House of Commons Hansard #61 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was fair.


Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.

Some hon. members



Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Is the hon. member for Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel rising on the same point of order?

Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Yes, Mr. Speaker.

Normally, I would have no problem and I would have provided the member with consent to split his time. However, the question was asked when there were other members in the House who did not give their consent. Now there is a member who is representing a party, but I am not sure what he representing, so we are creating a precedent that I do not think there is a need to create. The member has a few minutes left. If he does not need to use them, the rest of us will.

Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

In any case, there is no consent.

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities has the floor.

Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

5:55 p.m.


Pierre Poilievre Nepean—Carleton, ON

Mr. Speaker, before I continue, I would like to thank members of the opposition for their helpful interventions here today.

As I said, in 2010, the Port of Québec received $1.8 million from the infrastructure stimulus fund for sufficient pump capacity in case of fire and a distribution network to pump water from the liquid cargo storage terminals located in the Beauport area of the port. This accounted for 50% of the total cost of the approximately $3.8 million project. Federal programs are already in place, and the Canadian port authorities can submit their projects for approval in the areas of sustainability, safety and infrastructure.

What our NDP colleagues are asking for, therefore, is already in place. What is unfortunate is that each time we have made these investments, the New Democrats have opposed them. Why are they rising now in the House and calling for bigger grants when they opposed these investments in the past?

Why are the New Democrats doing this? Because regardless of how much the government spends, their socialist ideological bent is such that the New Democrats think that it is never enough. In fact, the workers at the Port of Québec and across Quebec and Canada would not be able to pay the taxes required to fund all the spending demands made by the New Democrats on a daily basis.

What the NDP needs to understand in all of its demands for more spending and more government in every single area is that the government cannot give anything without first taking it away. Every day that NDP members stand in the House of Commons and demand more spending on every single varied priority, they would first have to take that money out of the pockets of the hard-working Canadians who earned it.

Our view is that a dollar in the hands of the person who earned it is always better spent and invested than a dollar in the hands of the politician who taxed it.

Therein lies the distinction between the far left represented by the NDP and the centrist position that we take, which favours Canadian taxpayers. We will continue to take that strong position.

Thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak about this extremely important subject.

Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

6 p.m.


Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure for me to speak today.

This motion is very long and deals with the Port of Québec, but I think it could apply to all ports in the country and not just the Port of Québec. That said, it will be my pleasure to support the motion presented by the member for Beauport—Limoilou.

The Liberal Party of Canada believes that we need more investment in infrastructure to secure the economic development of our municipalities and of our country. In fact, this is one of the key points that our party has always advocated. As I said, all of Canada’s ports are examples of places where infrastructure investment could be multiplied to spur economic growth for a city.

I therefore do not understand why the Conservatives have just said they do not support this motion. I understand that the Conservatives do not believe in the importance of working with municipalities, and so they are perhaps somewhat reluctant to support this motion. The evidence can be seen in the recent Economic Action Plan, which has not worked over the last two years. They should perhaps consider changing their approach.

The Liberal Party also believes that this development must not occur at the expense of our environment. We must therefore be careful to preserve the environment. The Port of Québec is of crucial importance to the economic welfare of Quebec City, Quebec and Canada as a whole.

If I may, I will explain why the Port of Québec, in my opinion, is so important to Quebec and to Canada.

Let us first consider its historical importance. The very foundation of our country rests on the choice made by Samuel de Champlain, the founder of Quebec City, in 1608. That choice was based primarily on the strategic position of the site for controlling the St. Lawrence River. Quebec City was long considered to be the Gibraltar of America. Because of its strategic importance, Quebec City, formerly the capital of New France, has seen many battles over the course of its history. Those battles, and that history, contributed greatly to forging the character of Quebeckers and Canadians. Quebec City has also long been one of the key economic hubs of Canada because of the Port of Québec and the importance of the St. Lawrence Seaway. For many years, the port was the first point of contact with Canada for newcomers. It has also always been crucially important for international trade. In short, the historical importance of Quebec City, which is inseparable from its port, is worthy of mention by and support from the House of Commons.

As has already been said, we are aware of the importance of the Port of Québec. It is the second largest port in Quebec, outranked only by the Port of Montreal. More than a quarter of goods shipped by water in Quebec stop in the Port of Québec. This makes it one of the most important ports of entry for shipping in Canada, still today. It enables Quebec City to be competitive in international trade and makes it possible for the local economy to prosper.

