
    I find it passing strange that the Conservatives would put forward a motion without having consulted the residents of Toronto in any way. When we compare it to the performance of the Liberal government taking decisions around the Toronto harbour out of the hands of the residents of Toronto and putting them with the Toronto port authority, we have seen in both of the old parties a lack of respect for the residents of Toronto that is quite palpable.
    I want to come to the issue of the aerospace industry because in my area, the lower mainland of British Columbia, we hemorrhaged out hundreds of aerospace jobs because the former Conservative government was simply not willing to do anything to protect the jobs that should have been protected under the Air Canada act. At the same time, as the Speaker would know, we have lost half a million manufacturing jobs under the Conservatives, not just in aerospace but in every single manufacturing sector and right across the country from British Columbia right through to Atlantic Canada.
    My question for the member is quite simple. What lessons have the Conservatives learned from their appalling performance on manufacturing and the aerospace industries when they were in power in Canada?

  (1030)  

    Mr. Speaker, obviously today's motion is about the expansion of the Billy Bishop airport and supporting the City of Toronto when it unanimously voted to adopt a city staff report that would allow the city, the Toronto port authority, and the federal government to negotiate conditions for proceeding with Porter's proposal to add jet service and extend the runway of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. Consequently, it ordered a full environmental assessment, an airport master plan, and a runway design plan at an estimated cost of $4 million. It had made a list of 25 issues that it feels must be addressed prior to giving its approval for an airport extension and has had ongoing discussions with the Toronto port authority about these concerns.
    Again, this is about allowing a process to continue and allowing the City of Toronto to decide.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to congratulate the member for a wonderful and fact-based speech.
    I have heard that the current government is considering giving multibillion-dollar bailouts to Bombardier to keep it from filing for bankruptcy and from losing 2,600 jobs in Quebec.
    Could the member reiterate the economic benefits with respect to jobs and GDP that would result from the Billy Bishop expansion?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for that question and for the very important work that she does as a member of Parliament representing a riding in Ontario.
    We know that this motion is about the economy and jobs. We know that there are jobs to be created at Bombardier if it can sell the aircraft that it has produced. We know that there are jobs to be created at airports if they can expand and continue serving Canadians. This is a win-win scenario for Canada. It is a win for the aerospace industry and it is a win for the city of Toronto and the Toronto island airport.
    Mr. Speaker, I thought the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs raised a valid point when he talked about the numerous reports related to the potential expansion. It seems to me that the Conservative Party has not done its homework. That is really apparent.
    My question is to follow up on what the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister for Intergovernmental Affairs asked. Can the member assure the House that she has actually worked with the different stakeholders surrounding the airport in question? If so, could she share with us some of their thoughts on the issue? In listening to her speech, it seems to me that the Conservatives might have been premature at the very least, and unfortunately it sounds as though they just have not done their homework on that project.
    Mr. Speaker, I will say what is premature. Premature is blocking the process that was already under way to determine whether this expansion was feasible. This is a local issue. The City of Toronto should be responsible to decide whether to allow the airport to expand, given these considerations.
    The City of Toronto has made its concerns known about the possible expansion, and the project proponent will have to demonstrate that it can and will satisfy those concerns. However, that process was not allowed to be completed. Those studies were under way and we were waiting to hear the results of the studies. That is when the minister tweeted that this expansion would not be going forward.
    He blocked the process. That is what I call premature.
    Mr. Speaker, I am not going to let the member off the hook.
    The Lower Mainland of British Columbia lost 400 aerospace jobs. The member has been speaking about jobs, saying this is about the aerospace industry, jobs, and employment, yet my area, the Lower Mainland of British Columbia, saw a hemorrhaging of good aerospace jobs. Machinists were tossed aside because the Conservative government would not enforce what was already in law.
    I would like to simply ask the member what she has to say to those hundreds of aerospace workers, those machinists, who lost their jobs because of the lack of action of the Conservative government. Will she apologize to those workers who lost their jobs because of the actions of Conservatives?

  (1035)  

    Mr. Speaker, I am not going to let that member off the hook for making white noise and trying to make this motion about something that it is not. It is about a process and it is about the minister blocking a process that was under way. This is about economic growth for the city of Toronto, and for all of Canada, when we consider the impact it will have on Bombardier and the jobs at Bombardier.
    That airport is responsible for 6,500 jobs, $385 million in wages, and over $2 billion in economic output. That is what today's motion is about, and I am not going to let the member off the hook.
    Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to speak today on this motion, because I have been asked on many occasions to comment on it in question period. In fact, a couple of weeks ago when I was asked about it and while I was answering the question from my hon. colleague, I overheard the hon. member for Beauce say quite clearly that nobody wants to buy the C Series.
    What I am suggesting today is that perhaps this motion from the opposition does not necessarily have a consensus in that party. I would be interested in knowing why the member for Beauce, who, after hearing my colleague quote me in saying that this is the finest airplane in its class in the world—and I agree with that comment—does not agree with that assessment and is not wholeheartedly supporting sales of the CS100. I would be interested in that answer.

[Translation]

    Today I will speak to the opposition motion on Bombardier and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
    Canada is the second-largest country in the world. We depend on our strong transportation and communication networks to connect us to each other and to the rest of the world.
    I would like to begin by stating that the Government of Canada fully recognizes Bombardier's contribution to Canadian industry and the international market.
    Our aerospace sector has given Canada a strong reputation internationally. Its contributions to aeronautics and satellite technology benefit our country as a whole as well as the international community.
    The sector has been and will continue to be one of the strongest drivers of investment and international trade. It is also a key player in Canada's social, green, and economic infrastructure. It connects people to jobs and helps deliver essential goods and services.

[English]

    Canada's air sector is a global leader, and Transport Canada is recognized around the world as a certifier and regulator. I would like to highlight that the recently tabled review of the Canada Transportation Act reported that “Canadian-certified aircraft, equipment, and skilled personnel are in high demand around the world.”
    Aerospace is an important element of Canada's manufacturing sector, and Bombardier is a strong player in the field. Last year the aerospace sector generated more than 180,000 jobs and added $29 billion to our country's economy. It is a significant contributor to economic growth. Aerospace companies such as Bombardier export some 80% of the products that they make.
    Consequently, the Government of Canada was pleased by Air Canada's announcement on February 17, 2016, of its intention to purchase Bombardier C Series aircraft. This is clearly good news for the Canadian aerospace industry. It will result in well-paying jobs for highly skilled workers in this sector. I am encouraged by the benefits that will result from this important transaction between these two iconic Canadian companies. The C Series aircraft is a major advancement in aviation, and I am sure that this addition to Air Canada's fleet will be a major benefit both to that company and to Canada's aerospace sector.

  (1040)  

[Translation]

    The Government of Canada has confidence in Bombardier and in its C Series aircraft, which are becoming more advanced. As I have said in the past, the C Series aircraft is the best in its class in the world.
    Despite what the member for Beauce said last month, there is demand for the C Series aircraft. The first C Series plane will be delivered to Swiss International Air Lines in the spring. Once this Swiss C Series aircraft enters into commercial use, Bombardier will have the opportunity to show the world, especially potential buyers, what this aircraft is capable of and what it has to offer airlines.
    Our government is confident that the C Series aircraft will prove to be the outstanding aircraft that early reports predict it will be.
     Last December I took part in the certification of Bombardier's C Series aircraft, which was a historic occasion for the Canadian aerospace industry, and I am proud that Transport Canada was part of the process.
     Type certification of any aircraft involves a careful examination of the design to verify that it complies with our airworthiness standards and environmental regulations. This design certification is required before the aircraft can enter into commercial use.

[English]

    This initial approval is a significant step toward Bombardier obtaining full certification in Canada as well as in Europe, the United States, and abroad. It is a significant step toward delivering aircraft to customers worldwide. This approval also allows Bombardier to build investor and customer confidence.
    I thank my colleague across the way for her motion and her interest in this file.
    With reference to the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, it would be misleading to suggest that the only issue to be considered when examining the proposal to amend the tripartite agreement and allow the expansion of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to permit the use of commercial jet aircraft and to extend the runway is whether or not Bombardier could sell more aircraft.
    Our nation's economy relies on connecting to the world, and the greater Toronto area and southern Ontario as a whole are being well served by a network of airports working together to form an international gateway. This gateway helps Canada stay competitive and attracts air travellers and traffic from around the world.
    Toronto Pearson is by far Canada's busiest airport, and I was there myself in December, celebrating the 40 millionth passenger for 2015. It has more international passengers than any North American airport after New York's John F. Kennedy International, and Billy Bishop airport helps to connect Toronto's business heart to other major centres in Canada and the United States.
    In addition, many airports look to expand their business footprint. We can see specialty niches form, such as the courier activities at the Hamilton airport. Together, southern Ontario's airports provide economic stimulus to the region by offering services to general and commercial aviation, passengers, shippers, and businesses. These airports bring passengers from around the world, all contributing to the local and national economies.
    All of this movement of people and goods attracts business and drives trade and foreign investment in our great country.

[Translation]

    I would like to share with hon. members some important information from the Canada Transportation Act review that I had the pleasure of tabling in the House on February 25, 2016:
    In 2012, air transportation directly employed 141,000 Canadians and contributed $34.9 billion in GDP and more than $7 billion in taxes to federal and provincial treasuries. In 2014, the industry served nearly 125 million passengers, up 45 percent over the decade since 2004, and transported $116 billion in international cargo.
    The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is a very good example of this thriving network. It is located just a few minutes away from downtown Toronto, on Toronto island, and ranks ninth in Canada in terms of traffic, welcoming more than 2.4 million business or leisure travellers every year. The Billy Bishop airport now offers services to 24 Canadian and American cities, with connections to more than 80 cities around the world. This airport is a major economic driver of Toronto's economy. It is also a base for air ambulance services with nearly 4,600 such flights in 2014, and is home to a sizable personal aviation community that includes a flight school.

  (1045)  

[English]

    Billy Bishop is also a historic airport. Members may not know that it was opened in 1939. When the Second World War began, it served as a training base for the Royal Norwegian Air Force, as part of what would earn Canada the title of “aerodrome of democracy” from U.S. president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This history was enhanced even more a few years ago when it was renamed in honour of legendary Canadian aviator and war hero, Billy Bishop.
    The fact is that the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is already providing a valuable service without expansion. Last month, it was named one of the top airports in North America in the Airports Council International's airport service quality awards. It tied for third in the best airport North America region category, one of only two Canadian airports to make the list, along with Ottawa International Airport.
    Such accolades demonstrate that the investment that has been made in the airport, from developing its infrastructure to its working with stakeholders to provide better amenities and improved access to the airport, is providing passengers with an exceptional travel experience.
    The government recognizes that the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is a major economic driver for the greater Toronto area and that it supports business and leisure travel.
    On November 12, 2015, I announced that the Government of Canada would not reopen the tripartite agreement between this government, the city of Toronto, and PortsToronto that would allow Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport to pursue an expansion. The government stands by this decision and feels that the current tripartite agreement strikes the right balance between commercial interests and the interests of local communities, and the environmental and cultural challenges, including the evolution of the waterfront. Also, with other jet capable airports very close by, the government believed there was no compelling case to change the current approach.
    The government is not alone in this position. Several citizens groups in the GTA have opposed any proposed expansion of Billy Bishop airport. Accordingly, they support our position against reopening the agreement.

[Translation]

    As I mentioned earlier, this is about more than just the airport. It is about Torontonians wanting a greater say in the development of their waterfront, which will be significantly affected by the expansion of the airport.
    When the proposal to amend the tripartite agreement between the federal government, the City of Toronto, and PortsToronto was examined, as indicated in the member's motion, a number of issues had to be considered, not just whether jets should be allowed or whether the runway should be expanded.
    Every situation is unique and complex. The Government of Canada examines each situation carefully in order to provide Canadians with safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible air travel and cargo services.
     The government continually assesses the air services policy framework to ensure that Canada's air transportation system can respond to this evolving environment and is properly equipped to facilitate future growth.
    I would like to assure members that the decision was made in the best interests of Torontonians and Canadians. The Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has been a model of effective management for many years. It is up to PortsToronto and the airlines that operate out of the airport to continue to make their business model work.

  (1050)  

[English]

    In April 2014, Toronto city council debated the issue and actively sought the views of the then federal government. The city asked that the federal government of the day take a public position on proposed changes to the tripartite agreement that would permit the expansion of the airport and to allow jet aircraft, such as the Bombardier C Series to operate from the airport. That was three years ago. All of this could be seen on the city's website, as well as in media reports. It was very public.
    From April 2013 to the fall of 2015, about two and a half years, there were multiple public meetings, conferences, and other events at which the proposed expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport was discussed. There were web forums, opportunities for public comment, and many other open venues where anybody could express their opinions and views on the issue.
    The proponents and opponents of the proposed expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport were very active and very engaged. The possibilities, concerns, and opinions related to the proposal were discussed and debated, and the potential economic benefits of the proposal, those for the region and for the country, were certainly well aired.
    The member opposite should not suggest that the expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport will determine the success of Bombardier's C Series. It is simplistic and it ignores a much larger picture. Bombardier products have always, and will always, succeed based on their quality and competitiveness in global markets. One cannot imply that the success of Bombardier only depends on the expansion of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

[Translation]

    I would like to reiterate that the Government of Canada feels that the current tripartite agreement strikes the right balance between commercial interests and the interests of local communities, which are important, as well as between the environmental and cultural challenges, including the evolution of the waterfront. The Government of Canada made the right decision when it refused to authorize the expansion of the airport in November 2015, and it stands by that decision, as it has mentioned a number of times.
    The government will therefore not support this motion. Canada's airline sector is robust, competitive, safe, secure and efficient. Our government will continue to maintain Canada's reputation as a global leader and strengthen the sector's competitiveness.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the minister for the clarity he has provided in some of his position today.
    He has mentioned that he has been asked questions a number of times in the House, questions which he has refused to answer. I would point out that five hours before his tweet, the minister said in an interview that this was a complex issue and he was studying it. Yet he tweeted that he would block this decision.
     Perhaps we could find more clarity in his answer before the Senate on February 17 when he was asked why he would cut Porter and Toronto off at the knees like this. His response was:
    The answer is simple. We had made an undertaking to the people of Toronto during the election that if we were elected we would not open the tripartite agreement, and we kept that promise.
    Could the minister expand on that?

  (1055)  

    Mr. Speaker, why we took that position is exactly the reason we took that position.
    I expanded in my presentation to point out that this decision was based on achieving a proper balance between commercial interests and the interests of the community. That counts for something, and that is fundamentally what the opposition fails to understand in this debate about Billy Bishop airport.
    The concerns of the community are important. We have achieved the right balance with Billy Bishop airport. It is a thriving airport. It continues to provide excellent service, 2.4 million passengers per year. Bombardier is a first-class aerospace company. I am sure Bombardier will not rise or fall on the decision related to Billy Bishop airport.
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments from the hon. minister. It is encouraging that he has said, at least in this circumstance, that he will stand by a legally binding tripartite agreement, unlike the arrangements undermining the agreement with Aveos.
    I am appreciative that the minister has mentioned the waterfront because we are talking about two tripartite agreements: a tripartite agreement with the Billy Bishop airport and a tripartite agreement on the waterfront.
     A number of noted architects, a former mayor of Toronto, and chief planners have reiterated the importance of the Toronto waterfront for parks and trails, linked neighbourhoods, and places to live and work. There has been a lot of comment about the economic advantages of preserving and developing the waterfront. As I understand it, by and large, it is not so much the residents of Toronto island, who historically have opposed some development. It is the people living on and recreating on the waterfront who have been opposing the expansion.
    Could the minister speak to whether he thinks it is important to perhaps revisit the mandate for the port authority that was established, and we have a potential conflict of interest here, that gains most of the revenue from the airport?
    Mr. Speaker, I echo what the member has said. There is a significant number of people living on the waterfront in Toronto. They care deeply about the development of their waterfront. They want that waterfront to a good place to live. That is why they have exerted pressure. By the way, the development of that waterfront would lead to significant economic opportunities.
    The reality is that there is an airport, the Billy Bishop airport, that comes under PortsToronto. It is an airport that provides good service at the moment to 2.4 million passengers. It is well viewed by the public. It came in third, as I mentioned, in a contest. However, it provides a service that is just perfect at the moment in terms of balancing between commercial interests and the important priorities of the community that lives along the waterfront and wants to see that waterfront developed, not because of commercial pressures but because of the way the people want to see it developed.
    Mr. Speaker, the city of Toronto has debated this issue for three years and the city council of Toronto has had five opportunities in those three years to make a formal request to open the tripartite agreement: in April 2013, July 2013, November 2013, February 2014, and March 2014. At no time in any of those public meetings, at which I was a voting member at some, did we ever request the opening of the tripartite agreement.
    As well, the port authority, or PortsToronto as it is now known, has been meeting for three years and at no time in its three years of existence, while this debate has gone on, has it ever asked for the tripartite agreement to be opened to consider jets. In fact, the only person who wants this is the owner of a single operator at the island airport. That individual, in a letter to Rob Ford, then mayor of Toronto, pursued this with great vim and vigour.
    Why have the signatories to the tripartite agreement, the Government of Canada, the port authority, and the city of Toronto, never formally requested that this issue be opened?

  (1100)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a very good question, and my colleague is intimately familiar with this file. It underlines the fact that there is a lot of misconceptions and that this issue is being driven by factors that are not really true factors at play in this debate. It is important. I would go back to my colleague who raised this motion today, and ask her whether she has read any of the 25 reports that were alluded to and whether she really understands the complete picture in this file, instead of playing politics on the basis of Bombardier.
    Mr. Speaker, the member has said that we are currently well served in the air market. After travelling globally and within Canada for over 30 years, I beg to differ on that. We have a near monopoly with Air Canada and we could use a bit of growth.
    The member said nice things about Bombardier and he said nice things about the revenue generated by the Billy Bishop airport. However, in his whole speech, I did not hear a single reason why he would short-circuit a process to consult broadly and work to address concerns in order to have even more nice things to say about Toronto.
    Could the member say why he shut down the process while it was still in consultation and had not come to final report?
    Mr. Speaker, at the risk of repeating myself, we were clear on the fact that we made a decision that was based on balancing commercial interests with the interests of the community, and I am talking specifically of the people who share that waterfront.
    On the larger question about whether Air Canada has a virtual monopoly, that is a bigger debate. I would be interested in hearing from the member for Sarnia—Lambton why she made the comment about Air Canada not necessarily serving Canadian interests, and I assume other airlines as well, and why she thinks it is a near monopoly situation.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the minister's speech, as always.
    However, we lost aerospace jobs under the Conservatives, and now that the Liberals are in power, they are saying that they will not enforce the law to maintain aerospace jobs in the Montreal region. That is what I do not understand about the agreement that my colleague from Edmonton Strathcona just mentioned. The agreement with Aveos is more than an agreement. It is a law that requires Air Canada to keep aerospace maintenance jobs in the Montreal region.
    Why does the Liberal government refuse to enforce a law that would keep these jobs in Montreal?
    Mr. Speaker, I admire the way that my NDP colleague tried to completely change the topic of today's debate. This is a completely different topic. It had nothing to do with the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport or the tripartite agreement.
    However, in the coming days, or perhaps even today, during question period, we will no doubt have an opportunity to answer his question. In the meantime, I would rather stick to the topic of today's debate.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to say that I will be sharing my time with my wonderful colleague, the member of Parliament for Windsor West.
    I am rising today to speak to the motion tabled by the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek. While I very much enjoy working with that member in committee and in my previous committee, frankly, I do not share her enthusiasm for her motion.
    Certainly, my colleagues and I acknowledge the contribution by Bombardier to the Canadian economy, not just for aerospace but also for the manufacture of rail and light rail. That is the motor transport of the future—something that the official opposition fails to recognize.
    I do wish to recognize in this place that much to my pleasure and to many of the cities in this country, and certainly the big city mayors, the government of the day, in its wisdom, is deciding to put a good portion, at least one-third of its infrastructure dollars, into transit. I hope that some of those dollars may well go to one of the shiny examples of corporate success in Canada, Bombardier, which seeks many contracts in the areas of light rail and rail.
    I also note that the Emerson report, the mandatory report that was prepared, is recommending that due consideration be paid by the Government of Canada to investing in the expansion of commuter rail so that we can reduce greenhouse gases and pollution from car traffic.
    So, yes, indeed, my colleagues and I fully appreciate the contribution of Bombardier to our country, but it is not simply through the aerospace aspect of its efforts.
    What is also troubling about this motion is the faulty logic of trying to tie the economics of a specific Canadian corporation—in other words, Bombardier—with what is essentially a land-use decision, which should be left with the locale, the City of Toronto.
    My understanding, and as has been mentioned in the House already, is that Torontonians have clearly said that they want to have their waterfront protected. When they were in power, the official opposition also had trouble allowing those who were impacted by government decisions to have a voice in what would happen to their lands and communities.
    As mentioned by other speakers, the agreement on this airport goes back to 1937. It was a tripartite agreement between Toronto, what is now known as the Toronto port authority, and with the Minister of Transport, on behalf of the Government of Canada. The federal government put up money, and Toronto made the lands available, and successive amendments to the agreement have been made.
    The one thing that has not changed in this agreement is a number of conditions that were imposed. If I may, would like to reiterate those conditions.
    Clause 11 prohibits nuisances to adjacent occupiers of land, and it is significant that we hear about a parallel tripartite agreement for the Toronto waterfront. I would like to share with members the words, thoughts, and concerns expressed by Paul Bedford, once the chief planner of Toronto; David Crombie, former mayor of Toronto; and Jack Diamond, a renowned and internationally recognized architect. They published the following:
    From south Etobicoke to the Scarborough Bluffs and beyond, what is emerging all along the Toronto waterfront is one of the most remarkable transformations of its kind anywhere providing new and improved places for the public to enjoy: parks and trails, a linked series of neighbourhoods, places to live and work, and places of recreation, repose and natural beauty. With literally billions of dollars in private...investment in progress it is one of the largest such revitalization efforts in the world....
    Clearly, those on the waterfront, whether they are sailing, walking along the beaches, buying condominiums, or going to the many restaurants, have spoken very loudly against the introduction of jets. They do not want to open this tripartite agreement to remove that clause as there is strong opposition to that.
    Second, clause 14 prohibits any new runways or airport extensions and prohibits the construction of vehicular bridges or tunnels.
    There has been flexibility in improving access to the Billy Bishop airport. As we speak, they are completing a pedestrian tunnel that would make it easier for people to go from the airport to Toronto.
    To their credit, to this point in time, all federal governments have stood by this tripartite agreement prohibiting any extensions of the airport. Delivering on what the opposition members are calling for would require the reopening of the tripartite agreement that has essentially been with us since 1937.

  (1105)  

    I note that in 1985, there was an amendment made to allow for Bombardier Q-400s, then known as the de Havilland Dash 8, and so there has been flexibility to accommodate and enable the sale of Bombardier airplanes. In 2003, it allowed, as I mentioned, the underwater pedestrian tunnel.
    The motion to allow the Bombardier CS100 jets would require all three parties to agree. That would require an amendment to the tripartite agreement. It would clearly offend the conditions that the people of Toronto want maintained. Porter has requested a 336-metre extension of the runway. That is clearly prohibited under the tripartite agreement. Transport Canada, as I understand, has not cleared the project for aeronautical safety reasons, or for the zoning of jets.
    If I could reiterate, a second fundamental problem with this proposal is that Transport Canada, the federal agency responsible for airport operations and safety, has yet to rule on technical aeronautical safety and zoning issues. My understanding is that the minister has been very clear in the House today: they will not make accommodations for the expansion of this airport, and many potential impacts have been identified, detrimental environmental and safety impacts, in the “environmental assessment”.
    I would like to move on and talk about this so-called environmental assessment. The official opposition did great damage to the previous federal environmental assessment process and undermined particularly the right of communities to have a say.
    One of the greatest criticisms of the process on deciding whether or not to allow the extension of Billy Bishop airport has been this facade of a proper environmental assessment, which as I understand has been led by the port authority. As I mentioned, I am informed that the vast majority of the revenue for the port authority come from the airport. Therefore, is this a proper authority to be leading and making determinations on whether or not this development would or would not have environmental impacts? People in the Toronto area are saying no.
    There has also been no comprehensive plan to assess southern Ontario transportation needs or how Toronto island may contribute. I understand that there has been some assessment of the need for an expansion of the Pearson airport, and of the potential strategic use of the Hamilton airport, and possibly Waterloo airport. Toronto island airport or Billy Bishop has never been mentioned in any of the reviews by Transport Canada on addressing southern Ontario's needs for air traffic.
    The Island airport is already physically constrained. A litany of issues has been raised about why this airport could not be expanded despite the fact the official opposition is proposing this. Public parking is undersized in capacity. The terminal building is too small. There is no opportunity to put in de-icing facilities. The airport has likely already reached its capacity limit. Moreover, drop-off and pick-up space is undersized and the taxi queuing space is already at capacity.
    Surely we cannot address or propose in this place to give support to some of our leading corporations such as Bombardier by slipping in a decision where we are undermining a local decision on land use. As has been suggested by one of the councillors in Toronto, Mike Layton, if we are to support Bombardier, why not have the federal government give dollars to build more streetcars and trolleys, including support for the Union Pearson Express that will deliver air passengers from Toronto Pearson airport to the city of Toronto? That is the method of transport for the future.
    I would encourage the Liberal government to give consideration to providing more dollars, and am pleased that one-third of infrastructure dollars will be going to transit.
    Without further ado, I stand in opposition to the motion.

