House of Commons Hansard #4 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was speech.

Topics

Breast Cancer
Statements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Andy Savoy Tobique—Mactaquac, NB

Mr. Speaker, October is breast cancer awareness month.

I would like to recognize four women from my riding of Tobique--Mactaquac who attended a national golf tournament and helped raise awareness for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation at the same time. Angela Welch, Lisa Thomas, Crystal Brown and Pauline Pelkey of the Woodstock Golf and Curling Club led the 36 teams at the Canadian Ladies Golf Association's Scramble Fore the Cure.

The Scramble Fore the Cure is a major event on the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation's fundraising calendar. The event raised nearly $70,000.

Congratulations to the Woodstock foursome on their win and best wishes to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation in its goal of creating a future without breast cancer.

Official Languages
Statements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Don Boudria Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, ON

Mr. Speaker, I am saddened to learn that a group claiming to represent the interests of Canadians, a group called Canadians for Language Fairness, intends to take the City of Ottawa to court to prevent it from providing bilingual services to its residents.

Their spokesman, Sebastian Anders, is none other than the Canadian Alliance Party candidate who ran against me in the 2000 election. That party is now called the Conservative Party. He was also a Conservative Party organizer in Glengarry—Prescott—Russell during the recent election.

On behalf of my constituents, I demand that the leader of the Conservative Party denounce and dissociate himself from the pronouncements of Sebastian Anders and reaffirm his party's commitment to Canada's linguistic duality.

Child Care
Statements By Members

October 7th, 2004 / 2:15 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Mr. Speaker, we now have a Speech from the Throne commitment to a national child care program. This is a benchmark after 20 years of promises from both Conservative and Liberal parties in election campaigns.

I have been across the country over the last month meeting with and listening to the child care community. There is great expectation. Canadian families are all now waiting for the details, timelines, legislative framework and a commitment of money.

We have an opportunity in this minority government to have this promise finally delivered. We New Democrats will be working hard to ensure that it actually happens and is rooted in the principles of quality, universality, accessibility, developmental, inclusive and affordable. We also insist that it be publicly funded and delivered, and that it be enshrined in legislation.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I know you will not mind if I begin by expressing on behalf of the Conservative Party, and I am sure all members of the House, once again our regrets and our condolences to the family of Lieutenant Saunders and also to commend all those on board who continue to show such bravery in the face of adversity, and to assure all those people that our prayers are with them in the coming days.

Yesterday I asked the Prime Minister about the condition of the crew of the submarine the Chicoutimi . The Prime Minister assured this House that the crew was safe and sound. Later we learned that a tragedy had occurred and that Lieutenant Saunders had died.

Will the Prime Minister once again update this House on the conditions on board and assure the House that the rest of the crew is safe?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate very much once again the sentiments that have been expressed by the Leader of the Opposition. I would like to inform the House that I have ordered that the Canadian flag on the Peace Tower and all federal buildings and establishments fly at half-mast immediately in honour of the late Lieutenant Chris Saunders.

I have ordered the national flag of Canada to be flown at half-mast on the Peace Tower in Ottawa and on all government buildings and establishments, effective immediately until further notice, in honour of the late Lieutenant Christopher Saunders.

The information that we have is that one of the two who have been taken off the submarine is in a more difficult health situation than the other. We have been told that the other six are in reasonable condition. Again, I would inform the hon. member that because communications are difficult the information is evolving. I am sure the Minister of National Defence, in response to the next question, will take over.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, let me ask the Prime Minister to clarify some things he perhaps would be more able to clarify. There are three other submarines like the Chicoutimi in Canada's fleet. This morning the defence minister admitted that the subs are, “not up to 100% of their performance yet”. We are all aware of the history of problems.

Could the Prime Minister assure us that the Chicoutimi was 100% safe before it was put to sea?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what I can assure the House is that the maritime command, and in fact all of our military personnel, ensure how equipment works because security is the most important concern for their men. I can assure members of the House that the Canadian navy took all the precautions and professional measures necessary to determine the seaworthiness of this ship before it set to sea. I have had assurance from the chief of the maritime command that all necessary precautions were taken about the security of the ship before it set to sea. That is the procedure in our navy.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, I would have preferred a direct answer rather than a different set of wording. Let me put my next question in any case.

We all know the Chicoutimi has a history of safety concerns, and I will list them: cracks in engine valves, plugged turbine pumps, leaks, engine malfunctions, problems with the breathing systems, and rust problems that restrict it from deep dives.

When can we expect a full inquiry into what took place? When will the House receive a full report? When will we know the full truth of what transpired?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is a great strategy on behalf of the hon. member to ask questions for which there is no answer so then he can say that he is not getting a serious answer.

The hon. member knows well enough that the way in which this system works is the military is in charge of these inquiries. They are the professionals who are responsible. The military will determine the inquiry. The navy will do a professional inquiry. When the facts are known, those facts will be made available to the House. I do hope that the Leader of the Opposition does not think the House is qualified to do that inquiry. I leave it for the professionals in our maritime command.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, when the Liberal government acquired four used submarines from Britain, it clearly made an inaccurate assessment of the difficulties and costs involved in reintroducing decommissioned submarines to service. There has been a litany of problems, including leaks, dents, severe corrosion and diving restrictions which should have been anticipated.

Will the Minister of National Defence acknowledge that the submarine fleet and its crews face undue risks which should have been addressed before these vessels were put to sea?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I will certainly agree with the hon. member that there have been problems in the commissioning of these subs and Canadianizing them to the way in which they can fit into our navy. We all know what those are, but I can assure the member these have not been undue risks.

I have been assured by maritime command that these are risks that exist in the normal process of bringing these ships up to speed. They are still in the process of being properly commissioned.

I want to assure members of the House that the ships in question are being run by our naval professional staff under great circumstances and they are going to be of great service to our navy.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is the responsibility of the government to minimize the risks that our sailors, soldiers and aviators face every day. It is obvious that the government does not have a rescue plan to come to the aid of our submarines when they are in distress even though serious problems plague the submarine fleet.

Will the Minister of National Defence advise the House why HMCS Chicoutimi was not escorted across the Atlantic Ocean by one of our navy surface ships on its maiden voyage to Canada?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is the responsibility of the government to support our maritime command and our competent naval officers in the exercise of their functions. We have done that.

I have perfect confidence that we have supported them. I have perfect confidence in their capacity to make the operational decisions that our navy needs to make and I will continue to support them. That is what the government has always done.

Speech from the Throne
Oral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Speech from the Throne is not meeting the Quebec government's expectations. Yesterday, Benoît Pelletier, Quebec's intergovernmental affairs minister, made the following statement, “I would like the Speech from the Throne to be amended to explicitly provide for the respect of provincial jurisdictions”.

Could the Prime Minister tell the people of Quebec whether or not Liberal MPs will respect the wishes of the Government of Quebec by voting in favour of the Bloc Quebecois' amendment to an amendment calling for measures to “fully respect the provinces' areas of jurisdiction”?

Speech from the Throne
Oral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I can almost quote from the speech I made yesterday. I made it very clear that we had no intention of infringing or interfering in provincial jurisdictions.