Although it has been mentioned, there has been no discussion so far about the importance of respect for the environment. Soil decontamination is of great importance in revitalizing the port environment. If we look at most of the ports in Canada, we see a contamination problem. We should therefore support this project, because most of the land surrounding these ports is contaminated. We must really find a way to decontaminate and develop that land.

Respecting and improving our environment is a priority for the Liberal Party. In addition, this decontamination goes hand in hand with other port improvement projects. Thus, it goes without saying that we absolutely must have an ecological vision for the Port of Québec and for other ports across the country.

Infrastructure projects and projects to develop the site will mean important economic spinoffs for Quebec City. Many tourists arrive in Quebec City by water, and infrastructure projects have definitely improved things in the past. According to statistics, traffic has tripled since the early 2000s when a cruise ship terminal was built. With just one terminal, the number of cruise ships has tripled in the port.

Tourism is vital to the Quebec City region. More and more people around the world are working, but there are more destinations. Thus, it is harder to get people to come. A port is always a good tourist attraction. For instance, on October 6, 2010, four ships were berthed in the Port of Québec for about 48 hours, which brought in economic spinoffs worth $1.3 million in just two days.

Upgrading of port assets and developing the facilities of the Port of Québec would address the concerns of the Liberal Party regarding the poor state of infrastructure in Canada. The government must invest in this area in order to maintain Quebec City's competitiveness on the international stage.

As I was saying, across the country we are seeing a lot of ports that require investment, whether it be to upgrade their equipment or provide dredging to allow bigger boats to dock there. However, the problem we have with the motion is that we do not know how much money it would cost. There is not much detail.

I do not see how the government or members in the House cannot support the motion. There is nothing controversial here. We know that for every dollar that is invested in our economy, it multiplies five times. In a port, it would probably generate 10 times as a multiplier. I do not see how we can avoid investing in our ports.

Many ports across the country and in the world were used for different purposes. Since they were close to water, they were used for transporting goods and people. In today's day and age we have different ways of doing that with the arrival of rail, cars and trucks. Therefore, ports are now used for different reasons. Yes, they are still used mainly for bringing in goods, but as I said, now they bring in cruise ships.

If we look at the major ports that are being developed, they are being used for condo development and business development because they attract people. They attract business and make the economy of that particular city more vital and vibrant.

I see that in Montreal we have the same problem. There was some money invested, and it created a good environment. Investment brings tourists and dollars into the city. It brings respectability, things get renovated, and the city looks nice. However, as soon as we stop investing in the area, people stop coming, and the city does not look as nice.

I do not see why the government, in partnership with the provinces and the city, could not support the motion.

I am pleased to support my colleague's motion. Quebec City, the second largest city in Quebec, performs very well economically and the Canadian government has a duty to contribute to that. By supporting this motion, we are taking the first step, but further action is needed. We must contribute to the improvement and upgrading of the Port of Québec because of its economic and historic importance.

In closing, I hope the Conservative government will set partisanship aside and support this motion, not only by voting in favour of it but, more importantly, by taking action.

Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

6:10 p.m.


Annick Papillon Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, first, I want to thank the hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou for bringing forward Motion M-271, on the Port of Québec.

This port is also partially located in my riding. Therefore, it is my pleasure today to support this motion to recognize the Port of Québec as a hub of international trade in opening new markets for Canadian business, creating jobs for people back home, and generating significant economic benefits.

As the member for Québec, I had the opportunity to meet with many stakeholders—along with the hon. member for Beauport—Limoilou—regarding the port and its development. I am convinced of its importance for the economic growth of Quebec City and the surrounding areas.

Modern ports are critical elements of transportation systems in Canada and around the world. In the context of global trade, Canadian ports must be competitive in several activity sectors in order to continue to hold their own against international competition.

In order to clearly understand the challenges faced by Canadian ports, one must know that Canadian port authorities were created by an act of Parliament enacted in 1998, the Canada Marine Act. This legal framework set a local governance structure for the management of port authorities. These authorities were designated by the Government of Canada as essential to domestic and international shipping. Indeed, Canadian port authorities, which include 17 ports, deal with over half of all the ocean freight in Canada, or goods evaluated at over $142 billion.