  (1110)  

    Mr. Speaker, the hon. member raised the issue of land-use planning, which is at the heart of this controversy. It is as if the industrial strategy to help the auto industry ought to be to build more parking lots. It is a ridiculous proposition to reconfigure an entire city and an entire neighbourhood for one business at the expense of all the others.
    Is the member opposite aware that within 500 metres of the end of the runway, the most significant impact is being felt by a low-income community, largely Toronto Community Housing co-ops, but in particular a group of housing units, not people in condos sipping lattes as the member opposite suggested yesterday, but senior citizens and people with severe disabilities?
    This airport has now been identified in a public health report on the record at city council as the single largest source of air pollution in the entire GTA. The report notes that the asthma rates are starting to spike among school children who live in this neighbourhood, and that the most vulnerable population is bearing the brunt of the existing operation, let alone a doubling of the size of this airport.
    Is the member aware of the extraordinary health impact this will have on a low-income and vulnerable community?
    Mr. Speaker, I am aware that there are a good number of concerns felt both by the residents of Toronto island and by the residents across the channel, including those in the newly developing areas.
    I am glad the member has raised this issue, and it is one that I actually raised in committee yesterday. The issue is that 25% of the emissions of greenhouse gases worldwide are caused by transport, including the aeronautics industry.
     It is important that the federal government step up to the plate and start looking into this matter. There have been no commitments on taking action to reduce the emissions from the transport sector, and I welcome the member raising that matter in the House.

  (1115)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I was very happy to hear the speech by my hon. colleague, who does an excellent job as transport critic. She has also worked very hard on the environment file. Just yesterday we had an all-party committee meeting on climate change.
    She talked about the importance of having a long-term plan to combat climate change, which could help Bombardier. It is very important to the future of our society in general, and even to the future of our existence on this planet.
    Could my colleague tell us a bit about what the Liberals could do not just to combat climate change, but also to support our manufacturing companies, such as Bombardier or rail companies?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, my colleague is very dedicated to improving environmental protection and action on climate impacts in this country. It is very much appreciated.
    It is important that the government, as I understand, is opposing this project for a number of reasons, including the potential environmental impact, but we would like to see a much bigger strategy. We are still waiting for action on climate change. One of the areas where the federal government clearly has an area of responsibility is in transport. That is certainly the case in the aeronautics industry and it is certainly the case in the rail industry. As I mentioned, reducing greenhouse gases from the transportation industry is one area that was not addressed at Paris.
    However, it is also very important that we recognize the half a billion dollars already invested by the Government of Ontario to take the metro lines from Toronto to the Pearson airport. That would take cars off the road, and it would also mean that we would be moving more passengers expeditiously.
    I am wondering if the government could come forward with a strategy to address the need to reduce air emissions and greenhouse gases from the transport sector in Canada.
    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise today on this opposition day motion and to follow my colleague, who has not only been in politics but who did extensive work on the environment prior to that and has been a leader in that field for many years. I appreciate her intervention.
    When I look at the motion being proposed, I see in it a circumvention of a real strategy for the airline industry. It is using this as a one-off in terms of the Toronto island airport to try to introduce a new strategy. What we have been lacking in this country, whether it be in the automotive, shipbuilding, or aerospace sectors, is a national strategy to build these industries that actually result in jobs for Canadians and applying that application in a measurable fashion.
    I find section (b) rather interesting. It says, “recognize that there is a market solution already available that could support Bombardier”. That is based upon tearing up a tripartite agreement that took place to actually create this opportunity to begin with, whereby there was compromise on all sides to create the current conditions, yet the suggestion is that this is a market solution.
    It definitely is not finite. There is a limit to the purchasing that is going to be considered, even if all carriers took up the challenge and actually did this. In addition, with this motion in place, I have fears that it would make travel, whether for business or leisure purposes, much more complicated and most likely less efficient, given the limited space not only for individuals leaving Toronto but individuals coming from the United States and other jurisdictions across Ontario and Canada, depending upon where their flights originate.
    As well, it is an area where there are sensitive issues related to weather conditions that could affect other airports, depending upon where the planes  can land and the types of aircraft that use the island facility. It goes against what has been agreed to, and there seems to be at least a general truce in the sense of how things will play out. I believe the agreement goes to 2033. There are people who believe that the current agreement has gone further than they wanted, and it is affecting them, as we know from evidence with regard to Toronto City Council and others.
    I am a little partial to the area. I lived at Dufferin and Queen back in the early 1990s when I worked for Community Living Mississauga. I would travel out of Toronto, back when people could actually do that and there would not be traffic—it is not like that any more—and then go back to Toronto when traffic was leaving. I was often in that area on the weekends and I know how important it is for the entire Toronto region to have a waterfront as a destination that is accessible and successful and that integrates the population, whether they are going to Toronto island to use the lakes for fishing, boating, sailing, kayaking, canoeing, or other things that are available in the area, such as the trail system that people use to exercise.
    I say that because I am a former city councillor in Windsor, and it took years and years, probably seven decades in total, for the six kilometres of waterfront to become a green trail that is very important for a number of different initiatives for the environment. There is a new fish habitat. Windsor helped Detroit move its waterfront along, which is now as extensive as Windsor's and is becoming a cross-border tourist initiative on both sides. The work on the Windsor side actually, ironically, came from Chicago. The late Mr. Battagello, a city councillor at that time, was key and instrumental in that. Later a number of different people were involved, including Mayor Mike Hurst, to create the waterfront that we now call the crown jewel. People outside of that area enjoy going there.
    I feel much reservation and will not support this motion, because as a former city councillor I believe that we have drifted away from supporting our municipalities with waterfronts. If we look at the urban planning that has been done in many different areas, adding roadways and infrastructure has created barriers to pedestrians, cycling, public parks, and other activities.

  (1120)  

    Isolating parts of that element would create a lower standard of living because it would create problems in enjoying some of the natural features that we often take for granted. The Great Lakes are one of the most important bodies of fresh water in the world and are arguably part of our most treasured resources. We should be reducing the impact on them rather than enhancing the impact, as would happen with this activity, which would further isolate people from their natural surroundings. Toronto has worked on a number of different initiatives to integrate the waterfront, but it has a long way to go.
    I was here when the government decided to expand the mandate of Canada's ports, especially the smaller ones, and give them more freedom from municipalities with respect to planning. That has been at the expense of municipalities, the general public, and so forth, because developers will no longer have to go through some of the planning processes that they often had to carry out in the past.
    I see this as a stretch. It is almost like a Hail Mary pass thrown at the end of a football game. Every once in a while it will work, but not often. It is not a play that a team expects to make. I see this Bombardier production as that type of attempt. It is a desperate measure to think that we could have a strategy for aerospace based upon increasing the landing strip of one runway, whether in Toronto or somewhere else. That is not a strategy in the true sense. Not having goals or standards will not lead to more Canadians jobs. We need to set goals and we need to achieve those goals. We need to have measurable standards that will allow us to see the progress of the public money that goes into our projects.
    The federal government shows a great deal of disrespect toward provinces and municipalities by tearing up agreements, not just in this situation but with other agreements as well. What is next? Can government, on a whim, actually tear up agreements that are already in place? That sets a bad precedent for urban planning.
    This agreement goes until 2033. A lot of money has been spent on the planning process, and to take that process away from the public at this time would do a disservice to taxpayers. Some provincial and federal contributions have gone into the process, but with a different vision for that area. Adding elements such as traffic management, more pedestrians, and travellers coming and going complicates things. The location of facilities, whether for de-icing or for other weather challenges, is highly problematic for this site and could backfire and become less efficient. There is a higher potential for doing this than there is for getting the jets from the company. That is not an aerospace strategy by any means.
    It is important to note that there needs to be respect for the municipal planning that takes place. I cannot understand why that is not included in the motion. The motion has several elements to it, and one would think that this aspect would have been identified at the very least. The motion talks about other important factors, but there is nothing that recognizes Toronto City Council and asks for its input.
    The motion does talk about things that we understand, such as the movement of passengers for both pleasure and business, and that is important. We agree with that. It has been noted as both business and leisure travel, but I do not understand why comment or support from those at the municipal level who are either for or against this measure has not been included.
    New Democrats really believe in the planning process. Many people on this side of the House are used to working with municipal governments on a regular basis. Reaching an agreement allows stakeholders to build upon a model that they have set in place. If we are going to deviate from that process, what are we going to do to ameliorate those problems or at least bring them to the table? We have not seen this evolve under this process.
    I will be standing against the motion with regard to the expansion of the Billy Bishop airport.

  (1125)  

    Canada's auto manufacturing and assembly industry has gone from number two in the world to number ten in the world. I have seen the industry left behind in trade agreements, as most recently with the TPP. For example, Canada will have a five-year phase-out; the United States gets 25 years. Malaysia gets 10 years. We were out-negotiated by Malaysia.
    I will conclude by saying that proper planning does not take place just in the halls of the House of Commons; it takes place with our citizens on the street.
    Mr. Speaker, what is clear and what we need to go back to is the fact that the Toronto City Council voted unanimously to adopt a city staff report that would allow the three signatories of the tripartite agreement to pursue the possibility of opening it up. They undertook a full environmental assessment, the development of an airport master plan, and a runway design plan. Even before these studies were completed, before any recommendations could be made, the minister decided to block the expansion.
    For someone who supports public consultation and understands the importance of evidence-based decision-making, I am wondering how the member squares the minister's action with supporting public consultation and evidence-based decision-making.
    Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak for the minister, but I can speak for myself. These planning processes actually just study something. That is at one level. However, there needs to be further public engagement along the entire process.
     We have done this with the international border crossing in Windsor. There have been a series of environmental, structural, and community-based groups, on both sides of the river, that have been actively working together as units of advice and input as the process has evolved. It has gone from basically not having a location to now having a location and a roadway built. They have been involved from the very beginning, from the concept to working towards a solution. I would see that as a more appropriate model than that of reacting as part of the process.

  (1130)  

    Mr. Speaker, putting aside the fact that the conditions for an environmental assessment, to start, were never met, and putting aside that the City of Toronto protested strenuously at the beginning of the environmental assessment and that the terms of reference were never completed and never consulted on, the issue that the member opposite raised was the need to respect municipal planning.
    My question is about the federal planning around this issue. When a report was tabled on November 2013 at the City of Toronto, it showed that the land-side cost to configure the airport, to even begin to think about expanding it at its current configuration, would cost close to $600 million. The proponent of this project, the airline, not the port authority and not the City of Toronto, said that the city could use the money from the new building Canada fund, $600 million from the federal government, to pay for all the changes that were required on the city's property.
    The federal government at the time was given the choice. It could fund the port authority and the airline's request, but it chose a different course. It actually funded transit in Scarborough with that money instead of acquiescing to Mr. Deluce's request. In light of the fact that the previous federal government did not support this project when given the opportunity, does the member think that the current opposition should support its previous position on the file?
    Mr. Speaker, if it wants to be consistent, the quick answer is yes.
    However, we need to look at the $600 million. It sounds like a lot of money, and it is, but when we look at the infrastructure deficit and the challenges that Toronto has, like many municipalities, it puts the stress on getting some projects prioritized and done.
     I can speak from experience, from having safe water supplies into homes by getting rid of cast-iron piping and lead that might be in the soldering process. Some sewers, as in my municipality, were built in 1910. There are a lot of different priorities considered with regard to planning. Therefore, $600 million in one project, to basically tear up an agreement that is already in place, is a tall order for any council, let alone one that has the natural challenges of redoing infrastructure.
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to stand in the House and support the motion that was put forward by my colleague from Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek. I will be sharing my time today with the member for Chilliwack—Hope.
    Everyone recognizes that the Billy Bishop city airport is a major economic driver for the greater Toronto area. There are significant opportunities that can still be realized, and we should not lose this opportunity.
     There are three pieces to this equation. The first piece is with respect to economics. The Billy Bishop airport's economic contribution to the Toronto area is significant. The airport is currently responsible for 6,500 jobs, over $2 billion in economic output, and it also contributes $71 million each year to taxes. If we look at how many jobs could be created and how much additional revenue could be realized for both the Canadian companies and Canadian taxpayers, that in itself is something to be looked at.
    The Billy Bishop airport expansion opportunities would allow entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and provide a greater service to the customers who use the airport. It would also allow airline companies, such as Air Canada, Porter, or WestJet, to purchase additional aircraft and grow their businesses and their networks. This will support both Canadian manufacturers like Bombardier, and Canadian airline companies like the ones I just mentioned.
    The second piece is around aircraft design and supply. The supplier of the aircraft would be the Bombardier C Series. The C Series aircraft is the quietest one in its class. It is exactly the kind of aircraft that a city centre airport like Billy Bishop needs.
    If the motion passes—and I have heard that the motion will not pass—and the airport is allowed to expand, the C Series aircraft would be added to one of the airline fleets. It would not only add significant economic benefits to the region, but would also assist in solving a significant problem that Bombardier faces with the recent announcement of the loss of 7,000 jobs.
    Bombardier is currently looking for a bailout of approximately $1 billion from the federal government. I am curious to hear if the government will support that. Also, the company presently has approximately $9 billion of debt. Quebec has purchased a 49% interest share in the C Series program, and both Quebec and Ontario have asked the federal government to step in financially. They have asked the Liberal government to support Bombardier, to support the struggling aerospace sector, and to support the workers who will lose their jobs. The expansion of the Billy Bishop airport and the procurement of aircraft will go a long way in assisting Bombardier to deal with its current financial issues. This is not just a one-off, but part of a larger picture to assist Bombardier.
    The third and last component that I want to speak to is with respect to process. An open and transparent process is what is required here. At a cost of $4 million, the City of Toronto had ordered a full environmental assessment, an airport master plan, and a runway design plan. All three were 90% complete. They were under way, and the plans were ready for release.
    The City of Toronto also had a list of 25 conditions to be addressed prior to any approval being given. These issues ranged from noise restrictions and mitigation, landing and take-off curfews, proper environmental assessments, and wildlife management plans. These are all important issues that need to be addressed for the community. However, the Liberal government has arbitrarily made a decision to restrict the expansion of the airport. This is most definitely a lost opportunity for economic development, job creation, and market support, for Bombardier and for the aerospace sector.

  (1135)  

    Bombardier has designed aircraft for all types of applications and is well suited for urban airports. The proposed expansion should go through an open and transparent process and should engage all stakeholders. This initiative should move forward and be given the time that it deserves.
    I want to remind my fellow members that the Liberal government often talks about being a partner for municipalities and fighting for Canadian jobs. Well, here is a great opportunity for the government to step in to help a struggling Canadian company, and to listen, hear, and understand the needs of a municipality.
    Both the Toronto City Council and the Toronto ports authority have a process in place for the potential approval of the expansion of the Billy Bishop airport, but the Liberal government has stepped in and decided to block the expansion and the process.
    It is our duty as members of Parliament to support Canadians, job creation, and to try to meet the needs of communities. Therefore, I call upon my fellow members to support this motion, to support Bombardier, and to support the expansion of the Billy Bishop airport. I ask the government to reverse its decision and allow the process to continue.

  (1140)  

    Mr. Speaker, putting aside the fact that the City of Toronto never ordered an environmental assessment, nor would it ever pay for one; putting aside the fact that the port authority said it would not and could not meet most of the 25 stipulations put in place to even consider this issue; putting aside the fact that the City of Toronto had five opportunities to approve this application, including a deadline that it had to be done by July 3, 2013 or else the deal was off; putting aside all of those factual realities not present in the speech that was just made, the member opposite raised the issue of Air Canada and WestJet having open access to this airport.
    Have you ever met with Air Canada and WestJet to discuss the fact that they have completely limited access, that there is a near monopoly that has been granted to the operator of Porter Airlines? Have you discussed that WestJet and Air Canada have grave reservations about how Conservative appointees to the port authority configured this airport in a near monopoly setting, which is so restrictive that they are not allowed to compete with Porter Airlines with flights? In fact, the U.S. airline industry has refused to fly in and out of this airport because of the restrictive conditions put in place to benefit one airline over all others.
    Are you aware of the fact that WestJet and Air Canada are silent on this issue and want nothing to do with this process?
    I would remind hon. members to direct their questions through the chair.
    The hon. member for South Surrey—White Rock.
    Mr. Speaker, the member raises an important question, because the other airlines have requested to have access as well.
     I think it is important to look at an open process with open access, to ensure that the economic opportunities are realized. Through an open and transparent process, that would be a discussion that should be fully undertaken.
    Mr. Speaker, I would ask my colleague about her reference to economic opportunities. Can she speak to the importance of the discussion around jobs, particularly in the aerospace industry, which we are talking about today? While I have heard from others that this is not on topic, I do not know what is more fundamental than the need to protect good jobs in our communities and to make sure that government policy is protecting those jobs.
    Unfortunately, under the previous Conservative government, we saw thousands of manufacturing jobs, including in aerospace, bleed away across our country. Now we have a new Liberal government that is failing to do anything when it comes to living up to its obligations to Aveos workers, including in my home province of Manitoba, who have been negatively affected.
    I think it is critical that we make a connection to the need for federal government leadership to support manufacturing jobs in our communities, in all sectors, and realize that government needs to be supportive of these industries as well.
    Mr. Speaker, I would agree with my colleague that it is important to work with different sectors and make sure that we are growing those sectors.
    As a former mayor, I know it is very important to come together, especially in the aerospace industry, with the Cascadia Corridor, the expansion of aerospace supply chain jobs at the Abbotsford airport, in Richmond, in making sure that we work with all levels of government.
    I think it is absolutely key and crucial, without a doubt, that we support our partners, ensure that there are good jobs, and grow the sector.
    Mr. Speaker, just to set the record right, the Vancouver airport is not in New Westminster—Burnaby. It is in the city of Richmond. We see a lot of economic activity because of the former Conservative government's development in that airport.
    Has my colleague learned or experienced growth in her communities because of the success of the Vancouver airport?
    Mr. Speaker, it is very important to really understand the growth of the sector, and I know that through the work south of the Fraser has done in my area with the Cascadia corridor that runs all the way through British Columbia and the United States. We have done significant work around growing that sector. The Vancouver airport has had significant expansions. Also, BCIT is there, and the start-ups, the technology, all of that has expanded significantly.
    For both my colleagues who have just asked questions, it is important that we support these industries and support the sectors in every way we can to ensure job growth.

  (1145)  

    Mr. Speaker, it once again is great to stand on behalf of the people of Chilliwack—Hope to speak to an important issue about the Canadian economy and aerospace industry.
     I want to take a brief moment today, on International Women's Day, to salute the strong Conservative women who have been leading the debate for our side today: the members for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek and South Surrey—White Rock. As well, I will take a brief moment to salute my wife, my mom, and my three sisters, who have played such an important role in my life as well.
    I want to talk about a few things during my time here. I want to talk about the importance of the aerospace industry to Canada.
     We know that this is often thought of as the major employers, whether it be Bombardier, WestJet, Air Canada, or Porter employing people in this sector. However, over my time as a member of Parliament, I have come to learn of the number of jobs and the economic impact the aerospace industry has right across the country. I think of companies like Avcorp in B.C. and Cascade Aerospace. They are major aerospace players in British Columbia that service not only domestically, for instance the military, but they also have contracts all around the world, providing services and high-paying jobs for workers in our communities. We should not lose sight of that when we talk about the industry. This affects not just Montreal and Toronto, but cities like Chilliwack and Abbotsford in my region.
    I also want to talk about the importance of secondary airports. It was a little disconcerting to hear the Minister of Transport ask why we needed to expand Billy Bishop airport, that people could just go to Pearson, that Pearson was a good airport. I think of the effect that would have on the region I represent.
     We have a great international airport near Chilliwack, the Abbotsford International Airport. This airport hosts the world-famous Abbotsford Airshow. Approximately 500,000 passengers per year use that secondary airport on many daily WestJet flights and some seasonal Air Canada service as well. It is an important regional hub of economic activity. When we promote those secondary airports, we promote the economy, better options for travellers, and more opportunity for the airlines that service those smaller and often more responsive secondary airports.
     I know the Abbotsford International Airport takes pride in providing low landing fees, cheaper parking, and better customer service to attract airline investment and customers. We want to encourage not just the major airports in the country, not just Vancouver, Montreal, and Toronto, but also the secondary airports that people travel into or could make a choice to travel into if there were more options available. That is important.
    I want to talk about the importance of our domestic airline industry, whether it is WestJet, Air Canada, or Porter.
     WestJet just celebrated its 20th anniversary. In my region, it is the primary carrier that people rely on to get to work and to see their families. It started small and expanded into a great airline employing tens of thousands of Canadians.
     Looking at what those airlines have done for consumers, we see that when there is more choice, the prices go down. We have seen them buying different types of planes. They have already been buying the Q400. They have expanded service. It is good for the whole aerospace industry when there is an expansion of service and greater opportunities.
    I am from Chilliwack, B.C. and I am talking about a downtown Toronto island airport, the Billy Bishop airport, as the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek said, because this affects all Canadians and it sends a message.

  (1150)  

    What message does this send when the Liberal government has been seen already, in its short time in office, to be manipulating the process to get the results it wants.
    We heard grandiose promises that there would be evidence-based decision-making, that there would be broad consultation, that we should just sit back and watch the consultations take place. However, the Liberals have short-circuited that approach when it comes to the Billy Bishop airport.
    Instead of allowing the environmental assessment that was under way to take place, which was 90% completed, the minister unilaterally decided he would cut that off. If he truly believes in the process, if he truly believes in evidence-based decision-making, why not allow that process to be completed? Why not allow the reports to be made public? Why not then respond as the federal government to the work that was done by PortsToronto and the city? Instead, to short-circuit that process, to take the political decision to circumvent it is a mistake.
    We heard that in the debate on energy east. When government members think the result will go against their preconceived notion, they change the consultation process. In this case, they are cutting it short and layering on more red tape.
    Yesterday in British Columbia, we saw reports of a major LNG proponent. There is some question as to whether this is the company's position, but there are real concerns in the industry that when we do not have an open and transparent consultation process in which the public can have faith, we lose investor confidence. We lose the confidence of Canadians when it is seen that the process is being manipulated. We have seen it on pipeline reviews where there has been an added layering-on of the consultation process, which is in stark contrast to cutting it short in this case.
    There is a problem with the process, and it gives us some concern as members of the official opposition and the Canadians we represent. What does this mean for the future consultations the government has promised to undertake with Canadians?
    We talked about things like democratic reform. Broad consultations are promised. What we have seen with consultations is that when the Liberals are not sure of the outcome or they want to ensure an outcome that has been predetermined, they will cut that process short. That is not how we should be doing consultations. It does not bring confidence to Canadians that it actually will be an evidence-based decision-making process.
    We are seeing a difference between the official opposition and the government when it comes to problems that present themselves in our economy. In our opposition day motions, whether it is on energy east or Toronto island airport, we are promoting market-based solutions. We are asking why we are not looking at the private sector to help Bombardier or to help get our resources to market in the case of energy east pipeline.
     The government instead looks to intervene, either to shut down opportunity or to delay processes that have been in place. That does not bring confidence to Canadians and it certainly does not present the opportunity for the market to do the job it can do. Why not allow the Billy Bishop process to go forward? Then, if the government at that point wants to intervene, at least all the information is on the table. Instead, the Liberals have cut that short.
    The minister has waved around his letter of intent from Air Canada. When he was asked about why he cut this process short, he told us not to look at the jobs that had been lost at Bombardier. Rather we should look at the letter of intent he had. He has the same sort of letter of intent from a different airline, but he does not want to talk about it. That is what we are talking about today.
     Therefore, why not allow the process to go forward? The motion is about that. It is about letting the free market play its role in boosting private companies like Bombardier. Both of those things should go ahead, and that is why I will support the motion.

  (1155)  

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to comment on my colleague's take on secondary airports. He mentioned the Abbotsford international airport, which I am quite familiar with. I would suggest to him that Billy Bishop airport in the heart of Toronto is in a very different situation than Abbotsford out in the cornfields of the Fraser Valley. Abbotsford airport covers the outer suburbs of Vancouver. Billy Bishop is servicing downtown Toronto. He will not find low-cost parking there, for instance, I am sure.
    While I am sure that the Abbotsford airport does contribute greatly to the economic diversity of the Fraser Valley, I would like the member to comment on how this might affect the economic situation in Toronto.
    Mr. Speaker, obviously I was not comparing the two airports in that way. I was simply saying that when there is a major international airport, which we have at Pearson near Billy Bishop and from which it would be drawing its customer base, there is still opportunity and there should still be encouragement given to those secondary airports like Abbotsford in relation to Vancouver to grow and thrive.
    Any time we are expanding an airport, any time we are expanding service at an airport, providing opportunities for economic activity, it creates more jobs, and more revenue for governments. That is what this should be about. This is about a process. This is about continuing a process that was under way that was short-circuited at the eleventh hour by the Minister of Transport for political reasons.
     I am sure we will hear again from the member who has this area in his backyard. It obviously pleased that member. It pleased members of the Liberal caucus, but they should have allowed this process to continue so that Canadians could be confident that the work was done and that a decision would be taken only after that work has been completed.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite talks about a market-based solution. Is he aware that it will require about $1.6 billion in federal funding to reconfigure the land mass to accommodate this project, if it is even conceivably possible?
    Putting that aside, we have consulted in the city of Toronto for three years on this issue. There have been more than 25 reports put on the table at city council. City council has had five opportunities to approve this and not once has it ever done so. There was an election held in which a promise was made to protect the tripartite agreement. There was one party in that election that promised to open the tripartite agreement and expand the airport regardless of cost, and that was the party opposite. That party received zero seats in the election and less than 10% of the vote in the precinct surrounding this airport. There was no public support for the position advocated by that party.
    We talk about the need to support Bombardier. When the city of Toronto came forward, with the support of the Province of Ontario, to purchase Bombardier streetcars in Thunder Bay and to facilitate the expansion of the transit system in this city, the member, Mr. Baird at the time, told the city in rude and juvenile language that I cannot recite because it barred to do so in Parliament, to get lost, that there was no basis to support Bombardier and build a transit system in Toronto.
    If economic development and the health of Bombardier are central to this argument, why did the party opposite refuse to support the city of Toronto's request to buy Bombardier streetcars for the city of Toronto?
    Mr. Speaker, certainly the previous Conservative government was a strong partner of the city of Toronto in investing billions of dollars in public transit, GO Transit, in the waterfront itself, and in the Pan Am Games. We were there as a partner with the city of Toronto working with it on its priorities.
    I have a letter that says it is the city's expectation that the studies being undertaken by PortsToronto will address the conditions adopted by city council, including the caps and phasing framework. There was a process under way. The Minister of Transport short-circuited it. That was a mistake and we hope that members will vote in favour of this motion so that the mistake can be rectified.

