House of Commons Hansard #77 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was victims.


6:10 p.m.

Fort McMurray—Athabasca Alberta


Brian Jean ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Madam Speaker, the electrification study being undertaken by MetroLinx regarding whether, and under what conditions, the GO system would convert to electrified trains is due to be completed either late this year or early next year. It is important to wait for the results of this before entering into any discussions with the Government of Ontario and local municipalities regarding their priorities for transportation system investments.

As the House knows, we continue to work with our partners at both the provincial level and the municipal level in getting things done. Obviously, in this particular case, the provincial government has jurisdiction in relation to most of the decisions.

To wait for the report, to me, seems to be the most logical way to proceed, recognizing that it is those levels of government, both the municipalities and the province, that are accountable for knowing their systems and are best able to speak to the systems' most pressing needs. As the member has brought forward some of those needs, I am glad he has been meeting with the provincial government and the other government members in the province of Ontario because, of course, that is their jurisdiction.

I want to be very clear. This Conservative government has responded to local transit needs by partnering with the Ontario government and the municipalities, including the City of Toronto which has received a lot of federal funding because of its large population and we recognize it is in need. These investments by the Conservative government have been identified by the provincial government and the municipal governments as essential transit projects and that is why this government has invested in them.

In addition to these numerous projects in the greater Toronto area, we have also committed up to $600 million for rapid transit in Ottawa. We have listened closely to the local government in Ottawa and it has identified this need as well.

Also, we have invested $265 million for the Waterloo region rapid transit, which was also identified by the province and again by the municipal government.

When this government talks about infrastructure funding with our provincial counterparts, we make an effort to meet the identified priorities at a local and provincial level because, of course, those levels of government are closer to the people and can better identify their priorities. That means working directly with our partners in areas like transit where the jurisdiction, as I mentioned, is at the provincial and municipal levels, and it means listening, which of course we do. As they identify their key priorities on a continuous basis, this government will continue to listen and act on those priorities.

6:10 p.m.


Mario Silva Liberal Davenport, ON

Madam Speaker, while the parliamentary secretary mentioned that the province was mainly responsible for the administration of this project, the federal government is a major source of funding for this project because they are partners. The federal government must take a leadership role and actively demand electrified trains along this corridor.

Our party has long made public transit a cornerstone of our vision for cities, a position that has been echoed by many organizations, including the Chamber of Commerce which has advocated for a national transit strategy to assist our municipalities.

Will the federal government adopt a national vision for our public transit and will it ensure that safe, environmentally friendly public transportation is a priority for projects like the one in Toronto?

6:10 p.m.


Brian Jean Conservative Fort McMurray—Athabasca, AB

Madam Speaker, I would remind the member that his party was in government for 13 years just a short time ago and never in those 13 years has any provincial or municipal government seen the level of infrastructure funding that this federal government has provided in partnering with the city of Toronto, the Province of Ontario and all provinces and territories in this great country. Never has there been an historical level like this, not even close, since the second world war.

It was through mechanisms like the building Canada fund and the Canada strategic infrastructure fund, which finances large scale projects, including public transit projects, as well as through ongoing and permanent transfers that this government made permanent to municipal governments through the gas tax fund, it was this government, not that government, that made those permanent so that municipalities would know long term what their money would be and what money would be flowing in from the federal government so they could make long-term investment solutions. It was this government that did that. This government has reached a level of investment in transportation and public transit projects that is unprecedented in modern times.

We are proud of our record. We look forward to that member and the Liberal Party joining us in future endeavours to support the people of this great country.

6:15 p.m.


The Acting Speaker NDP Denise Savoie

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. The House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m. pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 6:15 p.m.)