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Results: 1 - 15 of 546
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
Mr. Chair, I note that it's 1:39, as a matter of fact. I think if I was attacked at this moment by a wild beaver severing one of my limbs, I could still make it to the House of Commons with plenty of time to be in question period for when questions actually begin at 2:15.
Thank you.
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
I was commenting on the member's comment.
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
Yes, why don't we do that.
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
Mr. Chairman, I would simply point out that Mr. Opitz has actually left to deliver a statement in the House. That opportunity is available to Ms. Sims, Ms. Freeman, or anybody else. This committee has important work to do. There's plenty of precedents for committees to sit through question period, in fact for committees to sit through the weekend and sit through the summer, Mr. Chairman. This is an important question that's before this committee. I'd encourage you to get back to debate to deal with the question at hand.
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I note we have a fairly significant request specifically for witnesses. Was any thought given, especially in the case of western witnesses, to utilizing the services of a video conference to save money for the committee?
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
Of the 11 witnesses from Vancouver, are any of them similar to other organizations. Is there a means to find savings? No?
Okay, thank you.
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
I have a couple of questions for the witnesses.
First of all, I think certainly what we've witnessed—and I've just talked to my colleague as well—we seem to have very good collaboration with the United States. We seem to have very good collaboration between agencies, and indeed, with VIA Rail. I think that's very encouraging to everyone hearing the testimony here today.
Mr. Rafferty pointed out that there are, in fact, thousands of miles of track—in the railway industry, we do still talk miles—and it seems to me that most of it is not of great concern. Where we do have greater concerns seems to be in urbanized areas. Threats are exposed or highlighted when we see people gaining access to tracks in areas where they shouldn't be. We had an unfortunate incident just a couple of years ago in Montreal, for example, where some younger folks got down there with spray-paint cans or what have you. But it demonstrates that access to the tracks is still perhaps too easy.
What are we doing, specifically, to eliminate that kind of access to what is really a very dangerous area? If you can get down there with a spray-paint can, you can get down there with just about anything else. What are we doing to secure the tracks in urbanized areas, not only from a public safety perspective for the people who might access it, but also for the people on the trains?
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
When we look at VIA, for example, they tend to operate at speeds faster than freight trains. That's expected. It's part of their business plan. These specific areas become of greater concern. If people can access the tracks, they don't have a lot of warning. People often, frankly, mistake the speed of trains. They don't have a lot of warning, specifically with passenger trains and the speed they're travelling at.
Has there been consideration given—and, again, it speaks to all aspects of rail security—to greater mitigation efforts, such as fencing and so forth, that would really block access to railway yards in urban areas?
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
At this point, it's optional whether the railways may choose or not—
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
Okay.
To VIA Rail, as I said, we've seen some incidents where there have been concerns about access to the tracks. I know CN is a principal railway whose tracks you operate on in the corridor. There's also some interaction with CP.
Are you working with those railways specifically to enhance security to prevent access along those tracks?
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Good morning, colleagues.
I'm going to present a couple of different things.
There are a couple of areas where I differ slightly from my colleagues. I'm going to present some of the views of my constituents, which are not supported, and then I'll come back to a proposal that is supported. That being said, my constituents are always right and my colleagues can sometimes be wrong.
That's a joke. My jokes don't always go over, but I try.
To begin with, I do take issue with the new boundaries proposed for the Peterborough electoral district, which have become a serious concern for many of my constituents.
During the public consultation phase, there was no visit to Peterborough, but there was a visit to Northumberland. While I suggested to my municipal councils, local leaders, and others that they may wish to express comment during that period, they did not, with the exception of the municipality of Cavan Monaghan, which did comment, as they were being looped into a riding with Northumberland, which they didn't want to be a part of.
The concern is that their lack of participation has been seen as being indifferent to the process, but I can assure you that they are not. The suggestion that the municipalities of Otonabee-South Monaghan and Asphodel-Norwood be moved into the riding of Northumberland has not been well received at all. I have motions that have been passed at both councils for the committee, as well as about 40 pages of petitions that have been completed by area residents. These are small rural townships, so you can imagine that if 40 pages of petitions can be filled by people who are voicing their concerns, this proposal has gone over in those areas like a lead balloon.
How do we fix it? I think that becomes a challenge.
The suggestion right now that the boundaries commission has come up with makes very little sense. If we look at the east side of Peterborough, we see Otonabee-South Monaghan township. It is actually historically part of what is called East City, in the city of Peterborough. It's been stripped away and it's where an awful lot of development in the city is now occurring. There's a lot of collaboration between Otonabee-South Monaghan and the city.