Under the Canada Marine Act, port authorities are responsible for their own funding and they must be self-sufficient. Moreover, the act closely monitors authorities by setting strict borrowing limits and, as a result, it is not always easy for a port to get a loan. Finally, the Canada Marine Act requires port authorities to give part of their gross revenues to the Government of Canada. Since Canadian port authorities operate under federal laws, it is our duty to ensure that relations between the government and these authorities are not only maintained, but also strengthened.

With global competition fiercer than ever, Canadian port authorities have to work harder to achieve the objectives of social and economic development for their regions. Canada has key marine transportation corridors on the St. Lawrence Seaway, which is one of the main corridors. Marine transportation generates $3 billion in economic activity. According to a study by the St. Lawrence Economic Development Council, shipping on the St. Lawrence is the most efficient means of transportation both financially and logistically.

The same study estimates that in 2010, Quebec's ports and marine activities sustained 27,350 jobs. Again according to the St. Lawrence Economic Development Council, Quebec's port industry's spending translates into a contribution to Quebec's gross domestic product of roughly $2.3 billion annually. In taxes, the governments of Quebec and Canada brought in $500 million and $180 million respectively in 2010.

The quality of its port services, its rail links at every terminal, and its 15 metre low tidal waters, make the Port of Québec a key element of the St. Lawrence Seaway and a gateway to the Great Lakes.

The Port of Québec is open 12 months of the year, is located roughly 1,400 km from the heart of North America and is less than 300 km from the first lock leading to the Great Lakes region. The Port of Québec has efficient links to the industrial and agricultural heart of North America. What is more, thanks to its port infrastructure, Quebec City's maritime community connects to roughly 60 countries. In 2010, the number of cruise ship passengers who set foot in Quebec City was 102,274, which is an increase of 18% compared to 2009. That has a considerable impact on Quebec City considering that those cruise ship passengers left behind some $80 million in regional spinoffs.

If the activity came to an abrupt end on Quebec City's docks, the economic shock to the region would be brutal.

Overall, some 5,000 direct and indirect jobs are associated with the Port of Québec. It generated almost $800 million in economic spinoffs and $163 million in taxes in 2010. The port also pays $900,000 per year in fees to the federal government.

Finally, since the turn of the century, the Port of Québec has increased its activity by approximately 75%. Today, the Port of Québec must invest $400 million to modernize its aging infrastructure and increase by 50% the quantity of goods shipped along the St. Lawrence River.

With limited borrowing capacity and no grant program tailored to Canadian ports, the Québec Port Authority has problems and solutions, but rather limited financial means to ensure its development and to stave off U.S. competition. This is what the CEO of the Port of Québec, Mario Girard, has said in the past.

It should be understood that, despite the popularity of the port facilities, the port itself spends a portion of its profits on activities in the cruise industry, the marina and recreation and tourism. Since 2006, these activities have cost approximately $10 million. Unfortunately, according to forecasts, these figures will continue to rise in 2011.

Mario Girard recently stated that cruises were a money-maker for the Quebec City region, but that it was the port that was footing the entire bill. Although the Port of Québec is in good shape, its infrastructure is aging. At present, the authority is looking at how it can finance $370 million in work needed to maintain facilities at the required levels. Canadian ports are not really funded by the federal government and must generate their own revenue, as I explained earlier.

Nevertheless, we hope that this government will realize that going with the status quo is no longer possible and that the Port of Québec must find funding to start its renovation projects. It is even more important because, as we have shown, the port is an important component of Quebec City's economy and geography.

Among its potential solutions, the Port of Québec is counting on private businesses to pay a good part of the bill because they are the first to profit from the facilities.

Marc Dulude, executive president of IMTT Québec, a company specializing in liquid bulk, says that business people clearly understand that and are prepared to contribute to the modernization of the port. However, he is asking the governments to do their part. He says that the lack of space, the lack of access to the piers will eventually inhibit the growth of activities and revenues that contribute to the vitality of the local economy.

The port of Quebec City hopes to see an increase in the transit of goods, from 25 million to 37 million tonnes annually, to generate new revenues. However, to achieve that objective, an initial investment is necessary to reorganize space dedicated to solid bulk, liquid bulk and grain, three local commodities supported by world demand.

