Mr. Chair, I'll open by saying that I understand that a matter related to an individual hospital would not normally be the subject of study by any federal parliamentary committee, much less a committee on heritage, but this is not a normal circumstance. The issue arises from the fact that the federal government had previously approved the disposal of about 60 acres of land on Carling Avenue in central Ottawa for the construction of a hospital to replace the existing Ottawa Civic campus, which is now 92 years old.
The current Minister of Environment put a stop to the process after it had already begun and has, thus far, delayed the construction of the hospital for a year. After some period of quiet and confusion, she decided to give the issue over to the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who then delegated it to the NCC, the National Capital Commission, for which this committee does have jurisdiction. That is how we have ended up here today.
The Ottawa Hospital Civic campus serves not only our capital but also western Quebec, Gatineau, and eastern Ontario. I understand there are even some patients who use it for specialized services and come from as far away as Nunavut. The campus also serves as a trauma centre for eastern Ontario, and the regional centre for cardiac and stroke. The federal government, by blocking the construction of the hospital on available land across the street, which was selected by an expert panel, is imperilling all of that.
The existing campus is in very rough shape. It's 92 years old and in desperate need of replacement and repair. That's why we're here today, to ask the Minister of Environment to come before the heritage committee, as she has delegated the matter to the heritage minister and the NCC, and explain her decision to delay the construction of this hospital.
That is the introductory comment I'd make on the matter. I welcome members to support the motion so that we can have a study at a time appropriate for the committee.