Mr. Speaker, I listened intently to the remarks of the parliamentary secretary. I want to thank him today for all the announcements that he has made on behalf of his government for improved transportation services in Newfoundland and Labrador.
It was very interesting when the member stood up and talked about Newfoundland's third largest city being Fort McMurray. This comes from a member who not too long ago said that those unemployed in Atlantic Canada should go to Alberta to look for employment. He said he would be supporting this motion put forward by my friend from St. John's East.
I wonder if the parliamentary secretary is supporting the motion to make Marine Atlantic services more effective in order to get more Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to go to Fort McMurray, or is he sincere about improving the transportation services to the people of our province which are so badly needed?
The parliamentary secretary speaks about the previous Liberal government. The Conservative government has been in office for a year. We do not see too many results in transportation services by water, road or by air for Newfoundland and Labrador. As a matter of fact, our services have decreased and the levels have gone down.
I say to the parliamentary secretary that if he is going to stand in his place representing the minister and the government, he has to be sincere about what he is saying. He has to understand the issues. He has to understand our province. Obviously he does not. It is obvious that he does not understand a Marine Atlantic issue as would the member for St. John's East and my colleague from Gander and myself. I say that out of respect.
I remind the parliamentary secretary that we are not proud about the thousands of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians that had to go to Fort McMurray to work. We want them to work in our province. That is why we want to improve this service, to get employment opportunities within our province. We do not want to improve it so that more of them go to the area he represents. If the member gets us worked up enough, in the next election we may have to get a good Newfoundlander or Labradorian elected in his riding. There are enough of them out there that they could probably defeat the member if we went out there and put on a campaign.
We are not proud of that. That is not what we are here for. We are here because we are sincere about seeing this constitutionally protected service improved. The government is sitting on enough reports, paid for in part by agencies of the federal government, by Marine Atlantic and stakeholders in Newfoundland and Labrador, that make concrete recommendations to the minister and to the government on how to improve the service.
The people want purpose built vessels. The service has changed over time. Transportation methods and modes have changed over time. The department has enough information now to make the decisions that the parliamentary secretary talks about without talking about further consultations for other strategies.
I have a question for the parliamentary secretary and the member for St. John's East. In the member's motion he references consultations with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. I am wondering if there have been any discussions between the federal government and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The parliamentary secretary has been on his feet a number of times talking about a cost-shared agreement. What is he talking about? Has the province of Newfoundland and Labrador now agreed to cost-share some transportation initiatives in Newfoundland and Labrador? Is this a total surprise to the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador as it is for me and my colleagues from Newfoundland and Labrador? I would not be surprised if my colleague for St. John's East is just as surprised with that information as I am.