House of Commons Hansard #110 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was important.

Topics

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the agency in question is an independent crown corporation.

As members will know well, the government has established strict rules and expects those to be respected. When they are not respected, appropriate action is taken. That is why, in all these categories, we spend vastly less than the previous Liberal government did.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the reason the Conservatives are having problems with the rules is clear: it is because the Prime Minister himself does not follow the rules. He continues to mislead the House when he talks about a contract that does not exist and has never existed, even though he said in the past that it did exist. Perhaps this also explains the problem at the Old Port of Montreal and why the minister never paid back the cost of her limousine.

Will the minister pay back the cost of the limousine, since this has not yet been done?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I have been very clear. It is the leader of the Liberal Party who is confused, which is not surprising. The minister has apologized and has taken appropriate measures.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, Conservative mismanagement of the F-35 fiasco is so bad that the Parliamentary Budget Officer is going to look at the government books on this troubled jet for a second time.

The PBO can help shed light on the government's attempt to cover up the $10 billion difference between what it said it would cost and the actual price tag.

Will the government agree to fully co-operate with the PBO this time and provide all the necessary financial information so he can get to the bottom of this?

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, we have been very clear that we want this process to be transparent. I welcome the PBO.

I assume the Department of National Defence will be forthcoming with all of the documents necessary that the PBO needs and also in meeting the recommendation of the Auditor General, which is to update the cost of the F-35 and make that public in Parliament to all of us.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, assume, if it really did that, it would be a first.

The Minister of National Defence's accounting excuse was so bad last week that the PBO has been compelled to reopen the file. The last time the PBO had trouble even getting simple costing information from the government and especially from the Department of National Defence.

Will the Minister of National Defence stop trying to cover his tracks? Will he direct his department to fully assist the PBO and actually provide the information it has been hiding from the public?

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, the Auditor General did pronounce on this issue. We have agreed with all his recommendations and his conclusions. We have put in place a seven-point plan to ensure full transparency and accountability. The number one recommendation is that the Department of National Defence update its cost estimates for the F-35 and table those in Parliament.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer is not the only one raising some serious questions about the F-35s. Even the Royal Canadian Air Force is saying that the government's plan is not working. Canadian Forces decision-makers are afraid that the budget allocated for the F-35s is not even enough to cover training costs. That is not an accounting error; that is mismanagement.

I would like to know if the Minister of Public Works also plans to improvise, or will she actually try to come up with a plan B?

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, again, we have accepted the recommendations and the conclusions of the Auditor General. We expect full transparency and accountability from the Department of National Defence when it comes forward to table its updated cost estimates on the F-35 to all Parliamentarians.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the air force says there is not going to be enough money to cover pilot training. That is important because those guys know that flying these things is a little more complicated than sitting in one for a photo op.

Let me ask the Minister of Defence to come out from behind his desk to answer a simple question.

DND's own costing handbook says that a good rule of thumb is to take the acquisition price for the planes and multiply it by four. That is the total life cycle cost. He may need a calculator for this, but I know the minister can do the math.

Therefore, why did he tell Canadians that this would cost only $15 billion?

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, I appreciate the member's advice on this, but I do believe the Auditor General's recommendation is a sound one, it is a good one. We fully expect the Department of National Defence to come forward, very transparently, with updated cost estimates for the government and for all of Parliament.

Ethics
Oral Questions

April 25th, 2012 / 2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Ethics Commissioner is once again taking a close look at the minister of conflicts of interest. Keeping a minister in cabinet despite his involvement in so many scandals perpetuates the culture of impunity that is poisoning this government.

Maybe the Conservatives' economic recovery plan is to create jobs in the Ethics Commissioner's office. But when it comes to workers who need help, such as the Aveos workers with whom I protested this morning, the government stands idly by.

When will the Prime Minister be consistent and send the message that his Minister of Industry's actions will not be tolerated?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I would point out that the title the hon. member used originally is actually not a title of any minister in this government. Therefore, I would ask him to be a bit more respectful in posing his questions in the House.

In terms of the question he asked, there is absolutely nothing new in this story. The minister will assist the ethics commissioner in responding to the letter the Liberals have written.

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, by doing nothing, the Prime Minister is sending a clear message: “Help yourselves, do whatever you want, make your way to the trough.”

The Minister of International Cooperation seems to have received the message loud and clear.

This morning, we also learned that people at the Old Port of Montreal go on luxurious retreats with five-star working lunches. Only the price of the orange juice remains unknown.

The more stories like these come to light, the more it looks as if the Conservatives have a strong mandate to lounge in luxury at taxpayers' expense.

Is there a grown-up on the other side of the House who will take control and send a clear message that the free-for-all is over and that we want our government to promote a culture of ethics?

Ethics
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

York—Simcoe
Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, in all matters, we have been clear that our government is managing taxpayer dollars carefully. That is why Canada is in a better position fiscally than any of the other major developed economies. That is why we have been focusing on getting our budget balanced. That is why we have been clear in the conduct of all public officials and all ministers, that we expect them to conduct business at a reasonable cost. That is what we see from this government. That is why our expenses are so much lower than the Liberals before us.