House of Commons Hansard #191 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-45.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, senior officials have confirmed that the Prime Minister and the cabinet were informed of all the developments on the F-35s, including the cost overruns and technical problems, and were even aware that the process was biased in favour of Lockheed Martin.

The Minister of National Defence said many times that the F-35 was the only appropriate fighter jet. He should immediately apologize for having hidden this information.

Since he is responsible for this fiasco, can he tell us what other options are being looked at to replace the CF-18s?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the issue raised by the hon. member. I think the best way to deal with this is to enhance transparency and push reset on this process, which is exactly what the government has done. We have established the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat to ensure there is transparency in this process moving forward. This time, there will be increased oversight. Included in the secretariat is a former well-respected auditor general, which will provide increased oversight for the work done by the officials.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister wants us to believe that she, too, was converted on the road to the F-35, but you will forgive my skepticism. F-35 bad news is not new news, and documents have surfaced showing that the Prime Minister and his cabinet were informed of every fumble and foul-up on the F-35. What they said before the election was simply not the truth. There was no signed contract, the program was not on time and Canada will, in fact, be subject to billions of dollars in cost overruns.

Why did they not just tell us the truth?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, what the Auditor General recommended is that the Department of National Defence revise its cost estimates for the F-35 and make them public. We have gone one step further. In fact, we are pressing reset on this process. We have established a secretariat to oversee this process moving forward, including two independent members, which will provide oversight for the work done by officials.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Denis Blanchette Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, SNC-Lavalin manages 320 federal buildings for $550 million a year and uses subcontractors to do certain jobs. Even though it is public money, the subcontracts are private, which opens the door to potential abuse.

Will the new procurement rules apply to subcontracts?

Will the minister carry out a full audit to ensure that taxpayers are getting their money's worth, in terms of both building management and the awarding of subcontracts?

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, our contractual obligations are with the general contractor. In terms of the contract for the operations and maintenance of federal buildings, our objective is obviously to have quality work done at the lowest cost to taxpayers, and the winning contractor did have the lowest bid.

In terms of the specific concerns that were raised about this contract in 2010, we ordered an independent audit done by PricewaterhouseCoopers, and all of its recommendations have been implemented, including increased oversight and monitoring of this contract. In addition, I ordered in late 2010 a re-procurement of this contract.

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Linda Duncan Edmonton—Strathcona, AB

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member has almost answered my question, which is cause for concern.

Parties seeking subcontracts under the SNC Lavalin $.5-billion-a-year federal building management contracts are raising new concerns. The concerns relate to fairness, transparency and efficacy in the bidding process. The 2011 PricewaterhouseCoopers audit found grossly escalated costs for one in every two buildings reviewed—for example, $1,000 to remove a light switch.

In view of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services's new-found concern for potential fraud, is she in fact saying that the contract has simply been rubber stamped, and is this what her government considers value for money?

Public Works and Government Services
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove
Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, absolutely not. This contract, like every other contract we have with suppliers, is covered by our new integrity framework. If the member would like any additional information on that, she is welcome to a briefing.

Furthermore, when specific allegations about this contract were raised we brought in an independent auditor, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and we have implemented all of its recommendations, including increased oversight and monitoring of this general contractor. In late 2010, I did order a re-procurement of this contract.

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, contrary to previous Conservative answers, it was actually the Department of National Defence that opposed keeping marine medical emergency calls being handled within Canada. Even after they were warned about potential problems for search and rescue operations off Newfoundland and Labrador, they still pushed for an Italian organization that would do it for free.

Will the minister now stand up and take responsibility and come clean with Canadians about his dangerous search and rescue experiment?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, the top priority of the Canadian Coast Guard is and always will be the safety of our mariners.

We do have a contract with a Canadian company that is taking medical calls.

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, I guess the Minister of National Defence is not taking responsibility.

The Conservative government, however, has raised misleading Canadians to an art form. The Prime Minister told the House last spring that the Italian service was a backup but the new trail of emails contradicts this story. The defence department was actually pushing for the plan to move medical emergency calls to Rome when Halifax said it would not take marine emergency calls.

Will the Minister of National Defence now explain these contradictions and come clean on his role and his department's reckless decision?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case. The Canadian Coast Guard has an excellent working relationship with DND. In an average year, the Canadian Forces and the Canadian Coast Guard, partnered, respond to approximately 9,100 incidents. We are tasking military aircraft or ships for over 1,100 cases, saving an average of 1,200 lives and assisting some 20,000 people across the country.

I can assure the member that it is a Canadian company that is taking those medical calls.

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Philip Toone Gaspésie—Îles-de-la-Madeleine, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canadians deserve better than the Conservatives' misleading statements. We are talking about saving lives, not money.

The Conservatives are refusing to take responsibility. It appears that they are going to subcontract a departmental responsibility to Italy. They did not think twice about shutting down the search and rescue centre in St. John's, and they are now getting ready to shut down the one in Quebec City.

Will they repeat the same mistakes? Should francophones start practising their Italian?

Search and Rescue
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Egmont
P.E.I.

Conservative

Gail Shea Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, we are confident that changes in Quebec City will have no negative impact on our ability to respond to distress incidents on the water quickly, effectively and in both official languages.

Quebec is served by no less than 19 coast guard vessels, including 7 search and rescue lifeboats, 2 hovercraft and 6 helicopters.

Health
Oral Questions

December 4th, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, 50 years ago in Saskatchewan Tommy Douglas brought medicare to Canada. He fought powerful interests but with help from the people he succeeded. Unfortunately, since coming to power the Conservatives have done nothing to strengthen the health accords. We have witnessed growing privatization, no national drug plan, no help for home care and longer wait times.

Will the Conservatives finally show leadership and stop their reckless plan to unilaterally cut $36 billion from provincial health care budgets?