Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly for his very elegant and nuanced, but also realistic speech on the future of this important industry and the situation of people living in downtown Toronto. I would like to elaborate on one point brought up by my colleague from Beloeil—Chambly.
Once again, the Conservative motion reflects the politics of division. It is trying to pit Toronto against Montreal; it is trying to pit the quality of life and concerns of Torontonians against the future of a sector mainly based in the metropolitan area. The Conservatives are mixing apples and oranges for political gain and to put the other parties on the spot.
Some might say that it is not so difficult to put the Liberal Party on the spot because it seems to be doing an embarrassing flip-flop on the promises it made to the people of Toronto during the election campaign.
I think it is terrible that they are trying to start a war between Montreal and Toronto, at the expense of residents, when this debate is about a very important airport that, I admit, many passengers appreciate. However, the Conservatives seem to favour a case-by-case approach, as though we could fix the problems in Canada's aerospace industry one airport at a time.
That is not the way to support industries that provide jobs for hundreds, thousands, or even tens of thousands of people, if you count indirect jobs.
These petty politics, or divisive politics, are nothing new from the Conservatives, and we saw the same thing in recent years with Ports Toronto. If I can, I will come back to this later.
The New Democrats believe that the quality of life of Toronto residents is what is most important. Toronto's waterfront belongs to all Toronto residents, and that is essential to us. We want to protect a clean and green waterfront, where noise pollution does not affect residents' quality of life.
The Liberals shared this position for years, but that no longer seems to be as clear, since the Minister of Transport sent out his infamous tweet.
For years, people in Toronto have been banding together and working hard to preserve their quality of life, an initiative that we applaud and agree with. We understand and share these residents' legitimate concerns about an excessive expansion that could negatively impact ecosystems and increase air and noise pollution.
The NDP's position is and remains that the 1983 tripartite agreement must be honoured. I hope that that is still the Liberal Party's position. For us, it is clear, and an NDP government would guarantee the enforcement of the 1983 tripartite agreement in order to limit excessive noise and noise pollution for the residents of Toronto.
The NDP also hopes that the airport will fall under the responsibility of the City of Toronto and not Ports Toronto, as is currently the case, because the Liberals and the Conservatives have been playing politics there for years by holding fundraisers and appointing political contributors to port authority positions. That is the case in Toronto and in Montreal as well.
Members will remember all of the wheeling and dealing that the Conservative Party did over the past few years with regard to the Port of Montreal. I spoke about this numerous times. The NDP wants to prevent any more problems like this in the future, and that is why we are proposing that the airport fall under the responsibility of the City of Toronto from now on.
Given the NDP's values, policy positions, environmental positions, and respect for citizens' movements, we hope that a rational approach will be taken on this issue. We also want actual assessments to be conducted regarding the noise levels.
I would like to remind members of a proposal that my colleague, the hon. member for Longueuil—Saint-Hubert, made during the discussions that we had in Quebec, or at least on the south shore.
His riding is home to the Saint-Hubert airport, a major regional airport that could be used as noise level testing grounds for the new C Series aircraft, which are much less noisy and polluting. These tests could be conducted in collaboration with the City of Toronto. My colleague from Longueuil—Saint-Hubert put the suggestion out there. I would like my colleagues to comment on that. That would be a constructive, logical approach.
I would also like to highlight the aerospace sector's contribution to Quebec's economy and Canada's. This is a big deal to an MP from the greater Montreal area. I should point out that Bombardier alone accounts for 17,500 jobs and 40,000 direct and indirect jobs in all. This key sector sustains tens of thousands of families. It is also a sector in which we excel on the world stage. We can build some of the best airplanes in the world, if not the best. The C Series plane is considered the best in the world in its class.
Sadly, the Conservative government was asleep at the wheel for the past 10 years as far as the aerospace sector goes. It invested nothing in worker training or innovation and did nothing to promote purchases here at home. We hope that the new Liberal government will have a different approach and pay closer attention to the people of the greater Montreal area, whom the Conservatives ignored for 10 years. Unfortunately, things are looking pretty grim, if I may say so.
With respect to Aveos, the 1988 Air Canada Public Participation Act was crystal clear. The Conservatives ignored the issue for years, and now the Liberals are doing the same. I would note that according to section 6 of the Air Canada Public Participation Act, 2,600 Air Canada aircraft maintenance jobs were supposed to be maintained in Winnipeg, Mississauga, and Montreal, if I remember correctly. That was part of the deal.
For years, the Conservatives chose to disregard the law and leave workers to fend for themselves in the courts, and they won twice. Today, after demonstrating with Aveos workers, expressing its support, and calling on the Conservatives to abide by the law, the Liberal government is opening the door to changing the law in order to legalize something that was illegal for many years. That is what we call stabbing the Aveos workers in the back, when they had a real chance in the Supreme Court to get their jobs back and force Air Canada to listen to reason.
It is Liberal hypocrisy pure and simple. In 2012, the Prime Minister chanted “so, so, so, solidarity”, here on Parliament Hill, when he was the leader of the second opposition party. Today, we get radio silence. The Liberals are missing in action. The government can no longer assure these people that it will uphold the law to keep these important jobs that are the bread and butter of hundreds of families across the country, including 1,700 people in the Montreal area. Unfortunately, they were abandoned by the Conservatives for many years.
The aerospace sector is tremendously important. As the member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, I am reaching out to the Liberal government and all the other opposition parties to work together on developing an action plan that will help Bombardier sell its C Series aircraft here in Canada, create connections between all the airports, and promote this product so that it is purchased here at home and sold all around the world.
I hope that the Prime Minister will do what President Obama did for Boeing and take the plane himself and go to major international shows where the sale of such aircraft is negotiated, so that, as the leader of the NDP proposed during the election campaign, the company becomes the main seller of Quebec and Canadian products, especially when they are of the calibre of the C Series.
Let us not play politics with this. Let us come up with an action plan, a comprehensive, overarching strategy, to promote our products, Bombardier's products, the C Series planes, which will allow us to keep jobs and create new ones here at home.