  (1200)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have to thank the party opposite for the opportunity to address the House on this issue, which defines some of the challenges facing the riding I represent.
    The riding I represent is the Toronto waterfront and the inner harbour that stretches from the CNE grounds right across to the Don River, encompassing the Toronto island and the island airport, as well as the communities that are impacted by it.
    One of the great things about this part of the city is the fact that there has been an extraordinary transformation over the last 25 years of the waterfront, led in large part by another tripartite agreement that was referenced earlier, the waterfront tripartite agreement signed by Prime Minister Chrétien, Premier Mike Harris, as well as the mayor of the day, Mel Lastman, which set in motion close to $3.5 billion in investments to transform the waterfront from an industrial port that had gone by the wayside into a new community that embraced all of the elements that make a city successful.
    As for industry, we have Lafarge still shipping there, and Red Path Sugar using the port actively. We also have an airport defined by a separate agreement, called the Billy Bishop airport but known in the city as the island airport.
    This investment also triggered huge private investment, much more private investment than any benefit calculated to have flowed from the island airport. We have new post-secondary institutions on the waterfront. Harbourfront Centre has more than tripled in size and is now one of the cultural centres for the city and the country.
    In addition to that, we have new transit lines, new hotels, new condominiums and residences, and we also have the largest concentration of public housing in my riding 500 metres from the end of the airport.
    This is the context in which the island airport is situated. I urge members to look at even one of the 25 reports that have been tabled on this file, and to look at the proposition and the configuration of the land being asked to accommodate this particular facility. The proposition is absurd, once we look at the maps and look at the falsehoods being propagated.
    This idea comes from Mr. Deluce and Porter Airlines in a private communication to Mayor Ford, and was given six weeks for approval. The city has six weeks to approve this or else the deal will fall through. When it came to council, the questions that sprung from that ridiculous proposition were so serious and of such magnitude that the city has struggled through five public meetings of council, numerous consultation meetings, as well as 25 reports tabled by economic consultants, planning consultants, aeronautic consultants, and everyone else trying to figure out why this idea would even get to see the light of day, let alone be put on the order paper at city council.
    We would have to ask Mayor Ford—and maybe the former Prime Minister could have done that when he had him on stage during the campaign. However, we have no idea why this idea ever came forward. PortsToronto did not promote the idea. The City of Toronto did not promote the idea. The Government of Canada did not promote the idea. None of the signatories to the tripartite agreement have ever agreed to this proposition. We are studying it to try to figure out if it makes sense.
    All that the studies have done is to result in more questions. What happens to the marine exclusion zone? Does it get extended and block off the port to commercial traffic? We cannot get an answer. The airport was originally only going to have to lengthen its runway into the lake by 80 metres. That later turned out to be closer to 300 metres on each end, which means paving over and filling a half-kilometre of the lake, cutting off access to the islands and of the island ferry to Hanlan's Point, as well as potentially choking the airport at the pinch point near Ontario Place, shutting down one of the main channels to get in and out of the harbour for commercial ships.
    We could not get an answer as to whether that was the right configuration of the airport, the wrong configuration of the airport, how wide it would be, and whether taxiways would be involved. There was no design. In fact, there was no business case ever advanced by anyone around this entire process.
    The city has tried to study it. It put some very serious conditions in place before it would ever even consider approving this project. Those conditions have never been met. In fact, the port authority said it could not meet them, which meant that when this eventually did get to the floor of council, it was dead in the water.
     The reality is that the proposition requires a half a kilometre of lakefill on either end of the runway. It cannot be moved one way or the other, because it would choke off development of the port lands or it would run into Ontario Place. It requires the marine exclusion zones to be expanded, and we cannot figure out by how much because Transport Canada will not tell us because there is no plan or design or project in front of it.
     The other thing that became quite obvious is that the blast from the jets turning at the end of the runway would be so powerful that it would knock over small craft and destroy boating and recreational yachting in the Toronto harbour.
    The port authority then proposed building a six-metre wall the entire length of the runway, from Bay Street to Dufferin, for blast control. An entire blast wall would have to be built to protect boating in the area, but even then there was no business case to pay for it.

  (1205)  

    As a result, we end up with a situation where the project just keeps expanding in scope and cost and undermines the very good work that has been done to revitalize the waterfront, the amazing investment, which is about to be doubled again and has had far greater economic impact, far greater public support, and far greater study and collection of data to prove its value. Instead, what we have is this crazy idea from one individual who wants to further the airline.
    Has WestJet or Air Canada come in support of this? No.
     Has the port authority ever signed off on it? No.
     Has the City of Toronto, in five public council meetings, ever said yes? No. It has had five chances to sign off on it and has always said no, unless the following conditions could be met. Those conditions, as he just outlined, have never been met.
    However, the real mystery behind this proposition is the notion that it is market-based.
    One of the proposals to make this idea work involved building a cloverleaf out over Lake Ontario to circle traffic in the inner harbour, around the silos, and back into the airport terminal. The cost of that alone was $600 million, which Mr. Deluce said the federal government would pay for. The federal government had an opportunity last term to pay for that, and it chose to spend the money on transit in Scarborough. It was a wise decision.
    The port authority then said that it would raise all the fees to passenger fees. Except there is a problem. The letters patent of the port authority does not allow it to spend dollars that it raises on property that it does not own or are not contained in the letters patent. Therefore, it cannot reconfigure the south end of the city to its liking because it is not allowed to spend money on property it does not own, and it agreed and said yes, the city should ask the federal government for the money.
    The federal government could have put that money on the table in its last three budgets. It chose not to do so. In fact, what it chose to do was to redouble its efforts and go back into the waterfront Toronto plan, the appropriate plan, supported by the City of Toronto, the people of Toronto, the business community of Toronto, and the planners of Toronto.
    What we have ended up here today debating is this crazy notion that has been put forth by a single business proponent to reconfigure the entire city of Toronto to his liking, to abandon the plans of a $3.2-billion federal investment on the waterfront, to turn our backs on Harbourfront Centre, turn our backs on the residents who live there—not the residents of the condominium, but residents of public housing. The public housing residents are the closest people to the end of this runway. They live 500 metres from it. The communities around there have said, “No, we were given a promise, a promise that there would be no jets and no runway expansion, signed by the City of Toronto, the port authority, and the federal government. We want you to honour that promise.”
    Therefore, during the campaign, we said that we would honour that promise, and we have delivered on that promise as we committed to do in the election campaign.
    However, the real concern I have about this is that when we ask the party opposite whom it has spoken to, the only people it has admitted to speaking to is the airline operator. They have met with Mr. Deluce. Mr. Deluce and his lobby organization, the Sussex Strategy Group, have been lobbying on Parliament Hill for well over a month. If we were to check the lobbyists' register, we would find that they have not registered.
    The party opposite is acting on behalf of lobbyists who have not obeyed the rules and have brought to the House a motion to further the private interests of a single airline at the expense of all the other public investments.
     At the very least, we would expect this operator to follow the rules for once, to follow the rules and register as a lobbyist before talking to parliamentarians about these business interests, but that has not happened. That is shocking. It is not surprising from the party opposite, but still shocking.
    What we have seen time and again with the Conservative Party and the port authority of Toronto is a relationship that is profoundly secretive. It appointed people to that port authority who were the college roommates and fundraisers of some former cabinet ministers.
    There has been an astonishing—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

  (1210)  

    If I could just interrupt the hon. member for a moment, I am sure the hon. member appreciates the prompting from the other side, but if they do not mind, I would appreciate it if they kept their comments to themselves. It is not good to yell across the floor.
    Mr. Speaker, there is an astonishing record of poor public administration at the port authority. It does not follow the rules. The proponents of this project are not following the lobbyist registration rules. They have not registered yet. A complaint has been filed and received.
    It is shocking that, in the midst of all of this poor governance, one individual has convinced the party opposite to come forward with a motion from which he alone would profit. It is just an abysmal process. To suggest that we are going to sit here today and overrule a decision we made, a promise we committed to and kept, which is to protect the waterfront, the balance, and the airport as it is currently configured, and move forward in a coordinated and consensual way, to say that we are going to throw all of that aside for the rights of one individual who will not play by the rules is just not the way good governance is conducted. It is not the way good public policy is pursued.
    In terms of consultation, I would suggest the party opposite consult more widely. Perhaps if it did, it would not be shut out in the city of Toronto every time there is a federal election.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his speech on this matter. Obviously, he knows this file well, as he had a role in Toronto before coming to the Hill.
    I am pleased to hear the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister stand and defend the rights of community members to have a say in decision-making about land uses in their municipality.
    I too have fought long and hard in my own city to protect our river valley, which is treasured by many in our community. That runs against a lot of private proposals to develop it. There are lots of issues about building on top of a bank and what to build in the river valley, but the community is always saying it wants to preserve it, that it is a treasure of the community.
    My brother used to live in Toronto and I often went along that waterfront. Every time I go to Toronto I try to find an opportunity to go down there.
    As was mentioned previously in the House, we have two tripartite agreements somewhat at odds with each other. I appreciate that the member said it is the low-income housing that would be most impacted. It has been brought to my attention, and the hon. member also mentioned this in the House, that there was actually a report done by the medical officer of health in Toronto expressing concern about potential health impacts not only of the expansion of the airport but of the already continuing operation. I wonder if the member could speak to that issue and what role that should probably play or might have played in the final decision by the federal government to not allow this expansion.
    Mr. Speaker, the report from the Board of Health identifies the island airport as the single largest source of pollution in the entire GTA. That has very serious implications for the low-income community that surrounds the airport, in particular the building that is closest to the end of the runway, which is a supportive environment home to people with significant disabilities.
    We are also seeing a spike in childhood asthma at the local school. The local school sits on one side of the street, a two-lane road to a park in this community, and the entire access to the airport runs between a school in the community and the community centre. There are no plans and no capacity to expand that roadway, even though they want to jam an airport the size of the Ottawa International Airport into one-seventh the land mass.
    There are other issues as well. The issue we have to turn our attention to is what is the right balance. The member opposite referred to two different tripartite agreements that govern the city's waterfront. Those tripartite agreements strike a balance and allow a small airport to operate. It has operated successfully and has allowed the waterfront investment to proceed in a way that has generated more jobs, has more economic impact, and has more work to be done. Those two tripartite agreements work in concert with each other. They were developed and are governed in concert with one another.
    The agency that has governance over this issue is focused on building a great waterfront, not just a road and an airport for a single operator. We have complexities to deal with here, and the movers of the motion opposite have not even begun to do the research, let alone read the reports or talk to the stakeholders. The only person they have spoken to is the operator at the airport. Even then, it is not the operator at the airport but the main airline at the airport. That is the only stakeholder they have spoken to.

  (1215)  

    Mr. Speaker, I think as the day unfolds, you will find out that there have been lots of conversations with respect to the matter.
    My point with respect to this motion is pretty simple. It has to do with the natural progression of justice when it comes to considering matters at the Toronto city centre airport, now known as Billy Bishop airport. We have heard in his speech and we have known for many years that the member opposite will say and do anything to try to shut down the facility. This is well known and is on the record.
    One thing I want to bring to the attention of the member to illustrate that and get his comments on is an incident that happened in 2007, when the member went so far as to make an allegation about a Bombardier plane, a Q400, not being a safe plane. Obviously, it has been in operation since 2007 and has been very safe, but the president of the CAW local at the time very clearly rebuked the member for the allegation that was made. He said, “I am appalled at the despicable display of political opportunism by Councillor Adam Vaughan...in calling for the grounding of Porter Airlines Q400s”.
    The issue is this. He has said and done many things in the past. This is in very much the same vein as being politically opportunistic. He is trying to push an agenda of closing this airport via his last election campaign, whereas Jim Karygiannis, a former member of the House, said that he cannot remember Liberals having taken a firm policy decision on this issue.
    I would enjoy hearing the comments of the member opposite on those quotes.
    Before the hon. member answers, I want to remind members that, even if it is in a quote, we cannot say the name of a member of Parliament in the House.
    Mr. Speaker, the member opposite referred to an incident when an early flight of a Q400, just coming out of development, had a problem with the rubber ring around the nose cone landing configuration that caused several of them to fail and crash, particularly when they flew over water and landed at maritime airports. It was subsequently fixed. There was a recall on that part and it was reconfigured to be more safe. In fact, it flies safely now; and I have no problem with the Q400 as it is currently configured, because it was fixed.
    She raised the issue about due process. One of the conditions of the tripartite agreement requires the port authority to build a sewer system to distribute the de-icing fluids back to the city's sewage system so that they are not dumped directly into the lake. The member opposite, who used to run the port authority, knows that sewer system was never built in compliance with the port authority's regulations or the tripartite agreements.
    If due process, proper environmental stewardship, and living up to the letter of the law in the agreement were so important, why did the member opposite, when she had control of the authority, not build the appropriate sewer system to protect the lake and the drinking water of millions of Torontonians from known carcinogens that were being shovelled into Lake Ontario? If the party opposite wants to lecture this side of the House on due process and natural justice, it ought to take a good look at its own behaviour over the last 20 years in relation to this issue.
    Mr. Speaker, we heard about the so-called environmental assessment and what it did or did not bring out. I would ask that the hon. member talk about the environmental assessment that the opposition mentioned and what the status of that is.
    Mr. Speaker, the City of Toronto requested an environmental assessment be done, but only after the port authority agreed to put a cap on the current operation of the airport, because the current operation of the airport is overwhelming the transportation infrastructure in the community, including transit, the intersection of Bathurst and Lake Shore, and that of Eireann Quay and Bathurst.
    With the current configuration, the airport is already too big for the land mass it currently occupies, and the ground transportation infrastructure is inadequate for an airport of the current configuration of 2.4 million passengers per year. The port authority refused to put the cap in place and proceeded with an environmental assessment that it configured, to which it set the terms of reference, and for which it would have the sole decision as to whether it would be approved or not. Therefore, the City of Toronto was at the point of walking away from this process because of the lack of co-operation from PortsToronto.

  (1220)  

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    The first comment I will make is that I would have liked to have heard the member from Toronto speak as passionately about his government allowing the City of Montreal to dump eight billion litres of sewage into the St. Lawrence as he has with respect to a holding tank in an airport. I did not hear him talk about that at that time. It would have been nice to hear the same passion about raw sewage going into a freshwater supply.
    I said this in my last speech in the House. We have to decide what we are doing in this country. Will we continue to say no to growth in jobs when the science is there to prove it is okay to go ahead or at least allow the process to work so we can come to a decision?
    These are a few notes I made this morning.
    The energy east pipeline would bring $16 billion plus in economic activity. The current government has reset the terms of the environmental assessments, so it is unlikely that it would even be approved at the end of its mandate.
    In addition, there is a project in my riding in which the environmental assessment began in 2008. The project itself began in 2002 or 2003. The science was there and is sound. The current government has said it wants to kick the ball down the field a little longer and wait and see what else it can dig up. However, the science was there to go ahead. As a conservative estimate, it would cost nearly $1 billion for the work to begin and to provide many jobs in my area.
    As well, the decision to cancel the expansion has potentially caused the loss of another $2 billion worth of economic activity in the central region of Montreal and surrounding area. If we add those up, we are almost at $20 billion worth of lost economic activity and jobs. Most economic development agencies say that there is a multiplier effect of at least four and probably six on all of those. Therefore, if we take the $20 billion and multiply it by four or six, we are talking about $80 billion to $100 billion in lost economic activity for really not a lot of scientific fact or reason.
    I use that to preface my comments today because we have to make the decisions.
     In my area, there are a lot of Amish and Mennonite people. They are great and wonderful people. I have known them since I was a kid. However, the reality of the situation is that we cannot go back and live like them. We have to be forward-thinking. We have to use technology. We have to use innovation to our benefit to grow and better the world.
    I also worked in the technology industry. We cannot have every single person in this country developing software and IT solutions for us. It perhaps is a nice goal to have but one that will not happen in my lifetime.
    Another comment I heard was with respect to the people of the city. I admit that I do not live nor have I ever lived in Toronto. If I had lived in Toronto or in that area, I perhaps might feel a little stronger about what I am about to say.
    Ten years ago the number of passengers was 23,000. It is well over 2 million people today. Therefore, the people have spoken: it is a well-utilized airport, it is popular, and it makes sense.
     I saw the report for January, and out of over 200 flights out of that area, which is 200 potential movements in a month, there were only 14 noise complaints. That is a pretty good number. We also heard in some other comments today about the potential of some of the CS100 versus the Q400 and any others of the Dash 8 series: 100, 200, or 300.
    There was a report by Tetra Tech, a worldwide engineering firm that specializes in aviation, which stated that the noise level from the CS100 is 17% less than a 100, it is over 20% less than a 200, and over a 300 there is 57% less noise.

  (1225)  

    The numbers will continue to flesh themselves out, but the numbers that I was able to get today show that basically the cumulative measure of the three units of measurement they use will be roughly the same as a Q400, and the average will be very close. These are important facts.
    Looking at the actual expansion and improvement of the airport, there is, in the terminology of Transport Canada, the runway end safety zone. There is work there that should probably be done. Then there is the expansion proposed by the airport that would help the CS100s in landing.
    I can understand the concern about infilling in fresh water. Obviously there are always going to be concerns about infilling in fresh water. In my area, the Goderich Port Authority, which is one of the most profitable ports in the country, had a project that proposed to infill 14 acres of fresh water in Lake Huron, and they were working through the environmental assessment process.
     I understand the environmental assessment that was ongoing or that was proposed here is different from the federal environmental assessment that was proposed in the Port of Goderich. However, I am saying that if the Liberals are saying no to any infill in fresh water, or other waters for that matter, they had better start adding up the number of harbours and marinas in this country that provide economic activity to Canadians each and every day.
    There is a process. No one should be afraid of the environmental assessment recommendations that came out of the Jacobs report that would mitigate sound levels. All these are what people who are in business and people who are concerned about the environment and people who live in the city or the country are doing. This is why there are rules. That is why they do what they need to do.
    I also understand the argument that increased traffic would reduce residential growth and reduce valuations of property. Has anybody read anything in The Globe and Mail recently, or in any other newspaper, about the increased prices of real estate in Toronto? We went from 23,000 passengers in 2006 to over two million passengers today. Take a look at the growth in Toronto in that area in the last 10 years. Take a look at the increase in real estate values in the last 10 years. Look at the increase in improvements in the waterfront area.
    I have been down on Queen's Quay. I have stayed there many times. It is a beautiful area. It is really one of the cherished spots in Ontario, and it has been able to grow in harmony. That is how it works. When business is responsible, government is responsible, and citizens' voices are heard, that is when everything in our economy works, and that is when we can grow this country and grow this province, the province of Ontario that I represent.
    I just want to summarize by saying that all Canadians have a choice. We can choose to grow our economy, respect our environment, and respect the people who live in our areas. It is not just airports; it is railways, highways, and roads. It is everything. We have sewage issues in different communities. My area obviously has a couple that could be fixed. There are sewage issues all around. There are environmental issues all around that we can all work to improve. However, this airport should have the ability to at least proceed and ascertain all the facts and collect all the data in conjunction with what the company wants to do.
    There are opportunities for other companies. I should also mention that Air Canada had the run of the place for years and really did not do much with it. It was Porter that had the vision. I love Air Canada, but it is a little rich for people at Air Canada to come back and say they would like to have some of this now.
    I would be happy to take any questions. I am sure I will get at least one from the member from Toronto, because I think he is the only one asking questions for the Liberals today.

  (1230)  

    Mr. Speaker, perhaps I am the only one asking questions because I am the only one who has actually read the reports.
    There have been ample reports tabled on this issue over three years, and they are definitive. One of my favourites was a report that was the groundwork for the formal request to get someone to do a full environmental assessment, not by the port authority but under the provincial laws, because the lake is actually a provincial park. The bed of the lake where the airport wants to expand is actually owned by the Province of Ontario as a provincial park, yet the provincial environmental assessment process is forbidden from kicking in. The federal one trumps it.
    The foundation report made a very interesting finding. One of the proponents said that we could extend the runways by half a kilometre into the lake and we could build new fish habitats at the end of each runway. We would do this because we found that when we studied the existing airport, there was no fish habitat in the Toronto harbour next to the airport. When we asked why there was no fish habitat there, the report said it was because the island airport dumps all of the runway snow into the lake and has killed the fish habitat, so what the proposal actually said we were going to do was to extend the runway and kill more fish habitat as we create it.
    The environmental assessment, though, did not take into account the impact on the natural environment, because the scope of the environmental assessment did not do that.
    Would the member opposite agree that an environmental assessment that was not authorized and did not meet the threshold of consultation that is defined by the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto, an environmental assessment that does not take into consideration the existing law, is in fact not really an environmental assessment at all?
    Mr. Speaker, those are all pretty weak points.
    There are 180 Liberal members of Parliament, and I think they pretty well have all of Toronto as members of Parliament, yet he is the only one to ask questions. I am sorry, but if you are the only one in your caucus who has read the report, you had better start—
    You understand what the problem is. Go through the Speaker.
    I got it, Mr. Speaker.
    In addition to that, the argument about the environmental assessment is very weak. I am sure that if there is a business case for the airport expansion, the proponents would be happy to do the environmental assessment at the same level that a federal environmental assessment would require. It is a no-brainer. If there is a business case to be made and it makes sense, do the environmental assessment to the same standard. As they said, there are harbours around this country that are doing them all the time. This is not new.
    The marine exclusion zone is not affected. Fish habitat will not be affected. The environmental assessment will show that. If the environmental assessment shows that there are effects, then remediation will be put in place.
    Anything that member is saying to the point, and I have been in the House for 30 minutes, does not pass anything with me.
    Mr. Speaker, we have heard speech after speech from Conservative members saying that we should let the market prevail, so I am left very confused about exactly what the point of the motion is.
    Who exactly is putting up the money to expand this airport? Who is putting up the money to buy these airplanes? What do they mean by saying it is “market driven”? Surely this is really all about a land use decision, and when one makes a proper land use decision, one confers broadly and does a proper environmental impact assessment that is supervised by a neutral independent body, which in this case would be the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.
    I am left totally confused about what the market-driven aspect is. Surely Bombardier, an internationally recognized company, can put together a pretty good market plan for selling not only its airplanes but also its trains, trolleys, and so forth.
    What is this market argument? It seems to be simply cutting through and saying essentially that the federal government should give the money so that Bombardier can buy these planes and the airport can be expanded and everybody will be happy.
    Mr. Speaker, I love getting market questions from the socialists down the way from the Bernie Sanders socialist party.
    It is called the free market, and if there is a business case for an expansion of an airport, it is called a business case. One makes that business case, and if it will actually fund itself and pay for that investment, that is called the free market. It is a little different from what the Bernie Sanders socialists have down there.
    What happens when we expand the runway is an airline says, “Gee, now we can fly in there, so now we need airplanes to fly in there that will meet that need.” Then they get the financing. Then they go to Bombardier and say, “Oh, by the way, Porter is an all-Bombardier company. We'd love to buy 30 of your jets.” Those jets cost $2 billion.
    That is the way economy works. That is the way free market capitalism works. We know the Bernie Sanders socialists down there no comprenden, but that is okay.