In this regard, it is important to mention that a regulatory amendment would allow Canadian ports to borrow more easily. Currently, Canadian ports cannot offer their land as collateral because it still belongs to the community. Port authorities must prove to lending institutions that all their projects are self-financing. That is a problem in many cases. Moreover, ports have basically no liquidity, and again, that makes investments difficult.

So, the biggest challenge for the port of Quebec City is to find ways to generate new revenues to ensure the future of the city's port facilities, while also taking into account social and environmental considerations. It is important to point out that, while this motion primarily proposes to support the port of Quebec City and its development, these improvements must be done with the support of the public.

This is why the NDP wants to ensure that the Quebec City port authority will continue its consultation efforts with the public, because it is essential to meet with citizens and to hear their views on the renovation projects that are currently on the table.

That public consultation is necessary because in addition to the economic nature of the Quebec City port, about 20% of its facilities are used for recreation and tourism. So, a number of these facilities allow tourists and families from the area to have access to the St. Lawrence River. The port of Quebec City wants to become a model for profitable port-city relations, as well as an example for the development—

Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

Order, please. The time allocated for the member's speech has finished. I would just remind hon. members that it is a good idea to watch the Chair from time to time so I can indicate the time remaining in one's allocated time.

Resuming debate, the hon. member for Ottawa-Orléans.

Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

6:20 p.m.


Royal Galipeau Ottawa—Orléans, ON

Mr. Speaker, the members who made the most noise in the 40th Parliament are not here in the 41st Parliament. So I am participating in this debate on the new member for Beauport—Limoilou's motion regarding the Port of Québec with caution and respect.

I should warn you that I will not be delivering the royal address promised by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport. My speech will be one from a humble servant.

It goes without saying that the Government of Canada—the government I support in this House—recognizes the importance of the Port of Québec. We are pleased to have supported the port through our financing programs such as the infrastructure stimulus fund and the marine security contribution program.

Over 13 years ago, the Government of Canada enacted the Canada Marine Act, which enabled Canada to develop the marine infrastructure it needed.

I originally thought that the member for Beauport—Limoilou was a patient and determined man. With these qualities, I thought that he had a promising future here. I would have thought he knew that the ports system created in 1998 was there to support our country's socio-economic and commercial development at the national, regional and local levels and to help promote and maintain competitiveness and economic prosperity. It seems as though I made a false assumption about the good faith of the member opposite.

The current government, which received a strong, stable, national majority mandate a mere seven months ago, is committed to ensuring that Canada's ports remain competitive so they continue to contribute to our economic growth.

The current legislative framework and this policy have proven to be flexible enough to maintain a balance between the commercial discipline required of Canadian port authorities and the targeted initiatives that improve Canada's transportation system and help to improve the supply chains.

The Canada Marine Act provides port authorities with a high level of autonomy and allows them to manage their infrastructure and services in a businesslike way that considers and reacts to their users' input and needs.

If I were to support the opposition motion, it could eventually compromise the system, and we would risk finding ourselves with the same problems we had before the Canada Marine Act was passed, namely, ineffective ports that are over capacity and dependent on government subsidies.

These would be inefficiencies and overcapacities that Canadian taxpayers would have to fund with their taxes.

Given the ever-increasing globalization of the economy, it is now more important than ever for Canada to have effective ports to move its imports and exports.

In 1998, Canada's port authorities did not have access to government funding, given the commercial discipline behind the Canada Marine Act.

In 2008, in response to market needs and in support of Canadian trade, the law was strategically amended, recognizing that ports had specific needs related to the capacity of their infrastructure. I was there.

These modifications allowed our Canadian port authorities to participate in various government programs in three key areas: environmental sustainability, security and capital costs of infrastructure. As a result, the Canadian port authorities are now eligible for federal funding programs.

I am referring to programs such as the Asia-Pacific gateway and corridor transportation infrastructure fund, the marine shore power program, the marine security contribution program, the gateways and border crossings fund, the freight technology demonstration fund, the infrastructure stimulus fund, and many other initiatives.

In recent years, Canadian port authorities have received close to $300 million through these funding programs. The current government, under the great leadership of the right hon. member for Calgary Southwest, has contributed $70.1 million to eligible projects from port authorities in Quebec. The sad thing in all this is that members opposite voted against these investments.

