Mr. Speaker, last Wednesday I pointed out that the Minister of Transport had announced the spending of $79 million on new security procedures in transport, a vast majority of which was going toward highly sophisticated state of the art detection screening equipment. I asked the minister what airports that equipment would be going to. His response was that it would go to the major airports where the highest volume of traffic occurred.
In a supplemental question I asked the minister what good he thought it would do to put the equipment into high density airports when at dozens of small airports across the country there was not even basic x-ray equipment for carry on baggage. People going through those airports are subject to a hand search. I am not disparaging the people who operate those security checkpoints. They are not given the tools. It is very easy for them to miss a hidden compartment or something else that basic x-ray equipment would pick up.
When people board aircraft and fly into a major airport, such as Vancouver or Calgary in my case, they are deposited on the secure side, around the back of the sophisticated equipment which the minister is spending millions of taxpayers' dollars on to no avail.
I asked the minister how he thought it would help to put in the fancy equipment and then have people fly out of small airports and simply be routed around. His response as reported in Hansard was:
Mr. Speaker, the hon. member should know that when that is the case those people in transit are required to go through security at the larger airports.
That is not true. Virtually every week I fly out of small airports that do not have x-ray equipment. I know for an absolute fact that I am deposited on the secure side. At no time ever, not once, have I been re-routed through enhanced security at the larger airports.
I would like it clarified why the minister gave such an answer. Was he endeavouring to intentionally mislead members of the House, or was he simply incompetent in answering a transport question?