House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister prepares to visit Russia, I would like to ask him about the comments of the Russian ambassador to Canada last week. The ambassador indicated that he opposed the missile defence plan. One reason he gave was that the plan would involve the weaponization of space and that he had been briefed by American officials accordingly.

The U.S. is clear on its plans. Russia is clear on the U.S.'s plans as well. The U.S.'s plans are clear for all to see.

Does the Prime Minister think that the Russian ambassador was telling the truth about George Bush's plans to weaponize space?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it very clear that we are opposed to the weaponization of space. That is our position and I have made it very clear in discussions with the President, as I know the Minister of Foreign Affairs has with his counterparts and as we have through the defence channels as well. I have also been assured that the anti-ballistic missile system that is being put in place does not involve the weaponization of space.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the Prime Minister does not believe that the Russian ambassador is telling the truth. It is clear that he does not want to come clean on the relationship between missile defence and the weaponization of space despite all evidence to the contrary, coming from sources that are as credible as can be found. The weaponization of space is not the only reason to oppose missile defence.

Does the Prime Minister not believe that this new weapon system will cause a new arms race, cost billions and will not work? These are all good reasons to say no to George Bush. Why do we not--

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard
Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I believe it is very important in terms of our relationship with any country that the record be very clear. I know that the hon. member did not mean to allege that the Russian ambassador was not telling the truth. I certainly am prepared to believe the Russian ambassador as I am prepared obviously to believe any ambassador when they state their country's position or what they understand to be the facts.

What I am saying is that Canada opposes the weaponization of space. The Americans have told us that the current anti-ballistic system that is under investigation does not involve the weaponization of space.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, through access to information recently, we received an urgent defect report pertaining to the Victoria class submarines which outlined a very dangerous situation involving the oxygen canisters and their potential to self-ignite and cause great damage to the submarine. This report, which was produced by DND, recommends to remove the cartridges locker from the motor room with a fitted approved flooding arrangement. It says that the current locker is unacceptable and that its situation is a class-wide issue.

Prior to setting to sea did the Chicoutimi have these--

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak to any specific equipment on board the Chicoutimi . I can tell the hon. member that like himself I have visited the HMCS Windsor and I have seen the oxygen producing equipment to which he is referring to on that ship.

As I said earlier, the captain of this ship and the naval command were concerned about all the security aspects of the ship and would not have allowed it to put to sea if they had not been satisfied that all aspects of the equipment on the ship were secure and the personnel were in the best possible position in the security of this ship before it put to sea.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe the minister does not have an answer for that question.

The captain of the Victoria feared for his ship when he first reported this situation. This urgent report came out last October recommending these changes. I raised the issue of these cartridges in the House on March 9.

How can the minister not know about this safety issue which affects the lives of our sailors on our submarines?

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the captain of the Chicoutimi himself raised security concerns prior to the ship leaving. The House can be assured that the reason he did that was that he assured himself that those security concerns were answered before his ship left port. That is why they are raised by these competent naval personnel.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

October 8th, 2004 / 11:30 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, on February 18 of this year the Prime Minister told the House that the government was “quite prepared to have cabinet documents pertinent to the sponsorship inquiry released to the public accounts committee”. The Prime Minister failed to keep his word.

This week we learned that 10 million documents that were given to the Gomery inquiry were not given to the public accounts committee before the election. How can Canadians trust a Prime Minister who says one thing and fails to deliver on his word when it comes to accountability?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government cooperated fully with the committee. It also set up an independent commission. The commission will investigate whatever it feels it has to investigate. It has the mandate to do that.

I invite my hon. colleague to be patient. Let the commission do its work, draw its conclusions and make its recommendations, after which the government will act.

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about the Gomery inquiry, but the public accounts committee with which this the Prime Minister promised to cooperate.

One of the cabinet documents just released shows that the sponsorship program was not about national unity but about helping the Liberals get votes in Quebec. How can Canadians trust a Prime Minister who on the one hand was saying he was mad as hell, but on the other hand was busy as hell hiding the truth from Canadians?

Sponsorship Program
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier
Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Deputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the committee did not even want to make a report. We cooperated with the committee. The government established a commission minutes after the Auditor General's report was tabled in the House.

We invite the opposition to let the commission do its work, draw its conclusions, make its recommendations and the government will act on them.

National Defence
Oral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the four submarines purchased by Canada making the headlines is nothing new. In 1988, the testing of the Upholder , the current HMCS Chicoutimi , revealed construction defects, and the matter was even debated in the British House of Commons in 1989.

Could the Minister of National Defence tell us if this was known to him before the four submarines were purchased?