House of Commons Hansard #52 of the 35th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was legislation.

Topics

Excise Act
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Alfonso Gagliano Saint-Léonard, QC

If we could have unanimous consent to move on to private members' business, we will hold the necessary consultations during the debate and decide whether there will be proceedings on the adjournment motion.

Excise Act
Government Orders

4:30 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

It being 4.37 p.m., the House will now proceed to consideration of Private Members' Business as listed on today's Order Paper .

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

4:30 p.m.

Liberal

Jim Jordan Leeds—Grenville, ON

moved:

That, in the opinion of this House, the government should enter into an agreement with the province of Ontario to expand Ontario highway 16 south from Ottawa to highway 401 at Johnstown, into a four lane highway in order to ensure road safety and enhance travel in and out of the nation's capital.

Madam Speaker, it is a pleasure to speak to this motion. I have been trying to move it along this far and get it discussed at this level ever since I have been in the House of Commons. I feel I have made one small gain on this.

I want to give a short history and geography lesson for the people across Canada who may need some familiarizing with the location of this highway and hopefully elaborate sufficiently so that people will see that it does have a national interest.

Highway 401 is the main east-west highway through south central Canada. If you have ever travelled through Ontario by motor car you have probably been on the 401. That is the main thoroughfare.

The 401 passes about 80 kilometres south of metropolitan Ottawa, Ottawa-Hull. It is about 100 kilometres from where we are right now to highway 401, the main busy thoroughfare that passes through southern Ontario. The link to get to that highway, however, is highway 16. My hope would be to some day see it a four lane highway, a north-south link between this part of Canada and the 401 and the northern United States.

My riding is not very far away. It has two bridges coming in from northern New York. I would like to think that some of the people would be interested in the nation's capital. However when they look at a two lane road, having been accustomed to four lane roads, they would be more inclined to stay on the four lane highway and move out of this area either to Toronto or Montreal.

I want to make it clear that the northern stretch of this highway, about 15 to 20 kilometres, is being constructed at this time into a four lane highway but the remaining 60 kilometres will be still only a two lane highway. There was pressure for the highway to be built to four lanes about 15 years ago and the layout is there for four lanes.

They have expropriated almost all the land that would have to be expropriated. They have bypassed the towns and the villages. Very often those are points of great dispute when one is bypassing a community. That has all been done. The right of way is there for four lanes. It just needs the political will to move on with it.

The only way you can get from the nation's largest centre, Toronto, to the nation's capital by a four lane highway is to go to Montreal. Then you can come back to Ottawa on a four lane highway. That lack of access to the nation's capital should be of national interest because of the ever increasing traffic flow on the existing road into the capital from the south. First and foremost is the safety aspect.

In the seven year period from 1985 to 1992, there were 39 deaths on that highway. There were 721 reported accidents and probably minor accidents that were not reported. Ninety per cent of the accidents occurred in the southern portion of the highway, in other words, the part that is not being constructed into four lanes, the part where there is no plan currently to improve the highway.

The federal government has some responsibility because it is the road into the nation's capital. That is why I presented this motion. There is nothing novel about spending federal funds to construct highways. Indeed, we announced a great infrastructure plan not too long ago. A lot of federal government money has been spent on highways.

I have a list here starting back in March 1993 during the previous government, I will admit, of federal funds going into the highways in Alberta, Manitoba, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. There were no funds for Ontario. No arrangement was made for federal government funds to be spent on highways in Ontario. That is what I am asking for now. I am asking members to support the idea of a four lane highway into the nation's capital.

I could support this motion with further documents if it were appropriate. I could table those with maps and so on. I have statistics showing the great increase in traffic flow that has occurred on that part of the highway since the first part was completed many years ago.

We hear a lot about the information highway these days and I am sure it is very important to Canada. We hear a lot in eastern Ontario about Pearson airport. It is the busiest-the best some would say-and the largest in Canada. Its needs are very important and they have to be addressed. I am sure they will be addressed.