  (1235)  

    Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to discuss this important issue.
    We are talking about the expansion of the Billy Bishop airport in Toronto and the benefits that such an expansion would have for Toronto. We are talking today about Bombardier and the benefits that the airport expansion would have for Bombardier and more broadly the province of Quebec, but we are also talking about a fundamental principle, and that is the importance of stimulating the economy and how we do so.
    I think there is broad agreement in this House not only about the importance of having a strong economy but also about the role for government in looking for ways to strengthen our economy, in looking for policies or structures that can be put in place to facilitate stimulation of the economy.
    We have a different approach on this side of the House. Our view is that as much as possible, the first action is to seek to work with and leverage opportunities for investment for stimulus from within the private sector. If there are opportunities to encourage private sector investments that lead to economic stimulus and economic growth, that is a very good thing. We should prioritize these types of initiatives as much as possible. We should look first to stimulating private sector investment before looking for big injections of public dollars.
    That approach is different from the government's approach. The Liberals jump automatically from wishing to have a strong, stimulated economy to saying that means the government has to put in a whole bunch of new spending.
    Again, we know of the government's plan to run very large deficits, but I think what is behind that is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way we stimulate the economy. We want to see strong private sector-driven economic growth, and this motion is an example of how we go about doing that. We want private sector-driven economic stimulus. We want policies that make it easier for the private sector to make investments, and that is exactly what the motion is all about.
    Our strategy prioritizes private sector investment, and that is where we start. We did a number of things that encouraged that kind of investment. One of the ways to encourage private sector-oriented stimulus is to have open trade and efforts to attract international investments, and of course we did that over the last 10 years. A strong transportation network, frankly, is part of that. It is part of facilitating international trade and the people-to-people interactions that make trade possible.
    Of course, a stable but relatively limited regulatory environment is important as well. This encourages new investment. A regulatory environment that is predictable and limited but that is always oriented to encouraging new investment is important. This is what we need to stimulate our economy. This is what we need to encourage private sector-driven stimulus.
    The third thing, and the focus of our discussion today, is how important transportation and infrastructure links are for having private sector-driven economic stimulus. In the history of our country, which is such a large country, transportation and infrastructure links have always been very important. There is a role for the government to be involved in those things, but whenever there is an opportunity to encourage private sector investment in transportation and infrastructure links, I would argue that we need to work as hard as possible to make that happen.
    One of the things we have talked about in this House is the importance of pipelines. Pipelines are the nation-building infrastructure of the 21st century, and another part of that is strengthening our airports and the airport connections in the country. This is what this is all about: having pipelines, having airports. These things interconnect our country economically to facilitate trade and help to create jobs.
    I am sure other members have talked specifically about the economic benefits of the Billy Bishop airport, but let me just go over this again. Annual direct impacts are close to 2,000 jobs, $100 million in wages, $220 million in GDP, and $980 million in economic output. A study found that the impact of non-local visitors' spending on air services at the airport amounted to approximately $150 million a year, so we know that significant economic benefits are facilitated by having that transportation infrastructure in place.
    We need to do this. We need to see the value of this. We need to get this done. It is just unfortunate that we are dealing with a government right now in this country that really only sees one tool in the tool box when it comes to stimulating the economy. When the Liberals want to have a strong economy, they think the solution is always more government spending. During good times, bad times, and in-between times, all they want is more government spending. The reality is that when they have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

  (1240)  

    As a result, instead of simulating the economy by identifying opportunities in the private sector by working with the private sector to facilitate investment from other places, they just want the government to spend more money.
    Our approach on this side of the House is different. Recognizing a multiplicity of tools in the toolbox for stimulating and strengthening the economy is necessary, but generally speaking, public expenditure should be a last resort. If we can stimulate the economy without having significant injections of taxpayer dollars, that is obviously preferable, because any major government spending does cost taxpayers.
    I want to talk a bit about the issue in the context of local control and who is involved in making decisions with respect to the airport. There is a tripartite agreement in place that gives the federal government theoretical authority to make decisions about this airport, but because this is a development decision, a decision about what happens inside Toronto, we see it as something that the people of Toronto should ultimately make the fundamental decision about. Even though we encourage development, we want to see local control in this context.
    Proceeding with development projects can always be difficult, whether we are talking about building a building, expanding an airport, or doing natural resource development. It can be difficult enough without having the involvement of many different levels of government where everyone feels like they have to be onside before something can move forward. Let us let the people most directly involved and most directly impacted have the biggest role in this. The City of Toronto has put a lot of money into studying this. It has effectively been limited now in its ability to proceed because of the Liberal government's desire to interfere, which it technically and legally does have the authority to do, but which most properly should be decided by the people of Toronto.
    These are really the central points here that the government is missing. When the government is stimulating the economy, it is not all about putting a whole bunch of money into the economy if there are opportunities instead to leverage private sector investment. This is something that has huge economic benefits for Ontario and Quebec. There is an opportunity to leverage the involvement of the private sector, and that is a better way to go, a better way to stimulate the economy, than the alternative, which is simply the government putting a bunch of money into things.
    Then there is also the issue of local control. The challenges with development are enough that we do not need everyone trying to control the process. We should leave the process as much as possible to the people of Toronto, to the people directly affected, and to their representatives in the City of Toronto.
    I think that on that basis, understanding the proper place of economic stimulus and the need for local control, this is an important motion. I look forward to voting in favour of it.
    Mr. Speaker, the Province of Quebec will be interested in the member's arguments about local control of all decisions by the federal government. I hesitate to wonder what that means for pipelines and the position of the member's party on that issue.
    The member said that the people of Toronto should be allowed to make the decision. City council has had this issue in front of it five times since the initial request was made by the one airline, and five times it has layered on more conditions and gone further away from making decisions on it. In those five opportunities to approve this project, each time it has declined to do so. That is the voting record of the City of Toronto.
    As for the notion that private sector stimulus is better than public sector stimulus, is the member opposite aware that this project would require close to $1.6 billion of public money to reconfigure the airport to accommodate the proposal and that the money has to come, according to Mr. Deluce, the proponent, from the federal government if this project is going to fly?
    With his perspective that no money should come from the federal government or that federal money is bad for economic stimulus, is the member aware that this project cannot fly without $1.6 billion in new taxes and infrastructure investment, a decision that your previous government had the opportunity to make and declined?

  (1245)  

    I want to remind hon. members to speak through the Chair and not directly across the floor to each other.
    The hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan.
    Mr. Speaker, it is unfortunate that the hon. member clearly did not listen to the point I was making. With respect to his point about local control, it is very clear that there are certain responsibilities that are more effectively handled at some levels of government than others. Of course, I am not saying that absolutely everything should be done by the municipality.
     Something like interprovincial transportation is constitutionally a federal government power, and it makes sense that it is because it involves and goes across the whole country. But specifically, this is a decision about an airport inside the city of Toronto and something that the people of Toronto have the primary stake in, and it is quite sensible to have their involvement in the decision.
    The principle of local control is that as much as possible, decisions should be made at the level that is closest to the people. That is the principle behind our convictions of local control, which might be called subsidiarity, which we value.
    In terms of past decisions at Toronto city council, again, that is exactly the point. It should be to the greatest possible extent their decision to make. If the people of Toronto decide they do not want this, so be it, but what has happened is that the federal government has sought to put the kibosh on this.
    In terms of the cost of federal spending, again I want to be very clear about what I said. It is not that all federal spending is bad. The member is completely misconstruing what I said, intentionally or not. My point is that we should seek to leverage investment by the private sector for the benefit of the economy as much as possible. We should not ignore the possibility of private sector investment. We should use that to our advantage. There is a role for the public sector as well, but we should seek to leverage the private sector involvement as much as possible.
    Mr. Speaker, I wonder if the member could possibly reflect upon the 10 years of our Conservative government and the jurisdictional respect that we showed for provinces, cities, and municipalities alike, something that the Liberals may want to also consider.
    Would he also care to speculate about when another member of the Toronto Liberal caucus will ask a question today, besides the member for Spadina—Fort York, who has asked many if not all the questions today? I am wondering when he will remove the muzzle from his Toronto colleagues and let them ask a question. It is 12:50 p.m. and there have been zero by them so far. Let us hear some questions from other Liberal members from Toronto.
    Mr. Speaker, the member makes a great point that our party helps to strengthen our federation by respecting jurisdictions. We did not push agendas that were outside of federal jurisdiction. We sought to listen to and collaborate with people at other levels of government and respect their decision-making authority.
    In the case of the city of Toronto, we are listening to what is coming out of Toronto and not trying to have members from Toronto micromanage what happens in Toronto. This is about land use. This is about development and the future of the city. Obviously, many Torontonians see great opportunities in the expansion of the airport. Certainly the federal government should not get in the way, but we need to work with other levels of government. The most important way of doing that is to respect their jurisdiction and respect the ability of the private sector to be involved in investments that benefit our whole economy.

[Translation]

     I am pleased to have the opportunity to debate this Conservative motion. The aerospace sector is an economic growth hub that focuses on innovation, economic activity, and highly skilled jobs, and makes a significant contribution to Canada's social and economic well-being.
    In 2014, Canada's aerospace industry contributed $29 billion to the GDP and generated more than 180,000 jobs, including 76,000 direct jobs. The remaining jobs create economic activity in various regions of the country.
    Canada is one of the most important countries in the international aerospace sector. The OECD ranks Canada fifth after the United States, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Furthermore, Canada is ranked third in the world in aeronautical manufacturing. Canada is also a world leader in the manufacture of flight simulators and aircraft engines.
    Canada's aerospace industry is world-class, and it exports almost 80% of its production to various trade partners. The United States, Europe, and Asia-Pacific are the three top export destinations and account for 57%, 21% and 14% respectively of Canada's aerospace industry exports. Almost 60% of Canada's aerospace exports are supply chain related.
    Anyone familiar with the aerospace industry knows that innovation is crucial. The aerospace industry is one of the biggest contributors to research and development, with $1.8 billion in annual spending accounting for close to 20% of the industry's activity. It is impossible to talk about Canada's aerospace industry and its contributions to the economy without talking about the contributions of its flagship companies. Yes, I am talking about Bombardier.
    Bombardier directly employs over 23,000 people in Canada. Bombardier's activities and those of its immediate suppliers represent one-third of the aerospace industry's contribution to Canada's gross national product. Since 2012, it has led research and development spending in Canada.
    In recognition of the importance of innovation, the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development is developing a new program for innovation. The program will focus on ways that the government can enable aerospace companies, including small and medium-sized ones, to innovate, grow, and, ultimately, contribute to the sustainable growth of the aerospace industry.
    I would also note that the Government of Canada's support for the industry goes beyond innovation. The government supports the industry through its world-class certification program, its export development funding, and its industrial and technological benefits policy.
    I could go on for some time, but I should take questions from my colleagues. However, I just want to add one last point: any discussion of Bombardier must include the fact that, as the third-largest civil aviation company in the world, it is a magnet for direct and foreign investors.

  (1250)  

    Many companies that want to supply services and parts to Bombardier come to Canada and create good, innovative jobs. Canada's aerospace workers benefit.
    I could take questions from other members, but I could also continue, because I have an opportunity to talk more about how important Bombardier is to the aerospace industry.
    When a company like Bombardier accounts for nearly one-third of the activity in the aerospace industry, it is very important that it get support. Such a valuable industry helps create high-quality jobs and helps grow the Canadian economy.
    That is why the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development reiterated that it was important to consider the status of the aerospace industry. It is important to look at the facts and to come up with a solid plan to help this company. As soon as this study is complete, we can move forward and make a decision in the coming weeks or months.
    As many of my colleagues and I have already said in the House, the aerospace industry is extremely important to Canada. Not only does Bombardier employ 23,000 people, but another 180,000 jobs are directly or indirectly related to the aerospace industry, and not all of those jobs are in Montreal. They are all across Canada, including Toronto, western Canada, and eastern Canada. The entire supply chain is important, and it is connected to the aerospace industry.
    I know that all members of the House take their jobs seriously. We all want to represent our constituents properly, but the best thing we can offer them is the opportunity to have a good job, a worthwhile job that allows them to earn a decent living.
    People who work in the aerospace industry have that opportunity. Having studied science or engineering at CEGEP, college or more often at university, they often work in jobs that pay very well in the aerospace industry, and this is important.
    I know that all my colleagues in the House, regardless of their party affiliation, will join me in showing our support and ensuring that Canadians continue to fill those jobs. The economy of the future depends on it. Canada needs to take its place on the world stage to ensure that we create good, important jobs that also contribute to the Canadian economy.
    That is why I am proud to rise here today to share my thoughts with all members of the House and express support for Canada's aerospace industry.

  (1255)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member's party campaigned on transparency, but there seems to be a lot of secrecy and a lack of action regarding Bombardier's situation. Is his government planning to match the $1 billion lifeline for Bombardier?

  (1300)  

    Mr. Speaker, I know the hon. member has a long history in the House, certainly longer than mine, and I appreciate having the opportunity to address his question.
    As I said during my comments, this is a very complex situation and a very important one. We certainly want to ensure, as the minister has made clear to the House on several occasions, that we take the time to make the right business case for supporting Bombardier. It is a huge company. There are many ways that the federal government could play a role, or perhaps not play a role, but we want to ensure that whatever decision we come to, it is the one that makes the best business case for Canadians. That is the reason why the government is taking its time.
    Let me assure the member that departmental officials are meeting with Bombardier and the Government of Quebec, and are taking a look at options. The minister has made it very clear to the House that when a decision is finally made on this issue, it will be in the best interests of Canadians. We will certainly let the hon. member and the entire House know what that decision will be.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member a question about innovation in the aerospace industry. Today's opposition motion makes it appear as if the government is not supportive of the aerospace industry. Could the hon. member talk about the Ministry of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, and whether the ministry is committed to expansion of the aerospace industry?
    Mr. Speaker, let me reassure my hon. colleague and the entire House that the government and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development are working very hard on developing the innovation plan.
     We have many elements at stake, and the aerospace industry is a key element of that. The reason is that the aerospace industry requires so much of an innovative economy. It requires us to be competitive. If Canada classes itself as third among countries in the aerospace industry, it is because we have made those investments in the universities and colleges to ensure we get the graduates who can compete in that. It takes a high degree of numeracy, of engineering for people to be part of the aerospace industry. It is the reason why being involved in the design and manufacturing of that industry is so economically remunerative.

[Translation]

    Workers can make a lot of money in this industry. That is why these jobs are highly sought after by students in engineering, mechanical engineering, and many other fields. The average salary in this industry is quite high. As a government, our plan for innovation is to focus on jobs and promising industries.
    I am not just talking about the aerospace industry. Last week, I spent a day in Sudbury, in northern Ontario, where I saw the extraordinary work of mining sector workers. That is where there is innovation. There is innovation everywhere and soon our government will be announcing policies to support it.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with the hon. member for Milton.
    I want to begin by acknowledging the voters in my riding. Even though it has been nearly five months since we were elected, I think it is important to take the opportunity to thank them for placing their confidence in me on October 19. I promise to work extremely hard to represent them well over the next four years.
    My riding has great strengths and we must work very hard to continue to develop our economy and create stable, well-paying jobs. That is the key to helping families, workers, and seniors improve their quality of life. It is an extremely simple process: creating good jobs results in a better quality of life.
    That is precisely the purpose of this motion. It seeks to improve the quality of life of a large number of people, including travellers who fly to the wonderful big city of Toronto. The decision to expand the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport has unforeseen direct and indirect positive effects.
    Let us begin by talking about how Torontonians and Canadians will have access to an up-to-date airport without having to pay more taxes. Quieter planes will be landing right in their backyard, in downtown Toronto. Because of the quality of these aircraft, airport workers will be exposed to less environmental noise, which will improve their working conditions. What is more, travellers will be closer to their final destination, which, surprisingly, will significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
    Regardless, the aircraft that Bombardier and its workers designed and produced is extremely sophisticated. It will allow for economies of scale, not only because of its weight, but also because it is more environmentally friendly. The Minister of Transport has been boasting that this aircraft is the best in the world. We are very pleased to know that Bombardier makes the best aircraft in the world, and we agree with that.
    We must not forget that Bombardier is a company that, with its Canadian presence, promotes the quality of Canadian jobs and the goods manufactured here in Canada. Canada and the provinces, especially Quebec and Ontario, have invested billions of dollars in the aerospace industry in the last 20 years. This sector of the Canadian economy is extremely important. The Canadian aerospace network is very important. The quality of the goods manufactured here in Canada is recognized around the world.
     Bombardier is renowned not just for the quality of its aerospace products, but also for its excellent train cars, subway cars and streetcars. These cars are manufactured in a few locations in Canada, including a plant in La Pocatière, where I was born and continue to live. This plant currently provides 400 jobs. As we speak, it is completing the contract for the Montreal subway. This is an extremely sophisticated and well-developed train. With a suite of innovations, it is one of the best trains in the world, just as the Bombardier plane is one of the best in the world.
    Therefore, I am well positioned to speak about the importance of Bombardier, because this company was in a sense born in La Pocatière with the manufacture of Ski-Doo snowmobiles. After that there was the first contract with Montreal and New York, which led to the expansion of the La Pocatière plant.

  (1305)  

    At one time, 1,200 people were working at the La Pocatière plant on the New York City contract. There is no doubt that a plant like that is important to our community.
    Bombardier forms a whole; it is a company that operates in various sectors. If something goes wrong in one sector, things could go wrong everywhere. Right now, Bombardier has invested a significant amount of money in developing this airplane, which would be very welcome in Toronto. As a result, there is now a weak link at Bombardier, which is the aerospace sector.
    Bombardier needs all kinds of help. One way to help this company is to allow these airplanes, which are the best and most economical in the world, and also the quietest, to land in Toronto. This is consistent with an overall transportation vision that takes into account the environment, productivity, and the quality of life of people in the surrounding area, since some people say that Toronto residents could be affected. That seems to be one argument against expanding the airport.
    This is also about the country's economic growth. The government says that it has an economic development plan. Here is an absolutely incredible opportunity to inject some vitality into the aerospace industry and innovation. It is passing up an absolutely incredible opportunity.
    We need to realize that a company like Bombardier does not operate in isolation. We are talking about a major industrial cluster. The Bombardier subcontractors are important players too. A Canada-wide network supplies goods and services to Bombardier and creates jobs.
    I think that the government's decision is completely irrational. It does not support the sustainable development that the government prides itself on championing. The government must take another look at its decision and give Bombardier the opportunity to sell airplanes to Canadian airlines. We have to sell Canadian airplanes in Canada, create jobs here in this great country, and help companies like Bombardier. The company is going through a very difficult time because it invested heavily in this project, which is absolutely critical to its future.
    The company must gain the country's trust by getting Canadian companies to buy its airplanes, which Air Canada did recently. Other Canadian airlines can do the same to help the company grow. That would send a strong, clear, unmistakable signal to international airlines that we are supporting our own local industry and that we are proud to do so. I believe that we absolutely must continue to support Bombardier.

  (1310)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I listened with great interest and appreciated the comments about how important Bombardier is, not just to the Quebec economy, but right across the country, from coast to coast to coast. That includes, of course, Ontario, in Toronto at Downsview, as well as in Thunder Bay, where trains are built.
    I am sure the hon. member opposite is aware that the future of Bombardier rests on more than one plane and one airport; it rests across its entire platform. I wonder if he could perhaps help to explain this. The previous government, when presented with an opportunity to purchase LRT streetcars for Toronto and source them specifically from Bombardier, specifically from workers in Thunder Bay, chose not to. His party told the City of Toronto, and I cannot use the words—they are words more properly spoken by Donald Trump than by me—to basically get lost and for that contract not to be pursued; it would not be funded by the previous government.
     If Bombardier is such an important component of the Canadian economy and the future of Bombardier is so critically important to workers right across the country, why did the previous government not support the purchase agreement for the City of Toronto's streetcars?

  (1315)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, in response to the specific question posed by my colleague opposite, I have to be honest and say that I do not know exactly why our government did what it did with regard to the plant in Thunder Bay. That being said, I can say one thing, and that is that the Government of Quebec made the right decision by awarding Bombardier the contract to build subway cars for Montreal. I think that we are building the best train in the world.
    Whether we are talking about the company's production site in Thunder Bay or La Pocatière, Bombardier is important for Canada. It is important to understand that. We need to grow that business. Bombardier was just awarded a contract by the City of Edmonton, and the company is now considering whether it will build the light rail components in La Pocatière or Thunder Bay. It is not a matter of competition. Jobs are being created in Canada. That is what is important.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, in my many years here, I have seen some incredible displays of ridiculous behaviour in terms of pretending that we have a party that understands the economy and then it comes in with a solution that is ridiculous. Then, it huffs and puffs that nobody is taking them seriously.
    We are talking about 6,000 to 7,000 job losses at Bombardier. Its solution is that the little island airport in Toronto is going to somehow fix that and that we are wasting our time in Parliament talking about that notion of a solution.
     I remember the last government and how much it ridiculed the notion of public transit when we were trying to get subway cars down from Thunder Bay, from the Bombardier plant, where we have hundreds of jobs. Public transit across the country is seen as a great wish, but, of course, it goes against the fundamental ideology of the privatized oil lobby that is known as the Conservative Party and we are wasting time in this House talking about the little island airport as somehow being an economic solution.
    Thank God, the Conservatives do not control the economy anymore. For all the folks back home, I want to say that they pay these people a lot of money, and their solutions are always about wedges; their solutions are always about trying to find some ridiculous point that we waste time on in this House.
    If that party were serious about supporting Bombardier, it would have come with something that was a little more coherent, and perhaps something that supported public transit. I know it is very hard for them to say those words, but it is something that would cause most Canadians to say, “Well, that was not a bad discussion. That was not a bad way to spend an afternoon in Parliament.” That is as opposed to this ridiculous motion, which is another of many ridiculous motions that we have been subjected to by that party.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if my colleague thinks he is wasting his time here, he can stay home. That is not a problem. The reality is that over the past few years, our government created 1.3 million net new jobs in Canada. If my colleague thinks that our party does not understand the economy, I do not know which party he thinks does. We created 1.3 million net new jobs following the worst economic crisis. He has the nerve to say that we are wasting our time here today talking about this motion. All government and opposition motions and bills are important here in the House. Those sorts of comments show that the member is not thinking about workers and everything that makes up our country's economy, including the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. There is nothing ridiculous about what we are doing here today.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to talk to the House about what I think is a very important topic, despite the comments by the previous speaker.
    The motion before us today is simple. We are asking for an acknowledgement by the House of the contribution that Bombardier makes to our country. We are asking for recognition that there is a market solution, one of many that could be made available to support Bombardier. I will talk a bit more about that. We would like the House to acknowledge that the planes are well suited to urban airports, and that helps Bombardier to sell planes around the world.
    It also asks us to recognize that Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport is a major economic driver for the GTA, which it is; we can provide the statistics on that. We are asking the House to recognize that the expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport would allow airlines to purchase the Bombardier C Series jet. That is what we are talking about today.
    Finally, we ask the House to call upon the government to reverse a very specific decision that it made on November 12, in 88 letters. It was a decision to prohibit any discussion on whether an operating agreement could be changed to allow for jets to fly into an airport or allow the runway to be expanded by a certain amount. It does not get into how long. That is the operating agreement that has been in place for many years. It expires in 2033. It is there to ensure that the airport operates in the context of a larger urban city.
    The waterfront was a very different place back in the 1980s, and great advancements have been made since then. A tripartite agreement was made many years ago between the federal government, the City of Toronto, and the then Toronto harbour commission, and all signed off on it. It was with respect to not allowing jets on the island airport and not allowing further expansion of its existing runways. It was an agreement that was made over 30 years ago. Eight days after the current Minister of Transport was sworn in, those 88 letters stated that there would not be any consideration of the matter.
    The member previous asked why we are wasting the time of the House. The plan being put forward by us to use a market solution has worked in the past. Members in the House may not know this, but in the beginning the Q400 turboprop, which is another Bombardier product, did not have a lot of buyers. It was the purchase by Porter of a Toronto-made plane for a Toronto-based airline that got the attention of other buyers in the world. That is when the Q400, to make a bad pun, took off in sales. When a business operates in a country that backs its product to the point where it will be utilized in a showcase facility specifically suited to that plane, other countries and other airlines of the world take note.
    When Porter announced its purchase of the Q400, it was a very important time for Bombardier, and for CAW Downsview, because it was on its last legs with respect to jobs. That is what prompted everyone to rally behind it. CAW, management, and everyone, came together on this issue because it was the right thing to do to save the facility, and it did.
    The interesting part is that, of course, airlines do not want competition. No one wanted to see Porter come on the scene, least of all Air Canada and WestJet. The then president of WestJet asked why passengers would want to fly in a Q400 and have a propeller whirling next to their head as they sat in their seat. Times have changed, and WestJet now has a smaller part of its airline using the Q400, which has a turboprop spinning next to the heads of the passengers. That is because a showcase was provided for the ability of this plane to save on fuel and to be environmentally friendly.
    The City of Toronto and PortsToronto embarked on a series of studies, at the request of the City of Toronto, to determine whether there was a case to be made for the two parties to lift the jet ban and give the Bombardier C Series jet the opportunity to come into the Billy Bishop airport, as we call it.

  (1320)  

    That progress was on its way, but it takes a lot of time. As members have pointed out, it took a lot of consultation along the way. Unfortunately, that process was stopped in its tracks with that one tweet. This is the way it works. It is three parties to an agreement, and all the parties have to agree.
    In full disclosure, I was a CEO the last time we amended the tripartite agreement. It took a long time. I had two children during that time. That is how long it takes to amend a tripartite agreement. However, the way it always worked with respect to the federal establishment versus local interests, either expressed through the city of Toronto or the Toronto port authority, harbour commission, PortsToronto, however one calls it, was that local interests determined local matters.
     Minister Collenette, of Minister Valeri, and of the last minister who was involved in it, all of those ministers consistently said the same thing, that if the city of Toronto and PortsToronto could agree, then the federal government would come in at that point, study it, and make a decision.
    In this case, it is completely the opposite situation. We highlight it today because it is a problem in the way in which the federal government will be interacting with communities around the country. This will not be the last time a local community will appeal to the MP to intervene on a local matter and make it go its way, just because it wants a number of seats in the area.
    It is a dangerous precedent, not only because all those studies that were under way, if not completed in a lot of cases, will not be seen by the public, and the public had real questions associated with the provision of this service at the Toronto city centre airport.
    It is true that the studies had not been completed, but is that not an even greater reason why the federal government should not take a decision? Is that not the crux of the issue here today, that without a single study, without a proposal, it has come in over the top and has made a determination that really starts with the local councillors at the city of Toronto?
    Had the Conservative government come in and taken a decision that stripped the city of Toronto on final decision-making abilities on an issue that was important to it, any councillor, including the former councillor, who now sits as a parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister, would have had a fit. They would have called for the resignation of the government.
    That is the issue we have today. What is good for the goose is not good for the gander in terms of interference with local matters. We consult, we listen, we let sophisticated parties that have their processes in place to get through their processes. Then the decision comes to the level of government, or the order the government in the federal sphere, so it can make the decision.
    The market solution is real. It is an opportunity to showcase a Canadian-designed, implemented, conceived, manufactured airplane that can rival any other airline and airplane in the world and has the possibility of moving sales as a result of purchases done by Porter, or perhaps by an upstart new carrier that wants to come in. Perhaps it could be interested in the C Series because of its fuel efficiencies. Maybe that will be of interest to those new upstart carries. However, they all want to see that first step, and the first step in the case of the Q400 was Porter.
    As I have already mentioned, the process was being followed. It is incredibly important that the process continue. That is why the last part of the motion is the crux of the matter. It asks the government to reverse the decision and let the process flow, let the reports come out, let them be published. If at that point in time the city of Toronto and PortsToronto decide they do not want to proceed, that is the appropriate level of lobbying and discussion. Then it comes to the federal government.
    In 2002, when Porter was attempting to come in to fly Q400s, an organization that the parliamentary secretary was very much involved in, called CommunityAIR, predicted that the arrival of Porter would plummet property values by 25% and jeopardize $20 billion in waterfront development. That simply did not happen. If we take a look at the riding of the member, we will see very clearly that waterfront property values have increased by 70% with a functioning island airport in its midst.

