Mr. Heath Macquarrie (Hillsborough):
Mr. Speaker, if I may make a minor transgression from procedure, I would like to ask the parliamentary secretary to convey to his minister my opinion that she is a lady of great compassion, and I support her in all the endeavours that she has put forward for the deserving people of this country.
Once again I address the House on a problem both important and pressing, the construction of adequate airport facilities for the city of Charlottetown and the province of Prince Edward Island. This is not the first time I have presented my concerns, Mr. Speaker. I brought up the subject most recently on November 7, 1977, and on May 24 and January 31 of the same year. I had hoped that an announcement made by the Minister of Transport (Mr. Lang) on November 8, 1977 concerning funding for the new terminus would have ended my anxiety. However, I fear that my worries are far from alleviated. Delay and uncertainty seem to remain the order of the day.
The problems we are facing become increasingly serious as we approach the summer months. Tourists will soon be heading to our beautiful villages and sunny beaches. Once again the summer visitor arriving by air will be greeted with uncomfortable and inadequate convenience-an unnecessary and unwelcome set of circumstances far from becoming the capital city of the province where confederation began.
Being a believer in representative democracy, I consider it a grave situation that the worries of the people of the village of East Royalty have not been eased. For months they have had to contend with uncertainty concerning their position in respect to their property. Certainly, land acquisition is a necessary effect of expanding the Charlottetown airport. It has been estimated that approximately 28 property owners will be affected by the project, 28 individuals and families who at the
present time have not been given any reasonable assurance from the federal government as to their circumstances or their future. They had been promised ample opportunity through public meetings to voice their position and to receive information from the responsible officials. The last such public session was held in December of last year, with no indication of another forthcoming. The people of East Royalty are deserving of better treatment and I request of the minister that the village be given immediate recognition and full information so that this problem affecting the airport's expansion be resolved.
Not all Islanders are enthusiastic about the Charlottetown airport plan. On a "hot line" radio program in Charlottetown, some citizens have suggested that $21 million is too much to spend. I know this problem and I am convinced of the importance of new air terminal facilities to the economy of the province and the well-being of its citizens. The sum of $21 million is not too much; in fact, I wonder if it is too little. We of the Island have been too long neglected. I urge the minister not to consider a reduction of this figure. PEI deserves a first class airport and I make no apology for advocating such an installation. Why should we settle for second best? I think we should not.
Four weeks ago we all thought that the days of this parliament were numbered. After today's words from the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) it seems that we are to stay for yet another few months. I urge the minister to devote some of this freshly acquired time to the exigencies of the construction of this much needed facility and to go "full steam ahead" on a sorely needed project, the airport in Prince Edward Island.
I want the parliamentary secretary to assure the minister- who is not the most popular figure in that part of Canada- that he will have my full and sustained support in bringing to Charlottetown a much needed airport with the most modern facilities that our province requires and needs. I will support the minister to the fullest extent of my eloquence and capacity as either a has-been politician or emeritus one, depending upon whether it is friend or enemy who describes me. I should like the parliamentary secretary to know that we appreciate his attention.
Subtopic: AIRPORTS-CONSTRUCTION OF FACILITIES AT CHARLOTTETOWN-ALLEGED DELAY FOR ECONOMIC REASONS