We have not heard very much about access into the nation's capital by means of a four lane highway. A better access road linking the capital area with highway 401 would make the whole Ottawa area more accessible to all Canadians who travel by road. Just as important, as a citizen of eastern Ontario, it would make more accessible our biggest and best trading partner, the United States. It is less than 100 kilometres away but you cannot get to the United States on a four lane road from the nation's capital.

The infrastructure program was announced with great enthusiastic support from all provinces. It was to create employment, give jobs to unemployed Canadians and stimulate the economy of the nation.

It is estimated that the completion of the highway from 401 to the nation's capital would create over 12,000 person years of direct employment. It would create an awful lot of jobs for a few years while it is in the construction stage.

The infrastructure program is to get our country and our communities ready for the time when the nation's economy is moving ahead and a good deal of what constitutes a moving economy I think in the minds of most Canadians moves by highway traffic.

As far as I know the current provincial government in Ontario has never even considered completing the access road from the nation's capital to 401 except in the north end. Mr. Speaker, if you examine the political map of Ontario you will understand why that part is being done. The current Ontario government has one MPP from this part of eastern Ontario and she is from Ottawa. The highway is being built to four lane standards in this part of Ontario but as far as I can tell no plan has been made to extend it. The only part of the highway that is being done is adjacent to Ottawa and it is for a political reason.

I know that the usual partnership arrangement with the three levels of government does not quite fit the infrastructure plan. The cost of one-third of the highway would be far too great for the small rural townships. Small rural townships in Ontario have never had to build major highways. They just do not have the tax base to do it.

When I asked people to show an interest in my motion, a lot of people from outside the Ottawa area were interested in speaking to it. This suggests to me that fixing this highway has a broader appeal than just to selfish people like myself who live in eastern Ontario. It does have a national flavour to it.

Also with reference to the infrastructure program, the time line would be far too restrictive. It could not be completed by 1997. I cannot imagine it being done that quickly. However that is a minor thing. Apart from those variances the main criteria of the infrastructure program would be met and far exceeded in building highway 416; the creation of jobs-I have given the statistics on that one-and accessing eastern Ontario to markets both domestically and internationally.

The priorities of the current provincial government have to be changed and that is the reason for my private member's motion. I think perhaps one-third federal funds; I am not suggesting the provincial government exceed the plan for more infrastructure funds. I am suggesting it arrange its priorities differently, one-third federal funds, two-thirds provincial funds. I am sure that would make a satisfactory arrangement and there would not be any more money spent. It would just be redirecting the money.

The plans for the project have been in place for years. What we need now is the political will in the province to move on with this.

Before its defeat three years ago, the previous Liberal government of Ontario had announced a plan. It said it would complete the project by 1999. I was there for the press announcement. The media were there and they said it was a long way into the future, 1999. I will tell you it would look pretty good to eastern Ontario right now if somebody said the highway would be completed by 1999. That date would look extremely good because it might still be possible, but do not hold your breath.

Let me make it clear again, it is a rearranging of priorities that I am asking for in the infrastructure program, with the federal government's involvement being one-third. I am asking the provincial government to be a little flexible, rearrange its priorities and spend two-thirds on this much needed project. I know how important and how very much needed the infrastructure programs are to all communities, but we have infrastructure

needs beyond those local levels. I think this one warrants being addressed as almost an emergency need.

If the government of the province of Ontario misses this opportunity by not putting highway 416 on its priority list, we who live here and are interested in the economic development of eastern Ontario will have to wait once again to see even the start of a project which is already 20 years overdue. It has been 20 years since the original plan was set and nothing has been acted upon since.

I am asking in my motion for the two levels of government, the federal level and the provincial level, to get together to make the infrastructure program fit the needs of eastern Ontario and the capital region, the capital region of Canada being the fourth largest metropolitan area in Canada, by constructing a four-lane highway in order to ensure road safety and enhance travel in and out of the nation's capital. I am sorry it is not a votable motion, but I have sensed a great deal of support for it.

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

4:45 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mrs. Maheu)

Pursuant to Standing Order 38, it is my duty to inform the House that the questions to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment are as follows: the hon. member for Mercier-Manpower Training; the hon. member for Bourassa-Immigration; the hon. member for Lévis-National Defence; the hon. member for Drummond-Tainted Blood Inquiry; the hon. member for Jonquière-Native Communities.