  (1325)  

    Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the Bombardier C Series is a great plane. The government is very pleased that Air Canada has announced that it will be purchasing a number of these aircraft.
    Let us discuss for a moment the Bombardier C Series jet. From the member's point of view, is there anything stopping Porter Airlines from purchasing the Bombardier C Series jet and flying it out of Toronto Pearson International Airport?

  (1330)  

    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member because it is the one myth that is put out there all the time. The reality is that this can work one way. Air Canada can buy these planes and have them fly out of the island airport, because it actually has access to the island airport.
    Pearson airport, as members may know, is a slot-constrained airport, with the inability for a new entrant to come in without any significant movement on slots. As a result, Porter is actually prohibited, in its business plan and in application, from purchasing a C Series jet and finding accommodation for a schedule that works at Pearson airport, unless we want to build another airport in Pickering.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the work she did when she was the CEO at the port authority, and for the work she did as minister of transport. She brings a level of knowledge to this debate for which I am very thankful.
    No one on this side of the House is arguing that the concerns and issues identified by those who live, work, and play in that area need to be addressed. As a former mayor, I understand the responsibilities the council has to weigh and measure all of those concerns. However, I also understand the need to respect the jurisdiction of a municipality when there is a process put in place to determine what the needs of a community are and how to best address the concerns that are raised by that community.
    Therefore, would the member speak a little more on the need to respect the jurisdiction of a municipality to complete its studies on the expansion proposal, as that city council needs to do?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for bringing the motion today. It is a very timely subject and an important one on which to have a discussion.
    In terms of what we know about how Torontonians feel about jets at the island airport, we have one data point. It is a 2013 Ipsos Reid poll, not an election, which was on a number of major issues and not one specific issue. When Torontonians were asked very specifically and very succinctly whether they supported the use of jets at the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, 60% were in favour and 37% were opposed. That is more than just first past the post. That is a very solid majority for what people want.
    That is still not enough. We still need to have the studies that feed into the questions individual council members had on Toronto city council. We are not afraid of process. Why are the Liberals afraid of process?
    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my hon. colleague from Toronto—Danforth today.
    The government has noted the importance of Canada's aviation and aerospace sectors, and has noted Bombardier's contribution to these sectors. Allow me to reiterate our view that the Canadian aerospace has one of the strongest mechanisms for both investment and international trade, and serves both Canada and the world.
    As the minister said at the start of the debate, our aviation and aerospace sectors connect people to jobs and help deliver essential goods and services. Their products, people and skills are in demand around the world, as are Canada's abilities as a certifier and regulator in these sectors.
    Last year, our aerospace sector generated more than 180,000 jobs and added $29 billion to our country's economy. Companies such as Bombardier export approximately 80% of the products they make.
    As we have noted, the Government of Canada was pleased by Air Canada's announcement about its intention to purchase Bombardier's C Series aircraft. The C Series aircraft is a major advancement in aviation as I have mentioned, and we are confident that its addition to Air Canada's fleet will benefit both the company and Canada's aerospace sector.
    However, interest in the C Series has not been limited to Air Canada. The first C Series aircraft will be delivered to Swiss International Air Lines in the spring. The entry of the Swiss C Series aircraft into commercial service will give Bombardier a chance to show the world that the C Series is truly a quality aircraft for the world.
    The government is proud that Transport Canada has been a part of the process to certify that the aircraft meets Canada's standards for airworthiness and environmental regulations. This initial approval is a significant step toward Bombardier obtaining full certification in Canada, Europe, the United States, and abroad. Such approval will also help Bombardier to build investor and customer confidence.
    Moving on to the question of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, I would like to restate our position that the question of whether to amend the tripartite agreement and allow the expansion of Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, address the use of commercial jet aircraft and extend that airport's runway was not based on whether Bombardier could sell more aircraft.
    The greater Toronto area and southern Ontario as a whole are well served by their airports, and I will include the London International Airport in that mix. Let me reiterate what the minister has said.
     Toronto Pearson is by far Canada's busiest airport and has more international passengers than any North American airport, after New York's John F. Kennedy International. Billy Bishop helps to connect Toronto's business heart to other major centres in Canada and the United States. Other airports like the London International Airport and Hamilton's airport are expanding and providing specialty services, for instance, Hamilton courier traffic. Together these airports serve general and commercial aviation, passengers, shippers, and businesses contributing to both local and national economies.
    Billy Bishop airport now offers service to 24 cities in Canada and the U.S., with connections to more than 80 cities across the globe. It is also a base for an air ambulance service, which flew approximately 4,600 flights in 2014, and is home to a sizeable personal aviation community that includes a flight school. Billy Bishop airport is already an important contributor to Toronto's economy and is already providing a valuable service without expansion.
    Last month, it was named one of the top airports in North America and the Airports Council International, ACI, 2015 airport service quality award. It tied for third in the best airports North American region category, one of only two Canadian airports to make the list along with the Ottawa International Airport. This recognition demonstrates that the investments that have been made in the airport are already providing its users with better amenities, improved access, and an exceptional travel experience.
    On November 12, 2015, the Minister of Transport announced that the Government of Canada would not reopen the tripartite agreement among this government, the city of Toronto, and PortsToronto to allow expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.

  (1335)  

    As the minister has noted in the debate, the government stands by this decision. The current tripartite agreement strikes the right balance between commercial interests and the interests of local communities, environmental and cultural challenges, including the evolution of the waterfront. This issue is larger than just the airport. With other jet-capable airports close by, we believe there has been no reason to change the current approach.
    The government is not alone in this position. Several citizens groups in GTA have opposed any proposed expansion of Billy Bishop airport. Accordingly, they support our position against reopening the agreement.
    As the minister pointed out, this issue goes beyond just the airport, and involves the fact that Torontonians desire a greater say in the development of their waterfront, a waterfront that could be affected by expansion of the Billy Bishop airport.
    To entertain a proposal to amend the tripartite agreement between the federal government, the city of Toronto, and PortsToronto, we would have to consider more than just whether to allow jet aircraft or a runway extension. We would have to assess many factors related to safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally responsible air travel and cargo services.
    This has already been done. The government continually assesses the air policy framework to ensure that Canada's air transportation system can respond to this evolving environment and is properly equipped to facilitate future growth. This decision considers the best interests of Torontonians and Canadians.
    In April 2014, Toronto City Council debated the issue and actively sought the views of the then federal government. The city asked the federal government of the day to take a public position on proposed changes to the tripartite agreement that would permit the expansion of the airport and to allow jet aircraft, such as the Bombardier C Series, to operate from the airport.
     Let me remind members that from April 2013 to the fall of 2015, there were multiple public meetings, conferences, and other events at which the proposed expansion of the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport was discussed. There were web forums, opportunities for public comment, and many other open avenues where anyone could express their views on the issue. Many factors related to the proposal were discussed and debated, as were its potential economic benefits, but to link the expansion of Billy Bishop with the success of the Bombardier C Series is simplistic and ignores the larger picture.
    Bombardier products have always and will always succeed based on their quality and competitiveness in global markets. Opposition members cannot imply that the success of Bombardier only depends on the expansion of Billy Bishop.
     Let me reiterate that the government is confident that the existing tripartite agreement strikes the right balance between commercial interests and the interests of local communities, environmental and cultural challenges, including the evolution of the waterfront.
    We made the right decision in not permitting the expansion, and we stand by this balanced decision. The government will therefore not support the motion.

  (1340)  

    Mr. Speaker, airports do evolve. The London airport in 2008 was recognized and allowed by then Minister John Baird to have an international air cargo transport program. The government subsequently vested $8 million in an agreement to put a terminal there. Airports can change and evolve. They fit the needs of those today, and those in the future.
    If all the requirements were met, the environmental assessments were met, all the requirements of Transport Canada were met, the needs of the community were met, and the fisheries and oceans requirements were met, would she be open to allowing an expansion of Billy Bishop airport? Would she allow that to happen if all the requirements were met?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for asking that question. It is true that at the right time, expansion is good, as it was when the London airport became an international airport. However, there is no compelling case to say that this Billy Bishop airport should be expanded, and the city of Toronto had a number of opportunities to open the tripartite agreement, but it never did.
    Billy Bishop airport is already providing valuable airport services without an expansion, so it is important for the Toronto economy and it will remain important to the Toronto economy.
    Mr. Speaker, in three years at five public meetings, at each juncture the City of Toronto could have approved this project and refused to do so, in large part because its conditions were not met. The port authority has said that it cannot meet the conditions imposed by the City of Toronto and expand this airport. It has said that explicitly, as has the operator of Porter Airlines. In light of the fact that it cannot meet local conditions, would you not agree that expansion is impossible?
    I want to remind the hon. members to speak through the Speaker, not to the members.
    The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate that the decision was in the best interests of the people of Toronto and the people of Canada, and the environment along the waterfront is so important, as well as commercial interests in Toronto. Under the circumstances, there was no reason to open that tripartite agreement, and we have decided that we will not be reopening it.
    Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary referenced the fact that the City of Toronto wrote to the then Minister of Transport, which was me by the way, and asked for the opinion of the government of the day. Can the parliamentary secretary tell the House the opinion that was given by the government of the day regarding the Billy Bishop airport and City of Toronto discussions on the jet expansion?
    Mr. Speaker, it is obvious that a number of times governments at all levels had an opportunity to react to this. We have decided not to reopen the current tripartite agreement after the City of Toronto and the federal government were asked years ago to do the same.

  (1345)  

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to speak to the opposition's motion. However, I would like to begin by wishing everyone a happy International Women's Day. I would like to recognize all of the women in the House, all of the women members of Parliament from all parties, the women who work in our offices, the women who support the House, and the women who work in security. They all are empowerment.
    This motion mixes and confuses two important issues: support for our aerospace industry, in this motion specifically Bombardier; and city building, in this motion the impact of the proposed expansion of the Billy Bishop island airport on the waterfront and the City of Toronto. The motion confuses the two issues by linking them, and this lessens the debate. We can debate how best to support the aerospace industry. That is a worthwhile endeavour. However, why tie it to the island airport? It oversimplifies the problem and it does not offer long-term solutions. Let us be clear: expanding one airport would not guarantee a future for our aerospace industry or for Bombardier.
    The form of this motion is divisive. It creates a notion that supporting aerospace must be done at the cost of city building. It does not. People in the aerospace industry can be city builders. City builders can champion the aerospace industry. We will all be stronger if we work together. I cannot support this motion because of the way it is set up. It is divisive and it would not get us closer to solutions. It would be detrimental to the city building happening in Toronto and at our waterfront in the city. We can work together to find solutions.
    It is simplistic to say that the answer to the problems facing our aerospace industry in general, or Bombardier specifically, is to be found by building larger, more-extensive airports long into the future, even if the expansion proposed is contrary to the community's interests. We can and should do better at addressing this issue. This motion, though, would fail to provide any solutions.
    My riding of Toronto—Danforth contains both large residential areas and nearly 300 acres of industrial and commercial lands that make up the port lands. We overlook the island airport and sit adjacent to it, and in some cases under the flight path for the Billy Bishop island airport. Although I am proud that Bombardier is a strong Canadian company and am a supporter of the current configuration of the island airport, I am opposed to this motion today.
     I support Bombardier.

[Translation]

    Bombardier is a Canadian icon. From the 1930s until the late 1960s, it was a pioneer of the modern snowmobile.
    This Canadian giant and its many divisions produce a remarkable range of products. Bombardier's rail and aerospace divisions and their respective administrative offices employ tens of thousands of people from Burnaby, British Columbia, to Saint-Bruno, Quebec.
    Bombardier manufactures snowmobiles, monorail systems, amphibious firefighting aircraft, and rolling stock. The work done by Bombardier employees can be seen all over the world and in our own subway tunnels and garages. Bombardier is important to Canada.
    Over the last decade, one of Bombardier's crucial breakthroughs in terms of products has been the C Series aircraft. This category of aircraft is an absolutely marvellous piece of technology. Everyone agrees that it is one of the quietest planes in the world. What is more, it is in demand: just last month, Air Canada signed a letter of intent to purchase 45 of these jets, with an option for 30 more.
    There is a market solution available that could help Bombardier with its financial troubles, and we know that the government is looking at the company's request for financial assistance, so that its C Series production can proceed.

  (1350)  

[English]

    The issue is not the quality of Bombardier's jets, nor even the noise from these planes. It is the disruption from the air traffic, the impact on wildlife, the impact on small watercraft on the lake, and the impact on the people of Toronto.
    Furthermore, I agree that the island airport in its existing configuration should remain. It brings travellers, tourists, and business people to the centre of the city that I call home. It is an important part of our city.
    I would like to underline that the City of Toronto is not just an economic engine. It is home to millions of people. The expansion of the island airport would harm a recently revitalized waterfront. It is a place where there has been significant investment over the past years, and one in which we are continuing to invest. Therefore, I do not support expanding the island airport.
    My riding would be directly impacted by an expanded island airport. The southernmost portion of my riding is a park called Tommy Thompson Park. It is in fact one of the environmental consequences of Toronto's expansion over the last 50 years.
    The park is a long spit of land that juts into Lake Ontario. It was originally designed as a breakwall to protect the inner harbour from erosion. This five-kilometre long, 1,200-acre structure is physical proof of the changes Toronto has gone through. It is built from the soil that was removed to build subway lines and office towers over the last five decades. Nature has reclaimed it, and we have turned it into a park.
    It is not just the people from across the GTA who appreciate this strip of land. This park is one of the few places on the Toronto waterfront where natural habitats exist for birds and other species. It is home to some 316 species of birds and a wide variety of mammals. Beavers, mink, and muskrat call this part of Toronto home. The area has been designated an important bird area by BirdLife International, and it is an important breeding area and migratory stopover for many of these birds.
    Running an expanded airport's flight path adjacent to this area of national significance would be significant for the bird life and would be incompatible with the use these animals are making of the land. An expanded flight schedule that includes jets would also be incompatible with the uses residents in my riding and the GTA are finding for this park.
    The impact on the residents of the GTA, were the island airport to be expanded, would also be significant. The motion before us speaks only to the purported economic benefits that the member opposite imagines would flow from adding football fields of tarmac into the Toronto waterfront. There is no mention of the millions of people who visit the Toronto Islands each year to picnic, swim, and skate on the frozen ponds.
    We are a city built on a lake. Our waterfront and islands are vital parts of our identity and our communal space. Tourists visit our waterfront, and we have invested in its revitalization. After all of this effort, all of this city building, why would we damage it by increasing the length of runways and landing jets over our heads?
    The motion fails to realize what the waterfront means to my riding and the greater Toronto area as a whole. The motion envisages the harbour as a place where only work is accomplished, and where dollars and cents flow into Toronto. It fails to see the harbour and the waterfront more broadly as crucial public space. The waterfront is a place where people live, work, and relax. The island airport exists and is an important part of the downtown core of Toronto, but it does not need to define that space.
    I am opposed to the motion, because it does not accord with the vision my community has for Toronto's future. The expansion of the island airport is not compatible with a waterfront that is a livable and accessible place. It detracts from what we have worked to build, for people to study, work, and visit. An expanded island airport does not include space for sailboats, dragon boats, and canoes. This is Toronto's space to relax. It does not allow for migratory bird colonies on a spit of land that was once just construction material. It does not allow for quiet secluded beaches with endless lake views, and it is a version of Toronto that is fundamentally contrary to the type of development the city needs and wants in spaces surrounding its harbour.
    Our efforts should be directed toward expanding cultural spaces, building green infrastructure, and investing in housing in the spaces left in the downtown core. Smart and careful investment in the urban environment that enhances people's quality of life will bring benefits to Canada and the GTA.
     The economic benefits of a livable waterfront are just as important and would bring greater benefit than a bigger airport. We should support city building and not assume that a few hundred metres of asphalt would somehow cure the problems of the world's leading aerospace and train manufacturer.

  (1355)  

    To conclude, I am happy to take the hon. member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek on a tour of my riding, so that she can see first-hand what I am talking about. It is, after all, almost migratory bird season for Tommy Thompson Park.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for Toronto—Danforth for that wonderful speech. I am a bird biologist myself. I never thought it would come so soon in my rookie term as an MP to hear the words “important bird area”. I was going to bring up this fact myself in my question for the member, but then she brought it up herself. Therefore, I will switch the question and perhaps ask the member to speak about the environmental assessment process for this situation and the fact that it seems to be governed by the port authority, which gets most of its funding from the airport itself.
    Mr. Speaker, what is important to take into account when we are looking at this is that there is an important natural habitat for wildlife in the vicinity of this airport, and that is part of what we include as a city. A city is not just buildings. Therefore, it is very important that we consider the impacts to the natural habitats, as we consider our future plans for development in the city and when we consider ideas such as what has been proposed in this opposition motion of expanding the island airport. As I have mentioned, 316 migratory bird species are in Tommy Thompson Park. We need to protect them.

STATEMENTS BY MEMBERS

[Statements by Members]

[Translation]

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, today we are celebrating International Women's Day. I want to take this opportunity to remind hon. members that voters elected a record 88 women to the House.
    Unfortunately, there is little hiccup. This is only a quarter of the members of the House, and that proportion has remained unchanged. We have yet to achieve equality here and elsewhere. Feminism has been a hot topic in Quebec recently. Many people claim to be feminists, while others choose to avoid the word, thinking it has a negative connotation. In fact, the definition of feminism is quite simple: it is the belief that women should have the same rights as men. The quest for equality among humans is not about being against anyone, it is about being against ignorance.
    Whether we are staunch feminists or not-so-staunch feminists, if this day makes us wonder how far we have come in achieving gender equality, then we can all roll up our sleeves and get to work.

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, on International Women's Day we pay tribute to women around the world.
    Women are our mothers, our sisters, and our daughters. They formed the foundation of our society in the darkest periods of history. Today, we celebrate all their past and ongoing contributions.

[English]

    On this day I would like to highlight my own mother not for one special accomplishment but for a lifetime of compassion, hard work, and perseverance. She was solely responsible for raising a family during troubling times and imbued her children with the values that would guide them through their ambitions. She exemplified the unshakable characteristics that strong women can have, characteristics that woman in Vimy and all of Canada exhibit daily as they help empower our children and all women.

2015 Nobel Prize in Physics

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to recognize Queen's University professor Arthur McDonald, who now shares the Nobel Prize in Physics with Takaaki Kajita from Japan, for their discovery of neutrino oscillations, which changes our understanding of the innermost workings of matter. The discovery concluded that neutrinos, which for a long time were considered massless, must have some mass, however small.
    Experiments continue worldwide to capture neutrinos and examine their properties. These new discoveries are expected to change our understanding of the history, the structure, and the future of the universe.
    Dr. McDonald's research yielded a historic discovery in particle physics at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory. His innovative vision has made Canada a world leader in the field of particle astrophysics and has paved the way for international collaborations.
    I congratulate Dr. McDonald.

  (1400)  

[Translation]

Granby International Song Festival

    Mr. Speaker, the Granby international song festival is held in my riding and is in its 48th year. This festival can be proud of the fact that it is the largest French-language song competition in Canada, if not the world. Today, it is a non-profit organization that attracts 45,000 spectators every year.
    In light of the fact that every dollar invested in culture returns seven dollars in economic spinoffs, I am proud that the Government of Canada has supported this festival for many years. The Granby song festival is directed by Pierre Fortier, a man who has spent many years promoting French-language songs.
    He received a wonderful tribute for his work and dedication last fall, when he was decorated with the Ordre des francophones d'Amérique. He joined a very select group of people, including Luc Plamondon and Gilles Vigneault, who have made major contributions to our culture and heritage. We congratulate him and hope that he has a super festival.

[English]

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, today we celebrate International Women's Day, a global day recognizing the economic, political, and social achievements of all women.
    Since the first International Women's Day in 1911, women have fought to achieve greater equality. However, there is still much work to be done as Canada has fallen to number 30 in the global gender parity rankings.
    Women are still not paid equally compared to their male counterparts and are still under-represented in business and politics. Globally, women's education, health, and the violence women face is still worse than that of men.
    I am humbled to stand in this place following in the footsteps of all the women parliamentarians who have served our country. They have fought to ensure that the 88 women who serve in this Parliament can accurately reflect women's diverse interests, voices, and experiences.
    Women and girls are deeply impacted by poverty, climate change, food insecurity, economic crises, and the lack of affordable child care.
    The achievement of full human potential and of sustainable development is not possible if one half of humanity continues to be denied its full human rights and opportunities.

John Munn

    Mr. Speaker, on February 15, Newfoundlander John Munn was named as one of 38 Canadians to receive the national historic designation.
    In 1825, Mr. Munn arrived in Newfoundland at the age of 18. He lived in Harbour Grace, where he established one of the largest and most important businesses in Newfoundland at the time. Munn was an outport merchant and the face of John Munn and Co., a firm that gave great opportunity for growth to the seal, commercial, and inshore fishermen. He was truly a pioneer in the expansion of the Newfoundland fisheries of the 19th century.
    He grew his business and became one of the most prominent political and social figures in Newfoundland. John Munn was a leader in the Confederation movement, and one of only nine elected representatives to the legislature in 1869 to support the union of Newfoundland and the Dominion of Canada.
    John Munn made his mark on Newfoundland two centuries ago, and I am honoured to see his legacy live on in Canada today. I rise to thank Parks Canada for this recognition.

Swimming Canada Champion

    Mr. Speaker, today is International Women's Day. Each and every day, women in Lambton—Kent—Middlesex establish new standards of excellence, in business, at home, in sports, and in many other fields.
    Today I want to recognize the outstanding achievements of 15-year-old Madison Broad from Wallaceburg, Ontario. When I first met Maddy in 2014, she had won two gold and two silver medals at the Swimming Canada Canadian Age Group Championships. Since then, she has won many more gold and various medals in various competitions. Just last week, Madison finished first in the Orlando grand prix 100-metre backstroke.
    Maddy is now focused on the Olympic trials, and they happen in April of this year. Let us join my constituents of Lambton—Kent—Middlesex and give her the support she deserves to reach Olympic gold.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

  (1405)  

Grand River Hospital Volunteer

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to wish a very happy birthday to Ms. Elizabeth South.
    Betty, as she is known to friends and family, will be turning 90 years young on March 14. If this were not impressive enough on its own, I also want to highlight Betty's nearly 40 years of volunteerism at the Grand River Hospital, Freeport Campus, where you can still find her every Monday helping to make the community a better place.
    Betty is a role model for us all, and we should all strive to be the example that she sets. I hope that I am able to do even half of what she does, if I am lucky enough to get to her age.
    I would ask members from all sides of the House to join me in wishing Betty a very happy 90th birthday.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, on this International Women's Day, I want to pay tribute to all of those courageous women around the world and in Canada who have inspired me: the women I knew in Congo, who were beaten by police and undressed in the street for peacefully demonstrating for their right to fair elections; Flora Terah, in Kenya, whose only son was murdered because she had the audacity to run for parliament; the indigenous women in Mexico, who fought successfully for the right to stand for municipal council; Saadia, in my riding, who worked for 17 years in a family shelter, giving hope to victims of domestic violence; and the families of the missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.
    On International Women's Day, we in the House stand with them for a life free of violence and a world where our daughters and sons can grow up with full gender parity.

Canadian Chiropractic Association

    Mr. Speaker, members of the Canadian Chiropractic Association are on Parliament Hill today to raise awareness of the impact of back pain and musculoskeletal, or MSK, conditions on our workforce and Canada's overall competitiveness.
    More than 11 million Canadians are affected by MSK conditions every year. These conditions rival cardiovascular disease as an overall health burden and are the second leading cause of reasons for doctors visits. These conditions impact Canada's productivity, as up to 85% of workers will suffer from back pain at least once in their lifetimes. MSK conditions make it more difficult to stay physically active, which can help to prevent and manage many chronic conditions.
    I invite my colleagues in the House to join me in welcoming CCA members who have come from across the country to meet with government decision-makers.
     Canadian chiropractors, as spine, muscle, and nervous system experts, help relieve MSK conditions by providing evidence-informed, conservative care options, and play an essential role in the continued health of Canadians every year.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

2015 Nobel Prize in Physics

    Mr. Speaker, I rise to salute the fantastic achievements of Dr. Arthur McDonald, the co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics. Dr. McDonald, a professor at Queen's University, led a global team of over 270 researchers from 13 international institutions to the discovery that neutrinos can change identities, thereby confirming that particles have mass. This discovery upset the standard model of physics and changed our understanding of how the universe works.
     The team conducted these experiments at the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory, or SNOLAB, in the Creighton mine, located two kilometres underground in my riding of Sudbury. The lab is the deepest clean room facility in the world, allowing scientists to study the particles free from cosmic radiation constantly bombarding the earth's surface.

[Translation]

    Residents of Sudbury and all Canadians have reason to be proud of Dr. McDonald's scientific achievements.

