House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Parkinson's Awareness Month
Statements by Members

April 3rd, 2012 / 2:10 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, April is Parkinson's Awareness Month in Canada. More than 100,000 Canadians live with Parkinson's, a chronic progressive disease that results in increasing disability and mobility problems. Yet there is hope. Parkinson Society Canada made this year's theme, “Get Ready, Get Set, Get Moving”. Parkinson's is a movement disorder, yet one of the best things one can do to improve the symptoms of Parkinson's is to start moving and keep moving.

Whether by walking, cycling, dancing or simply doing errands, the key to maintaining mobility and staying healthy with Parkinson's is to remain active.

Studies have shown that physical activity improves strength, flexibility, balance and general health for people who have Parkinson's disease.

I encourage all members in the House to consider their constituents living with Parkinson's disease. They rely on our leadership to make strong policy decisions that will help them live the highest quality and most productive lives possible.

Long Gun Registry
Statements by Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Larry Miller Bruce—Grey—Owen Sound, ON

Mr. Speaker, last night an unelected and unaccountable Liberal senator continued the opposition's misinformation campaign on our government's efforts in the wasteful and ineffective long gun registry. A misleading collection of pictures of firearms was sent around that included prohibited firearms. Liberals know it is misleading because they created the firearms classification system themselves. This is part of a clear pattern of opposition parties trying to mislead Canadians on this issue.

The MP for Papineau did the same with deceitful tweets, and the NDP put up false billboards in major cities last year. The opposition needs to stop playing dirty tricks and start working for everyday Canadians. Firearms are part of the way of life of rural Canadians, hunters and farmers. Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to end this wasteful and ineffective long gun registry once and for all, and that will happen very soon.

Rather than engaging in fearmongering, I call on the Liberals to stop treating law-abiding hunters, farmers and sharp shooters like common criminals.

Ethics
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

NDP

Dan Harris Scarborough Southwest, ON

Mr. Speaker, it seems every day that passes another link between Conservatives and RMG surfaces. This time it is a connection between Republican fundraisers, the Prime Minister and the charities favoured by government funds, non-partisan institutes that receive millions of tax dollars from the government. Yet they also use RMG and its U.S. Republican counterpart, Target Outreach, to raise even more funds.

It is funny. On one hand the Conservatives are building a multi-million-dollar CRA fund to attack and de-fund unfriendly charities and, on the other, they are giving millions to an institute with whom they share the same fundraiser. Why is a supposedly non-partisan Canadian charity organization using an explicitly right-wing fundraiser to raise more money from Canadians? It is clear that there are far more questions here than answers and this is why we need a public inquiry.

Immigration
Statements by Members

2:15 p.m.

Conservative

David Anderson Cypress Hills—Grasslands, SK

Mr. Speaker, the Liberal culture of favouritism left our immigration system in disarray. For years, hundreds of thousands of people were stuck in a queue to get into Canada. They spent up to a decade waiting for an answer, any answer. Their lives were on hold.

As Nick Noorani from Destination Canada Info said, “The backlog has choked up our system and has led to wait times that have made us uncompetitive in the quest for global talent”.

Economic action plan 2012 includes measures that transform Canada's economic immigration programs. It creates a just-in-time system that will recruit people with the right skills to meet Canada's labour markets today and into the future.

As Tung Chan, the former CEO of the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Foundation, recently said, “It is welcome news to see that the government is continuing its quest to improve our immigration system and to make sure immigrants are able to hit the ground running and contributing to the Canadian economy when they arrive”.

I would encourage the opposition to listen to these words of wisdom. Vote for our reforms. They will finally position Canada for long-term prosperity.

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Conservative budget betrays the promise made by the Prime Minister himself. Contrary to what he promised in this House just a few months ago, the Conservative budget attacks the incomes of retirees, attacks health transfers and attacks services to the public.

Can the Prime Minister tell us why he chose to break his promise?

The Budget
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, on the contrary. For example, our health transfers are increasing twice as fast as the health expenses of the provincial governments. We are keeping our promises.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the truth is that they are taking away $31 billion without consultation.

Among the budgetary choices that make no sense, let us talk about the F-35s. In March, the Parliamentary Budget Officer estimated the cost of the F-35s to be $30 billion. The Conservatives did everything they could to discredit Kevin Page, saying that the planes would cost half that much. However, the Auditor General is proving today that the government knew that the cost of the F-35s was going to be even higher. The government knew it.

Why did the Conservatives deliberately mislead Parliament and Canadians?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the Leader of the Opposition's conclusions. The Auditor General reached certain conclusions and we have accepted his recommendations. He identified a need for greater supervision over costs and the government will accept his recommendations.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Outremont
Québec

NDP

Thomas Mulcair Leader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, this is a question of ethics. The Auditor General has concluded that the Conservatives knew their figures were misleading but they gave them to Parliament anyway. The Auditor General's report on the F-35 is a litany of poor public administration, bad decision-making and lack of accountability by Conservative ministers.

The key question for the Prime Minister is how could he allow Parliament to be intentionally misled on the F-35s? Either he knew, and it is unconscionable, or he did not know and it is incompetence. Which is it?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest
Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper Prime Minister

Mr. Speaker, that is a miscategorization of what the Auditor General actually said.

I remind the leader of the opposition that the government has not yet purchased this airplane. It has not yet signed a contract.

The Auditor General has identified a need for greater independence and supervision over some of the activities of the Department of National Defence in this regard. The government will put that supervision in place before we proceed.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, if the government accepts the recommendations, who will be held responsible for this fiasco?

In 2006, the Conservatives made a commitment to purchase the F-35s with taxpayers' money without a guarantee that Canadian corporations would benefit. According to the Auditor General, the Conservative ministers also provided misleading information about regional spinoffs. The Conservatives held press conferences to announce regional spinoffs that were non-existent.

How can the Conservatives justify providing misleading information about the F-35 fighter jets?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we accept the conclusions of the Auditor General and we will implement his recommendations.

The Government of Canada has taken action today to ensure that due diligence, oversight and transparency are firmly embedded in the process to replace Canada's aging fighter jets. That is why we have frozen funding for the acquisition, and are establishing a separate F-35 secretariat outside of National Defence to lead this project moving forward.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, what the Conservatives should do is apologize for misleading Canadians. Public Works is supposed to supervise large procurement projects and, in 2009, it had the opportunity to sound the alarm. However, according to the Auditor General, the department failed to exercise due diligence.

Who was the Minister of Public Works at the time? Who stood by and just watched? Of course, it was the member for Mégantic—L'Érable. After he was informed of this fiasco in the making, why did the Minister of Public Works at the time do nothing to prevent this disaster?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have not signed a contract to purchase any aircraft. We have frozen the funding in anticipation of refining the cost estimates before a decision is made for any acquisition. A budget, as we have said, has been allocated, and we will stay within that budget.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, according to the Auditor General, the F-35 affair is just riddled with lies.

The government cannot dodge responsibility. It is not credible and simply not true for Conservatives to say that they did not know until today. They were told by the Liberal opposition 21 months ago. They were told by the Parliamentary Budget Officer.

The government's own internal figures were similar to the PBO's, but denied that and is misleading Parliament. Even worse, it has not fixed the problem. Why is there still no open competitive bidding?