House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was first.

Topics

Softwood Lumber
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, let me reassure the hon. member that tonight in his speech before the Economic Club of New York the Prime Minister is going to make some very strong statements in relation to the softwood lumber situation.

The Prime Minister has been a forceful defender of softwood lumber producers in this country. I can assure the House that no one in the United States of America, starting with the President of the United States of America, has ever been in any doubt as to where this Prime Minister and this government stand, which is firmly behind NAFTA and our softwood lumber producers.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Rick Casson Lethbridge, AB

Mr. Speaker, recent reports indicate that the Department of National Defence is seeking sole source approval for the purchase of 15 to 20 C-130J transport aircraft at the same time that the U.S. air force is ending its C-130J program.

According to internal U.S. reports, military testers have reported serious deficiencies suffered by the C-130J, problems that could cause severe injury, major loss of equipment or reduction in operational readiness.

Is the minister aware of the technical problems that have plagued this aircraft? Is he still willing to sole source without considering a fair and open competition?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I answered my hon. critic the other day, no decision has yet been made in terms of sole sourcing or otherwise acquiring answers for our transport fleet. It is very clear that we have to deal with the transport fleet. All hon. members know that. They would agree with me on that. It is an important part. The government is determined to do that and do that quickly.

We will do that, but we will make sure that it is done in a way which guarantees the security of the fleet and where we are delivering on what the forces need. We will take the forces' advice and their experience as to what they need for the job we are asking them to do.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Cheryl Gallant Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke, ON

Mr. Speaker, with just a little over four months to go before Canadian troops return to combat, Chinooks have suddenly become a priority. Air staff have just announced a plan to nix the competitive bidding process and are going to sole source the procurement of Chinook helicopters.

The government is buying an aircraft that took its first flight in 1961, while the army abandoned the technology 15 years ago, yet other more modern and effective options exist.

Why is the Liberal government planning to waste hundreds of millions of tax dollars without considering the possibility of open and fair competition?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, why is the opposition assuming we are going to do something which we have not announced we are going to do? For heaven's sake, like all sinners, of which there are many in the House, I do not mind confessing my sins, but I ask members to give me a chance to sin first before I am forced to confess. That is all I ask.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Dave MacKenzie Oxford, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 2003 the Liberals forced the army to retire its self-propelled armour-protected artillery guns. Now in 2005 the minister is trying to sole source similar but unarmoured guns for our troops in Afghanistan. This is just another example of poor planning. The Liberals failed to properly arm our troops prior to committing them to a combat mission.

Why is the government acquiring guns that have no armour protection? Why is it avoiding fair and open competition?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there is a part of the hon. member's question that is right and there is a part that is wrong. I totally do not accept the fact that our troops are going to Afghanistan improperly prepared. They are perfectly prepared, as the Chief of the Defence Staff has said.

Will we need new equipment as the situation evolves? Of course we will. Will this government take aggressive action to make sure the troops have the equipment they need and which they tell us they need before we put them in danger? Yes, we will. I ask members to stay with us. This is an evolving situation.

The one thing I can promise members of the House and the Canadian public is that our troops will have the equipment they need and the equipment they want as they go into dangerous missions abroad.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, I have heard enough nonsense to fertilize a field.

The minister has publicly acknowledged that JTF2 special forces soldiers are operating against the Taliban. They are excellent soldiers and that is why I was pleased to learn they will be acquiring armour protected, medium load trucks that offer increased security in Afghanistan.

However JTF2 is only a small faction of our forces. The bulk of our regular force troops are not being provided with these armour protected trucks even though they face the same threats.

Will the minister explain why there is a double standard when it comes to protecting the lives of our soldiers?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Toronto Centre
Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is important for members of the House to understand that there are two missions going to Afghanistan. Presently we have the PRT which was established in the Kandahar province and which requires a certain amount of equipment and a certain approach to what its job is. We will be sending 1,000 troops and a command group there in February of next year. Those troops will have a different mission and require different equipment. Our JTF2, which is highly specialized, requires different equipment as well. I think the hon. member knows that.

All I can do is come back to what I said before. Our troops will have the equipment that is necessary to do the mission they are asked to do. They will not be sent to do anything that would take them into harm's way without the proper equipment to make sure they can do their job.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

October 6th, 2005 / 2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Ken Boshcoff Thunder Bay—Rainy River, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.

Border crossing statistics show that the American tourist crossings in Ontario have declined by 35% since January 2001. Plans to institute a passport system for Americans have led the Canadian Tourism Commission to predict a further 12% drop.

Could the Deputy Prime Minister please tell the House what the government is planning to do about the western hemisphere tourist initiative?

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member quite rightly identifies the western hemisphere initiative as one of growing concern, not only to us in this country but obviously to more U.S. politicians, including Senator Hillary Clinton, Governor Pataki of New York and a growing list.

Due to the very fine work of our Canadian posts across the U.S., we are working with our American counterparts. I am working with my colleague, Mr. Chertoff, to ensure that we are able to work together in partnership to reach a resolution in relation to legitimate security concerns and that any resolution does not constitute a barrier to the facilitation of the movement of low risk goods--

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

The Speaker

The hon. member for Windsor West.

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, we know the western hemisphere initiative is something that has been out there for over a year but the government has been silent on the file.

Why has the Minister of Foreign Affairs not been more specifically active in this case? It has a profound impact on Canadian tourism, business and border communities. What is the official position of the government? Why is the Prime Minister not speaking about this and standing up for Canadians as opposed to letting American politicians do our work?

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Edmonton Centre
Alberta

Liberal

Anne McLellan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has it all wrong. From the moment the western hemisphere initiative was announced, this government engaged our American counterparts at the highest levels. I have discussed with my colleague, Michael Chertoff, the possible impacts of this initiative, not only on Canadians and trade in this country but on our American counterparts.

Our officials are engaged with American officials. Our ambassador is engaged with the U.S. administration. Our posts across the U.S. are engaged with U.S. and Canadian business and if all these people stop—

Canada-U.S. Border
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!