House of Commons Hansard #170 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was military.

Topics

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

April 17th, 2002 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister.

A report to the chief of defence staff concerning the Challengers recommended “that remedial action such as fleet modernization or replacement is not warranted”.

Why did the finance minister, as the Liberal's pasha of prudence, not pull the $100 million flying carpets out from under the sultan of Shawinigan? Why did the Prime Minister's old challenger not just say no to the Prime Minister's new Challengers?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as has been said many times before, these are more efficient aircraft. They can go longer distances. They can go on shorter runways. They are more fuel efficient. They are not luxurious. They have the same appointments as the current Challengers.

We are replacing two older Challengers with two newer Challengers to ensure that the government has the ability to travel as expeditiously as possible to deal with the government's business.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago the Prime Minister said that he would rip up the EH-101 contract and write zero helicopters. He did, and today the Canadian armed forces are flying in old, decrepit helicopters while the old, decrepit cabinet wants to be flying in new jets.

Will the finance minister tell the Prime Minister to rip up the Challenger contract and write zero new flying Taj Mahals for cabinet?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the EH-101, which that party put in place, was a bad deal for Canada. What we are doing right now will save over $1 billion and we will get a helicopter that is more suitable for today's needs.

Meanwhile, we have in fact invested some $50 million into the current Sea Kings. They are performing extremely well in the Arabian Gulf in support of the campaign against terrorism.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have squandered $101 million for luxury jets. They claim that $8.2 million of that is earmarked for pilot certification. The actual cost of pilot certification is $570,000.

Why did the Liberals fudge the figures for pilot training on these luxury Gucci jets?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I will be happy to table a detailed list of what makes up the training and miscellaneous accounts. It is approximately $1 million for training. There are some 16 pilots involved. There are various other details involved in the program as well.

However, as I said, at the end of the day we will get a product that is more efficient and more effective in helping the government do its job.

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, our 16 pilots are top gun military pilots and they have experience on planes that are very similar. Bombardier let me know that to certify a pilot costs $47,800. We get four certified for nothing in the purchase. That does not add up to $8.2 million.

Where are they hiding the rest of that money?

Government Expenditures
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is no hiding. I am happy to table this. The $8.2 million makes up more than training. There are other costs such as ground support equipment and satellite communication systems that go in each aircraft which are equivalent to what already exists in current aircraft. They are all part of the $8.2 million. I am happy to table the figures so the hon. member can study them and find out that we are being quite efficient in how taxpayer money will spent.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, the building of Canada, dating back to the unilateral patriation of the constitution in 1982, is in total contradiction to the very vision of Quebec.

Will the Prime Minister admit that the millennium scholarships, the social union and the young offenders legislation are all initiatives that run contrary to the consensus in Quebec and clearly illustrate that Canada is building itself without any respect for the vision of Quebec?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will answer this question because Quebecers are very pleased to receive the benefits of these programs.

At this time, I am very surprised that the Bloc Quebecois would want to reopen the constitutional issue. Quebecers are so happy that this government has decided to say no more about the constitution and to address instead the real problems affecting the people.

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Caroline St-Hilaire Longueuil, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to assuage his conscience and remedy his 1982 error as far as Quebec is concerned, the Prime Minister had a resolution, the distinct society resolution, passed here in this House.

How can the Prime Minister explain today that he has never made use of that resolution in order to have Quebec's point of view respected, particularly in connection with millennium scholarships, young offenders and the social union?

The Constitution
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Saint-Maurice
Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal Party and the government introduced the distinct society resolution in the House of Commons, the Bloc Quebecois voted against it en masse. Now they have the gall to stand up in this House and fault us for not using something they themselves were against. What a disgrace.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, the auditor general blew the whistle yesterday that there are so many foundations out there and more money in secret bank accounts than what the government even knows is there. It sounds like slush funds gone mad to me.

My question is for the Minister of Finance. Could he tell us how many foundations there actually are? How much is sitting in secret bank accounts waiting for the Liberals to buy votes at the next election?

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the number of foundations is a matter of public record. There are no secret bank accounts. All the foundations provide annual public reports that are available. Every time one of the foundations makes a grant, it is a matter of public record. The fact is the whole operation of foundations is done in a very open and very transparent way.

Auditor General's Report
Oral Question Period

2:35 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Williams St. Albert, AB

Mr. Speaker, I only wish that were true but the auditor general says it is not. There is over $7 billion sitting in bank accounts and we do not know what the government intends to do with it. That is $5,000 per Canadian family that has been socked away out of sight of the auditor general, out of sight of parliament and out of sight of everybody but the Liberal Party.

My question for the Minister of Finance is this. Will he make a commitment today to get that money back on behalf of taxpayers, pay down the debt and use it for something other than buying Liberal votes?