Mr. Speaker, my colleague from St. Albert is exactly right. It is a pretty grim track record of the Liberal government specifically with the air transportation policy. Eight air carriers have died in the past six years.
Will the world be different if the former Liberal finance minister, the member for LaSalle--Émard, who is doing his focus group town hall meetings, becomes prime minister? The answer is no.
The worst thing that happened to the air industry in terms of government policy happened in December 2001. After September 11 there was a nosedive in consumer confidence. The first air transport policy response, the typical Liberal response to the drop in consumer confidence was to raise the cost of flying. The government imposed the $24 air tax in the December 2001 budget after the September 11 terrorist attacks. This tax was to be imposed on April Fool's Day 2002.
The air tax was the largest tax increase in the final budget of the former finance minister. His response to the crisis in the air industry after September 11 was to impose the largest tax increase in his final budget, the $24 air tax, which has devastated small air carriers, has further suppressed consumer confidence and continues to hammer the air industry. It is something for which he and the Liberal government should feel ashamed.
The supposedly fiscally conservative former Liberal finance minister's actions speak louder than his words. The air industry was struggling and he gave it a swift kick in the stomach while it was trying to catch its breath from having the wind knocked out of it on September 11. He learned nothing and listened to nobody. He did not listen to the transport committee when he was the minister of finance. He was a failure in terms of the air industry. If he becomes the prime minister of Canada, I expect him to continue his pristine record of arrogance and ignorance with regard to the air industry.