[English]

    I invite all members to join me in conveying our deepest congratulations to the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics winner, Dr. McDonald, and his team of collaborators.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

Former Mayor of Mississauga

    Mr. Speaker, as this is International Women's Day, I have the privilege to stand today in the House to recognize an extraordinary woman and civic leader, Hazel McCallion, who is in Ottawa today. As an outstanding advocate for her community and her constituents, a public servant, and my friend, Ms. McCallion has been a driving force for real change in my riding. As the longest-serving mayor of Mississauga, her determination, vision, and spirit helped guide the city of Mississauga on its path toward becoming the sixth-largest city in Canada.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    Mr. Peter Fonseca: Mr. Speaker, despite an early prediction that she would only see one term, she successfully won 11 straight re-election bids, proof not only of her tenacity but her many talents. Hurricane Hazel is revered locally, and highly respected both nationally and abroad. A passionate ambassador for her city, her wealth of experience—

  (1410)  

    The hon. member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.

[Translation]

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, on this International Women's Day, I would like to celebrate the social, political, and economic advances made by women here and elsewhere that have made a difference in our everyday lives and in our society.
    Whether they be daughters, mothers, career women, or informal caregivers, these women share with us their experiences and a small part of their lives and, through their actions, create unique opportunities to build a better future.
    International Women's Day gives us the opportunity to recognize the achievements of women and think about the work that still needs to be done, particularly when it comes to combatting violence against women.
    The first time I attended a meeting of the Network of Women Parliamentarians, I realized how important it is to raise awareness among men and to get them involved in putting an end to such violence.
    It is essential to work together and continue to support these exceptional women who work day in and day out to—
    Order. The hon. member for Scarborough—Guildwood.

[English]

Syrian Refugees

    Mr. Speaker, last week I participated in three events welcoming Syrian refugees to Canada.
    The first was to recognize the efforts of the residents of Markham-Lawrence community to raise funds for two families and their accommodations. The second was to participate in a fundraiser for the Guildwood Refugee Action Committee, where we heard the harrowing tale of Siham Abu Sitta and her two children fleeing from Syria. The third was at the home of my daughter Sarah, who along with her husband Phil, and their team, welcomed a Syrian family with a tasty Middle Eastern Halal meal.
     As we stood around the kitchen eating and conversing through Google translate, I was reminded of that great Biblical passage:
    For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me...
    Is it not wonderful how our nation can be a light in this world of darkness?

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, International Women's Day can celebrate women's achievements and highlight what holds us back, but words ring hollow if there is no follow-through, no action.
     Our collective work over this next year must be based on action. What can we in this chamber do to end epidemic violence against women? What can we do to get women elected to help our communities make good decisions? What can we do to lock in equal pay for work of equal value?
     Taking immediate action will make this a better place, not just for women, but for our economy, our society, our soul as a nation.
     I look forward to rising with members in one year's time to celebrate what we in this House have achieved, with and for Canadian women.

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, I would like to acknowledge that today is International Women's Day.
    This day is recognized by Canadians, as well as by the United Nations, as a day to celebrate women and their place in the world. This year's UN theme is “pledge for parity”, which aligns well to our Canadian theme “empowerment leads to equality”.
     As your first female engineer member of Parliament, I applaud the efforts of the members of the status of women committee and the work planned by the Special Committee on Pay Equity to advance the cause of gender parity.
     Consider how each of us can pledge to help empower women: by encouraging women and girls in their ambitions; by creating an inclusive and flexible work environment where everyone's contributions are valued; and by supporting the recommendations from our committees.
    Celebrate International Women's Day, and all mothers, daughters, sisters, and fellow leaders, who make this world a better place.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!

  (1415)  

[Translation]

International Women's Day

    Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark International Women's Day, as some of my colleagues have already done.
    One minute is not much time to talk about gender equality. Everyone knows that our government holds this value, as did my parents, who taught me that success, growth, and prosperity know no gender.
    When I got into politics, I always had one objective in mind, which I cherish as a mother of four children. I want my two daughters to be able to dream and have the same opportunities as my two sons. When women and girls have the opportunity to succeed, the whole country is enriched.

ORAL QUESTIONS

[Oral Questions]

[English]

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, on International Women's Day, my thoughts are with the Yazidi girls in Iraq who are being captured, tortured, raped, and forced to be sex slaves by ISIS. Those who can actually flee with their lives are now languishing in IDP camps, but we can help them. We can bring them to Canada.
    With private sponsors who are willing to help, will the Prime Minister commit today to placing these Yazidi girls in the joint sponsorship program so they can come to Canada and find safe haven?
    Mr. Speaker, in the last election, the Liberal Party committed to bringing in 25,000 refugees from Syria and that is exactly what we did.
     As we look to how we can continue to demonstrate that Canada is an open and welcoming country, we are of course open to all sorts of different suggestions and ways we can continue to demonstrate that Canada is a place that will accept people, not just because they are fleeing tremendous hardships, but because they will contribute to the economic growth and success of this country in the years to come. I look forward to doing more of that in the months and years to come.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, while the Prime Minister is in Washington this week, he will be hanging out with his friends from the Center for American Progress. These are the same anti-Canadian American lobbyists who called our energy sector a “dirty business”. Meanwhile, Petronas is threatening to cancel its $36 billion investment in British Columbia LNG because of Liberal policies.
    Instead of toasting champagne with anti-Canadian American lobbyists who want to kill Canadian jobs, will the Prime Minister finally stand up for Canada's energy sector?
    Mr. Speaker, a few years ago I went down to Washington and indeed spoke at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress who addressed us all together. What I told the Center for American Progress was that this Canadian Liberal supports the Keystone XL pipeline. I talked about the issues that we need to put forward to promote the fact that we can export our resources sustainably and responsibly.
    Unfortunately, for 10 years, Canada had a black mark when we had a prime minister who refused to put together the environment and economy. That is what we are going to do and that is the message I am going to give to our friends down south.

Air Transportation

    Mr. Speaker, perhaps when the Prime Minister is in Washington then, he can ask President Obama to reverse his decision on Keystone and make—
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!

[Translation]

    Hon. Rona Ambrose: Mr. Speaker, the Liberal members will have an opportunity to vote on the Conservative motion and help Bombardier sell more planes, but the Liberals keep getting in the way, especially the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.
    Why would the Prime Minister rather reward his friend than help Bombardier create good jobs?

  (1420)  

    Mr. Speaker, even after their defeat in the last election, the Conservatives are still trying to pit one part of the country against another. We respect local desires, concerns, and interests. That is how you build a strong country, rather than exploiting the differences between provinces for ideological, strategic, and political purposes.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the Toronto island airport is a driver of jobs and economic growth. Allowing it to expand would create a multi-billion customer for the new Bombardier C Series and create thousands of jobs in Toronto and Montreal. The Liberals just do not understand that jobs do not come out of thin air.
    Will the minister get out of the way, approve the expansion, and help get the C Series program off the ground?
    Mr. Speaker, we were delighted to hear recently that Air Canada intends to buy 45 airplanes from the C Series because it believes in this aircraft, which, by the way, is the best in its class in the world. We can also be proud of the fact that the Quebec government is intending to drop its litigation against Air Canada.
    We are making progress in creating jobs in the aerospace industry in this country. I would like to know why the member for Beauce thinks that the C Series is not an airplane that anyone wants to buy.
    Mr. Speaker, Bombardier's new plane is quieter than those that were allowed to land at the Toronto island airport when the tripartite agreement was signed in 1983. Rather than block the creation of good jobs, the minister should follow his own advice and use evidence-based decision-making to modernize the regulations governing the use of this airport. Will the minister accept the evidence, consider the thousands of jobs created, and allow the Toronto island airport to expand?
    Mr. Speaker, I will say it again. I had the opportunity this morning to make a 20-minute speech, but the official opposition members have obviously had difficulty understanding the basis of our decision with respect to the tripartite agreement. We made it very clear that we were achieving the right balance between commercial interests and the interests of the community. We do care about local issues. Unfortunately, the current opposition does not seem to share the same approach.

Child Care

    Mr. Speaker, a new report released yesterday proves that the pay gap for women in Canada is actually getting worse. Meanwhile, the costs of child care are astronomical and rising, putting enormous strain on households that include young families and making it more difficult for women to participate in paid work. It is almost always women who wind up making sacrifices in their career when affordable child care is not there.
    The Liberals promised Canadians that they would take action on a national child care program within the first 100 days. Where is it?
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party was elected on a platform of investing $20 billion over the next 10 years in social infrastructure, which includes social housing, seniors housing, and affordable child care. That approach is exactly what we are going to put forward in the budget.
    However, it is interesting to me that the member opposite would be talking about that, because if he were in government right now, he would be busy trying to figure out how to cut $18 billion of spending from government so he could balance the books at every cost, which was the commitment the NDP made in the election.

Employment Insurance

    Mr. Speaker, the commitment of the Liberals was for a national child care program within the first 100 days, and as we have just seen, that is another broken promise.

[Translation]

    Only 33% of unemployed women have access to employment insurance compared to 43% of men. Women are still more likely than men to work in precarious jobs.
    Can the Prime Minister, who claims to be a feminist, tell us why the Liberals voted yesterday against a motion that would have given tens of thousands of women access to employment insurance?
    Mr. Speaker, the people of Canada know very well that we are committed to reforming the EI system to help all Canadians who need it.
    That is exactly what we are doing. We are working very hard on this and we will have more to say in the weeks to come, especially when we table our budget.

  (1425)  

[English]

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, another broken promise, and yesterday's motion contained three Liberal promises, yet they voted against it.
    Internal documents reveal that the government gave a secret sweetheart deal to multi-millionaire tax cheats, with no penalties, and even a discount on the interest. Once again, we see there are two sets of rules—one for the wealthy and another one for everyone else. How many other times has this happened, and is the Prime Minister going to call an investigation into this tax scam for the rich?
    Mr. Speaker, we are of course engaged with CRA on the issues brought forward. It is a concern to us that all Canadians pay their fair share of taxes, and we will ensure that continues to be the case in the future. As for decisions made under a previous government, if they are erroneous we will look into them for sure.
    Mr. Speaker, as this case illustrates, the problem is that the rich are not paying their fair share and are let off the hook by the Canada Revenue Agency.
    The question was this. Is the Prime Minister going to order an investigation to figure out how this happened? He cannot hide behind the fact that it was a previous administration. Canadians have a right to know that the tax system is equal for all Canadians. This case proves just the opposite. There is one set of rules for the rich and another for everyone else. What is the Prime Minister going to do about investigating this case so that Canadians know there is tax fairness in this country? Stop protecting the rich. Start protecting a tax system that is fair for all.
    Mr. Speaker, one of the things at the heart of the campaign that led to our forming government was the idea that the previous government had successively given advantages and tax breaks to the wealthiest Canadians, and not to the middle class and those folks working hard to join the middle class. That is why we stood against the child benefit scheme the previous government had put forward. It was benefiting the wealthiest and not those who needed it the most. That is what we are looking forward to turning around.
     It was disappointing for us to see that the NDP sided with the previous government in giving child benefits to millionaire families when it was other folks who needed these more. That is what we are going to do. That is what we were elected to do.

Natural Resources

    Mr. Speaker, mining is of vital importance to the Canadian economy. It provides hundreds of thousands of jobs, particularly in remote areas and for aboriginal people.
    Yesterday, the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada had its annual convention in Toronto. It is one of the world's largest gatherings on mining and mineral exploration.
    The Prime Minister was also in Toronto yesterday. Why was he unable to stop by the convention to show his support and his interest in Canadian mining?
    Mr. Speaker, I was delighted to spend two days at the Prospectors & Developers Association. The message I heard from the prospectors and developers was that they are leading the world in sustainable practices. We told them they had the full support of our government. They are committed to innovation. They are committed to green technologies. It is a partnership that is in the interests of the sector, in the interests of the government, and even in the interests of the opposition.
    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister was busy in Toronto yesterday, not with PDAC, but with pandas.
    While he did not have time for PDAC, he does have time in Washington for his friends, the Center for American Progress, his pals that he is going to be hanging out with, a blatantly anti-Canadian organization that calls Canadian oil dirty and destructive. They have worked overtime to kill keystone XL.
    Does the Prime Minister agree with this group? Why is he spending so much time in Washington with anti-Canadian groups and no time with job creators here in Canada?
    Mr. Speaker, it may be unusual for the opposition, but this government actually talks to people who disagree with it. The reason we do that is we believe that the force of argument might even prevail.
    The Prime Minister has already said that he spoke with the group in support of the pipeline. We are talking to people right across the country, some of whom have a different view. When one has open ears, one might even be able to learn.

  (1430)  

    Mr. Speaker, Petronas, the company supporting LNG in British Columbia, has invested over $12 billion going through and receiving environmental approval, both nationally and provincially. This $36-billion project would create thousands of jobs. However, the Liberals have added more red tape, additional barriers, and significant costs.
     Will the Liberals commit today to supporting the B.C. LNG industry and Canadian job creation, yes or no?
    Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency is reviewing a number of major LNG projects, including Pacific NorthWest.
    Yesterday, Pacific NorthWest submitted substantial new information. This information will be assessed by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. We will be evaluating new information submitted by the proponent in an efficient way that meets our obligations to Canadians, as we do for every major project.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have blocked the expansion of the Toronto island airport, the creation of jobs in the aerospace industry, opposed energy east, added more red tape to the B.C. LNG industry, and is increasing taxes in the technology sector and on small business, but we have two pandas named Hope and Joy.
    Is it the Liberals' intention to shut the entire country down?
    Mr. Speaker, we ran on a campaign of hope and hard work. That is what Canadians supported.
    If we take the logic of the member opposite, they would be making massive cuts of billions of dollars. They promote austerity. We promote growth and job creation. We have a plan that is going to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure; we have a plan that is going to reduce the tax burden on middle-class Canadians; we have a plan that is going to advance the innovation agenda. We are going to grow the economy and create jobs.

[Translation]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, this government turned on the taps and is promising outrageous deficits. Canadian families know how tough it is to make ends meet, and they know that racking up credit card debt to put food on the table is not the right way to handle things.
    Will the government cut up its credit card and stop mortgaging our children's future?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for his question.
    The Conservatives left us a dismal economic legacy. On October 19, Canadians made a different choice. They chose economic growth and investment in families. We began in December by cutting taxes for the middle class. We will go forward with our game-changing plan for families by deploying the Canada child benefit, which will help hundreds of millions of children in Canada and nine out of 10 families.
    We will also go forward with our game-changing plan to invest in infrastructure. That is what it means to work for Canadians.

[English]

    Order, please. We all know the member for Edmonton—Wetaskiwin and others can count very well, and we appreciate that, but let us not hear it when someone else is speaking. Let us show respect for one another.
    The hon member for Beauport—Côte-de-Beaupré—Île d'Orléans—Charlevoix.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, this government recently crowed about fighting for the middle class. I have my doubts about that when I see the debt spiralling out of control. This spending is motivated by Liberal ideology and it is going to hurt our economy.
    Can the Minister of Finance explain to Canadians how debt is going to make us better off?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for the question.
    Our vision is completely different than that of the Conservatives. We are going to invest in growth. We have lowered taxes for nine million Canadians and will continue to have measures for the middle class. We will do this in a responsible manner and we will continue to work to achieve our objective of reducing the debt to GDP ratio during our term.
    It has always been our goal to balance the books in a more difficult economic context. However, our priority is to work for this country's middle class.

  (1435)  

[English]

Health

    Mr. Speaker, access to safe abortion services is fundamental to a woman's right to choose. It must be equally available to all Canadian women. However, women in places like PEI do not have access to abortion services and they should.
     A commitment to women's rights must be more than talk and promises; it must mean concrete action. Therefore, will the minister commit today to guaranteeing that every woman in every region of the country has access to abortion services?
    Mr. Speaker, I will remind the hon. member that our government fully supports a woman's right to choose. Our government also recognizes that there are inequities in access to a number of health services across the country, including abortion.
    I have been discussing with my provincial and territorial colleagues the fundamentals of the Canada Health Act and the fact that there should be access to all medically necessary services on the basis of need and not on the basis of ability to pay. I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure access is available to all Canadians.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, unsafe abortions account for 13% of maternal mortality in the world. If we really want to save lives then we must do something about this.
    Why is the Minister of International Development upholding the Conservative policy and refusing to fund abortion services abroad where it is permitted? It is legal in several countries.
    Why is she refusing to defend the rights of women around the world?
    Mr. Speaker, I believe that my hon. colleague misunderstood my speech yesterday. We are very proud to support a wide range of reproductive health services.
    Yesterday, I was joined by Dr. Babatunde, from the United Nations population fund. The plans we announced did not directly target abortion, but that does not mean we are against it. We were responding to a demand specifically focused on family planning, sex education, safe abortions, and the fight against sexually transmitted diseases.

[English]

Finance

    Mr. Speaker, in 2003, the Ontario Liberal Party came to power, assuring Canadians and Ontarians that they would reduce debt “as conditions allow”.
    Since then, we have $300 billion in debt, which has doubled; $22,000 per person is owed, which has doubled. It has increased faster than any other province.
    Yesterday, the parliamentary secretary said that he would take no lessons from our successes, so I am wondering this. Is it because the Minister of Finance would rather be taking lessons from the disastrous legacies of Kathleen Wynne and Dalton McGuinty in racking up debt?
    Mr. Speaker, we will take no lessons from the Conservatives when it comes to deficits. Our focus is on investing in the middle class and growing the economy. That is what Canadians expect of us.
     After 10 years of weak economic growth, the worst possible reaction to an economic downturn would be to balance the budget at any cost. This is the kind of blind fixation Canadians rejected on October 19.
    Canadians expect us to deliver on growth and the economy, and that is exactly what we will do.

Small Business

    Mr. Speaker, for weeks the Liberals have been giving mixed signals and dodging questions about small businesses and the new job-killing start-up tax. Some days they want to increase taxes for everybody, and some days they only want to raise taxes on small business owners.
    When will the Liberals abandon their job-killing start-up tax?
    It is the opposite, Mr. Speaker. This government supports small and medium-sized businesses. We are committed to helping them grow. We are committed to helping them innovate, to become more productive and to become expert oriented. We have launched the Canexport program, which has received a wonderful response.
    This morning, for International Women's Day, I was with Startup Canada for its women's day breakfast, and I met a young entrepreneur, a girl in grade 5, by the name of Frankie. She and her friend started up a business.
    The spirit of entrepreneurship is here. This government recognizes that small businesses are job creators and will grow the economy.

  (1440)  

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday the minister said that the Liberals would “do justice to caregivers”, and today we learned what that meant. The Liberals are cutting 8,000 spots available this year via the caregiver immigration stream. This program provides vital support for families that are looking after loved ones with physical or mental disabilities. These changes leave the most vulnerable Canadians without care.
     Why have the Liberals chosen to cut 27% of the immigration spots available to caregivers?
    Mr. Speaker, in respect to caregivers, the House and the government stands behind the significant contribution that caregivers make to Canadian society.
     We stand by our campaign commitment, which is to eliminate the LMIA fee of $1,000 that is required to hire a caregiver. We also stand behind our commitment to work with provinces and territories to facilitate the work and the hiring of caregivers.
    Caregivers represent a significant contribution to our country. We recognize that and we are working on processing their claims expeditiously.
    Therefore, Mr. Speaker, recognizing a contribution means an 8,000 person cut.
    The government has also cut the numbers of spots available under the federal skilled worker in Canada experience class by 21%. These cuts to economic immigration come at a time when our workforce is aging, our economy is slowing and refugees are waiting for months to have long-term affordable housing.
    In this context, could the minister explain how he plans to provide the services needed to ensure that the government's planned 250% increase in refugees is successful, and how much this will cost?
    Mr. Speaker, in terms of our specifics that were announced today, let me elaborate on the plan. It considers the economic needs of our country and it considers the pressing need for family reunification and our humanitarian tradition, which are important vis-à-vis refugees and people coming in under the agency category.
    With respect to the economic needs of the country, we hear these needs loud and clear. We are responding to them. The levels that we have announced are over 50% of the overall targets of immigrants that we are bringing to our country. That is responsive to Canadian industry, to Canadian business and to making the country prosper and grow.

[Translation]

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, a new study reveals that women now earn 72% of what men earn. That kind of discrimination is unacceptable and unfairly affects women. Thanks to the NDP, a parliamentary committee will propose an action plan to achieve pay equity.
    Will the government promise today to pass the proactive bill on pay equity so that equal work for equal pay, the slogan women have chanted for too long, can become a reality?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, having a gender wage gap in Canada in 2016 is unacceptable. As the first commitment toward pay equity, our Prime Minister appointed a gender-balanced cabinet. We are firmly committed to a public service that reflects the diversity in society, which includes gender parity, and we have supported the appointment of a special committee on pay equity.
    We will continue to lead by example and work with all members of the House and our provincial and territorial partners to close the gap.
    Mr. Speaker, it is not just about wages. Women are also far more likely to be engaged in precarious work. Two-thirds of all part-time workers and more than half of all temporary workers in Canada are women. This makes it harder for women to earn a stable income, to afford food and rent, and to qualify for programs like employment insurance.
    Why did the Liberals let Canadian women down by voting against lowering the threshold on EI?
    Mr. Speaker, it is absolutely true that the gap is growing for women, and that more and more are not able to access the very services they deserve. That is why we committed during the election to review the EI system, modernize it, and bring it into today's world, which will serve all Canadians.

  (1445)  

    Mr. Speaker, today is International Women's Day, a day when we celebrate women's achievements and their potential in Canada and globally.
    Speaking of achievements, we saw a record number of 88 women elected to the House in the last election. The Prime Minister appointed an equal number of women and men to cabinet.
    Could the Minister of Status of Women inform us of other actions this government is taking to ensure women can participate more actively in democratic and public life?
    Mr. Speaker, this government is committed to advancing gender equality in all areas of Canadian life. The theme of International Women's Day this year is “Women's Empowerment Leads to Equality”.
    I recently launched a call for proposals for projects that would increase women's participation by supporting the work of indigenous women in their communities and amplifying the voices of women working to enhance their civic and political participation.

National Defence

    Mr. Speaker, ISIL has declared war on Canada, yet the Prime Minister responds to the women and men who died and fought in Afghanistan with a message that their efforts were worthless by ending the CF-18 air cover.
    How many deaths overseas and here at home will it take for the Prime Minister to accept that some campaign promises are made to be broken?
    Mr. Speaker, I think we can agree that ISIL is a horrible threat. However, we have a difference of opinion on how we will achieve the defeat of this horrible entity.
     In order to do this, and from our experience, it will have to happen on the ground. To achieve the outcome, we need to train Iraqi security forces and ensure they have the right intelligence to create the right plan; hence, the reason we have tripled our trainers and doubled the intelligence.
     I hope the opposition votes with us and supports our plan.

Veterans Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, yesterday we asked the Minister of Veterans Affairs to give Canadians an explanation as to why the Liberals were cancelling the Afghanistan war memorial.
    There were 40,000 brave men and women in Afghanistan, some who trained in my riding of Base Borden and served there. All he had to say was: “More information regarding the project will be available in the coming months”.
    Why will the Liberals not honour our veterans and why can the minister not provide a straight answer?

[Translation]

     Why did this Liberal government and this minister cancel the plan for the Afghanistan war memorials?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I am surprised at the question because I thought I answered it very clearly yesterday.
    It is important to honour the men and women who served in Afghanistan. In 2014, an all-party motion was put forward, and it was accepted by the House. I am working closely with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to see this memorial built.

Taxation

    Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives balanced their budget and we helped families balance their budgets. The Conservative family tax cuts enhanced universal child care, helped 100% of families and kids, and gave back $2,000 of their own money. Families can and have to balance their budgets. The Liberals cannot and will not balance their budget.
    Why do the Liberals insist on taking benefits away from hard-working moms and dads to pay for their out-of-control spending?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to hear this question. That matter was an important element of our platform in the last election and contributed to electing a government that is sensitive both to economic growth and to inclusive growth.
    We will have very good news in a matter of a few days, which I think all members in the House are looking forward to, including members opposite.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, last week we heard that the Prime Minister's brother was lobbying the Minister of Public Safety to have a terrorist's Canadian citizenship restored. Then we have the agriculture minister hiring as his chief of staff somebody with a big interest in egg farms in Canada, and then we have the justice minister's husband lobbying her on behalf of his own company, and then we have the House leader and his chief of staff cozying up to the Irvings.
    Does the Prime Minister not understand conflict of interest?

  (1450)  

    Mr. Speaker, what the Prime Minister understands is the importance of raising the bar on accountability and transparency from the shabby record in front of us.
    That is why when our government was elected we took unprecedented steps to bring more openness and more transparency to government, and that includes always abiding by the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner's advice. That is what ministers in this government have done and will continue to do.

Health

    Mr. Speaker, indigenous women in Canada are more likely to be victims of violence. Many studies have shown that being a survivor of violence has a significant impact on mental health, but for women on reserves in rural and remote communities, mental health supports and services are often inadequate or non-existent.
    Will the health minister work with indigenous communities to ensure that culturally sensitive mental health services are available to all women?
    Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to respond to this important question.
    I would agree with the member opposite that for indigenous women in particular, violence can often contribute to real challenges in mental health. We are fully committed as a government to responding to the mental health needs of Canadians. The Prime Minister has asked me to make sure that we increase access to mental health services for all Canadians.
    I would be particularly interested in working with the member opposite to ensure that we can provide adequate mental health services to indigenous women and men in her community and in all Canadian communities.

[Translation]

Status of Women

    Mr. Speaker, over the past year, hundreds of women have had the courage to speak out against the harassment and violence they have suffered.
    These are systemic problems that require a political solution. For years, women's groups have been calling for a national action plan and investment in more shelter spaces.
    Can the minister tell us when, and I mean when, the government will listen to these women and come up with an action plan to finally stop this scourge?

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for her passion on this issue.
    I am extremely proud to lead the development of a federal gender-based violence strategy. I am working closely with my provincial and territorial colleagues right now, consulting with NGOs who have spent a great amount of time working on and exploring this issue, and we should have something to talk about near June.

