House of Commons Hansard #68 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.

Topics

National Big Sisters Day
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale, ON

Mr. Speaker, this Saturday is National Big Sisters Day. Big Sisters of Canada has programs in more than 300 Canadian communities.

Women volunteer their time to become mentors to youngsters who can greatly benefit from having an adult role model to look up to. This program is a great success. Children who have been in the program go on to graduate from high school at a rate of 20% higher than the national average.

I commend the work of Big Sisters of Canada and I encourage the constituents of Bramalea—Gore—Malton—Springdale to volunteer and support the riding's local branch, Big Sisters of Peel.

Disability Awareness Week
Statements By Members

May 30th, 2001 / 2:15 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Greg Thompson New Brunswick Southwest, NB

Mr. Speaker, in New Brunswick this week citizens will open their minds and communities by celebrating Disability Awareness Week, May 27 to June 2. The focus of this week's events is: Be active, be safe, be healthy.

In New Brunswick over 127,000 citizens have some kind of disability. They range from persons in wheelchairs to persons with less obvious disabilities such as hearing loss, epilepsy, learning or developmental disabilities.

Each day thousands of New Brunswickers struggle to cope with their disabilities while trying to get an education, get a job, perhaps have a family and live productive lives in their communities.

I congratulate all New Brunswickers for participating in this campaign of awareness.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, despite the government's assurances to the contrary, we now know that the process to acquire new helicopters has actually been riddled with political interference.

The vice-chief of defence staff has instructed military planners to ensure that the new helicopters would not even have the combat capability of the aging 40 year old Sea Kings. Even the Federal Court of Canada says that there has been “patent politicization” of this process.

Why has the government interfered in this important process?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we need to replace the helicopters. There will be a bid. Every company that can provide the equipment we need will be invited to submit a bid. We want to have the best helicopters at the best price possible to do the job that needs to be done.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, a fleet of helicopters is essential to our defence as well as to rescue operations.

Yesterday, the government promised us that there was no political interference in the contract awarding process.

Will the Prime Minister admit in the House what everyone already suspects, which is that he cancelled, at considerable expense, the EH-101 helicopter contract negotiated by the Progressive Conservatives eight years ago, and now he is preventing this same company from getting the contract?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course, in 1993, the government was looking at a deficit of $42 billion. The government could not afford helicopters back then.

Later we put out tenders for helicopters to patrol Canada's shores. Bids were submitted and one company won the contract.

Now we need helicopters for another purpose. This purpose was carefully described for all those wishing to tender a bid. What we want is a helicopter that can do the job very well, but at the lowest cost possible, because this is not our money, but taxpayers' money.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Okanagan—Coquihalla
B.C.

Canadian Alliance

Stockwell Day Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, they will not be able to do the same work, and that is very clear.

The safety of Canada's military personnel is being jeopardized by the aging fleet and also by what it appears the government will be ordering.

We need to send a signal not only to our NATO partners but, more important, to our military personnel that we support our armed forces in this country.

Why is the Prime Minister allowing the possible purchase of helicopters that will not even be able to perform as well as the 40 year old fleet that is there now?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we need a helicopter to do some operations. These operations have been described and they have been made public. Now those who produce helicopters will bid on the contract.

Different companies build helicopters and different helicopters are used in different countries. The United States does not use the same type of helicopter as Great Britain. France does not use the same helicopter as another country.

What we want is a good helicopter at the lowest price possible.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, an internal Department of National Defence document contradicts the defence minister's statement of yesterday. The document states that the required endurance of a mission to aid a vessel in distress could well be greater than three hours. Need I state that a rescue mission 50 miles short is no rescue at all?

Why would we politically compromise safety, go against advice and put lives at risk for a helicopter with only a two hour and twenty minute endurance? Why?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock
Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the world is changing so we must plan. Maybe this comes as a surprise to the opposition but we must plan for future force requirements, not 1960s' technology but 2005 technology. The new helicopters will meet Canada's national defence policy.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Peter Goldring Edmonton Centre-East, AB

Mr. Speaker, public safety and domestic emergencies are not only cold war urgencies, they are minimum requirements for day to day needs. The minister believes that the cold war seeking rescue standards should be greater than those of today.

Why are standards being downgraded? What price are lives today? Poor political decisions unnecessarily risk lives. Why has the minister lowered himself to politicizing not only the lives of our military men and women but also the civilians they may be sent out to rescue?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Haliburton—Victoria—Brock
Ontario

Liberal

John O'Reilly Parliamentary Secretary to Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker—

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Randy White Langley—Abbotsford, BC

The world is changing.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

John O'Reilly Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

I am glad the member noticed.

There is no distance requirement in the new helicopter analysis. The fact of the matter is that a 30 minute fuel reserve, a 2 hour and 20 minute or 30 minute difference can be changed by climatic, operational and other conditions. The helicopters will be chosen on the basis of what the military has asked for, and that is exactly what they will get. The helicopters will be the very best, at the very best price and they will do the job that the Canadian forces needs them to do.

Young Offenders
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Prime Minister pledged to review the new Young Offenders Act in a year if it poses problems.

This is much too long, because the situation is clear: Quebecers are unanimous in condemning an act that jeopardizes the rehabilitation of young offenders.

If the Prime Minister is not powerless as he said yesterday, why does he not immediately amend the act to allow Quebec to apply the existing act, which is useful to everyone, instead of waiting one year and creating thousands of young victims?