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

4:45 p.m.

Reform

Dick Harris Prince George—Bulkley Valley, BC

Madam Speaker, I rise in the House today to speak to the motion. On its surface I cannot find the normal things wrong with it.

The member for Leeds-Grenville clearly stated that he was not requesting additional federal government funds, which I appreciate. Certainly this side of the House looks for that in every motion. He talked about the safety concerns on the roadway. I appreciate the statistics that he presented in his background material have borne out the cause of concern.

I am not going to take too long on this motion. If I have any concerns it would be whether changing the rules of the infrastructure program as laid out in the famous red book would set any kind of precedent we might regret later on down the line. The infrastructure program clearly calls for a sharing of one-third federal government, one-third municipal and one-third provincial.

If we are to spend this credit card infrastructure program money anyway, I am wondering whether changing the rules to accommodate a need in the member's riding will set a precedent in the future throughout the life of the infrastructure program that we may have to address later. If we make an exception for one, we may find ourselves having to make exceptions for others. Even though this particular one might have justifiable merit in the minds of many, will the others who seek exceptions to the general rules of the infrastructure program have merit? Could they cause us any harm?

The member has stated that he would like to see the provincial government pick up two-thirds of the cost. I have seen the reports on the financial position of the provincial government. I am wondering whether that is at all possible with the state of the finances of the province of Ontario.

Clearly the premier of Ontario has stated on a number of occasions that they simply do not have enough money to go around. On one project, highway 407 I believe it is, they have sought financing from the private sector to help complete it. I am wondering whether it might be an idea for them to do that in this case.

Does the provincial government have $300 and some million to invest in the project even if the rules were changed? My main concern is whether we are setting a precedent both on making the exception from the municipal contribution and on the extension of the time limit of the infrastructure program application to be completed. I am wondering whether the precedent may cause us a problem down the road on other applications.

We are not being asked to spend any more federal money, any more federal funds than have already been allocated, the one-third sharing. Apart from those two points I do not have any opposition to the motion. Perhaps the member might be able to explain the two points.

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

4:50 p.m.

Bloc

Paul Mercier Blainville—Deux-Montagnes, QC

Madam Speaker, as my hon. colleague just noted, the motion calls on the federal government to enter into an agreement with Ontario to widen Highway 16 between Highway 401 and Ottawa.

At present, Highway 16 links Ottawa to Highway 401, passing through the Brockville area. The stretch of highway in question is approximately 65 kilometres long. Traffic along this stretch of roadway is heavy, but not excessively so. I have been told that on average, between 15,000 and 30,000 vehicles travel this highway every day.

The road is relatively straight and the danger lies in the fact that drivers frequently pull out to pass other vehicles.

The posted speed limit on this highway varies between 50 and 90 kilometres per hour. However, most traffic travels at a speed of 90 kilometres per hour. Improved highway control would no doubt enhance safety.

I have also been told that the Government of Ontario is considering a project to expand this highway and that roughly $15 million has already been spent on a study of the proposed new route. It would seem, therefore, that Ontario has already given considerable thought to this project. As my hon. colleague noted, the timetable for completion would be rather long, perhaps as much as 20 years.

Highway 16 runs through a portion of the riding of Leeds-Grenville, which obviously explains my hon. colleague's interest in the project. As he indicated, as far as the northern stretch of the highway is concerned, costs would be divided into two stages.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Transport, construction costs would total $200 million, while the price tag for the remainder of the four-lane highway would be $180 million.

I gather the federal government's assistance is being requested because there is no four-lane highway linking the Nation's Capital to the capital city of the largest province in Canada. A four-lane highway would cut 30 minutes off the travel time. However, Madam Speaker, if we go along with this reasoning, then the federal government should be entering into a similar agreement with Quebec to expand Highway 50 into a four-lane highway linking Ottawa to another provincial capital, namely Quebec City. A four-lane highway would knock not 30 minutes, but 45 minutes off a five-hour trip. Ottawa would then be only four hours or so away from either Toronto or Quebec City.