The Québec Port Authority itself benefited from the Canadian government's involvement. It received $5.6 million through the infrastructure stimulus fund and the marine security contribution program.

If Canada's ports are a priority for the member across the way, he should ask himself why the NDP voted against our economic measures when it came time to support important economic initiatives to help Quebec City, the whole province of Quebec and Canada a mari usque ad mare.

If Canadian ports are a priority for the member opposite, he should ask himself why his party voted against the government's economic measures when the time came to support these economic engines that are so important for Quebec City, the province of Quebec and Canada. It is also sad to see that, in a period of crisis, while we are working to help Canadian port authorities to position themselves for the recovery, the NDP chooses to play politics instead of doing something to help them.

The motion presented by the member for Beauport—Limoilou also suggests that we should recognize the strategic importance of the Port of Québec. If the member wants to have a future here, he should not waste his time trying to break down open doors. By giving the Port of Québec the status of a Canadian port authority, our government has already recognized that port as a strategic facility in the national port system.

The Port of Québec offers its shippers direct access to major railway and highway networks that lead directly to large urban centres in the eastern and midwestern United States. For many years, before the economic recession of 2009, the port kept breaking its own records for volumes handled. In 2010, its volumes increased by 11%, to reach 24.5 million tonnes. It is estimated that the value of these goods was in excess of $11 billion.

These goods came from or were destined for markets in the United States, Europe, South America, China and the Middle East.

The Port of Québec also broke its record for the number of cruise passengers and crew members, with 102,000 visitors in 2010. This government is led by a prudent economist who enjoys great support in every region of the country.

The percentage of people who think that Canada is generally moving in the right direction has increased sharply in the last year from 52% to 63.5%.

This is partly because we recognize the importance of ports such as the Port of Québec for their contributions to Canada's economic competitiveness, growth and prosperity. This is why we favour a port system based on financial autonomy, commercial discipline and the needs of users and of the market.

Port of Québec
Private Members' Business

6:30 p.m.


The Acting Speaker Bruce Stanton

The time provided for the consideration of private members' business has now expired and the order is dropped to the bottom of order of precedence on the order paper.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

6:30 p.m.


Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, my questions for the Minister of Public Works and Government Services concern the property at 65 Carl Hall Road in Toronto.

This building was designated by the federal government as a federal heritage building in 1992. It is the former home of de Havilland, where many aircraft were built for service for the Canadian Forces in World War II. It is a heritage building because of the long and storied connection to our aerospace industry, including our first satellite, Alouette, and the Canadarm.

Aside from the building's historical value, it houses an impressive collection of artifacts from Canada's long history of air and space industrial developments. This collection is called the Canadian Air and Space Museum. It houses the only full-scale replica of the Avro Arrow, which was killed by the Diefenbaker Conservative government in 1959. It houses a full-scale replica of the Alouette satellite. It houses a Lancaster bomber that had a storied history in World War II and spent many years on a pedestal at the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto. It is being lovingly restored by volunteers, one of whom actually piloted Lancasters in the war. The museum houses many hundreds of donated artifacts from veterans from all over Canada.

The museum has been a significant part of Downsview Park and forms part of the public attraction to the park. Many thousands of visitors, including tens of thousands of school children from all over Ontario, come to learn about our aviation and space history in the building where much of that history began. In fact, in Downsview Park's own annual reports, there are lovely photos of the museum as an asset.

On September 22 of this year, the museum, along with other tenants of 65 Carl Hall Road, were suddenly and without warning given eviction notices. Downsview's public comments about the closure of the museum, which have been parroted by the government, were full of inaccuracies: there were no subsidies given to the museum; the museum was not 17 months in arrears; the park never consulted with the museum before serving the eviction notice; the museum did not opt to switch from profit-sharing to market rent, but was forced to do so by the park; the museum is not a private collection, but a volunteer-run charitable organization; the park has never offered an alternative to house the collection, and the museum was never given the opportunity to raise the funds to make the necessary repairs to 65 Carl Hall. The repairs were costed at $3.5 million, yet no engineering report was forthcoming, and the repairs have been costed at much less by the museum itself.

The response to my questions in September was that the park is at arm's length, yet three weeks after that was said, an order in council was signed by the minister to authorize the leasing of the land. The park did not have the right to do it without the minister's say-so. Can the minister please answer why she informed us in September that it was at arm's length, yet in October signed the order in council?

