House of Commons Hansard #50 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was forces.

Topics

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Chair, may I remind the hon. member that the answers are supposed to be no longer than the questions?

The minister said that $2 million has been committed. Do we at least know how much the project will cost?

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, the project is still in a definition phase, but I have heard estimates as high as $125 million. Is that short enough?

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Chair, do we at least know which project the government will undertake?

I appreciate it when he respects the rules.

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, I just said two seconds ago that it is in project definition phase. Clearly, we are seeking advice from those who will be involved in the rebuilding of this historic centrepiece, this landmark in Quebec City. This is the type of building that is well over 100 years old. It is going to require a great deal of engineering to restore it to—

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Chair Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Hull—Aylmer.

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Chair, I would like to remind the minister that in March the minister responsible for the Quebec City region said that the government was preparing the tendering process. How is that possible if he is not able to tell us what the project is?

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, I remind the hon. member that it is May. We are still preparing it.

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Chair, could the minister tell us what stage the decision making process has reached and who is making the decisions? The Conservatives are passing the ball around like a hot potato from the minister to the minister for the Quebec City region. Who is responsible for the deliverable and who is calling the shots internally?

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, that would be the cabinet.

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

I gather there is no plan.

I would like to move on to the reservists. The minister certainly knows that the Canadian Forces is relying more and more on reservists to fill positions in the regular forces. But does the minister know that the entire reservist system is under threat because so many reservists have been plucked from the system? Is he aware of that?

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, nothing could be further from the truth. We have people signing up in record numbers. We have a high operational tempo. We have new flexibility injected into the capacity of the Canadian Forces to have members move from reserve to regular force and back again. Depending on the operational tempo, we make decisions on how to best meet the needs, whether they result in an increase in class B reservists, which we have seen during our time in Afghanistan, where we are at record numbers. As we draw down, as we leave Afghanistan, those numbers will obviously change.

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:20 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Chair, between November and now there was prorogation and the minister may have forgotten a few things. The Conservatives were saying that there were fewer reservists because we are in a time of war, but that the situation would stabilize after the Afghan mission. Does the government still feel that way?

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, members move from regular force to reserves. They are hired full time to fill specific tasks. Their contracts are generally entered into on a short-term basis. That is the nature of how the reserves work.

The hon. member would know as well that because of the tempo in Afghanistan, we have staffed up. We have in fact relied heavily on reserves during this period of our military history.

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:25 p.m.

Liberal

Alexandra Mendes Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would like to keep asking the minister questions about the cuts to the Navy's budget. First, when did the minister find out that General Natynczyk was going to reverse Vice-Admiral McFadden's order?

National Defence—Main Estimates, 2010-11
Business of Supply
Government Orders

9:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter MacKay Central Nova, NS

Mr. Chair, there has been no reduction in navy personnel. In fact, we are in a period of growth in all of the environments. We currently have about 1,800 new sailors who are in the pipeline, if I can put it that way, and are on course to join our ranks.

We currently have a shortage of about 1,000 in terms of the need. There are certain trades in particular where we are recruiting. We are in a period of growth. It is not shortage. It is trying to fill all of these positions, which is exactly what we intend to do.