If the motion carries, I would also call upon the federal government to stop dragging its heels on participating in the extension of Highway 13 so that Mirabel and Dorval airports can finally be linked.

All things considered, I question why Canadian taxpayers should have to pay for building four-lane highways in Ontario. Ontario should use the money from the infrastructure program if it wants federal funds to complete this project. My hon. colleague explained that he was not seeking additional funds, although this is not clear from his motion. I ask that the general rules of the infrastructure program be applied without exception and that no precedents which could be invoked later by other ridings be set.

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

4:55 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Victoria—Haliburton, ON

Madam Speaker, I thank the House for the opportunity to speak on Motion M-3 in the name of the member for Leeds-Grenville.

The highway 16 connection of Ottawa to highway 401 has more to offer than just a few minutes off the drive. Making a two-lane highway into a four-lane highway would allow for a much safer route. There is only one nation's capital to deal with and the access is poor unless one lives in Montreal.

Highway 7 on which I travel from Ottawa to the Tweed turnoff is a very popular route for large trucks to and from Toronto and Ottawa. That section of highway 7 is extremely overburdened because of the poor access from Ottawa to highway 401. This stretch of highway 7 is the most dangerous piece of two-way highway in Ontario. A better, safer route to our nation's capital is what we are asking for.

My trip to the House includes highway 7 usually four times a week to and from my riding of Victoria-Haliburton which is four hours from Ottawa by car, the only way I have to get here. School buses, transport trucks, camper vans, motor homes, motorcycles, cars pulling trailers, walkers and bicyclists all use that stretch of highway 7 from Tweed to Ottawa. Completion of highway 16 would ensure less risk to the people on highway 7 from Ottawa to the 401.

Highway 37 is very busy. It runs from highway 7, down through the village of Tweed, to the top of Belleville to connect with the 401. We could ask Elmer Buchanan, the MPP for Hastings, about his unfortunate accident this past winter on highway 37 from which he is still recovering. I am sure the Ontario government would take that into consideration.

My thrust is not immediate on highway 16. My thrust is on relieving the burden of the entrance to our nation's capital along highway 7. In conclusion I urge all members to support the bill.

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

April 19th, 1994 / 4:55 p.m.

Liberal

Beryl Gaffney Nepean, ON

Madam Speaker, this issue has been before the people of the nation's capital for a great number of years. The hon. member for Victoria-Haliburton, my colleague who just spoke on the issue, adequately explained or visually explained the problems people have in trying to get to the nation's capital. Whether they are coming to Ottawa on the present highway 16 or whether they are coming on Highway 7, both roads are very dangerous.

In 1988 we were talking about the free trade agreement in the House. It was the first bill I had to vote on having been elected in 1988. Madam Speaker, you will remember you were newly elected at the same time. We sat in the House right up to December 23.

One issue I raised in my maiden speech in the House of Commons was with regard to the free trade agreement and particularly highway 416. I raised the importance to the nation's capital of having that four-lane link prepared and the effect it would have on the economy. It is the only four-lane link that would connect us to Toronto. It would be the only four-lane link that we had to connect us to New York State. Presently we have a

two-lane highway connecting us to both Toronto and New York State.

I refer to the comments of the member from the Bloc Quebecois who spoke earlier on why should we give it to Ontario when we should give the same thing to Quebec. I would like to correct the gentleman and advise him that federal moneys have gone into roadworks in the province of Quebec.

We already have a four-lane link between the nation's capital to Montreal and right through to Quebec City. If my memory serves me correctly it goes right through to Rivière du Loup and the Gaspé peninsula. I have travelled that route on many occasions. Therefore the precedent has already been set.

I am looking at transportation infrastructure agreements. In 1993 the federal government put in a $10 million project in roadwork infrastructure in the Northwest Territories. In B.C. it put in $30 million; Saskatchewan, $35 million; Nova Scotia, $30 million; New Brunswick, $130 million. I could go on and on but there was not one penny that went into the province of Ontario.

The province of Ontario has long been recognized as the engine of growth in this country. We who live in Ontario are very proud of that. We are very proud to help the provinces that do not have the financial resources we have had historically up until this point in time, to sustain not only ourselves in this province but also the people in the other provinces. We have been pleased to do that.

