House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, this is not a call centre. The St. John's maritime rescue coordination centre handles over 500 incidents a year, involving almost 3,000 people at risk. It depends on local knowledge to save 600 lives each year.

The government has decided to spend billions on corporate tax giveaways. To pay for it, it seems willing to endanger the lives of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Will the government agree right now to reverse this most shameful decision?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I said, there is no way that we would make a decision that would have an impact on the safety of any Canadian.

Existing search and rescue resources, including helicopters and vessels, will remain where they are currently based. The call centre function can be provided from a central location, saving dollars as we exercise our commitment to Canadians to reduce our deficit.

National Defence
Oral Questions

June 8th, 2011 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Dany Morin Chicoutimi—Le Fjord, QC

Mr. Speaker, a report by the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff reveals that the government is considering reducing the number of contractors and reservists by 5% annually. During the recent campaign, the NDP committed to maintaining the National Defence budget in all regions, including mine, Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean.

Can the Conservatives do this and still assure Canadian Forces members and civilian staff in Bagotville that they will not be affected by these cuts?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering
Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for his question.

I would like to remind the House of this government's record: over the past five years, the defence budget was increased by at least $1 billion a year, and reservists and civilian staff are included in that budget.

Of course, there will be operational cuts in this year's budget, but that growth and those increases remain part of this government's record and we are very proud of it.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, my question is also about the government's threat to cut defence jobs across the country.

In my riding, there are more than 6,000 regular and reserve officers and more than 2,500 civilians who serve our country every day at CFB Esquimalt. This base contributes over $600 million a year to our regional economy.

Will the government commit today to stopping these defence cuts that are creating so much uncertainty in my community? Will the government assure the House that no cuts will be made that would affect the operations of our six coastal defence vessels based at Esquimalt?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering
Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our government's record on national defence speaks for itself. On average, the budget for this important department has risen by $1 billion every year since 2006.

Obviously, just as Canadians are tightening their belts with regard to the situation this country faced in the global downturn, and as this government moves to achieve operational efficiencies, there will be a strategic review of some costs in National Defence and they will be reported to the House in due course.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Élaine Michaud Portneuf—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, nearly 7,000 civilian and military personnel at CFB Valcartier want to know if the Conservatives plan to cut their budget. While several regions of Canada desperately need help from our soldiers, particularly to deal with natural disasters, the soldiers themselves are dealing with limited human and material resources.

How can the government even consider more cuts? Can the Minister of National Defence assure the people of my region that there will be no cuts to CFB Valcartier?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering
Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, once again, in the context of the strategic review of government spending, of course there will be cuts to the National Defence operating budget.

However, for this important department, the facts speak for themselves: an additional $1 billion in spending every year since 2006 is the most important part of this government's record when it comes to National Defence.

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Champlain Bridge problem deserves to be taken seriously. The bridge is regularly partially closed and as a result Quebeckers spend more time on the road, arrive late for work and lose precious time with their families. It is a veritable nightmare. This situation is wasting Quebeckers' time and money. In the Conservative budget, replacing the Champlain Bridge was totally ignored.

Will this government stand up for Quebeckers once and for all? Can the minister immediately commit to providing the necessary funding for replacing the Champlain Bridge?

Champlain Bridge
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean
Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the hon. member for his question. He has been a member of Parliament for the Montreal area for many years. In fact, the Liberals were in government for many years and could have started the work.

We have started the work. We have invested several million dollars to repair the bridge and to continue to ensure the safety of the bridge. In this week's budget, we announced $228 million for continuing the work. What is more, all the options are on the table.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

The government announced a $57 million cut to DFO and the loss of 275 jobs. The fishing industry, which does so much to drive the economy of Canada's Atlantic and Pacific coastal communities, deserves to know the details. These cuts will hurt economically, will diminish research capacity and will pose a safety issue.

Will the government be up front and provide the details on these massive cuts?

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, a strategic review was an opportunity for the department to assess the performance of all of its programs. This also allows us to ensure that we are responding to the priorities of Canadians. We have a responsibility to do that and a mandate to do that from Canadians. We must ensure the government programs are efficient, effective and achieving the expected results for Canadians.

We believe that DFO is at a critical juncture.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Simms Bonavista—Gander—Grand Falls—Windsor, NL

Mr. Speaker, as we have just heard, the media reports now confirm that the Conservative government is closing down the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in Newfoundland and Labrador.

I am absolutely shocked at what I just heard in QP. The minister just said, “No way will it impact safety. Efficiencies will be achieved through closing this call centre”. I have never heard a distress centre being called a call centre in my life. Nobody has. Achieving efficiencies was in the budget.

Could the minister please show us in this budget, where that—

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Fisheries and Oceans.

Fisheries and Oceans
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Fredericton
New Brunswick

Conservative

Keith Ashfield Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and Minister for the Atlantic Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I mentioned earlier, new communications technologies exist that now permit search and rescue call centre employees to provide the same high-quality service from a central position.

We have an obligation to Canadians. It was clear, and we will go forward with our obligations to provide cost-saving measures that will protect Canadian investments.