House of Commons Hansard #20 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was libyan.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, first we have the misuse of DND resources for fishing trips and lobsterfests and now we see the Minister of National Defence launch into a no-holds barred attack on the senior leadership of the Canadian Forces.

This past weekend, the Minister of National Defence told the Halifax Herald that “military accounting is like military intelligence, it is oxymoronic”.

Why is the Minister of National Defence insulting military professionals and their work? When did the minister lose confidence in the Canadian Forces?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong. I have nothing but the highest confidence in the military leadership on down through the ranks. They are doing outstanding work for us internationally with 16 different missions around the world, here at home and abroad. I continue to have the utmost confidence in all the men and women who wear the uniform of the Canadian Forces.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, it has also been reported that the Department of National Defence is losing public affairs officers because Conservative political staff are berating those in uniform and pushing them to keep a lid on bad news stories.

Why is the minister and the Prime Minister's Office trying to make these officials tools of the Conservatives? What are they trying to hide?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Again, Mr. Speaker, the member is wrong. He is using hyperbole. What we have are public affairs practitioners in the Canadian Forces who are in high demand. Clearly, leaving the military at a 20-year mark, especially after they have clearly established marketable and transferrable skills, is common. It is common in all departments. It is common in demographics throughout the Government of Canada. These are people who we value. Members of the public service in Canada are working very hard in every department.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the revelations about staff cuts in the office of the Minister of Defence by the Prime Minister's Office indicate that the Minister of National Defence has lost the confidence of the most senior officials of this government.

Is this due to the use of military resources for a fishing trip, or to attend a lobster festival?

Can the Prime Minister tell us his position on the personal use of DND resources?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said last week, I spent some time in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2010. At that time, I cut my vacation short to take part in government business. As a result of that trip, we have now confirmed that the military has said publicly that I took part in a previously planned search and rescue demonstration. Government assets are used for government business and that is what happened in this instance.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, a number of leaks to the media indicate that there are major problems at the Department of National Defence.

The departure of a large number of public affairs officers over the past two years due to political interference and micromanagement by the Prime Minister's Office indicates that there is a deep malaise.

Is the mass exodus from DND related to this interference? Does the Minister of National Defence still control his department?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have had an extremely high tempo of operations in the Canadian Forces over the past number of years, which also applies to the public servants, which is the civilian side of the department. As a result, many of the public affairs practitioners are in very high demand in the private sector and some have chosen to take positions in the private sector. We are grateful for their service.

As to leaks, leaks are usually as reliable as the courage of the individuals who come forward behind them.

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Wladyslaw Lizon Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week The Globe and Mail used the phrase, “Polish concentration camps” in reference to the Nazi German concentration and extermination camps in occupied Poland.

Brave Polish citizens were the victims of Nazi occupiers and not the perpetrators of their evil crimes.

The reference in the The Globe and Mail article was an insult to thousands of Polish Righteous Among the Nations who risked their lives to save Jewish neighbours.

Could the minister update the House on what our government has done to correct the offensive misconception about the existence of Polish concentration camps?

Foreign Affairs
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Calgary Southeast
Alberta

Conservative

Jason Kenney Minister of Citizenship

Mr. Speaker, I thank the hon. member for raising this important and sensitive matter.

He is absolutely right that it is offensive to the memory of so many Poles who fought the Nazi occupation and invasion and who have been declared Righteous Among the Gentiles to refer to Nazi concentration camps as being Polish ones.

That is why the Government of Canada has supported at UNESCO the official designation of the Nazi German concentration and extermination camps in occupied Poland.

Let there be no mistake about this point in history. The Government of Canada certainly asks that all people be sensitive to the legitimate historic concerns of the Polish community in this regard.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

September 26th, 2011 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's national public broadcaster has been increasingly underfunded under the government's watch. Since 2006, funding for the CBC has dropped to an all-time low.

The government is responsible for the slow silencing of Canada's only national voice. From deceptive propaganda campaigns to petitions circulated by Conservative members for its complete defunding, the government's plans for our public broadcaster are clear.

Will the Conservative government end its anti-Canadian venture and come out in clear support of the CBC and provide true and stable funding for this Canadian institution?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, if that question does not point out how out of touch the NDP members are with taxes and spending, I do not know what does.

The NDP members say that CBC is grossly underfunded, but $1 billion is a lot of money. The CBC is receiving a lot of money from taxpayers. We have ensured that the CBC is accountable to taxpayers by ensuring that access to information applies to the CBC.

However, we also made a commitment to Canadians that we will balance the budget by 2015, and CBC will do its part.

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, the important achievements of the CBC in its 75-year history have proven its worth. The CBC contributes to Canadians' feeling of belonging. It is an important institution to Canadians from coast to coast.

Will the Conservatives stop attacking the CBC and finally support the only truly national broadcaster?

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam
B.C.

Conservative

James Moore Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. We will keep the promise we made to taxpayers to have a balanced budget by 2015. Therefore, we will ask everyone—all departments and all crown corporations—to come up with ways of finding the amounts needed to balance the budget by 2015. The CBC will do its share; that is certain. We are working with the corporation to find these amounts, and it will do its share to achieve a balanced budget by 2015.

Public Safety
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Brian Masse Windsor West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government has its priorities backward. It claims to be worried about crime, but it is cutting back the Canada Border Service Agency in Windsor itself, one of the busiest border crossings and a favourite route for gun and drug smugglers to go through.

How can this be about saving money when the government diverts millions of dollars of border money and infrastructure money into a G8 slush fund?

When will the Conservatives see reason, put public safety first, rescind these cuts and put Canadians' interests instead of their own interests forward?