However the province of Ontario today is going through very tough economic times. We no longer have the manufacturing base we had before. We have lost hundreds of thousands of jobs. Whether it is the result of the free trade agreement I think the jury is still out on that. We need to do things that are going to increase economic growth. We need to do this not only in all of Ontario but we need to do it specifically here in the nation's capital.

Why should we put federal money into a roadway coming into the nation's capital? For goodness sakes, it is the nation's capital. The eyes of the country are on this capital city. We talk about our Canadian dollar and how it flips up and down. Is it any wonder it flips up and down when we cannot even put a four-lane highway into the nation's capital? It is absolutely disgraceful.

The argument of the gentleman from the Bloc Quebecois does not wash with me and it does not wash with the majority of Canadians.

The improvements to this highway are long overdue when one considers the increase in traffic over the 25 years plus that I certainly have been a resident of the Ottawa-Carleton region. We have seen the traffic patterns increase. As a result of this heavy traffic we see the accidents have increased in this area.

There is the commercial business, the recreation business, the tourist traffic. This morning my colleague from Leeds-Grenville and I were at a meeting. We met with the tourism industry from eastern Ontario. What is happening to the tourism industry? What is happening to the tourism industry in the nation's capital? Do members know how many dollars from the tourism industry support governments, support the federal government, support the provincial government?

It is very shortsighted on our part not to recognize the economic importance we as a nation as a whole would realize from such a structure being expanded. The construction of highway 416 to a four-lane highway is precisely the kind of infrastructure we as the government are talking about. It is something that is needed in the province of Ontario.

It would provide jobs and would improve jobs, which would contribute to the productivity and competitiveness of area employers. The four-lane link is vital to the continued growth of eastern Ontario.

I cannot be dramatic enough in speaking to my colleague's motion. Our future in eastern Ontario depends upon it.

Even setting that aside, set aside eastern Ontario and think of the nation's capital. You people from Quebec, think of your capital city, Quebec City. How many times in the province of Quebec have you heard Quebecers say: "Oh, Quebec City gets everything. We don't get anything in Montreal. We don't get anything in Hull". At that point in time you have a federal government which has been especially kind to you, which has helped with bridges, which has helped with roads and which has helped with the infrastructure in the province of Quebec.

I say the same thing to Toronto, to Queen's Park. Look at all of the beautiful roads in Toronto. I do not want to crap all over Bob Rae and what he is doing. My colleagues would like me to, but for goodness sake, Queen's Park is not any different from Quebec City where they think of their own and they want to make sure that the capital of their province is well looked after.

Would you not agree with me that Quebec City is probably better looked after in terms of infrastructure as compared to Montreal? Would you not agree with me on that? Or Ottawa?

This is the seat of our Canadian Parliament. It is the seat of all our national institutions. Our museums, our arts centres, our galleries, everything that is national in scope is here in this region. Maybe we should do as Washington does. Maybe we should make this little precinct around the nation's capital, on both sides of the river. Make this a separate little province or a

regional area or territory that could receive these special dollars to ensure it is an area we can be proud of.

People come here from all over the world. My God, heaven forbid if they are driving from Toronto and they have to come in on the two-lane highway. They cannot believe they are on the road to the nation's capital.

I believe my time is almost up. I have gone on in trying to impress upon this House the importance of this issue to me, to the nation and to the capital. All of us in this House should be very concerned. I hope all members will support my colleague from Leeds-Grenville on this issue.

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

5:05 p.m.

Liberal

Pat O'Brien London—Middlesex, ON

Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity today to second and to speak to this motion which calls for the government to enter into an agreement with the province of Ontario to expand highway 16 into a four-lane highway.

This motion placed by my esteemed colleague from Leeds-Grenville is meant to help increase road safety and to improve travel in and out of the nation's capital.

Unfortunately this motion has been prompted by a series of tragic accidents, including the death of one young woman from the member's own riding. I compliment him on his attempt to alleviate any future tragedies that may occur on this 40 kilometre stretch of highway which connects Ottawa to the 401.

