Mr. Speaker, I welcome the opportunity to once again ask my question regarding the Vancouver Airport Authority and why it is not allowing Canadian catering companies to operate out of the airport.
The minister deferred his response at the time, committing to get back to me at a later date. I do respect that, but it was more than a month and a half ago and I am still waiting. I still have not got a response from the minister, either by correspondence or informally in the chamber, so I look forward to the response tonight.
Here is why this issue is so important. The CEO of Vancouver International Airport defended the airport's decision not to allow Canadian catering companies to operate in this manner by stating:
Vancouver Airport Authority decided not to permit additional in-flight caterers at YVR at this time for the purpose of maintaining healthy competition between the two full service caterers currently operating at the airport.
Quite frankly, only allowing two companies to operate is protectionism, and this protectionism is keeping Canadian-owned businesses out of the sector.
Vancouver Airport is a corporation under the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act, and has entered into a ground lease with the Minister of Transport in order to operate. The Minister of Transport is responsible for appointing some of the airport's directors. He has the ability to act. He has the responsibility to make his thoughts on this matter known, and the airport must then listen.
I hope he will show leadership and not just sit on the sidelines and wait for a decision from the Competition Tribunal before declaring that what is going on at YVR is unnecessary anti-competitive behaviour. Will the minister act?