Highway 7, the Trans-Canada Highway which connects Peterborough and Ottawa, is the main arterial road that goes between Peterborough and all of the eastern townships in Peterborough County. You would actually drive out of Peterborough for about half an hour before you would drive back into the riding, in Havelock. It effectively makes Havelock-Belmont-Methuen an island within the riding. I know it appears as one land mass. The reality is that you drive out of the riding for a long time to drive back into it. There really aren't any arterial roads in this area at all. It makes it quite dysfunctional.
There is quite a bit of trade that goes on between the economies of Havelock and areas to the south, which would be Campbellford. For example, residents in Havelock will often use the Campbellford hospital, and so forth, and that is in the riding of Northumberland. For whatever reason, the boundaries commission elected to leave Havelock in this riding while they took the other two municipalities of Otonabee-South Monaghan and Asphodel-Norwood and moved them into Northumberland.
In many ways, and this may sound strange, Rice Lake to the south has often acted almost like Lake Ontario in this area, whereby there are almost two distinct economic regions, north and south, on either side of the lake.
One of the proposals that has been passed, which there are recommendations for and is supported by Peterborough County Council, could actually see the townships of Otonabee-South Monaghan and Asphodel-Norwood move back in and have Cavan Monaghan stripped out and moved south to Northumberland. I specifically objected to this in the process. It would also have the two northern townships, which Mr. Devolin outlined earlier, of Trent Lakes and North Kawartha moved back into the riding of Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock. That is an option. It's not supported by Cavan, and it's not supported by my colleagues. It was supported by the preponderance of members at county council, but not all of them.
The one that has unanimous agreement among my colleagues would see Havelock-Belmont-Methuen join with the other two eastern townships, Asphodel-Norwood and Otonabee-South Monaghan. You would effectively have all three eastern townships in Peterborough County put back together, which makes sense.
You would move Cavan-Monaghan, which is on the southwest portion of Peterborough; it's where Peterborough airport, Fleming College, and one of my major high schools are. It would make sense for Cavan-Monaghan to be a part of the city of Peterborough.
This would add Cavan-Monaghan in, take North Kawartha out, take Trent Lakes out, and would add Havelock-Belmont-Methuen to the riding of Northumberland.
I would also strongly recommend a name change to both ridings. One could be, for example, “Peterborough—Kawartha”, recognizing both the city of Peterborough and the Kawartha Lakes. The other riding could be called “Northumberland—Peterborough South”. The word “Peterborough” should be in both riding names, as both would contain parts of Peterborough County.
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
Sure.
Obviously, as I said earlier, the riding tended to be quite happy with the boundaries as they were prior to the commission's redesignating them. The removal of the two southern townships, Otonabee-South Monaghan and Asphodel-Norwood, which are divided by the lake and the river, has been very controversial.
While they left this particular riding with Havelock-Belmont-Methuen in Peterborough, what I have proposed and what there is agreement for is to put all three—Otonabee-South Monaghan, which is where I live, Asphodel-Norwood, and Havelock-Belmont-Methuen—together with the new riding of Northumberland, and to call that riding Northumberland—Peterborough South; and to add the two northern townships of Trent Lakes and North Kawartha back into Mr. Devolin's riding of Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock, and then add Cavan-Monaghan back into the riding of Peterborough.
So you're taking three townships out of the proposal for Peterborough and adding one back in. It balances the populations, roughly. The new riding of what is now Peterborough would have 112,000; the new riding of Haliburton—Kawartha Lakes—Brock would have 109,000; and the riding of Northumberland—Peterborough South would have 112,000 as well.
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
The challenge I have is that Peterborough and Peterborough County are about 160,000; it's a riding and a half. Everyone in Peterborough County would ideally like to be in the Peterborough riding. That doesn't work, so I believe that the second suggestion I made, which has the support of my colleagues, is the one that makes the most sense.
View Dean Del Mastro Profile
Cons. Ind. (ON)
To be clear, I don't have support among my colleagues, or in fact among any of the surrounding area, for the proposals that have been promoted by Otonabee-South Monaghan and Asphodel-Norwood. Those are their proposals. That's how they would like to see it solved, but there is no support outside of the immediate area for what they're proposing. I promised them as my constituents that I would put that forward.
To be clear, I believe the option where there is agreement around the table, which would see them put into the riding with Northumberland, along with Havelock-Belmont-Methuen, in a new riding called Northumberland—Peterborough South, for example, would actually make the most sense, and provide for a very workable riding.
There is no perfect solution here. There is no agreement on the ground.
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