Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Ms. Steele, gentlemen, thank you very much for being here.
I think I want to go back to the issue Mr. Bevington raised, the issue of fairness, if I may.
Mr. Cunningham and Mr. Carlton, I think you were the ones who addressed this. You said that everybody agreed this would be a short-term program. Mr. Flaherty was very clear in the 2009 budget that the economic stimulus plan going into place was to be timely, temporary, and targeted. Everybody agreed that it should be, because it was to create an instant opportunity for jobs in municipalities to keep people who were in their communities working. Construction was going to create those jobs instantly.
I worked for seven years in a drafting office for an engineering company that worked for one of the fastest-growing municipalities in York Region. As a draftsman in that office, I was always tasked with projects that were being looked at by the municipality as viable at some point in their budget. They were doing the environmental assessments. It was an ongoing process, whether it was waste water, an infrastructure project, or a community building. They were part of a wish list that was ongoing. I'm sure your communities have those as well.
I know the municipalities that I represent in Newmarket--Aurora have ongoing wish lists. They are always in the process with the economic development office, in cooperation with their budget office, to know what's doable when and what money is available. When the money became available for economic stimulus, Newmarket--Aurora, both municipalities, had projects ready to go.
With all due respect, Mr. Nyce, I have a little bit of a problem when people talk about the environmental assessments for archeological digs. That can be never-ending, as we know. Likewise, environmental assessments with Fisheries and Oceans are not short-term projects. Those are ones where I think we expect they are going to be protracted because of the nature of them. With an archeological dig, you never know what you're going to encounter, unlike doing an assessment for putting in a water pipe or redoing a road that needs to be redone.
Getting back to the issue of fairness, my question would be this. There are many communities that have had these projects, have applied for the money, and have been able to do the projects and get them done. I look at some of the ones where I have done announcements on behalf of ministers not in my community, but in ridings around me, in Vaughan, in Richmond Hill, and in Toronto. I did announcements and subsequently have done ribbon cuttings for subsidized housing units. In Aurora, there was a waste water project. In Newmarket, the old town hall renovation, which is under construction and will be completed by the deadline, is something that qualified for the economic action plan. In Scarborough, I did the ground-breaking for a community centre not three weeks ago. Their community centre is going to be done by March 31. Probably one of the most spectacular ones I did was in the riding of Etobicoke--Lakeshore, where the opposition leader is the member. Humber College made an application for money for their new drama centre, which has been completed in the space of about six months.
So when these projects are doable--when they are doable--how is this fair to communities who have stepped up to the plate, who have undertaken a project, have gotten it done, and they're ready to undertake more should the opportunity rise...?
Any comment on those?