Ethics

    Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is going to Washington this week to hang out with the anti-Canadian energy Center for American Progress and the Liberal organization called Canada 2020.
    Canada 2020's founders are Liberal lobbyists who are registered to lobby the PMO and other federal departments. At the same time, the Liberals have been raising money by promising a free trip to the Canada 2020 events in Washington.
    The Liberals have been told to quit doing this. Why are the Liberals still using their government positions to help out their Liberal lobbyist friends while fundraising on behalf of the same old same old Liberal Party?
    Mr. Speaker, as I have said in the House before, at all times the Liberal Party has complied and will continue to comply with the election financing legislation.
    It is somewhat ironic that members sitting on the other side raise people that do not respect election financing laws, because nobody on this side has left in leg irons.
    Mr. Speaker, the president of Canada 2020 is Tom Pitfield. His spouse is the president of the Liberal Party. They are both self-described friends of the Prime Minister. Understandable.
     The Conflict of Interest Act is clear that one cannot further the interests of one's friends, but the Prime Minister himself is in a fundraising email from his friend, the president of the Liberal Party, offering access for cash.
    Why is the Prime Minister trying to promote his friends and raise money for the Liberal Party on his supposed official state visit?

  (1455)  

    Mr. Speaker, on this side of the House, we are very proud of what the Prime Minister and ministers will accomplish on the important state visit to Washington.
    It is an unprecedented honour for Canada, and substantive files will be advanced. Job creation will be a priority on this side of the House. In discussions with the White House and with secretaries in the American administration, at all times we will keep the economic and social needs of Canadians at the forefront.
    Drive-by smears about phony fundraising events, frankly, are not honourable in this House.
    Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
    Order. Let us have some order here. There is some danger of there being fewer questions.
    The hon. member for Lethbridge.
    Mr. Speaker, the Liberal Party is using this trip and its position as government to fill party coffers in order to help out the friends of the Prime Minister.
    At Christmastime, the Liberals were told that they had to stop this cash-for-access flow. This is exactly what they are doing now, however, only three short months later. They seem to be promising donors access to the Prime Minister and the ministers who are going with him. We have seen this all before with the Liberals.
    My question is this: why do the Liberals continue to blur the lines between their party and their position as government?
    Mr. Speaker, Canadians will find it somewhat ironic that the other side of the House would be lecturing anybody about using government to advance partisan interests.
    What we can say with respect to this particular event is that the member knows very well that no donation was required. This is a normal social media competition that all parties have done.
    At all times, the Liberal Party and members on this side of the House respect election financing legislation, something that colleagues on the other side have had considerable trouble doing.

[Translation]

The Environment

    Mr. Speaker, last week, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Environment and Climate Change participated in the GLOBE conference in Vancouver. This conference focused on clean energy solutions. As we have been saying all along, now is the time to stop pitting the environment and the economy against each other, especially when clean energy programs help advance both the environment and the economy.
    Can the Minister of Environment and Climate Change tell us about her meetings at this conference?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for her question. I had the pleasure of participating in the GLOBE summit, the largest conference dedicated to business innovation that focuses on the environment and clean energy. My parliamentary secretary, the member for North Vancouver, joined me in talks on climate-change leadership, along with the provinces and territories. The Government of Canada remains committed to innovation, clean growth, and the efficient use of resources.

[English]

Indigenous Affairs

    Mr. Speaker, a recent lawsuit by the SSN is looking to declare aboriginal title over private property. The Premier of British Columbia responded that government must defend with conviction the sanctity of private land and private land rights. Furthermore, she told the people of Kamloops she has their backs.
    There was no such message from the federal government. Will the justice minister stand shoulder to shoulder with the premier of B.C. and defend private property ownership?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for the question.
    Our government is committed to developing a substantive nation-to-nation relationship with indigenous peoples in this country, sitting down and working jointly, based on recognition and moving forward in order to ensure that indigenous communities can have an improved quality of life, can settle, ultimately, the land question, and do it based on respect and based on the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Democratic Reform

    Mr. Speaker, one of the best ways to achieve equality for women in Canada is to have the House of Commons actually reflect our population. Women make up over 50% of Canada's population, yet only 26% of parliamentarians are women.
    The member for Burnaby South has proposed legislation that would help achieve gender equality in Parliament. Will the Minister of Democratic Institutions commit her government to supporting this very important legislation?

  (1500)  

    Mr. Speaker, we intend to undertake a meaningful and inclusive conversation with all Canadians to bring our electoral system into the 21st century. We are doing this because here in Canada we can do better.
    For us, and for the next generation, we need to do this so that more 14-year-old girls like Veronica from my riding of Peterborough—Kawartha can feel compelled to be engaged in the democratic process.

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship

    Mr. Speaker, my riding of Scarborough Centre is one of the most diverse communities in Canada. The Prime Minister came to my campaign office during the election and promised to repeal the second class citizenship provision of Bill C-24, telling my constituents that a Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian.
    Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship update the House on his progress on this promise to restore the integrity of Canadian citizenship?
    Mr. Speaker, I am proud to inform the House that we are meeting this important campaign commitment.
    Bill C-24, enacted by the previous Conservative government, set a very dangerous precedent. It created two tiers of citizenship in this country. Regardless of whether one is born here or whether abroad, like myself and many members of the House, we deserve a government that values and respects our citizenship.
    A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian. The Liberal Party believes this. Canadians recognize this. With Bill C-6, we will be implementing this important fundamental principle and putting it back into our immigration system.

[Translation]

International Trade

    Mr. Speaker, I am a woman and a feminist who wants to talk about free trade. The Americans have always lost, any time they have taken a softwood lumber dispute before WTO and NAFTA tribunals. Quebec's forestry industry has done nothing wrong. It has always complied with the agreement. The government's position should be simple: there is nothing to negotiate.
    Will the government tell the Americans that the softwood lumber agreement has already been signed and it is called NAFTA?
    Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for her question.
    Yes, NAFTA is part of the framework of issues regarding the softwood lumber file. However, there are other issues across the country, whether in Quebec or British Columbia. We are aware of the issues, and we are working to ensure that we have stable, fair, and equitable access to the American market. That is what we promised and that is what we are going do.
    Mr. Speaker, while the Minister of Foreign Affairs is calling for a return to free trade in softwood lumber, the Minister of International Trade has been saying for several weeks now that her officials are negotiating a new agreement. However, the Quebec forestry industry just wants one thing: a return to free trade, under NAFTA, for softwood lumber.
    Who is speaking on behalf of the government, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is calling for free trade, or the Minister of International Trade, who is negotiating an agreement that is not suitable to Quebec's forestry industry?
    Mr. Speaker, this issue is a priority for our government.
    Our position is the same; it has not changed. We want to ensure stable, fair, and equitable access. We understand the various positions that exist across the country. We are working with our counterparts across Canada and our American partners to find a stable, fair, and equitable solution.

[English]

    It was wonderful today to hear so many questions and many of the answers from women, on this International Women's Day. How about a hand for them?
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    The Speaker: It was unfortunate, however, to have a lot of voices being heard that were male voices, which I was hearing when they did not have the floor. Let us try to have some decorum around here and some respect.

  (1505)  

Presence in Gallery

     I draw the attention of hon. members to the presence in the gallery of Dr. Arthur McDonald, astrophysicist and co-winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physics, and his collaborators representing four countries and more than 15 universities and research facilities.
    Some hon. members: Hear, hear!
    Mr. Speaker, notwithstanding Standing Order 32(2), I would like to bring to the attention of the House the reported surplus of $2.2 billion at the end of December 2015 and ask for permission to table the documents proving this from the Department of Finance.
    Is there unanimous consent for the member to table the documents?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.

Points of Order

Oral Questions  

[Points of Order]
    Mr. Speaker, as much as I do appreciate your commending all of us on International Women's Day, I would like to ask why you removed a woman from the speaker's list today. I recognize that you have made a point of this, but I am not sure why you would actually punish someone in the House who is a woman, who has been here since I think 2004, doing outstanding service for Canadians, because of the actions in the House of those you claim were men.
    I thank the member for her question. I point out to hon. members that question period went past the time allotted for question period; and I point out that I did give an indication earlier that question period might be a little shorter if there were not better decorum in the House. I encourage members to take that to heart and act accordingly. I would have thought, especially on International Women's Day, that we would have had different decorum here.
    Mr. Speaker, while I respect your comments with regard to decorum in the House of Commons, I would be remiss if I did not point out that there are also women who heckle in the House. Therefore, rather than a focus on the gender of this, I would ask, Mr. Speaker, that you ask all of us to govern our own behaviour accordingly.
    I appreciate the hon. member's comment, but I think that my noting of what was happening here was accurate. It is unfortunate that it was male members making most of the noise; some women perhaps, but mostly men.

Government Orders

[Government]

[English]

Canada's Contribution to the Effort to Combat ISIL

    The House resumed from February 24 consideration of the motion and of the amendment.
    It being 3:10 p.m., pursuant to an order made on Tuesday, February 23, 2016, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment relating to government business no. 2.
    Call in the members.
    The question is on the amendment.
    Shall I dispense?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    [Chair read text of amendment to the House]

  (1515)  

[Translation]

     (The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 18)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Arnold
Barlow
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Brassard
Brown
Calkins
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Dreeshen
Eglinski
Falk
Fast
Finley
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Harper
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lebel
Leitch
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Raitt
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 95


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Amos
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Aubin
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Beech
Bélanger
Bennett
Benson
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Brosseau
Caesar-Chavannes
Cannings
Caron
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Choquette
Christopherson
Cormier
Cullen
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Dion
Donnelly
Drouin
Dubé
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Foote
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Fry
Fuhr
Garneau
Garrison
Gerretsen
Gill
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Hardcastle
Hardie
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Johns
Jolibois
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Kwan
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
Laverdière
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Malcolmson
Maloney
Marcil
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Moore
Morneau
Morrissey
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Pauzé
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Plamondon
Poissant
Quach
Qualtrough
Ramsey
Rankin
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Saganash
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sansoucy
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Stewart
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Thériault
Tootoo
Trudeau
Trudel
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Weir
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 230


PAIRED

Nil

     I declare the amendment lost.

[English]

     The next question is on the main motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    Some hon. members: No.
    The Speaker: All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
    Some hon. members: Yea.
    The Speaker: All those opposed will please say nay.
    Some hon. members: Nay.
    The Speaker: In my opinion the yeas have it.
    And five or more members having risen:

  (1525)  

    (The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 19)

YEAS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Amos
Anandasangaree
Arseneault
Arya
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Beech
Bélanger
Bennett
Bibeau
Bittle
Blair
Boissonnault
Bossio
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Caesar-Chavannes
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Cormier
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Dion
Drouin
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Foote
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Fry
Fuhr
Garneau
Gerretsen
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Hardie
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Maloney
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
May (Cambridge)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Morneau
Morrissey
Murray
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Poissant
Qualtrough
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Tootoo
Trudeau
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 178


NAYS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Angus
Arnold
Ashton
Aubin
Barlow
Benson
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Blaikie
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Brassard
Brosseau
Brown
Calkins
Cannings
Caron
Carrie
Chong
Choquette
Christopherson
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Cullen
Davies
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Donnelly
Dreeshen
Dubé
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Eglinski
Falk
Fast
Finley
Fortin
Gallant
Garrison
Généreux
Genuis
Gill
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Hardcastle
Harder
Harper
Hoback
Hughes
Jeneroux
Johns
Jolibois
Julian
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Kwan
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Laverdière
Lebel
Leitch
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacGregor
MacKenzie
Maguire
Malcolmson
Marcil
Masse (Windsor West)
Mathyssen
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Moore
Mulcair
Nantel
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Pauzé
Plamondon
Poilievre
Quach
Raitt
Ramsey
Rankin
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saganash
Sansoucy
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Stewart
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Thériault
Tilson
Trost
Trudel
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Weir
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 147


PAIRED

Nil

    I declare the motion carried.

[Translation]

Income Tax Act

    The House resumed from March 7 consideration of the motion that Bill C-2, An Act to amend the Income Tax Act, be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.
    The House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment.

  (1535)  

     (The House divided on the amendment, which was negatived on the following division:)
 

(Division No. 20)

YEAS

Members

Aboultaif
Albas
Albrecht
Allison
Ambrose
Anderson
Arnold
Barlow
Bergen
Bernier
Berthold
Bezan
Blaney (Bellechasse—Les Etchemins—Lévis)
Block
Boucher
Brassard
Brown
Calkins
Carrie
Chong
Clarke
Clement
Cooper
Deltell
Diotte
Doherty
Dreeshen
Eglinski
Falk
Fast
Finley
Gallant
Généreux
Genuis
Gladu
Godin
Gourde
Harder
Harper
Hoback
Jeneroux
Kelly
Kent
Kitchen
Kmiec
Lake
Lauzon (Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry)
Lebel
Leitch
Liepert
Lobb
Lukiwski
MacKenzie
Maguire
McCauley (Edmonton West)
McColeman
McLeod (Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo)
Nater
Nicholson
Nuttall
Obhrai
O'Toole
Paul-Hus
Poilievre
Raitt
Reid
Rempel
Richards
Ritz
Saroya
Scheer
Schmale
Shields
Shipley
Sopuck
Sorenson
Stanton
Strahl
Stubbs
Sweet
Tilson
Trost
Van Kesteren
Van Loan
Vecchio
Viersen
Wagantall
Warawa
Warkentin
Watts
Waugh
Webber
Wong
Yurdiga
Zimmer

Total: -- 95


NAYS

Members

Aldag
Alghabra
Alleslev
Amos
Anandasangaree
Angus
Arseneault
Arya
Ashton
Aubin
Ayoub
Badawey
Bagnell
Bains
Baylis
Beech
Bélanger
Bennett
Benson
Bibeau
Bittle
Blaikie
Blair
Blaney (North Island—Powell River)
Boissonnault
Bossio
Boudrias
Boulerice
Boutin-Sweet
Bratina
Breton
Brison
Brosseau
Caesar-Chavannes
Cannings
Caron
Carr
Casey (Cumberland—Colchester)
Casey (Charlottetown)
Chagger
Champagne
Chan
Choquette
Christopherson
Cormier
Cullen
Cuzner
Dabrusin
Damoff
Davies
DeCourcey
Dhaliwal
Dhillon
Di Iorio
Dion
Donnelly
Drouin
Dubé
Dubourg
Duclos
Duguid
Duncan (Etobicoke North)
Duncan (Edmonton Strathcona)
Dusseault
Dzerowicz
Easter
Ehsassi
El-Khoury
Ellis
Erskine-Smith
Eyking
Eyolfson
Fergus
Fillmore
Finnigan
Fisher
Fonseca
Foote
Fortin
Fragiskatos
Fraser (West Nova)
Fraser (Central Nova)
Fry
Fuhr
Garneau
Garrison
Gerretsen
Gill
Goldsmith-Jones
Goodale
Gould
Graham
Grewal
Hajdu
Hardcastle
Hardie
Harvey
Hehr
Holland
Housefather
Hughes
Hussen
Hutchings
Iacono
Johns
Jolibois
Joly
Jones
Jordan
Jowhari
Julian
Kang
Khalid
Khera
Kwan
Lametti
Lamoureux
Lapointe
Lauzon (Argenteuil—La Petite-Nation)
Laverdière
LeBlanc
Lebouthillier
Lefebvre
Lemieux
Leslie
Levitt
Lightbound
Lockhart
Long
Longfield
Ludwig
MacAulay (Cardigan)
MacGregor
MacKinnon (Gatineau)
Malcolmson
Maloney
Marcil
Masse (Windsor West)
Massé (Avignon—La Mitis—Matane—Matapédia)
Mathyssen
May (Cambridge)
May (Saanich—Gulf Islands)
McCrimmon
McDonald
McGuinty
McKay
McKenna
McKinnon (Coquitlam—Port Coquitlam)
McLeod (Northwest Territories)
Mendès
Mendicino
Mihychuk
Miller (Ville-Marie—Le Sud-Ouest—Île-des-Soeurs)
Monsef
Moore
Morneau
Morrissey
Mulcair
Murray
Nantel
Nassif
Nault
O'Connell
Oliphant
Oliver
O'Regan
Ouellette
Paradis
Pauzé
Peschisolido
Peterson
Petitpas Taylor
Philpott
Picard
Plamondon
Poissant
Quach
Qualtrough
Ramsey
Rankin
Ratansi
Rioux
Robillard
Rodriguez
Romanado
Rota
Rudd
Ruimy
Rusnak
Saganash
Sahota
Saini
Sajjan
Samson
Sansoucy
Sarai
Scarpaleggia
Schiefke
Schulte
Serré
Sgro
Shanahan
Sheehan
Sidhu (Mission—Matsqui—Fraser Canyon)
Sidhu (Brampton South)
Sikand
Simms
Sohi
Sorbara
Spengemann
Ste-Marie
Stetski
Stewart
Tabbara
Tan
Tassi
Thériault
Tootoo
Trudeau
Trudel
Vandal
Vandenbeld
Vaughan
Virani
Weir
Wilkinson
Wilson-Raybould
Wrzesnewskyj
Young
Zahid

Total: -- 230


PAIRED

Nil

     I declare the amendment lost.

[English]

     I wish to inform the House that because of the deferred recorded divisions, government orders will be extended by 28 minutes.
    Order. I would like to ask all hon. members who want to carry on conversations to make their way to their respective lobbies at this time.

GOVERNMENT ORDERS

[Business of Supply]

  (1540)  

[English]

Business of Supply

Opposition Motion—Air Transportation  

    The House resumed consideration of the motion.
    When the House last took up this question, the hon. member for Toronto—Danforth had three minutes remaining in the time for questions and comments.
    Questions and comments, the hon. member for Spadina—Fort York.
    Mr. Speaker, members on the opposite side have been quoting from a July 2013 study, page 18, that identifies that the economic impact at the airport as currently configured generates approximately 6,500 jobs, both inside the operation of the airport and outside.
    If they read the full report, in fact the other half of the page, they would also see that the investment in transforming our waterfront has created 16,000 jobs, almost three times as many jobs, for a smaller investment than is now required to expand the airport.
    The airport's flight capacity is capped, and all the jets will do is to change one aircraft for another aircraft but not expand the airport. Given the fact that there is phase two and phase three of waterfront development, which is cheaper than reconfiguring the airport, would the member not agree that the wiser economic investment, with the bigger spinoff, more employment, and more economic activity, would be to invest in the waterfront, not in the airport?
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Spadina—Fort York for asking that question because it hits on exactly what I am speaking about.
    There is a city-building exercise that is being done at the waterfront. We have invested heavily already in the waterfront. We have seen wonderful development. It has made it so much more accessible. There are people working, studying, and enjoying our waterfront. It is a key part of our city.
    It is also a source of employment. In fact, the next phase of waterfront development looks at the port lands. The potential is for roughly 7,700 person-years of employment in the construction phases of that development project.
    There is a lot of potential, and we should be supporting that.
    Mr. Speaker, I will be a little more general in my approach to asking my question. We do recognize the valuable role that airports play in our society.
    A very important aspect, when we look at the potential for expansion, is to take into consideration what our community needs actually are. To that degree, when we look at Billy Bishop airport, I have listened to the parliamentary secretary reflect on what is in the best interests of his constituents and the community.
    Could the member reflect on how important it is to let stakeholders know in a timely fashion about the proposals being brought forward, which is what we have seen through the minister responsible? The member might also want to provide some comment in terms of how thoroughly this whole issue has been talked about over the last number of years, as the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister has already indicated.

  (1545)  

    Mr. Speaker, there has been a very thorough discussion about the prospects for expanding the Toronto island Billy Bishop airport.
    In fact, what we have seen is that the community is engaged in city building. We have an international airport at Pearson. As I stated earlier, I take no issue with the current configuration of the Billy Bishop airport. However, what we are talking about is expanding runways into our waterfront, and it is not what the community wants. It actually works against the work we have been doing and the investments we have been making to move forward.
    Mr. Speaker, today I stand in the House to offer the following in regard to the role of Bombardier as an economic contributor to Canada's economy.
    As outlined in the text of the motion devised by the member for Carlton Trail—Eagle Creek, Bombardier has demonstrated excellence through its ability to construct state-of-the-art aerospace and transportation products for domestic and international markets. Bombardier is not just in the business of creating airplanes and transportation solutions; it is supporting families through jobs, developing ideas, and encouraging growth within the domestic and global economies.
    The focus of my speech today is on the effects of domestic regulatory decisions on the future of Bombardier and its C Series project.
    On November 27, 2015, the Minister of Transport destroyed the prospects of any expansion of the Billy Bishop airport on Toronto island. The extension of the runway by 1,100 feet beyond its current 4,000 feet would have provided strong economic benefits for Canada's economy, specifically in Ontario and Quebec. In Toronto alone, where the enhanced airport was to be located, the total economic benefit would have been over $2 billion and would have created over 1,000 additional jobs. That is just the beginning of the benefits it would have provided to our economy, as this does not include the jobs related to the construction of the C Series airliners. These jobs would be located predominantly in Quebec and Ontario, from an estimated $2.3 billion purchase order, which is dependent on the expansion of the airport, and yet none of this was taken into consideration by the minister, the Prime Minister, or the government.
     Without ideals, without evidence, without opportunity for dissension, without a business case, without good information, the current government cancelled the future jobs of thousands of Canadians. The only reason that has been floated to us on this side of the House is that it is some sort of pet project of the member for Spadina—Fort York. Basically, the government made a decision with respect to thousands of jobs, billions of dollars in economic activity, hundreds of families, and competition in a market with significant inhibitors to expansion based on its need to win a couple of seats.
    We, the citizens of Ontario, have heard this story before. I know that the Speaker will be very familiar with this one. This is how it goes.
    There is a project that needs the consent of a Liberal government. That Liberal government does not do the right thing because it wants to win some electoral seats, and that ends up costing taxpayers billions of dollars. The Liberal government then does everything it can to prevent parliamentarians from all parties from finding out the truth about how all of that went down. In Ontario, we call it the gas plant scandal. In Canada, in this Parliament, and in the industry committee we call it the Bombardier affair.
     In a time of economic uncertainty, the current Liberal government has said no to the island airport, no to billions of dollars in positive economic activity, and no to increased competition. The result is that not only has the Province of Quebec had to subsidize Bombardier to the tune of $1.3 billion, not only has the growth of Porter Airlines been sidelined, not only has competition helping consumers been obstructed but now the federal government is also under unrelenting pressure to bail out and subsidize Bombardier and its C Series program because it blocked a $2.3 billion deal.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to say that I will be sharing my time with the member for Prince Albert.
    The current government is directly responsible for job losses and preventing job creation in the service and manufacturing sectors. When this boondoggle was finally drawn into the public arena, my Conservative colleagues on the industry committee asked publicly for an investigation into what had transpired, but as this committee is dominated by Liberals, we have not heard a single thing.
    Is the current government following the example of its provincial cousins, the Liberal Party of Ontario, and blocking representatives of the citizens of Canada from knowing what transpired behind closed Liberal doors? Is it hiding behind processes to protect members of the government? Is it intentionally stalling the work of parliamentarians and stifling transparency and accountability for actions that have cost taxpayers billions of dollars directly, and billions more in unrealized tax revenue?
     After all of that, what I find most difficult to rationalize about the government is that its behaviour is so contradictory to what it says. Its rhetoric is not just out of sync with its actions, it is just plainly false.

  (1550)  

    The throne speech delivered to the House four months ago states the following about Canadians:
...they want leadership that is focused on the things that matter most to them. Things like growing the economy; creating jobs; strengthening the middle class, and helping those working hard to join it. Through careful consideration and respectful conduct, the Government can meet these challenges, and all others brought before it.
    The House must hold the government accountable for its statements and actions. So I ask the following. When the government opposed the Toronto island airport, did it grow the economy? No, it weakened the economy throughout Canada, and specifically in Quebec and Ontario.
    Did it create jobs as the throne speech says it would? No, it killed 1,000 jobs in Toronto and countless elsewhere.
    Did it strengthen the middle class and help those that are working hard to reach it? No, it made it more difficult to reach the middle class by reducing the number of jobs available.
    When it decided not to allow the airport expansion, was that carefully considered and respectfully conducted? No, there was no rationale and it was announced through a tweet in the middle of the night.
    Finally, did the government meet the challenges facing this country? No, there were no challenges except for the Liberal government itself, which has created the need for a billion-dollar bailout by doing what was politically expedient.
    Only the Liberal government, only this Prime Minister, and only the Minister of Innovation can turn a $2.3 billion windfall into the need for a $1-billion bailout. The government's conduct is just crazy. All it had to do was nothing. Do not interfere with the process under way. Do not play politics with jobs for hard-working Canadians. Do not post a tweet in the middle of the night, and the results would have been celebrated.
    Bombardier would have received a $2.3 billion purchase order. Porter airlines would have been expanding its fleet, its infrastructure, its number of employees. Consumers would be gaining from the benefits of increased competition in the marketplace. The government would be receiving increased tax revenue instead of increasing its deficit by looking at providing a bailout.
    It could not be more clear. Canadians have a right to know. This is not a bailout of Bombardier; it is a bailout of Liberal intervention in Toronto politics. It is a bailout of failed Liberal policies by the Prime Minister. It is a bailout of politically motivated decision-making for electoral gains and, worst of all, it is a bailout of millionaires and billionaires on the backs of hard-working Canadians.
    The Prime Minister should not be subsidizing millionaires and billionaires using the tax dollars of lower- and middle-income Canadians. He should be looking those Canadians straight in the eye and apologizing for costing our youth their first job, our workers their next raise, and our unemployed their opportunity for economic independence.
    I stand today speaking in favour of the motion, not to support one airline over another or one airport over another, or even one sector over another. I speak in favour of the motion because it means lower prices for consumers through increased competition. It means more jobs in Toronto, more jobs in manufacturing in Ontario, more jobs in manufacturing in Quebec. It means supporting the aerospace industry simply by getting out of its way instead of forcing it into cardiac arrest and having to give it a billion-dollar shot of adrenaline.
    I believe that Canadian companies build the best planes, that Canadian companies provide the best flights, and that Canadian job creation is best for the Canadian economy. I therefore believe that the House should adopt the motion.

