Mr. Speaker, it is with pleasure that I rise to speak to what I believe is an important motion. When we take a look at all regions of our country, there is a desire from communities, both large and small, as to how they can best develop their communities.
From the previous speaker, we heard a lot about the economics. I, too, would like to contribute to the economic side of things with respect to airports but, also, at the very beginning, to make some brief comments with respect to the importance of passengers, the social component to an airport and the difference that it makes.
There are many communities that have a desire to, ultimately, provide passenger travel through the air. Many of these communities are relatively small but still feel that they have the opportunity to grow into the future. By enabling an expansion of some of these smaller airports, the hope is that their airport will grow and, ultimately, be able to provide a better service to the constituents of that catchment area, if I can put if that way. Whether it is smaller communities scattered throughout the country or larger municipalities, airports really do matter; they matter a great deal to our communities. I like to think that governments, at all different levels, whether federal, municipal, or provincial, recognize the true value of an airport facility, and it does go beyond the economics.
Having said that, I do want to spend some time talking about the security issue and then go on to the economics.
We all, especially inside this chamber, travel a great deal. We have had the good fortune of being able to travel, for the most part, by air, which means that we will go through the CATSA and the screening that passengers are obligated to. It does not matter who one is, one is obligated to go through a screening process. That is just the reality of today's world. I suspect, as we move forward, there will be new technologies brought on. This is where Transport Canada and organizations like CATSA play a very important role because the security factor is ever so important when we talk about airport development. It does not take much to cause a disruption, and a disruption can have a very long, permanent impact upon a community, let alone upon the aviation industry as a whole.
It is important that we can keep up on the technology that is being used out there. People will try to bring things they should not be bringing across the security lines. I am sure many of us have seen ample examples of things that have been pulled out of luggage; for example, a sharp object, a questionable product or even some product of an illegal nature. It is an absolute necessity that we have this process in place in order to protect the long-term and short-term integrity of our airports.
As many members will know, I have had the good fortune of being a parliamentarian for a number of years. I will focus some attention on my own province of Manitoba and the time of Premier Gary Filmon. I can recall during the 1990s they came up with the Winport plan, which was to try to take Winnipeg's geographical location, being the centre of North America, and use it as a port where we could use our airport as a way to facilitate economic growth.
I must say that the hype was considerable back then. The idea was wonderful. Imagine. We are talking about back in the 1990s of being able to bring fresh pork in from our rural communities and load it onto a 747 and then fly it over to Asia as a potential market for fresh, unfrozen pork. It was an idea being talked about because of an experience that was taking place in Atlantic Canada with live lobster.
These are the types of things that generate a great deal of enthusiasm in our communities, when we start talking about potential. Winport did not quite get off the ground, but a number of years later, the concept behind CentrePort was developed. That has gotten off the ground. It is located at the Winnipeg international airport. There is a sense that our airport is going to be a driving force in the future growth not only of the city of Winnipeg but also of the province.
I say that with a great sense of pride. We have developed a new airport. The old terminal that was built a number of decades ago has been replaced with a modern terminal, with departures on the upper level and arrivals on the lower level. The expectation is that we are going to have a growing market as a direct result of the modernization of our airport facility and also on the premises in terms of new hotels that have been developed. Even in the immediate area, we have seen growth in the industrial area. We have seen Canada Way being brought through CentrePort. The potential is truly amazing.
I am very proud of what is taking place in the city of Winnipeg today, and it is being driven by the community. What government can do is enable and support, and the way it can add that support is through infrastructure spending. I will reserve my criticism of the government on that file for now, but there are things the government can do. It is most important that the driving force come from within the community, and we have seen that.
When we take a look at the benefits to the city of Winnipeg, one can understand why communities like Brandon, Portage la Prairie and others, even some communities that are thinking about it that might not have thought about it in the past, are thinking about how they could bring in, in some cases, an airport or expand what they currently have.
There are 200-plus airports scattered across Canada of all different sizes, from the small community airports to Toronto international airport and everything in between. No matter where we go in Canada, we will find that there is a big push to move an airport forward, no matter its size. Even the Toronto international airport is looking at ways to enhance the community by developing the airport.
Whether it is in that community, whether it is in Thompson or Winnipeg, Manitoba, or whether it is any other airport, no matter what coast they might be in close proximity to, that is the reality. A major part of that reality is dealing with the issue of security and the important roles Transport Canada and organizations like CATSA have to play in that, in keeping up on technology and recognizing that there are many airports hoping to be able to tap into that technology to advance their cause, if I could put it that way.
If they can tap into that, and it is a fairly expensive matter, it does allow that facility the opportunity to go in a direction that would be of great benefit to the community in which the facility is actually located.