Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, had a National Dream to create a nation from sea to sea by building a rail road. Today the building of Canada continues, but in addition to railroads, airports now connect and move Canadians from coast to coast. As the Toronto region grows, so too must our aviation infrastructure. Building a new airport in Pickering needs to be a national priority.
Canada was formed around a thin ribbon of iron. Without it, America would have pushed north, just as they pushed south into Mexico. Canada would not exist from sea to sea, proud and free. To this day, American politics and economics continue to be a voracious influence pulling at the bonds that unite Canadians. From the new Wexit movement in Alberta to Quebec separatism, Canadian unity is under assault.
Recent events are showing how vulnerable our transportation infrastructure is to disruption. Small groups, using social media to organize both local and foreign protesters, have targeted chokepoints in our transportation infrastructure to push their agendas. Removing these chokepoints by enhancing our national transportation infrastructure (rail, roads and airports) must become a national priority.
Today, one out of every three Canadians travels through Toronto Pearson airport. The Toronto region’s rapid growth and Canada’s free enterprise economy has made it a major hub in the global economy. Even with a world-class team and draconian traffic management efforts, Toronto Pearson International is now a chokepoint. Pearson is landlocked and can not be expanded to meet demands. However, Transport Canada has a plan.
In a far-sighted move, land was set aside in the 1970s in Pickering, just east of Toronto, to future-proof the region’s airport system. Since that time, this land has been managed and carefully zoned for development by Transport Canada. Enhancing and strengthening our airport system with a new airport in Pickering will be beneficial for Canada’s economy. It will create jobs and generate billions in revenue. But most importantly it will tighten the bonds of national unity.
Building Pickering airport will continue John A. McDonald’s dream of a national transportation infrastructure system that is the foundation of Canada. It will take 10 years to build a new airport, and Pearson could hit capacity before construction is complete. The National Dream of uniting Canada from coast to coast is under threat. We have not a moment to lose.