Member Of Parliament for Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan
March 08, 2016

Opposition Motion (CPC) Canadian Economy and Aerospace Industry

Mr. Garnett Genuis (Sherwood Park—Fort Saskatchewan, CPC): Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to rise to discuss this important issue.

We are talking about the expansion of the airport in Toronto, the Billy Bishop airport and the benefits that would have for Toronto. We are talking today about the Bombardier and the benefits that airport expansion have for Bombardier and more broadly the province of Quebec, but we are also talking about a fundamental principle, and that is about stimulating the economy, the importance of stimulating the economy and how we stimulate the economy.

   I think there is broad agreement in this House about the importance of not only having a strong economy, but the role for government to look for ways to strengthen our economy, to look for the policy that can be put in place, the structure that can be put in place that facilitates stimulation of the economy.

   We have a different approach on this side of the House. Our view is that as much as possible, the first action is to be seeking to work with and leverage opportunities for investment for stimulus from within the private sector, but if there are opportunities to encourage private sector investments that leads to economic stimulus, that leads to economic growth, that is a very good thing, that we should prioritize these types of initiatives as much as possible, and that we should look first to stimulating private sector investment before looking for big injections of public dollars.

   That is a different approach from the government approach. The Liberals jump automatically from wishing to have a strong, stimulated economy to saying that means the government has to put in a whole bunch of new spending.

   Again, we know of their plan to run very large deficits, but what is behind that I think is a fundamental misunderstanding of the way we stimulate the economy. We want to see strong, private sector-driven economic growth, and this motion is an example of how we go about doing that. We want private sector-drive economic stimulus. We want policies that make it easier for the private sector to make investments, and that is exactly what the motion is all about doing.

   Our strategy prioritizes private sector investment, and that is where we start. We did a number of things that encouraged that. One of the ways to encourage private sector oriented stimulus is to have open trade and efforts to attract international investments, and of course we did that over the last ten years. A strong transportation network, frankly, is part of that. It is part of facilitating international trade and people-to-people interactions that make that trade possible.

   A stable but relatively limited regulatory environment is important as well. This encourages new investment. When we have a regulatory environment that is predictable, that is limited but that is always oriented to encouraging new investment, this is important. This is what we need to have to stimulate our economy, again, to encourage private sector-driven stimulus.

   The third thing and the focus of our discussion today is how important transportation and infrastructure links are for having private sector-driven economic stimulus. In the history of our country, such a large country, the role of transportation and infrastructure links have always been very important. There is a role for the government to be involved in those things, but in every case where there is an opportunity to encourage private sector investment in transportation and infrastructure links, I would argue that we need to work as hard as possible to make that happen.

   One of the things we talked about in this House before is the importance of pipelines. Pipelines are the nation's building infrastructure of the 21st century, and another part of that as well is strengthening our airports and the airport connections in the country. This is what this is all about, having pipelines, having airports. These things interconnect our country economically to facilitate trade and help to create jobs.

   I am sure other members have talked about the benefits, specifically the economic benefits of the Billy Bishop airport, but let me just go over this again. Annual direct impact: close to 2,000 jobs, $100 million in wages, $220 million in GDP, $980 million in economic output. A study found that non-local visitors' spending impact of air services at the airport amount to approximately $150 million a year, so we know significant economic benefits that are facilitated by having that transportation infrastructure in place.

   We need to do this. We need to see the value of this. We need to get this done. It is just unfortunate that we are dealing with a government right now in this country that really only sees one tool in the toolbox when it comes to stimulating the economy. If the Liberals want to have a strong economy, they think the solution is always more government spending. During good times, bad times and in between times, all they want is more government spending. The reality is, when we have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.

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