House of Commons Hansard #19 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was detention.

Topics

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, this is holding the government to account that says one thing and then does the other.

This incident undermines Canadians' trust in the government. We were told this would be a non-combat role. That is clearly not the case. We were told that our troops would be out of harm's way. However, the Canadian Forces say that Kabul is an extremely violent environment.

We were even denied a chance to debate and vote on this mission in the House of Commons.

Why did the government mislead Canadians on this issue?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I agree with some of what the hon. member is suggesting.

Yes, Kabul is a very dangerous environment. I have nothing but the greatest respect for the Canadian soldiers who are there, doing their fine work in training the Afghan national army and police.

Yes, Canadian Forces will in fact protect themselves in that environment. As I said, the hon. member would expect no less.

To suggest somehow that the Canadian government has said there will be no danger in Kabul is completely wrong, and he is misleading the House.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence had a search and rescue helicopter pick him up while on a fishing trip. Later, he flew to London, Ontario, on a Challenger jet, and that is not all. He travelled by jet to Halifax to attend a lobster festival.

Is this the minister's way of familiarizing himself with all our different means of air and military transportation, or does he plan on becoming a pilot?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, taxpayers expect government officials to conduct the nation's business at a reasonable cost. It is something that our government takes very seriously.

I want to be clear. Our use of government aircraft by our ministers is always in compliance with policy. We do follow the policies, and we have reduced the use of government aircraft significantly, as we have said.

When we look at Challenger use by the Liberals who spoke earlier about this issue, we have reduced our use 80% since they abused them as personal limousines constantly. We only use them for government business.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can a lobster festival have anything to do with the army? Not so long ago, the Minister of National Defence condemned such actions. The minister's office maintains that his flight on the Cormorant had been in the works for some time. However, we learned today that the helicopter was ordered that same day.

Why was a search and rescue helicopter used for a private fishing trip?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, taxpayers expect government officials to be careful and prudent in their use of government aircraft. However, they also expect government officials to carry out the government's business and sometimes that necessitates the use of government aircraft. We are very careful and prudent in doing so.

We will ensure that we continue to keep the costs of such use down and respect taxpayers' dollars; something that is certainly not a priority for that party across the aisle.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday, the minister's office claimed that his flight on a search and rescue helicopter was part of a long-standing request, but now we have learned that the request to pick him up from his fishing trip was ordered at the last minute.

After logging countless hours on Canadian Forces executive jets, does the minister now feel he is completely familiar with their operations, or does he need to jet around to a few more lobster festivals, just to make sure?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our ministers and our government officials are proud to do the government's business. We are doing the government's business for the people of Canada, and we do so in a careful and prudent fashion that respects taxpayers' dollars. We will continue to do that. We are always very careful to respect taxpayers' dollars.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence is becoming as leaky as a used British submarine: leaks coming out to discredit the brass and leaks about the minister's fondness for executive travel, for fishing trips, and lobster festivals.

It seems the government is losing the confidence of the senior leadership in the Canadian Forces. Could the minister tell us who is running the show in his department?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am very proud of the leadership within the Canadian Forces. Our chief of defence and down through the ranks have done an outstanding job: distinguishing themselves in international missions; responding to challenges here at home, whether it be floods or fires; and conducting themselves in concert with other government security forces during the Olympic games, during the G8 and G20.

Our Canadian Forces do a spectacular job. I could not be more proud of their leadership.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the illogical tale of the HMCS Chicoutimi continues after being bought second-hand from the British in 1998. After having suffered a fire in 2004, the submarine is still in dry dock today.

The government has made a claim that she will sail by 2013. Is it not true that the HMCS Chicoutimi is now being dismantled for parts?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

No, Mr. Speaker, that is not true.

In fact, what we have are four submarines that have interchangeable parts. What we are doing, of course, is trying to have those submarines available for use.

No one would deny there have been challenges with respect to these submarines that were purchased by the previous government. In fact, submarines bring an important credibility and an important capability to the Royal Canadian Navy. We are going to continue to work with our officials to see that that capability is available to Canada. That asset is something that will serve our country well in the future.

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, seriously, a former sailor says that there are only 80 qualified submariners in the entire Canadian Navy. Not so long ago, there were 300. Parts from HMCS Chicoutimi have even been installed on HMCS Victoria.

Will the government now admit that we will have to wait until 2016 before a single submarine is operational in the Canadian Navy?

National Defence
Oral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said, this is an important capability. The submarine program has been plagued with difficulties. These are very sophisticated vessels. One person compared their sophistication to the space shuttle in terms of the amount of equipment on board that submarine.

With respect to their availability, we have had use of those submarines at various times since taking possession of them. They are involved in an upgrade right now that will see their availability in the future, and we continue to work toward that process.

Veterans Affairs
Oral Questions

September 23rd, 2011 / 11:35 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, from 6,800 veterans fighting the government in the Supreme Court to get their SISIP clawback done, from widows fighting for enhanced VIP services for themselves, from atomic veterans with no compensation package, to an agent orange compensation that left out thousands of people, we now have an increasing number of homeless veterans and veterans using food banks.

When the minister said yesterday in the House that we have a seamless transition to civilian life, does this mean transition to the good shepherd's society, does this mean transition to the streets, does this mean transition to food bank shelters? When will the government--