Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure for me to rise in the House to talk about issues that matter to Quebec City. Today it is a pleasure for me to talk about an issue that is of great importance to Quebec City: the Quebec Bridge.
The Conservative government promised $75 million for a new paint job, but that offer is conditional on CN's participation. The Conservatives are really playing games with the Quebec Bridge. They say they have money and are ready to take action, but then they pass the puck to CN. If CN does not make a move, the government will not spend anything. In other words, the Conservatives will not do anything with the Quebec Bridge. They announced funding, but then they passed the puck to CN and said they would wait. They will continue to sit on their hands as they have done for many years now, waiting for the issue to sort itself out. That is absolutely deplorable.
Sixty percent of the surface of the Quebec Bridge is rusted, and the corrosion could eventually affect its structural integrity. This bridge is a symbol of Quebec City. It is a symbol and the city is proud of this bridge. It is an internationally recognized landmark. I hope that the Conservative government will take responsibility if the Quebec Bridge falls into the water because no one took care of its structural integrity.
It will not be solely responsible since this is a mistake that dates back to the time when the Quebec Bridge was handed over to CN, which was privatized in 1995. Basically, in 1995, a previous Liberal government decided to sell the bridge. It sold the bridge to CN for one dollar. Once again, this is nothing new, since it is a way for the federal government to shirk its responsibilities and to tell the municipalities and provinces to take care of their own business because it does not care. The bridge was even sent to the private sector, which means that year after year, even after this case went to court, this issue drags on and nothing has been fixed. In the meantime, the Quebec Bridge is covered in rust. The bridge has lost its original charm.
It is time for the Conservatives to take action and assume their responsibilities. It is time for the Canadian government to admit that it is responsible for this mess, that it should pay for this and come up with a long-term solution, because the bridge will need to be painted again and again. There is a game plan for painting every other bridge in the world from one end to the other to ensure that it does not rust. The Quebec Bridge, however, is a flagrant example of the Conservatives' failure to act and their laissez-faire attitude. They allow infrastructure as important as the Quebec Bridge to deteriorate. It is completely unacceptable.
I must admit that this is not the first time we have seen the Conservatives abandon an issue that is extremely important to Quebeckers. Look at the Quebec City Armoury. It took nearly six years before the first tendering process to rebuild it was launched after it burned down in 2008. The tendering process was just recently announced. The government just said that perhaps it should be rebuilt. The way this government treats issues that are extremely important in Quebec City is absolutely appalling.
Quebec City is still waiting. Quebec City wants to host about 40 tall ships in 2017 as part of the 150th anniversary of Canadian Confederation. The city proposed the project in May of 2013, and two years later, we are still waiting. We want answers.