I too would like to encourage both the federal government and the province of Ontario to consider committing funds for the national infrastructure program to improve and expand highway 16. Money spent on such highway projects is money well spent and therefore I am pleased to support and to second this motion.

Many would think that such a motion does not directly affect my riding of London-Middlesex. However numerous students from London-Middlesex have left their homes to attend university in the Ottawa area. Many of these people drive home to visit their families for holidays via the 401. Obviously Londoners are among many thousands of Canadians who yearly come to the nation's capital to see the Parliament Buildings and the other beautiful sites of this city.

When taking highway 16 to the 401 people are faced with a busy exit out of Ottawa as they begin their six to seven hour drive home in good weather. On a return trip after this drive they are faced with driving on a busy highway that is used by all kinds of vehicles from tractor trailers, to vans, to mobile homes and motorcycles. By this time it is usually dark, which only adds to the dangers.

If you are like me, Madam Speaker, you worry about the safety of your children on the road. For many parents in my riding that last stretch of highway 16 is extremely nerve racking. Even the most experienced drivers are faced with the unnecessary risks of this particular road.

Tourists also use this road when visiting the nation's capital. Since 1985 over 700 accidents have occurred. Canadians from every province and territory use this road. The roadways to and from our nation's capital should be a source of pride to Canadians and not a constant worry.

This motion was put forward by my colleague primarily for safety reasons. I live in a region that is served by a major highway, the 401, as my colleague mentioned earlier. We have all seen far too many people lose their lives on that dangerous highway as well. As traffic has increased over the past decade so too have terrible accidents. For this reason alone both the federal and provincial governments would be wise to seriously consider this motion.

As a member of this government I am proud we have made a strong commitment to the funding of Canada's transportation infrastructure. Safety is and should be the primary reason for the expansion of highway 16, yet there is another vital reason for completing this important project: economics.

Several of the members from the national capital region have said in this House over the past several years that expanding companies in the region such as the high tech industries are faced with insurmountable transit problems when dealing with markets beyond the region. I hear the very same concerns expressed by businesses in my own riding of London-Middlesex.

This is truly a national issue. Improving the roadways in southwestern Ontario and across our country is very important to people in all parts of Canada. Time and time again constituents tell me of the need for better links with other regions so that small business and other vital sectors are able to benefit from access to other markets.

Good road systems open up new markets for existing small and medium sized businesses, which in turn creates jobs for people in all parts of Canada. In my riding, industry is steadily expanding. Commercial markets are facing increased challenges in dealing with markets beyond our region.

In speaking to this motion every one of us could easily draw a parallel to our own particular ridings. As my colleague from London East well knows, a number of surveys have shown time and again that transportation problems are at the top of the list of concerns of the people of the city of London. National surveys indicate the very same concern.

It would be extremely shortsighted and parochial of anyone in this House not to look at this motion with a view to supporting it. Surely it is a national issue when it concerns the nation's capital.

It is a great pleasure for me to support the motion and I ask all members in the House to do the same.

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

5:10 p.m.

Ottawa West
Ontario

Liberal

Marlene Catterall Parliamentary Secretary to President of the Treasury Board

Madam Speaker, I too am pleased to congratulate my colleague from Leeds-Grenville and to speak in support of his motion.

I do not know if the infrastructure program is the best or only way to fund the improvements to highway 416 which have been needed for so long. However I do know that I recently saw a list of announcements for funding of major transportation projects. There was not one for eastern Ontario.

There was funding for the Go transit system in Toronto. Supposedly it was a railway project but really it is an urban transit development that is of assistance to the local community in the metro Toronto region. In this region of eastern Ontario and the nation's capital, we have not had that kind of co-operative approach to meeting our transportation needs.

I do not think I need to tell anybody in this House that government is undergoing a major transformation. That has meant the economy of this region, our nation's capital, is undergoing a major transformation.

It is a challenge to our regional economy which started back in the mid-seventies with the decentralization of a number of government operations and the removal of 15,000 jobs from the downtown area to across the river to Hull. Personally, that is something I support because I support the idea of an integrated national capital covering both sides of our river.

