House of Commons Hansard #96 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was flag.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, for over 18 months we have raised issues about the procurement process, about production delays and about the ever-rising price of the F-35. In response the Conservatives have had the audacity to question our love of our country and our support for our troops, all the while sharing the very same concerns.

Would the minister now admit that this is not about who loves our country the most, but is about responsible management of what might be the largest procurement project in Canadian history?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am quite pleased to answer the member opposite.

The Royal Canadian Air Force plays a vital role in protecting our sovereignty and defending our interests at home and abroad. Canada's CF-18s are nearing the end of their usable lives. Canada is one of nine partner nations in the F-35 program, and has been so for 15 years.

However, a contract has not been signed for replacement aircraft. We have set a budget for replacement aircraft. We have been clear that we will operate within that budget.

We will continue to ensure our men and women receive the tools they need to carry out the jobs we ask of them.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, enough is enough. The government finally admitted yesterday what everyone has been saying for quite some time: the F-35 program has problems. Apparently, in the backrooms of National Defence, a team is examining alternatives to the F-35 jet. However, there were more questions than answers when the Associate Minister of National Defence appeared before the committee yesterday.

Now that the government has admitted that it has doubts about the F-35s, where is plan B?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there was a time when a whole lot of noise was coming from the member opposite about there not being any other plan. Now that we have one, we are being criticized. That is the no defence party attitude.

Our position has not changed. We remain committed to the joint strike fighter program, as have the other partners. A budget has been allocated. We have not as yet signed an order for any aircraft.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, there are no tenders, no transparency, no guarantees of industrial spinoffs, a flawed process, and they want to lecture the opposition. That is ridiculous.

Time is passing, but doubts remains about the F-35 jets. The Conservatives' crusade for the F-35s has hit the wall. We have been warning them for months, and now they are panicking and trying to pick up the pieces.

When will this government make a clear decision? Which planes, how many, at what price and when will we receive them?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have been clear in the past and I will repeat. When the current aircraft come to the end of their useful lives, we will ensure that our men and women in uniform have the best equipment necessary to do the important job we ask of them.

However, a contract for replacement aircraft has not as yet been signed.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, for over 18 months the Conservatives characterized their support for the F-35 as a crusade as “holy and decent”. That is their words, not ours. We have had our own words for this obsession. Although likely unparliamentary, our words appear to be a more accurate description as yesterday the Conservatives admitted to backing out of this crusade.

Now that the religious fervour for the F-35 has subsided, will the minister finally do the right thing and put this contract out to tender?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, stating comments by the member opposite does not make them true. The member opposite criticizes but demonstrates very little knowledge about the intricacies of this particular program. Yesterday he expressed surprise that we had not signed a contract, saying it was astounding.

Canada has been involved in this project since 1997. We are not backing out. We are being careful about spending taxpayers' money, making sure we do the absolute right thing for our men and women in the military, as well as for all Canadians.

41st General Election
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the most important responsibility of any government is to ensure the integrity of its democratic system. Extremely troubling reports of thousands of ineligible voters casting ballots has surfaced in several ridings: Etobicoke Centre, Eglington--Lawrence, Nipissing—Timiskaming, and now Scarborough—Rouge River.

Voter suppression, ineligible voters, allegations of secret Conservative bank accounts in Vaughan, when will the Prime Minister do what 80% of Canadians are demanding and call for a public inquiry or royal commission?

41st General Election
Oral Questions

March 14th, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Sherwood Park
Alberta

Conservative

Tim Uppal Minister of State (Democratic Reform)

Mr. Speaker, I would remind the hon. member that voter registration is the responsibility of Elections Canada, not political parties. Any concerns can be raised with Elections Canada.

Employment
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Kings—Hants, NS

According to Statistics Canada's latest report, only 54% of young Canadians have a job. That is the worst number in over 10 years. It is worse than at any point during the recession. A generation of Canadians is being left behind with no job experience and no hope.

Will the minister admit that Canada faces a youth jobs crisis, and will he put a real jobs plan for young Canadians in his budget?

Employment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we want to help young Canadians get jobs. That is why we expanded the Canada summer jobs program, so that they can get the experience and skills they need for full-time jobs.

Beyond that, we have invested unprecedented amounts in training, in skills, in infrastructure in the colleges and universities, so that students can get the training, the education and the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Right across the country there are labour and skills shortages. We are trying to prepare our young people to fill those jobs.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, for 18 months now, the Liberals have been telling the Minister of National Defence that there must be a tendering process to replace the CF-18. But the minister insists that the F-35 is the only aircraft capable of doing the job. We are talking about tens of billions of dollars here.

The minister likes to spring to his feet 10 seconds before the end of the question in order to give the impression that he knows his files. I am asking him to spring to his feet today and tell us that the F-35 is the only aircraft capable of replacing the CF-18.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals initiated Canada's involvement in the joint strike fighter program in 1997, and in so doing committed over $100 million to get things started. Now they are turning their backs on the program. They have cold feet and they are flip-flopping. We are not. We remain committed to making sure our men and women in the military have the absolutely right tools to do their jobs and do so for the good of Canadians.

Justice
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government has no use for common sense. We need only think of its bill on sentencing.

However, the government may be in for some little surprises, and some big ones. Quebec refuses to budge. It will continue to focus on the rehabilitation of young offenders rather than on repression. Rehabilitation works. Quebec has had one of the lowest youth crime rates in North America for 25 years.

Why do the Conservatives stubbornly insist on denying the facts?