  (1555)  

    Mr. Speaker, if a runway is built the length of the extension just mentioned in that speech, the jets would end up in the water. For someone who claims to have read the reports and understands the facts around this conversation, it is odd that the runway extension he is citing is about 60 metres short of the one required and being requested by Porter airlines.
    I will put the fact that the member does not use facts aside and get to the issue he raised about employment. If he goes to page 18 of the economic impact study that the members quote liberally from one side of the page but not on the other side, does he not understand that the decision to invest in developing the waterfront creates 16,000 jobs? It will not happen if the airport is expanded, which will only create 6,000 jobs. The 6,000 jobs we are speaking of are not affected by the decision we have made. In other words, if we pursue their policy, we will lose 16,000 jobs in Toronto. Has he not read the report? Is the only person he has spoken to Mr. Deluce?
    Mr. Speaker, it is interesting that the member cited me as referring to 6,000 jobs. I do not believe I said that. I am not sure where he was during the speech, but I welcome him back.
     At the end of the day, the member is talking about public funds going in. The best business case for the Government of Canada and its shareholders is when we do not put a dollar in, but we get increased tax revenue. That is what we are talking about with the expansion of the Billy Bishop airport. That is why our party is standing up for that expansion. That is why our party is standing up for the expansion of Porter Airlines. That is why our party is standing up for Bombardier and its shareholders and the employees who depend on it.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, the member says that he does not want to subsidize corporations and industries.
    As a Quebec member who is from a riding where Bombardier employees are going to lose their jobs, I want to understand why it was all right for the Conservatives to subsidize Ontario's automotive sector and why now, all of a sudden, the Conservatives have decided that it is not a good idea to help Bombardier during a difficult time and protect these Quebec jobs.

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, it is incredible, but that is the second question in a row that shows they obviously were not listening to what I said. I did not say we would not support any sort of subsidization or help. What I said was that it is Liberal policies, that it is the current government's policies, that have left us in a situation where we do not know what the future of Bombardier will be.
    If only the current government had allowed the expansion to continue, we would have had thousands more employees in the Toronto area and thousands more employees throughout Quebec and Ontario directly employed by Bombardier and Porter, as well as by suppliers to those companies. I think the member needs to perhaps go back to the notes.
    Mr. Speaker, I had the pleasure of working for de Havilland in Toronto, building the Dash 7s and Dash 8s in the late 1970s, as a summer student. Unfortunately, we all know of the demise of that company.
    The Dash aircraft is commended for its STOL technology, which also allowed for the expansion and the utilization of the Billy Bishop airport. Since that time some 40 years ago, the expansion of the Toronto skyline along the waterfront has been exponential and the economic benefit has been exponential. I wonder if the member could give us some indication as we talk about the expansion of that waterfront of the jobs there would be not only from extending the runway but also from expanding the skyline.
    Mr. Speaker, as far as I can see, these things go hand in hand. Obviously, increased infrastructure in the area would also increase the need and demand for housing, the demand for commercial space, and the demand for industry down there as well. Certainly, these are things that would go hand in hand from an expansion of the airport as well as the development of the waterfront.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleagues for this great motion, moving forward. I think there are a lot of things we can talk about in considering why this should actually be considered and looked at to move forward.
    I want to highlight a few things, and the first thing I want to talk about is the process itself that was used to say no.
    We heard about the midnight text. We heard about how things are done behind closed doors. This is coming from a government that said it would not do things that way and that it would hold consultations.
    In fact, with the TPP, we are going across the country holding consultation after consultation, because of the importance of that type of agreement. Well, this airport expansion is not just about Toronto.
    I had the pleasure of flying into Billy Bishop airport, and what a great name for an airport. When I say the name, it just rolls off my tongue. It is a great little airport.
    I joined a flight here in Ottawa to Toronto, and I sat beside a new friend, a Scot from Moncton, who was going to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference in Toronto. He was telling me that he is a prospector who does business in Toronto.
    Of course, we all know that Toronto is the mining capital of the world. When one is looking at investing in a mine, one goes to Toronto to get the expertise on how to do that. Our Canadian companies are the best in the world when it comes to not only mining but to corporate social responsibility in the development of mines everywhere across the globe.
    It was interesting listening to him. He said he did a lot of prospecting and he goes to Toronto, and what a great way to do it. He flies right into downtown Toronto, and 15 minutes after getting off the plane, he goes through the tunnel, which has just been developed. I have to say it is an improvement over the ferry. However, he goes across by the tunnel, grabs a taxi, and he is at his place of business for work in half an hour. He said it is just so convenient. It allows him to go down in the morning and do his business in Toronto and fly home that afternoon or evening. That is a very strong tool for Toronto to attract business people to its business community.
    I just looked at that C Series jet that has come in. First, it is not a jet. It is a turbofan. The engine is different. It is quieter and more efficient. In fact, we are looking at 50% to 75% noise reduction in that engine. That is one thing that I would think anybody in the Spadina riding would look at and think it was great. They would want that plane flying in there because it is quieter. Its fuel reduction is 60%. It is a more fuel-efficient plane to run and operate. That is why I think Porter, Air Canada, and other companies are looking at this plane. I think that is why they have some 230 orders on the order books.
    However, we also need Canadian companies to show confidence there. We need to show that Canadian companies like to buy Canadian products. However, when we see a barrier put up like we are seeing put up in Toronto at this airport, so that they cannot take advantage of this new technology, so they cannot have a quieter and more fuel-efficient plane coming onto that runway, it does not make a lot sense. What makes even less sense is the process.
    We have a process under way, and it is looking at all the implications of the expansion of that runway. Instead of waiting for that process to finish, they say no. That is what they said: no. There is no consultation with any other communities that may be flying in and out of Toronto. There is no consultation with the airlines and the employees that are using it. There is no consultation with the businesses outside of the Spadina riding. What we have here is a classic NIMBY.
    However, this is an asset. When we look at this area, we see this airport that used to handle about 26,000 people and now handles two million people a year. When we look at the area around the airport, we see it is developing like crazy. That airport is not a hindrance. In fact, some people would tell us that they are living in that area because they are close to the airport. That airport is important for them. Why would we not give them the opportunity to fly in the latest and greatest aircraft? If we look at the options we are putting in front of Canadian travellers with this new C Series jet, we see it is actually something that should be strongly considered and should not be discounted in a midnight text.
    I have seen the current government do a few things that really make me scratch my head. When we look at processes that are put in place to help decide whether we should go forward, whether it is with a pipeline or runway expansion, we would put together a process that is actually at arm's length from government so that no political decisions can be made based on partisan politics. It would be based on the merit of the project itself.
    We have a tripartite agreement here, three parties that actually would look at this project and decide whether it should go forward. They agreed on the study. The study was in process. Then one party said no, based on partisan politics. This is what is really scaring me when I talk about energy pipelines, when we are looking at getting energy to the east coast or to the Petronas project in B.C., which we heard about in question period today.

  (1600)  

    Having a process that lays out the rules that say, for example, that if companies want to build pipelines, they have these 99 recommendations they have to follow before we agree to it, that makes sense to industry. It is bankrolled. It says, okay, this is what it has to do to meet the requirements to build a pipeline.
     However, when we add at the end of the process that not only will the companies have to do these 99 things but the government will make a partisan decision and it will come back into politics and the government will decide on the final yea or nay, how does that work?
     What is the decision factor at that point in time? Companies go through it as a business, spend $12 billion, meet all the requirements laid out in front of them, keep meeting more requirements; then they find out that, unless they take a few people in cabinet out for lunch or dinner, they may not get it. That puts our cabinet ministers in a horrible position. It puts companies in a horrible position. It takes the process, which is very simple and straightforward, and pollutes it. That is what the government has been doing. It is really disturbing, because any type of governance would say we would not do this, but the Liberals are ignoring that, and I find that really disturbing.
    I talked a little bit about Canadian companies showing faith in Canadian companies, whether it is bringing oil from Alberta into Quebec and eastern Canada or whether it is buying jet planes that will be flown across western Canada. I am actually pretty excited about the C Series jet, because this might be the ticket to actually having a commercial carrier flying out of Prince Albert. Maybe so, maybe not; economics will decide it, as they should.
    I look at Saskatoon, Regina, and Winnipeg. The range of this jet will create the opportunity for those flights to actually come into downtown Toronto. That is something we do not have with the existing aircraft of today. If we look at Toronto and the potash sector in Saskatchewan, we see these people are filling up planes every week, going back and forth from Toronto to Saskatoon, and they are based in downtown Toronto. If they can fly in and out of Billy Bishop, that is pretty exciting for them. Just think of the time they would save. Just think of the time they will have with their families because they are not sitting in an airport, a subway, or a taxi.
    This is a very important key economic activity, a tool that is important for the entire Canadian economy. We cannot just look at the NIMBY effect and say that is how we will make our decision. We have to look at all the pieces of the puzzle, and then sometimes we have to make a tough choice. We have to recognize the fact that sometimes we will not please everybody. Somebody will be upset. That is the thing about governing. That is the thing about tough choices.
    Government members over there are very naive, thinking that just increasing the number of times they talk to people will somehow change their minds. In a lot of cases, their minds are already made up. All they are doing is playing the Liberals for fools, and they are delaying projects in such a way that the people who are backing those projects can no longer financially afford to continue going through the process.
    I will wrap up my speech with that point. This is a process that should have been thought through. It should have been recognized as a process that would come to some sort of result and then brought forward. It was cut short. It was cut by partisan politics and it was cut by NIMBY. It does the Canadian economy no good, it does the city of Toronto no good, it does the commuters who fly in and out of Toronto no good, and for what? The Liberals should tell me.

  (1605)  

    That was another lecture about process, Mr. Speaker. Let us go through the process that was not followed.
    The City of Toronto agreed to study the proposition if 25 conditions were met, and the port authority said it would not do that, and it proceeded in defiance of the parameters agreed to by the city and city council.
    The environmental assessment was not to be proceeded with until such time that the two parties could agree on a cap on users of the airport that respected the planning criteria that were defining how much traffic could get in and out. It had nothing to do with noise. It had nothing to do with whether anyone liked the airport. It had nothing to do with anything other than the physical constraints on an airport that has a single two-lane road accessing it. The port authority refused to comply with those parameters.
    In five council meetings since the port authority has been party to this process, city council has had in front of it the question of whether or not it wanted to go ahead with this proposition, and five times the city council refused to take that position.
    On the issue of process as well, Mr. Deluce has not registered as a lobbyist. Porter Airlines has not registered as a lobbyist, despite the fact that he has been up on Parliament Hill talking to individual members of Parliament and the ministerial staff. He has not obeyed the rules.
    How can your party advocate for a lobbyist and a private interest that refuses to obey the laws of Canada? Where is the shame in your party in standing up for a private individual who will not obey the rules of Parliament?
    I will ask the hon. member again to direct his comments through the chair. There is a reason for that, actually. By directing it to the chair and talking in the third person to other hon. members, we avoid references that can become personal and lead to potential disorder in the House.
    The hon. member for Prince Albert.

  (1610)  

    Mr. Speaker, I have 40 billion reasons not to take advice from the member or his party, and that is $40 billion that went missing some years ago in Quebec.
    I want to get it on the record that, in April 2014, the Toronto city council voted unanimously to adopt the city staff report that would allow the city, the Toronto port authority, and the federal government to negotiate conditions for proceeding with Porter's proposal to add jet service and extend the runway at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. That was unanimous support to proceed with a process. This was a process that the minister cut short in a text. He did not even have the courtesy to do it in public. He did it through Twitter. I rest my case.
    Mr. Speaker, the member needs to be a little more transparent in terms of the reality of the situation. The government has taken a very proactive approach. The motion deals with the industry, and the government has been dealing with the industry. The motion deals with the airport and the potential request for an expansion. The government has been very straightforward with its position on that.
    What we are seeing is a very transparent and open government on the whole issue. Through questions and answers, we have seen an opportunity for Canadians to really get an understanding of why the government took the position it did on the issue.
    He seems to be offended by a tweet. I remember the former prime minister being overseas when he made the off-the-cuff decision to increase the age for old age pension from 65 to 67. It might have been Twitter. I am not too sure exactly how it came down the pipe. It might have been handed over on a napkin. Who knows?
    The bottom line is that the Government of Canada has been fully transparent on the issue. We have to, at the very least, recognize what the majority of citizens in the affected area truly want, and ultimately the economics of it make a whole lot of sense.
    Mr. Speaker, is Twitter how they are going to do their announcements from now on?
    As far as the effect on the area is concerned, there is more than Spadina in play here. That is the point I am trying to get across. The gentleman was from Moncton. If he did not have service to downtown Toronto, it would affect him. It affects the travellers out of Ottawa, the potential travellers out of Winnipeg, Saskatoon, Thunder Bay, London, and all these other cities that actually have service into the centre of Toronto. I am not even talking about the American cities that would look at that airport. Those are the options that are available if they proceed.
    Right now, you went and cut it off at the knees with no justification.
    I remind hon. members again to direct their comments through the chair.
    It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Calgary Nose Hill, in respect to immigration, refugees, and citizenship; the hon. member for Vancouver Kingsway, regarding international trade; and the hon. member for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, in respect to foreign affairs.
    Now we will go to resuming debate. The hon. member for Beloeil—Chambly.

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, I will be sharing my time with my esteemed colleague from Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.
    I am very pleased to speak to today's Conservative opposition motion. The Bombardier file is very important to me not only because I represent a riding that is home to many workers affected by the unfortunate news we have heard over the past few weeks, but also because this is part of my family history. My grandfather spent his life working in one of the Canadair plants in Saint-Laurent, which is where many members of my mother's family were raised. Some of them still live there.
    For those who may not know this, Canadair is now an essential part of Bombardier. It was a crown corporation that, when privatized, became a key component of Bombardier. I am very familiar with this file. My family is from a neighbourhood where many people work for Bombardier. I have family members, friends, and especially constituents who work there. I recognize that the aerospace industry is critical to Quebec's economy and to Canada's, and I am pleased to have this opportunity to talk about it today.
    I want to start by addressing the issue raised by the Conservatives regarding the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport. The Conservatives are saying that the C Series will reduce noise and pollution because the aircraft is more efficient and makes less noise. The problem is that the increase in air traffic will cancel out those benefits. If we take 10 away from 30 but then add 15, we are left with a higher number than we started with. That is the situation we are in now. Furthermore, proper procedures were not followed. Some of the proposals that were made did not go through the appropriate channels. The wishes of Toronto residents who will be affected by this also need to be respected.
    The problem is bigger than the details of a file that specifically affects the City of Toronto and the people living near Spadina Avenue. This situation shows how ridiculous the Conservatives can be because, in 2008, that party did not hesitate to help the automotive industry in Ontario. We understand how important that sector is. The point is not to pit one sector against another. It is to show how now, all of a sudden, they seem more reluctant to help a company, an industry, that is so important to Quebec's economy and the Canadian economy in general, and that is aerospace industry. It is unfortunate that that willingness does not seem to exist today. Saying that an airport will solve a very complex and difficult issue shows how the Conservatives propose simplistic solutions to very serious and complicated problems. I find that unfortunate because we are now in a situation where many people are paying the price. People are going to lose their jobs. Why? Because the government that was in office for 10 years did absolutely nothing for the aerospace industry or the manufacturing industry in general.
    This type of motion seems very hypocritical to me. It talks about wanting to support Bombardier, wanting to support an entire industry, but wanting to address just one issue that has to do with an airport is not the answer. Our criticism of the Conservatives does not let the current government off the hook. We are in a situation where, once again, given that this industry is so important to the economy of Quebec and Canada, it was no secret that these issues would land on the new government's desk from the get-go.
    The NDP was proactive on this very important issue. During the last election campaign, we proposed an aerospace strategy. This industry does not depend on Bombardier alone, in spite of how big it is. There are also related businesses. We are talking about businesses that do research and development. Many of those businesses are located in my riding and neighbouring ridings. It is an industry that supports other businesses, not just Bombardier. That is why there needs to be a long-term vision, a strategy. The NDP was prepared to make investments. Unfortunately, the Liberals have not made any commitments on this. That is just the tip of the iceberg.

  (1615)  

    When we heard that people would lose well-paying, good-quality jobs and that families would be struggling, I participated in a number of panels and conducted numerous interviews. I had the chance to talk with some Liberal members, who gave me the same old story we hear for every issue. They tell us that they need some time because they just started. Then they say that they have made commitments and they give us the same lip service we heard during the election campaign.
    In the United States, people often say that if the American president has not accomplished anything after 100 days, he will not accomplish anything in his term. I realize that American politics and Canadian politics are different. However, the first 100 days are crucial. At some point, the government needs to start helping people and taking real action.
    Employment insurance is another good example. Some workers lose their jobs and do not receive any government assistance. With all due respect to the Minister of Transport, who has accomplished a lot and is a great Canadian, when he tells the House that he has been in a C Series aircraft, he is showing how out of touch he is with the people who are losing their jobs. It is ridiculous. They are going to have to get over themselves eventually. The election campaign is over and these people need help. Now is not the time for them to repeat what they said during the election campaign. Now is the time for the government to govern and come up with a proposal.
    The simplest proposal is to subsidize the company. We need to sit down at the table and get to work. Any financial assistance provided to a company like Bombardier must come with conditions. Taxpayers have the right to be concerned and ask questions. We are spending their money after all.
    That is why the NDP firmly believes that the government must provide assistance, but that there must be conditions attached. There have to be loan guarantees. Furthermore, talks must be held to determine how the company will restructure and how the C Series will be deployed after it receives federal government assistance. It is not complicated: we can help, but there must be strings attached.
    During the last election campaign, I went door to door and met people working at Bombardier in plants, in research and development, and in administration. They did not feel that people were ready to govern and make proposals that would help workers. Fortunately, the NDP had a strategy to help this industry.
    As I already said, the election campaign is over. The government needs to wake up, take responsibility, and help these people. It is unfortunate, but we will have to vote against the motion. The Conservatives decided to move a motion that is written in such a way as to divide people. They want to leave the House saying that we voted against a motion that recognizes the importance of Bombardier. However, we must talk facts, not semantics.
    If the Conservatives strongly believe that increasing airport traffic and creating an environmental nuisance and traffic problems in the largest city in the country will really help an industry that is so important to Quebec and Canada, they are dreaming in technicolour. We wonder why, in 10 years, they did not do something to avoid the current situation.
    In conclusion, I will take advantage of this opportunity to say that workers in my riding and all over Quebec who are affected by this unfortunate news can count on me and the NDP caucus. Fortunately, the NDP will stand up, and not just with respect to Bombardier. We have also reviewed the Aveos file and other files that are just not getting the attention they deserve from the Liberals and the Conservatives.
    I am very proud to belong to a team of MPs who will stand up and put forward a real plan to help a major industry. I have a personal interest in the industry because it affects my constituents, my friends, and my family. I know that.
    I am very proud to have shared this with the House and to offer my support to my constituents.

  (1620)  

[English]

    Mr. Speaker, the member made reference to the industry. As such, my question will be based on that.
    Over the years, the aerospace industry has been impacted negatively. Its potential has not been fully recognized in Canada. It is important that government identify the importance of technology in moving forward and investing in our aerospace industry. We heard that in some of the responses today.
    Unlike the previous administration, this government truly cares about the aerospace industry and that bodes well for the community I represent, Winnipeg North, where there is a strong aerospace industry. We want the government to show that it is genuinely concerned about it. I have attended many rallies in support of our aerospace industry.
    Canada has a significant aerospace industry in a number of pockets throughout Canada. Would the member not agree that it is important that we as a government and as members of Parliament advocate for the protection of the industry so it can create jobs into the future?

  (1625)  

[Translation]

    Mr. Speaker, if the government cares so much about the industry, why did it have nothing to say during the election campaign about helping the industry? The Liberals were completely silent on this issue.
    That is why I have questions about files like Bombardier. On the day the new government was sworn in, one of the first questions addressed to the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, as the portfolio is now known, was about Bombardier. That was one of the first questions addressed to several ministers who paraded before the media. That was in November, and we still have not gotten any real answers. In the meantime, people are losing their jobs and looking for help.
    I also want to mention the Aveos workers, who are also living with uncertainty. They remember a Prime Minister who was eager to demonstrate with them and show the so-called good faith that the member mentioned, but who is nowhere to be found now that the Liberals are in power.
    Mr. Speaker, I want to salute and congratulate my colleague on his interesting remarks, particularly regarding his personal background, as well as the fact that some of his constituents work for Canadair, and therefore for Bombardier. I would remind the House that it was in 1986 that the government of the Right Hon. Brian Mulroney decided to privatize the company. It was then purchased by the Quebec company founded in Valcourt, in the Eastern Townships, thanks to the creative genius of Joseph-Armand Bombardier. He acquired it for basically what the company was worth. A few years later, Bombardier completely revolutionized and reinvented the aviation world with regional jets.
    Here is what I want to say: for the C Series to work, Bombardier has to sell planes. Here is a Canadian company, Porter, that is ready to buy 30 aircraft. For that to happen, the government has to allow these planes to land at an airport. It would not cost the federal government a single dime to let Porter buy them.
    We will see what the government proposes to help Bombardier. We know that the Quebec government made a proposal, but it was harshly criticized by the opposition. We need to give the government some time and then decide whether we agree with the proposal. Why would anyone oppose a proposal that will not cost taxpayers a single dime and, more importantly, will allow Bombardier to sell planes?
    Mr. Speaker, I appreciate my colleague's passion for the history of Canadair and Bombardier. Indeed, there have been highs and lows. My grandfather experienced that. At one point, he was one of the only workers left at plant 1. Then there was a wind of change. We acknowledge the history of the industry, especially in Quebec, and it is part of our collective history.
    I understand the hon. member's question and his concern. My problem is that we know that Porter is currently having financial difficulties. We also know that the Conservatives are promising us that this will not cost the taxpayers anything. However, we have questions about the hidden costs. We have all sorts of questions. Is this something that will truly not cost the taxpayers anything? I am not convinced. After all, we know that this could cause traffic and nuisance problems, which could result in hidden costs. Costs are not always financial, of course. At the end of the day, what we take issue with here is that this is not the perfect solution. It takes a government that is ready to show some leadership, ready to propose a real strategy for this industry and finally tell us whether or not it is going to help Bombardier.
    My colleague alluded to what was done in Quebec. We are very aware that it is in the taxpayers' interest that we respect their money. That is why we want any agreement between the federal government and Bombardier to have all the necessary criteria to ensure the proper use of taxpayers' money.
    Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly for his very elegant and nuanced, but also realistic speech on the future of this important industry and the situation of people living in downtown Toronto. I would like to elaborate on one point brought up by my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly.
    Once again, the Conservative motion reflects the politics of division. It is trying to pit Toronto against Montreal; it is trying to pit the quality of life and concerns of Torontonians against the future of a sector mainly based in the metropolitan area. The Conservatives are mixing apples and oranges for political gain and to put the other parties on the spot.
    Some might say that it is not so difficult to put the Liberal Party on the spot because it seems to be doing an embarrassing flip-flop on the promises it made to the people of Toronto during the election campaign.
    I think it is terrible that they are trying to start a war between Montreal and Toronto, at the expense of residents, when this debate is about a very important airport that, I admit, many passengers appreciate. However, the Conservatives seem to favour a case-by-case approach, as though we could fix the problems in Canada's aerospace industry one airport at a time.
    That is not the way to support industries that provide jobs for hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of people, if you count indirect jobs.
    These petty politics, or divisive politics, are nothing new from the Conservatives, and we saw the same thing in recent years with PortsToronto. If I can, I will come back to this later.
    The New Democrats believe that the quality of life of Toronto residents is what is most important. Toronto's waterfront belongs to all Toronto residents, and that is essential to us. We want to protect a clean and green waterfront, where noise pollution does not affect residents' quality of life.
    The Liberals shared this position for years, but that no longer seems to be as clear, since the Minister of Transport sent out his infamous tweet.
    For years, people in Toronto have been banding together and working hard to preserve their quality of life, an initiative that we applaud and agree with. We understand and share these residents' legitimate concerns about an excessive expansion that could negatively impact ecosystems and increase air and noise pollution.
    The NDP's position is and remains that the 1983 tripartite agreement must be honoured. I hope that that is still the Liberal Party's position. For us, it is clear, and an NDP government would guarantee the enforcement of the 1983 tripartite agreement in order to limit excessive noise and noise pollution for the residents of Toronto.
    The NDP also hopes that the airport will fall under the responsibility of the City of Toronto and not PortsToronto, as is currently the case, because the Liberals and the Conservatives have been playing politics there for years by holding fundraisers and appointing political contributors to port authority positions. That is the case in Toronto and in Montreal as well.
    Members will remember all of the wheeling and dealing that the Conservative Party did over the past few years with regard to the Port of Montreal. I spoke about this numerous times. The NDP wants to prevent any more problems like this in the future, and that is why we are proposing that the airport fall under the responsibility of the City of Toronto from now on.
    Given the NDP's values, policy positions, environmental positions, and respect for citizens' movements, we hope that a rational approach will be taken on this issue. We also want actual assessments to be conducted regarding the noise levels.
    I would like to remind members of a proposal that my colleague, the hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, made during the discussions that we had in Quebec, or at least on the south shore.

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