Mr. Speaker, I would posit that there is not a single airport in Canada that is more tightly or effectively regulated by its local government than the Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport.
A strict noise limit is in place. A strict number of landing slots is available. A strict morning and evening curfew is in place. Nav Canada ensures that more than 90% of all approaches to the airport are over Lake Ontario. Contrast this to Pearson airport or Montreal airport at Dorval, where many of the final approaches are over densely populated areas, and large aircraft can land 24 hours a day.
Quite frankly, with his tweet ending any possible expansion of the Billy Bishop airport, the minister succumbed to the very worst type of not in my backyard politics. Of course there are always community concerns with any change to an airport's profile, but it is government's role to put in place the conditions for this type of initiative to succeed through stringent regulation or investment, rather than to quash it.
Unfortunately, the Liberals have opted to be the party of no rather than the party of how. I would also like to remind everyone that the federal government is just one of three signatories to the tripartite agreement. While it does have veto power, I would suggest that it has the least skin in the game when it comes to the future of the Billy Bishop airport.
The other two signatories of the agreement, the City of Toronto and the airport's operator, PortsToronto, have far more interest in the future of this airport.
If the parliamentary secretary to the Prime Minister is so sure that Toronto City Council would never allow the expansion of the airport, why did he have to order the Minister of Transport to pre-empt its process? Unfortunately, this Billy Bishop tweet was merely foreshadowing more of the Liberals' “it is my way or the highway” behaviour.
With Bill C-10, we have once again seen the federal government act with great haste to pass legislation, while the Government of Quebec and the Government of Manitoba are telling Parliament to put the brakes on this legislation.
When it comes to acting in the best interests of their constituents, I am saddened that the entire Liberal GTA caucus has chosen to remain silent and stand behind the will of a vocal few.
We should not be surprised. With the member for Charleswood—St. James—Assiniboia—Headingley voting against Bill C-10 at second reading because he truly believed it was not in the best interests of his constituents, voting in support of it at report stage, and then indicating that he would vote against it at third reading, we know who controls the party behind the scenes.
That member will vote for what he believes is in the best interests of his constituents only when he can be assured that he will be outvoted by a large majority, and his vote has become of negligible consequence. Some good that will do.
My question is very simple. Will the federal government withdraw its veto on the future of the Billy Bishop airport and allow Toronto City Council to have a free vote on the future of its island airport?