Mr. Chair, first, I simply want to emphasize that our committee is operating fairly well and that we are able to get along. I can understand that a debate can be adjourned because some committee members might be engaging in filibustering or because, out of courtesy, we want to hear from a witness. I understand that because I've done it myself from time to time. However, this should be an exception, not the rule.
Let's take the example of the Neuville issue. Not only does it affect the airport, but it affects all municipalities, as well. If we know full well that the government is going to vote against this type of motion while we are in favour of it, we will simply proceed with the vote knowing what the outcome will be. We shouldn't drag things out because it is a waste of time. We may win a battle, but at the end of the day, we won't win the war. It only adds fuel to the fire and creates a situation where there will either be a problem of confidence or extraordinary words, like the word filibuster".
In other words, it goes both ways. Sometimes we need to pick our battles. I'm not saying this to be paternalistic. I'm telling you simply and humbly, and sharing with you my 15 years of experience as an MP. I have been on a number of committees. Sometimes it was vicious, but we always played fairly and proceeded openly. We didn't engage in procedural wrangling.
That's why I want to come back to the debate on the relevant motion of my colleague Élaine Michaud. It is indeed relevant. I am going to vote in favour of that motion. You must understand that we are dealing with a situation caused by an interpretation problem. I know the minister well. He's a former mayor, so he should understand this. Under section 4.9, all he has to do is enforce the act. That means that the minister has a role to play, which is not strictly tied to security. Remember: when officials appeared, I myself asked questions. From the court's point of view, the outcome resulted in a legal vacuum. We cannot live in a legal vacuum that could leave the citizens and municipalities facing an excess or imbalance. Our role is to enforce the act. If it isn't enforced adequately, we have to find alternatives.
As for me, I agree and I am going to vote in favour of the motion because it may become a worthwhile solution. However, my role as a federal MP is not strictly to ensure respect for the other jurisdiction. In this case, it isn't a matter of respect for jurisdiction. Rather, it's a matter of a minister like the Minister of Transport—and I'm not making this personal—who must enforce an act giving him powers to take certain actions. Section 4.9 is clear: he is not there strictly for safety, but also for monitoring the setting up an airport.
Unlike what my colleague Mr. Poilievre said the other day, we are not dealing here with a "not in my backyard" syndrome. This legal vacuum could cause problems for citizens and in the enforcement of the act. It could have a negative effect on safety and on the environment we live in.
Since this meeting is public, I am once again asking Minister Lebel to play his part and enforce the act as necessary, despite the outcome. We did when we formed the government. We also resolved a similar problem in Saint-Augustin. There are regulatory measures and a directional power.
If the minister, for all kinds of reasons, including his interpretation of this act, thinks that he is only responsible for safety, the least he can do is sign an administrative agreement. He has already met with ministers in Quebec, but this is going to happen in other provinces, I guarantee it. We don't need to get into constitutional issues, into "constitutionality". We need to make sure that the minister is going to sit down with his peers in a federal-provincial-territorial conference. Right now, it can be done very quickly, as with Quebec. It can be asymmetrical or symmetrical, but we very certainly need to fill this legal vacuum because there are too many problems that could arise for the municipalities and for citizens. It will also have an impact economically and on people's peace of mind.
We have already given our opinion, the government, the official opposition and my party. We should proceed with the vote immediately to send a message, and not just to the people of Neuville. If there are other people who speak, I don't have the power to ask the committee the previous question. I know my procedure, I have checked it out.
This is a healthy and important debate. With respect to public life, we are mandated to protect the quality of life of individuals and to ensure a certain peace of mind, while respecting the economic reality. This doesn't mean opposing things, but ensuring that everyone can play their role fully.
Mr. Chair, I will vote in favour of the proposal, but I wanted my comments to be on the record. The act exists and can be applied as it is. I reiterate my wish, as I did before the people of Neuville, accompanied by some of my colleagues who spoke eloquently about signing an administrative agreement.
We cannot leave this legal vacuum. At some point, my colleagues opposite will experience the same type of pressures in their municipalities. They will again take action and the citizens will react, and there will be developers and all of that. So, we need to make sure we are playing our parts fully.
Sooner or later, we will need to reflect on this act because it may create problems, and we can do this in subcommittee. I commend my colleague Ms. Michaud for the relevance of her motion. I myself spoke to some members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, and they will adopt the resolution. They are in full agreement with how the city of Neuville is asking for the Government of Quebec or the Government of Canada to intervene.
At the federal level, we very certainly have a role to play. In that sense, we must support this motion to send a message. If the government does not play its role, it will have to find an alternative, and I think the agreement is the way to go.