My colleague points out that they did not even vote for their own amendment.
I think this is a further demonstration of the Liberal's amazing facility for being on both sides of the fence on most issues. That may be good enough in the way of old politics but it is not good enough in today's world. People are watching. They understand that the environment critic and the members from Atlantic Canada speaking in favour of this are members of this same party and are in complicity with the government in pushing this bill through. This is in defiance of their own rhetoric on environmental assessment and in defiance of the court system in Canada.
There are a number of reasons why we have to be opposed to this. It defies logic. It gives money to big foreign corporations. It will probably put an estimated 600 ferry workers out of work.
I know there has been something said about the ferry service not being efficient and there are considerations of weather that would inhibit the ferry's ability to operate. Last year, which was not exactly a gentle winter in Atlantic Canada, there were 13,000 sailings of which only 5 were even delayed.
People should know that the ferry service is seven days a week. On five of those days there is a 24-hour service where they take dangerous goods and cargo in the small hours of the morning.
Ferry service is much more environmentally benign than a bridge or a fixed link. We know that weather considerations can close down highways and I am certain they can close down bridges when one considers the weather conditions that exist in the Northumberland Strait.
One can imagine a 120-kilometre per hour gale hitting a bridge that is 120 feet in the air. I would not want to be on that bridge. I would be sitting on terra firma until the storm passed. That is what happens when the ferries do not run: highways do not open under those conditions either.
The megaproject mentality has gripped and made captives of those in their favour. I understand the kinds of motivations for that coming from communities where there are a number of people who are unemployed. People are grasping at just about any ability to put people to work. I give the benefit of the doubt to the members of Parliament from Prince Edward Island. They really do probably believe that they are acting in the best interests of their constituents. I wish they would accord those of us in the New Democratic Party the same amount of respect when we disagree.
I think this really does come to the whole point as I indicated earlier that this is a debate on sustainability. If we do not get our heads around that concept I think we are all in big trouble. Not just in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia but in British Columbia as well. We have our own problems on that front.
We in this esteemed House have to be the ones who show the leadership and have the courage to be able to say: "Wait a minute, is this such a good idea? Is that $42 million going to be the kind of economic engine that we want for our communities. Is bigger better? Is this really progress?"
On my account I have said no. Let us just slow down a bit. I do not want those people in Prince Edward Island to be unemployed and in economic decline. This is because I am a Canadian. I want Canada to prosper and I want it to show leadership environmentally and economically. I think that we have to get the idea of sustainability in our own heads and policies. They cannot be mutually distinct. They have to be merged.
In conclusion I think there have been a lot of vitriolic words hurled in the last couple of days on this. It goes to the very fundamentals of the kinds of difficulties that we as politicians have to make because we are in an economy in transition. That is pretty scary because none
of us has all the answers although some of us think we do.
I ask that people put aside their partisan interests and think long term here. We have a responsibility to try to do the best on behalf of all Canadians. I ask them to just reconsider their support for this project and what is going to happen to the lobster and scallop fishermen or the environment itself. Who speaks for the creatures and the earth that is going to be scored by this project?
Subtopic: NORTHUMBERLAND STRAIT CROSSING ACT
Sub-subtopic: MEASURE TO ENACT