Mr. Speaker, I stand today to follow up on a question I asked in the House of Commons related to a surprise announcement made in my community about allowing the Ambassador Bridge and the Canadian Transit Company to build a new border crossing between Canada and the United States.
The crossing in my region, one of a few, is significant, because it takes about 25% to 30% of Canada's daily trade with the United States. The crossing is owned by a private American billionaire who has financial interests in it. There has been overwhelming, long-standing frustration in the community, which has been disrespected on both sides of the border.
The government decided to issue an order in council, behind closed doors, to grant them this new border crossing. There was no accountability. There was little information shared, and most important, the government allowed the Ambassador Bridge and the Canadian Transit Company to announce this expansion, at the expense of our community, without even coming to our community. In fact, it was announced in the United States before it was in Canada.
I stand in solidarity with my concerned community. The Ambassador Bridge has been block-busting by buying up homes adjacent to its properties. It has cost the community schools. It has cost businesses, the local post office, and a number of other things. There has been nothing but anxiety, hurt, and pain for decades.
The background of this American institution in our community can be summarized in one of its statements: “When someone says no, we just look for another way to make it happen. Do we ruffle feathers? Damn right.” That attitude has progressed over a long period of time and has now been rewarded with a brand new crossing for a bridge that is less than 100 years old.
Just last year, it was the current government that had to submit work orders because of the danger of using this crossing that was not sufficient for the trade or the safety of citizens in my community and on the American side.
It did this through a cabinet order, with no announcement. Many times in my community there are re-announcements, and often I am not even invited.
We have questions about expropriation, about whether residents will be treated fairly, and about what is going to happen with noise, traffic, closures, air quality, and dust mitigation. The Ambassador Bridge does not have a history of compliance. In fact, the owner and manager was incarcerated for not following the process in the United States on a public project there.
The Liberal government has refused to come to my community or to answer these questions. I cannot say whether the minister is here, but it is likely going to be the parliamentary secretary who will have to follow up on these very pertinent questions. This bridge takes 30% of our daily trade with the United States and is in the heart of my city and the residents I represent.