House of Commons Hansard #124 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is far from the truth.

We have, as was indicated, accepted the findings. We are acting on the recommendation of the Auditor General. There is a seven step plan in place. We intend to honour that stepped plan. There is a secretariat in place that will put finite numbers to the issues that the Auditor General was concerned about.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the mismanagement of this file is truly worrisome. On the one hand, the Auditor General claims that the Department of National Defence knew the total cost of the F-35 jets. On the other hand, the Deputy Minister of National Defence is saying that he does not know where the estimated total cost came from.

Could the minister of self-defence help out his deputy minister, or will the minister continue to make excuses for keeping the information from Canadians?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan
Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino Associate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that premise is absolutely incorrect.

The Government of Canada is taking action to ensure that due diligence, oversight and transparency are firmly embedded in the process to replace Canada's aging fighter aircraft. We are following a seven step action plan to fulfill and exceed the Auditor General's recommendation. We are going to stick to that and do the best we can for our men and women in the Canadian Forces, as well as Canadians.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us stick to defence and perhaps we will get some real answers.

The White House has asked the Conservatives to extend the mission in Afghanistan. Now it is the NATO secretary general's turn to say that he wants our troops to stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014. Parliament has already decided that this mission must end.

Will the government give in to the pressure and agree to extend the mission or not?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, no, this government never buckles to pressure. We always take principled stands.

Canada is committed until 2014 to participate in an international mission to train Afghan security forces to prevent that country from becoming a safe haven for terrorists. We will assess that as we will assess what is necessary to meet those objectives. We have not made any final decisions at this time.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, when we asked the government a month ago about a U.S. request to extend our military mission in Afghanistan, the Prime Minister said that he was not even aware of it. Now the Secretary-General of NATO is making his request publicly.

We know that the Conservatives want to extend this military mission, and they will not be able to avoid this question for much longer. Will they keep our soldiers in Afghanistan after 2014, yes or no?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite seems to believe he already has an answer, which begs the question of why he is getting up in the House to ask it.

We e sent a training mission to Afghanistan that arrived last year and will go until 2014 to help the Afghan forces develop the capacity so that they can provide for themselves and their country's own security. The men and women of the Canadian Forces are doing an absolutely splendid job representing Canada and assisting the people of Afghanistan in that security. We wish them very well in that important mission.

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the last time we asked this question, the Prime Minister thought it was a good time to talk about Hitler, so I suppose that is some kind of an improvement.

The Conservatives will not give us a straight answer but they have left the door wide open to extending the military mission past 2014. The United States has asked and NATO has asked.

The last time the Conservatives extended the military mission to Afghanistan, they acted without a vote and refused to put it to a motion in the House. Will they bring this latest military extension to this House for a vote, yes or no?

Afghanistan
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean
Ontario

Conservative

John Baird Minister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, there is, of course, nothing to bring to the House for a vote because there is no decision.

The member opposite is factually incorrect. The House of Commons did vote on the combat mission, as the House is permitted to by any of the opposition parties from time to time.

The Prime Minister has made a commitment that before any combat troops or any military mission takes place off our shores that there will be a vote and that he will consult Parliament. The Prime Minister has shown more respect to Parliament in that regard than any prime minister in our history.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Rodger Cuzner Cape Breton—Canso, NS

Mr. Speaker, I want to look at the case of a single mother in Margaree Harbour in Cape Breton who contributes to the success of two seasonal industries. She works as a chambermaid during the tourism season and she makes Christmas wreaths at a small shop each fall. EI helps feed her family between seasons. Like many rural Canadians, she has no access to public transit or child care. And members should know this. Her attitude is not defeatist.

As the Prime Minister now makes the rules for EI, in the case of this single mother, will she be packing or will she just be poor?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, let us face it, Canada is facing unprecedented shortages of labour and skills. We need to help Canadians who are unemployed to get back to work quickly. The changes that we are proposing will help the unemployed find jobs in their local area and will, at the same time, address the skills shortages faced by Canadian employers.

Canadians will be expected to take jobs appropriate to their skill level in their area.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Foote Random—Burin—St. George's, NL

Mr. Speaker, recent comments by the Minister of Finance reinforces the government's attitude toward those who are unemployed through no fault of their own.

Clearly, it is the government's intention to force anyone looking for work to pack their bags and take whatever job is available, regardless of his or her circumstances. This would mean having to leave families behind for low paying jobs, which would make it impossible for people to make ends meet.

Why is the Prime Minister, whose prejudice against Atlantic Canadians is well-known, forcing them to take jobs that would make them financially worse off?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, all those statements are completely wrong. We are facing skills shortages right across the country right now. We need to help employers find the workers they need. We will help connect people who are out of work through no fault of their own get access to those jobs in their local area in their range of skills.

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, I will try a question for the regional minister for Prince Edward Island.

With respect to employment insurance, we have heard the immigration minister insult both the unemployed and foreign workers, the Minister of Finance's comments yesterday were clearly an attack on the seasonal industry with this “just move” attitude, and now the minister's answers clearly show that cabinet does not understand seasonal workers and their needs.

How can the minister stand in her place and allow Parliament to be passed over, Islanders to be blindsided and all decisions on employment insurance being made by the Prime Minister?

Employment Insurance
Oral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk
Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are facing skills shortages and labour shortages right across the country. We want to ensure that we help Canadians who are out of work through no fault of their own to get access to those jobs, help the employers stay in business so they can produce for the country and to help the families.

We will help connect these people with jobs and, yes, they will be in their own area and within their appropriate skill level.