House of Commons Hansard #76 of the 37th Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was war.

Topics

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, my question for the government is as follows. During the gulf war in 1991, then NDP leader Audrey McLaughlin was named a member of the Privy Council so she could be briefed on Canada's involvement in the war. As one of only two members of the opposition who is a privy councillor, I ask the government why have I not yet been briefed on Canada's involvement in this war?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:40 p.m.

Ottawa South
Ontario

Liberal

John Manley Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, it may have been noticed by the hon. member that we are not combatants at the present time, as we were in 1990-91. He will know that if there is information which we believe would be helpful to certain senior parliamentarians in conducting themselves in the House of Commons, those matters will be dealt with on a case by case basis.

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Lorne Nystrom Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Mr. Speaker, the government cannot have it both ways. If we are not involved in this war, why are we then escorting the ships of war and why do we have military personnel on an exchange program in George Bush's war? Since we are involved because of these issues, why have privy councillors in the opposition not been fully briefed on these two specific issues, among others, in the war?

Iraq
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, would the NDP have us withdraw our exchange soldiers? Given that this would put the lives of the soldiers of our allies at risk, this would be a callous act. Would the NDP have us take our ships back at the moment when the risk has gone up? That would be a cowardly act.

The government will do neither of those things because the government is neither callous nor cowardly.

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Gerald Keddy South Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Justice promised Parliament that he would make public the total cost of the firearms registry prior to the registry being shuffled over to the rookie Solicitor General.

Will the Minister of Justice guarantee the House that he will actually table the report before we vote on any more money going to the failed registry? Tomorrow we vote. Is this another broken Liberal promise or does he have an answer?

Firearms Registry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

Liberal

Martin Cauchon Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, essentially as we all know we have been facing the report of the Auditor General since before Christmas. What we said was that we were proceeding with two reports to look at the management of the program. Those two reports have been tabled. We have seen those recommendations.

Over the past few weeks we have tabled a good plan of action to ensure that in the future we will, together, be able to proceed with that program which is about public safety. We have tabled as well the supplementary estimates (B) for this year and for the next fiscal year as well. People will be supporting the government tomorrow on that.

Airline Industry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Rex Barnes Gander—Grand Falls, NL

Mr. Speaker, Air Canada is in trouble. Could the Minister of Transport inform the House whether the government is considering any scenario where it will buy shares in Air Canada?

Airline Industry
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Don Valley East
Ontario

Liberal

David Collenette Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the situation facing the aviation industry worldwide is extremely serious. Of course Air Canada is not exempt from that. We have seen what is happening in the United States.

We are continuing to work with the industry. We are monitoring the situation and in particular with respect to Air Canada we are prepared to discuss with it any options that might make the situation better.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, our Canadian troops are still flying the 40 year old Sea King helicopters the government should have replaced a full 10 years ago.

Last week a report surfaced quoting a number of serious safety concerns regarding the aging craft. Now we learn there is a shortage of skilled mechanics to maintain these geriatric Sea Kings.

When will the minister address the Liberal government's royal Canadian air farce?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, for once the opposition is right. There is a shortage of mechanics, for two reasons. One, this was part of the $1 billion sustainability gap which was closed in the last budget. More resources will be going into this area.

Second, we have been the victim of our own success. Because the Canadian economy has created more than half a million jobs over the last years, many sectors of the economy are having difficulty attracting skilled labour, and we are one of those sectors trying to attract that skilled labour.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Deborah Grey Edmonton North, AB

Mr. Speaker, that is a nice try. There is a gap there, that is for sure. I think it is his enormous cuts.

First, the Prime Minister threw a wrench in the plans when he cancelled the Sea Kings in 1993. He said that the old ones could keep going with a lot of maintenance, and I do mean a lot of maintenance, like 30 hours for every 1 hour of flight.

Now we do not even have these skilled mechanics required to keep these dinosaurs airborne; it takes four years to train them.

When will mister fix-it here stop tooling around and give our military the resources it is so desperately seeking?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:45 p.m.

Markham
Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it sounds like that second question was written before she received the answer to the first because I have already explained that $1 billion has been put in to eliminate the sustainability gap and that will permit the resources to get more mechanics.

The other thing is the Canadian economy has been so hugely successful that many sectors of the economy, including the military, have trouble attracting skilled labour.

Would the hon. member prefer that instead of creating half a million new jobs, Canada was plunged into recession? Then there might be more mechanics available.

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister for International Trade and the Minister of Agriculture claim to be beyond reproach as champions of the supply management system.

How can they reconcile claiming to be bulwarks of the supply management system and systematically allowing milk products that eat away our milk producers' market share to come into the country?

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Papineau—Saint-Denis
Québec

Liberal

Pierre Pettigrew Minister for International Trade

Mr. Speaker, as you know, during the negotiations at the World Trade Organization, we always stand 100% behind the supply management system.

This is a system in which we believe, a system in which we want to continue working very closely with milk producers.

The Minister of Agriculture and I have set up a working committee with representatives from the industry. We recently received a number of demands from them. We will be answering them soon with respect to the demands to which the hon. member is referring.

Dairy Industry
Oral Question Period

2:50 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Gaudet Berthier—Montcalm, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the minister realize that by putting an end to his unacceptable tolerance toward the import of milk substitutes, he could ensure that plants like the ones in Chambord and in Saint-Alexandre-de-Kamouraska are properly supplied?

Is that not the kind of action to protect the supply management system producers have the right to expect from the federal government?