I also support very much the idea of getting services to Canadians out in the communities and getting a federal presence across this country from coast to coast to coast. Anything that builds national unity is important to all of us in this House and to all Canadians.

Our community was presented with a major challenge back then, nearly two decades ago now. We were suddenly left with close to one million square feet of empty office space in downtown Ottawa.

The local business community working together with our board of trade, our Economic Development Corporation, our businesses individually, building owners and managers, rose to that challenge and addressed the issue of diversifying our economy.

We are now facing another major change in our major employer. I do not think it is a surprise to anybody in this House that we are looking at a major rethink of what the role of government is, how much service to the public we can afford, what has to be done by government and what should be done in other ways, what is the proper role of the federal government and the provincial governments.

Again, for my community in this region of eastern Ontario that is going to mean another major change to our economy. The work that our business community in co-operation with our public and municipal politicians particularly and the federal and provincial politicians over the years has done to diversify our economic base is a foundation on which we can face further changes.

If the federal government as the major employer in this region is going to have a significant impact on the community like other major employers in other regions then there is also an obligation to work in partnership with the community to help the adjustment. We are doing that with National Defence, for instance. Where we are closing bases across Canada we are setting up processes to work with the local communities to readjust their economies.

We need to look as well at how we co-operate with the community in the nation's capital toward supporting that community's efforts to diversify its economy.

Transportation is key to that. We cannot have a healthy economy if we cannot get our goods to market, if we cannot get to our customers and if we cannot get our customers here.

We have had a long battle about adequate air transportation out of Ottawa, links to our markets and to the United States and so on. However, road transportation is also important.

We have heard described the situation of highway 16 as a funny little dumb-bell that has a magnificent expanse wonderful interchange with the Queensway through this region on one end and then it sort of dwindles off into a windy, curvey little road that, as people have said, is dangerous.

Most important, it is of tremendous cost to people who want to do business with this region, who want to do business out of this region. It is a major inhibitor to the development of our high technology sector which is one of the strongest in the country. That is an issue not only for this region but for the nation.

This is one of the hubs of the future of high technology in Canada and without that critical mass in locations like the nation's capital, like my city of Ottawa, like the member for Nepean's community of Nepean and throughout this region, high technology in the nation is not going to flourish. We happen to have built the beginning of that critical mass here. It is in the national interest for that to flourish. Again, the transportation link is important.

Others have spoken very eloquently of the importance of tourism, our second biggest industry in this region. You cannot visit it if you cannot drive to it or if you cannot get to it. I believe that we have a responsibility to build a sense across this nation that our capital is something that all Canadians should be proud of. We seem to have done just the opposite of what most nations have done and developed our nation's capital as a place to be avoided, shunned and criticized.

I think part of building a nation is building pride in your nation's capital and part of that is the sense that many people in other countries have that one thing you want to do as a citizen during the course of your life is visit the heart of your nation, your nation's capital.

We do not have that sense as Canadians. I am not going to blame it on the poor condition of highway 16 from the American border and from the great metropolis of Toronto to the nation's capital. If we do want to build that sense of pride in the nation, pride in our fellow citizens, pride in our nation's capital, then we have to make it possible for people to get here.

Let me conclude by saying that this project for a long time has had the full support of our business community, the Ottawa-Carleton Board of Trade, our Economic Development Corporation, all municipalities in this region. It is just another link not only for Ottawa, not only for the communities surrounding Ottawa, but also from our neighbours in Quebec to southern Ontario and beyond.

As I mentioned earlier, the federal government is an important employer in this region. It accounts for about 20 per cent of the jobs in our region. A fairly good job has been done of spreading about 70 per cent of the public service jobs across this country and I as a Canadian am proud of that.

Nonetheless, the public is still an important employer and I believe there is an obligation for our government as it is making changes in the local economy to consider all its decisions that impact on us and to work with us as it does with other communities across Canada in a period of economic adjustment. Transportation, a good road link into the capital, is important to do that.

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

5:20 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Madam Speaker, I am rising in the House today to support a motion proposed by my hon. colleague from Leeds-Grenville.