There has never been an answer to any question about what process the government used to remove the heritage status of the building. The building was declared a heritage property many years ago, but nothing of its heritage or status has changed since then. Under what aegis or process did the government un-designate this site, and when?

As a result of investigations concerning the leasing of the land, we know that the order in council clearly states that 65 Carl Hall Road was being leased to Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors. It is reported to us that the chief operating officer of Maple Leafs Sports and Entertainment and the vice-president for park development of Downsview Park are in fact brothers. We would therefore ask what steps were taken to ensure that their business dealings were neither a conflict of interest nor had the appearance of a conflict of interest.

The government has indicated that its mandate included the preservation of heritage and the protection of museums, yet the actions of the government fly in the face of those statements. Recently, Toronto City Council adopted a resolution calling on the federal government to grant a reprieve to the Canadian Air and Space Museum and provide assurances of its preservation on the Downsview lands. In addition, the North York Historical Society called for the mayor to petition the government to preserve the building known as 65 Carl Hall Road as a heritage building.

We ask the government to respond to these two requests from the City of Toronto.

6:30 p.m.



Jacques Gourde Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to participate in this adjournment debate.

I would now like to respond to the comments made by the hon. member for York South—Weston with regard to the broken lease agreement between the Canadian Air and Space Museum and Downsview Park, a crown corporation located in Toronto. Downsview Park's mandate involves building a national urban park without any subsidization from taxpayers. It must use its own revenue, including its rental agreements, to help it generate the funds necessary to build and operate the park.

Downsview Park has the challenge of preserving the heritage of the area and increasing public participation. The Canadian Air and Space Museum, which is a private museum, could no longer fulfill its obligations, and its operating costs had to be and still are being absorbed by Downsview Park. Downsview Park worked with the museum through three strategic alliances over six years and through lease agreements to help the museum develop a business model and marketing strategy.

Unfortunately, the museum was unable to stay open and meet its financial obligations. Downsview Park did its best to support the Canadian Air and Space Museum for many years. However, it could not continue to support an operation that incurred costs and caused the park a loss of revenue. Over the past year, the museum informed Downsview Park a number of times that it could not pay its current and future rent.

Downsview Park began issuing notices of default of payment in March 2011, and matters finally came to a head on September 20, 2011. The decision was made by Downsview Park, a crown corporation operating at arm's length from the government. Downsview Park is a self-financing crown corporation that has to operate like a business and generate revenue that can be used to build and maintain Downsview Park. As a not-for-profit organization, the Canadian Air and Space Museum has a responsibility to its members. It has to be fiscally responsible and fulfill its legal obligations in any agreements it has reached.

The Canadian Air and Space Museum will receive assistance over the coming months for an orderly transition of its activities effective March 31, 2012 and to secure the various exhibits. Discussions are currently being held between the national museums and the Canadian Air and Space Museum in order to ensure that its historic treasures are preserved for all Canadians.

6:35 p.m.


Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, once again some of what is being said here is just not true.

In fact, the Canadian Air and Space Museum contributed heavily to the profit of Downsview Park over 14 years. It was Downsview Park itself that changed the rules by which it operated. It did meet its rent obligations for 2009-10, but as a result of the recession it was a little slow, but not impossible, to meet its rent obligations in 2011. However, Downsview Park had made the decision several years ago to kick these folks out. That was the decision it made, and that is the decision the government is apparently supporting.

I have not yet heard anything about the heritage nature of the building, nor what the veterans who have donated all this material are going to be told when they are no longer able to look after their artifacts, which are now collected in Toronto. There has been very little in the way of conversations with any other museums. The folks at Downsview Park have not been helpful at all in terms of finding alternative space in the park property.

December 6th, 2011 / 6:35 p.m.


Jacques Gourde Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Air and Space Museum is a non-federal, not-for-profit museum. The Government of Canada does not provide ongoing operational support to non-federal museums. The crown corporation made a business decision to terminate the museum's lease for non-payment of rent in arrears and current rent. The decision was made by Downsview Park, a crown corporation that operates at arm's length from the government. Downsview Park is required to provide space to store the museum's collection. Discussions are currently underway between the national museums and the Canadian Air and Space Museum to ensure that its historical treasures will be kept for all Canadians.