House of Commons Hansard #164 of the 35th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was competition.

Topics

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, after the incidents in Somalia, the government abolished the airborne regiment. After the incidents in Bosnia-Herzegovina, the army took punitive action. However, in the case of Cambodia, the government simply put the lid on the whole affair, and no one really knows whether any punitive action was taken in the case of military personnel.

I realize we can probably get the documents via the Access to Information Act, but I would ask the minister to give us a clear answer. Could the minister tell us whether punitive action or disciplinary measures were taken, and if so, what kind?

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo
Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is persistent in his question.

We must remember that this action took place five years ago under the former Conservative government. It is an action that has been investigated and where there were grounds for charges, charges were laid.

The whole background of the investigation is available to the hon. member at his convenience in the reading room of the Department of National Defence.

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Michel Bellehumeur Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, theft, misappropriation of funds, prostitution, racism, physical and verbal abuse of Cambodians, arms trafficking, unauthorized use of cannon and pornographic videos.

I realize people in the army like videos, but I think making pornographic movies at the Crown's expense for an armoury in Toronto is going a bit too far.

Does the minister agree it is high time the government woke up and introduced specific measures to improve co-operation between civilian and military authorities, in order to prevent further occurrences of this kind, which are totally unacceptable?

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo
Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has taken a number of actions to shore up training programs to bring about better ethics and performance in the field by our soldiers and our officers as part of the renewal plan. Action is in place in our training programs at both the non-commission level and the officer level.

The article in the paper, which has been dressed up with liberal use of adjectives by the writer to gain readership, may be under question. I suggest the member take my advice, go to the reading room, read the evidence and then think it over.

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, in the wake of these troubling revelations about the events in Cambodia, the minister ought to agree with us that the government has made a mistake in terminating the work of the Somalia Inquiry, when it would have put an end to all this secretive attitude which is so common with Canadian Armed Forces staff.

Can the minister, or his parliamentary secretary, tell us why the Armed Forces staff persist in worrying about the possible political fallout of the abuses committed by personnel becoming public knowledge, and in denying the public's right to the truth?

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo
Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, again I address the hon. member's persistence in following up on a newspaper article.

This action took place five years ago in 1992-93. It was investigated. The file on the action is open to the member. He can review it at any time. Some of the things that were questioned may be valid. Certainly it was investigated and the file was closed, but it is available under the access to information.

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Jean H. Leroux Shefford, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is quite obvious that the answer will not be forthcoming this morning. What the parliamentary secretary is doing at the present time is rerunning an old tape we have been hearing over and over for the past two or three years. We have asked questions about the Somalia inquiry, we have made proposals to the government, but it is obvious that nothing works; no answers are forthcoming.

Does the Minister of Defence, or his parliamentary secretary who is here today, agree with us that, out of concern for openness, his government ought to give thought to creating, in accordance with Professor Albert Legault's proposal, a position of parliamentary military ethics commissioner reporting to the House of Commons, who could carry out a totally independent investigation into the Armed Forces?

Canadian Armed Forces
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Perth—Wellington—Waterloo
Ontario

Liberal

John Richardson Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence and Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I know the methodology of the hon. member is valid and honourable, but in this situation with the feigned acting we know the election is at the door.

If the member had read the report of Justice Dickson he would know that military justice was reviewed by Justice Dickson. We intend to bring forward all the information and reforms he suggested. They will be tabled and will be part of military justice in the future.

It will give us a stand alone justice system with an ombudsman to hear complaints where the justice system has gone wrong.

Liberal Party Of Canada
Oral Question Period

April 25th, 1997 / 11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal pre-election brochure is kind of like a bad smell. I got in the mail yesterday. I threw it away and there it was again in the newspaper this morning. It is kind of like something I stepped in and I just cannot shake off my shoe.

The first thing-

Liberal Party Of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

Order. I ask the hon. member not to get in any deeper than he is.

Liberal Party Of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, when you open up the brochure one of the first things it says is: "Why support the Liberal Party of Canada?" Why indeed after 37 tax increases and after broken promises on things like the CBC, day care and a number of other issues? The GST promise has to be the biggest whopper of all.

It is very clear the Liberal record is in complete disarray, that the Liberal record is in flames. Why would people of right mind support the same hucksters who sold them off last time, ran away with their wallets and dashed their hopes in 1993?

Liberal Party Of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal record is a solid record of achievement for Canadians across the country. If my hon. friend is aware of a bad smell it must be coming from the Reform platform he is carrying around in his pocket.

Liberal Party Of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, when we look at the next section of the government's election document it says: "Liberal policies at work".

Maybe their policies are at work but certainly Canadians are not at work. Right now we have 1.4 million unemployed Canadians, almost exactly what it was when the government came to power. There is 20 per cent plus unemployment in Cape Breton and Newfoundland. The national youth unemployment figure is 17 per cent. The real unemployment rate when we count all the people who have dropped out of the workforce is approaching 11 per cent.

Given that horrid record, is the government really intending to run on the worst job creation record since the great depression?

Liberal Party Of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Windsor West
Ontario

Liberal

Herb Gray Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Solicitor General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member keeps making a statement at the end of his questions that is not accurate as far as I am aware. With respect to the Liberal record on unemployment there is certainly more to be done, but the unemployment rate has gone down by some two percentage points since the last election and close to 850,000 jobs have been created.

When we talk about a good start, this beats the smelly fresh start program of the Reform Party. The hon. member should clean out his pockets. Then he will feel a lot better.

Liberal Party Of Canada
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Reform

Monte Solberg Medicine Hat, AB

Mr. Speaker, so many people have dropped out of the workforce that unemployment is virtually unchanged from when the government came to power.

One of the other headings in the document states: "Make a donation today". Indeed if a donation is made, in return the Liberals say they are willing to listen to you. Certainly it has worked for Bombardier. We know that.

I think the Liberal grease my palm approach to gathering public opinion says a whole lot about their opinion of regular Canadians and about their opinion of why they should listen to regular Canadians. Given their record of pork-barrelling, scandal, broken promises and incompetence, why should Canadians believe anything they say when they go to Canadians in the upcoming election?