Evidence of meeting #39 for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was buses.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Étienne Lyrette  Corporate Advisor, Governmental Affairs, External Relations and Strategic Planning, Société de transport de Montréal
  • Serge Carignan  Director, Engineering and Technical Services, Société de gestion et d'acquisition de véhicules de transport
  • François Chamberland  Director , Engineering Service, Operation, Société de transport de Montréal

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Welcome everybody to the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities. This is meeting number 39. We have some committee business at the top of our orders.

When we left the meeting the last time, there was a motion by Ms. Michaud and an amendment proposed by Ms. Chow. We are now debating the amendment, which says that the motion be amended by deleting the words “and obtain approval from municipal and provincial governments before the development of a new aerodrome is formally considered”.

I had a list of speakers prepared. I had Monsieur Aubin and then Mr. Poilievre. We finished with Monsieur Coderre, so I'll open the floor to Monsieur Aubin.

8:50 a.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin Trois-Rivières, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I will try to be brief so that we can have the benefit of our guests as long as possible.

From the outset, I would like to tell you what the problem is for me. One thing we often hear, and that we heard again at our last meeting, is that the motion should be disposed of quickly because it would slow economic development.

Nothing in the amendment or motion would establish conditions that would slow economic development in any region of Canada whatsoever. In fact, what we are seeking with the motion and the amendment is instead to harmonize the various areas of citizens' lives. Although economic life is important, it is not the only criterion determining the quality of life of a citizen in a region.

What is the point of investing in urban development and infrastructure plans that provide for land use plans, if a single player can thwart everyone's efforts at every turn? That is really the purpose of the motion we are debating this morning. The Supreme Court has previously held that federal legislation takes precedence over Quebec's Act respecting the Preservation of Agricultural Land.

Landing strips are rarely built in the mountains. Consequently, we constantly encroach on potential agricultural lands, which are becoming increasingly scarce, whereas they must feed a constantly growing population. It is fine to work miracles in order to increase and intensify agricultural production, but the fact remains that agricultural lands must be preserved.

Not all flatlands are necessarily agricultural lands. We believe it is essential to comply with the various legislatures, the various levels of government, municipal, provincial and federal. Those levels of government should harmonize their legislation to promote sound economic development and to enable every sector to develop.

The mayor of my city might not be very proud if I called Trois-Rivières a small city. It is a large city of 125,000 to 135,000 inhabitants, which has an airport and where there is a significant amount of aerospace development. Just this past weekend, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Trois-Rivières' airport. There was an open house at Aviatech, Premier Aviation and Nadeau Air Service. All the businesses at the airport were open to citizens. Here again, we see a development model in which we have managed to harmonize citizens' needs with economic development. We believe this is entirely possible.

I had a bit of fun reading the Aeronautics Act, since I am quite new to this committee, and I discovered that section 4.9 states the following: "The Governor in Council may make regulations respecting aeronautics and...may make regulations respecting..." It contains the word "may", which means that action may be taken. Paragraph (e) of that section states that regulations may be made respecting "activities at aerodromes and the location, inspection, certification, registration, licensing and operation of aerodromes." So action may be taken respecting location.

There is no "not in my backyard" syndrome here. We are not saying that aerodromes should not be built. We are saying that, when an aerodrome is developed, the various municipal, provincial and federal stakeholders could consult each other to find a better location that would allow for the most balanced development possible.

That is not just the gist, but also the primary objective of this motion, which I hope will be supported by the largest possible number, indeed the majority.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

Thank you.

Mr. Poilievre.

8:50 a.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Yes, Mr. Chair, we of course support continued development of our aviation system. It employs very large numbers of people and provides a service that a country with Canada's geography cannot live without.

Every single Canadian wants another airport in somebody else's municipality, and that's why we don't allow municipal governments to determine where they go. So I'm opposing this particular motion and I'm going to continue to work to promote the aviation sector in this country.

As such, I move to adjourn debate on the motion. Thank you.

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

There's a motion that has been put and it is not debatable. It is votable. So I will call the vote on the motion to adjourn—

May 29th, 2012 / 8:55 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Chair, on a point of order—

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

It's not debatable.

But a point of order.

8:55 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

If there's a motion, you can call the question, but you can't do that after you speak. So the motion is to adjourn debate, that is, to stop all discussion. Is it in order to stop any debate? So if we're in the middle of discussing a motion, or a committee member is speaking—and I know there are other speakers to come—can we just stop all discussion? Is that how it can be done normally? That's curious. I thought you could call the question, but you can't in the middle of a discussion stop all the debate on a motion.

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

We had a very similar situation a couple of weeks ago, and this was the same process. So the motion is in order.

Monsieur Coderre, is it on the same point of order?

8:55 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Bourassa, QC

Mr. Chair, I find it unfortunate that increasing efforts are being made to gag the Liberal Party every time the two parties are able to speak to each other. If you want to play at that, I will be tempted to speak at great length next time. I warn you: bring a pillow because it will last a long time.

I am saying for the record that all parties agreed to adopt this motion. I was even one of those who requested adjournment so that we could hear the witnesses and subsequently would only have to vote on this bill. Once again, we cannot trust the Conservative Party, and I find that very unfortunate.

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

On the same point of order, Ms. Michaud.

8:55 a.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

We are debating the amendment. If we adjourn debate, is that only on the amendment, or do we return to the motion? Here the amendment takes the government's concerns into account. We tried to allow the discussion. Now we would be coming back to the initial motion, which caused the problem. We are currently discussing the amendment, and I do not believe we can adjourn the entire debate on the matter. Unless I am mistaken, the process is done in two stages.

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

I appreciate all the advice I'm receiving. None of the points of order raised are points of order. It can be done. Monsieur Poilievre has made a motion and I'm going to call a vote on that motion now.

All those in favour of the—

8:55 a.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow Trinity—Spadina, ON

Can I challenge the chair, please?

8:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Merv Tweed

There hasn't—