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

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not accept the premise that the report is riddled with lies.

Let me quote:

The Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program is unique. In this context, National Defence, as the lead department, exercised due diligence in managing Canada’s participation in the Program. National Defence managed industrial participation well (together with Industry Canada), identified and communicated risks and mitigation strategies related to JSF Program participation....

I am surprised that the member opposite would categorize those statements as lies.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, if he reads carefully, those words apply to the period before 2006.

With their culture of deceit laid bare, Conservatives throw some scapegoat under the bus: Linda Keen, Richard Colvin, and Munir Sheikh. On election fraud, it is Michael Sona. Now on the F-35s, it is whole department of defence. However, the government cannot victimize bureaucrats and the military. It cannot blame child pornographers and Taliban terrorists.

This is their process from the top down. It is the Prime Minister's job to know the truth and to tell the truth, and he failed.

Why is there still no competition?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am really surprised that we would be lumping in all kinds of issues with respect to the Auditor General's report, which we accept.

The report is clear, and we have a strategy to move forward. I invite the member opposite to have a good read and to understand our commitment to dealing with this issue.

The Auditor General has spoken, we have listened and we are moving forward.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, this morning, the Auditor General told us that the administration of the F-35 program is a monumental fiasco. This government has shown itself to be incompetent and completely blind for six years, and it is already trying to blame public officials and the military for its incompetence. Pretending that the government was not aware of the facts is unacceptable. It is time to fire a minister.

Why would the Prime Minister not demand the resignation of the Minister of National Defence, someone who is more than incompetent?

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, this morning the Auditor General was very clear—

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. Minister of Public Works has the floor.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

Rona Ambrose Edmonton—Spruce Grove, AB

Mr. Speaker, this morning the Auditor General was very clear. He said that the Department of National Defence needed to refine its cost estimates and needed to be more transparent.

Our government's response is also very clear: We will ensure that the Department of National Defence does refine its cost estimates. In addition, we will ensure that we move this project into a secretariat that will manage the process of replacing the CF-18s, and we will immediately freeze the funding for the F-35s.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, a different minister, the same spin.

The Auditor General has been very clear. Conservatives used two different estimates for F-35 maintenance costs, one for internal decision-making and another lower figure for the public.

While the Associate Minister of National Defence has, day after day, dutifully repeated talking points, he was hiding a secret estimate that was $10 billion higher. I have two simple questions for the Associate Minister of National Defence.

Why did he mislead Canadians? Will he apologize?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I certainly do not accept the premise.

We do in fact accept the conclusions of the Auditor General, and we will in fact implement his recommendations.

The Government of Canada is taking action today to ensure that due diligence, oversight and transparency are firmly embedded in the program to replace the 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 program forward.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are having trouble with the facts, still, so let me help them.

In February of 2010, the Conservatives were told by the U.S. government that the F-35 “would cost more and take longer to finish than planned”, yet the Conservatives intentionally hid the facts from Canadians.

The Minister of National Defence even did his best to demonize the Parliamentary Budget Officer, despite knowing full well that the PBO was correct. Why did the Minister of National Defence attack the PBO and mislead Parliament?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, we accept the recommendations and findings of the Auditor General. We have a seven-point plan to move forward to address these issues. In that regard, we are addressing these issues in earnest and will continue to move forward.

National Defence
Oral Questions

April 3rd, 2012 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, today the Auditor General once again showed how the Conservatives are mismanaging the public purse. They have misled Parliament on the F-35's costs, mishandled aviation safety, and failed to safely manage the border.

The Conservative government has simply not gotten the job done. Its solution is to gut public services further and to let us hope for the best.

Given this scathing report from the Auditor General, why will the Conservatives not acknowledge what they did wrong and tell Canadians the truth?

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, the Auditor General was clear this morning in his report. His one recommendation was that the Department of National Defence continue to refine its cost estimates for the F-35 and that it be more transparent.

We accept that, and we will not purchase any new aircraft until the Department of National Defence has met that recommendation.

In addition to that, we will immediately freeze the funding allocated for the F-35 and ensure that a secretariat is put in place to manage the process for this procurement to replace the CF-18.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is not enough to just accept recommendations. It would seem that, instead of preventing mismanagement, the government waits until it is caught in the act before apologizing.

The Conservatives wasted public money on some very questionable projects for the G8 summit, and now the same thing is happening all over again with the F-35 jets. Whether we are talking about border inspections of imports or monitoring of civil aviation, administrative problems continue to come to light.

With such poor management, how can Canadians trust this government?

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, as I said, the Auditor General's report indicated in one recommendation that the Department of National Defence needs to refine its cost estimates. That is important recommendation for the member to recognize because the funding has not yet been spent. The department needs to refine its cost estimates for this project. We accept that recommendation.

Furthermore, we have frozen the funds associated with this to ensure full respect for taxpayers.