Motion M-3 moves that, in the opinion of this House, the government should enter into an agreement with the province of Ontario to expand Ontario highway 16 south from Ottawa to highway 401 at Johnstown into a four lane highway in order to ensure road safety and enhance travel in and out of the nation's capital.

As a member of Parliament from the greater Toronto area I feel that it is in the best interests of my constituents that I rise to support this motion today. Countless travellers from my constituency of Bramalea-Gore-Malton and other areas around Toronto visit Ottawa on a regular basis. Naturally they take highway 401.

On highway 401 they can travel in relative safety at their own pace. Passing lanes provide the option of travelling at different speeds. Motorists are not subject to the distraction of someone riding their bumper, nor do they feel the frustration of driving behind someone whose car is incapable of keeping up with the flow of traffic.

The multi-lane design of highway 401 ensures a relaxed frame of mind which seems to me is conducive to driving.

All of this is lost, however, when they turn on to highway 16 to get to Ottawa; gone are the passing lanes, gone is the option of travelling at their own pace, gone is the relaxed atmosphere in which to drive.

Numerous accidents occur on highway 16 every weekend. Frustrated drivers take risks they normally would not have to take. In the period from 1985 to 1992, 39 deaths have occurred on the road as well as 721 reported accidents with countless injuries.

This is the main route for motorists travelling to Ottawa from western Ontario. Thousands of tourists come from across Ontario every year to see this beautiful city and its wonderful sites, Parliament Hill included.

An overcrowded, single lane highway does not give a favourable first impression of the city. This is clearly a well travelled route. We owe it to all visitors to provide them with a safe and sensible route to their nation's capital.

There has been support of this expansion since the road was built almost 15 years ago. Now it is time to act.

As most of my honourable colleagues know, the federal government in co-operation with provincial and municipal governments has recently launched the two-year, $6 billion Canada infrastructure works program. The program reaffirms our commitment to get Canadians back to work by creating 50,000 to 65,000 direct jobs and represents a significant long term investment in Canada's economic competitiveness. It also represents an important step forward in intergovernmental co-operation for the benefit of Canadians. Ontario has committed $722 million to date toward the project.

Good infrastructure is vital to a good quality of life. It helps keep our environment clean and makes our cities liveable. Good roads and transportation services reduce costs, reduce expensive tie-ups and minimize wear and tear on vehicles. Cities that work are central to the health of the economy.

At present the only way many of our industries can transport their products into and out of the nation's capital using a four lane highway is to go to Montreal first. This option is clearly ridiculous. One of our government's goals is to make it easier for small and medium sized businesses to succeed. As most

small and medium sized business do not have access to air transport, roadways are their greatest allies. Let us give them a hand.

To summarize, I support the motion initiated by the member for Leeds-Grenville: "That, in the opinion of this House, the government should enter into an agreement with the province of Ontario to expand Ontario highway 16, south from Ottawa to highway 401 at Johnstown, into a four lane highway in order to ensure road safety and enhance travel in and out of the nation's capital".

This is the main thoroughfare for many visitors to Ottawa. During a seven year period, from 1985 to 1992, 721 accidents have occurred on this stretch of road, causing 39 deaths and countless injuries. Highway 16 is also an important economic lifeline for Ottawa. In a time when the government is committed to rebuilding and reinforcing this nation's infrastructure, highway 16 must not be overlooked.

Highway 16
Private Members' Business

5:25 p.m.

The Speaker

There being no further members rising for debate and the motion not being designated as a votable item, the time provided for the consideration of Private Members' Business has now expired and the order is dropped from the Order Paper, pursuant to Standing Order 96(1).

The House resumed consideration fromm April 15 of the motion that Bill C-17, an act to amend certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on February 11, 1994, be read the second time and referred to a committee; and of the motion.

Budget Implementation Act, 1994
Government Orders

5:25 p.m.

The Speaker

It being 5.30 p.m., pursuant to order made on Friday, April 15, 1994, the House will now proceed to the deferred division to dispose of Mr. Milliken's motion.

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

Budget Implementation Act, 1994
Government Orders

6 p.m.

The Speaker

I declare the motion carried.