House of Commons Hansard #115 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

The Environment
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for St. John's East.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, yesterday the Deputy Minister of National Defence told the public accounts committee that the cabinet was provided with the full $25 billion projected cost of the F-35 jets.

Will the minister now confirm that it was the cabinet that indeed had both figures, the full $25 billion figure and the $14.7 billion figure, and that it decided to use the smaller figure for public consumption, hiding $10 billion from Canadians? Are these the two sets of books that the Parliamentary Budget Officer was talking about?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

First, Mr. Speaker, let me say that this member is becoming quite adept at putting inaccurate information before the House of Commons. He does so quite regularly.

It should come as no surprise to him that the cabinet and the government have oversight and approval over major capital projects for the Department of National Defence, and in fact for the entire government. We have, as a principle, put in place a comprehensive response to the Auditor General's concerns that were raised over this procurement. This will have the oversight of independent individuals in the secretariat which will be overseen by the Department of Public Works and Government Services.

We are proceeding with a very important project that will see our Canadian skies and coastlines protected by the Canadian Forces for many years to come.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, we do not know how many books there were, but we know there were at least two columns, one for internal use and one for public consumption.

According to Deputy Minister Fonberg, the left-hand column was for decision-making, and the right-hand column was reported to the public.

Conservatives knew long before the last election what the real figures were, but they decided to keep them hidden from Canadians. When will this minister finally accept the entire report of the Auditor General on the F-35s and admit that they misled both Parliament and the public?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have, of course, been very clear throughout. We accept the recommendation of the Auditor General. We accept that report. We have responded to it in a very precise way with a plan forward to improve accountability and to improve transparency.

The reality is that these figures have been before the Canadian public. We have acquisition costs which are clear, maintenance costs, and of course operating costs. We have followed previous practices to ensure that those numbers were brought forward. We will continue to act upon the recommendations of the Auditor General.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, either they accept the findings of the Auditor General or they accept the findings of the Associate Minister of National Defence, but they cannot accept both.

The Conservatives lost control over the F-35 file a long time ago. They keep making things up as they go along. The Conservatives would have us believe that all the options are on the table for replacing the CF-18s, but the chief of the air staff has confirmed that the F-35 is still the government's choice.

Why are the Conservatives still being so duplicitous about the F-35s?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have already answered that question. Our government has clearly accepted the Auditor General's recommendation.

We continue to act on those recommendations. There is now a study being done by the public accounts committee. We have a secretariat in place that will provide oversight over this project in the future, greater transparency, and independent insights into this issue.

We continue to act upon that single recommendation as well as ensuring that the Canadian Forces have the proper equipment and investments, as we continue to provide this important protection for our country.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only thing coming clear here is that the government has our civil service caught up in its web of contradictions.

In 2010, DND wrote to Public Works saying that the F-35 is the only option. Public Works agreed. Yet, both departments came before committee yesterday saying that they were still analyzing their options. No decision has been made yet. However, the chief of the air staff contradicted both departments. He is fixed on the F-35.

Is the government misleading the chief of the air staff, or is it misleading Canadians?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, here is a shock for the member opposite. The Department of National Defence obviously receives recommendations from both members of the armed forces, in this case the chief of the air staff, as well as working very closely with our deputy minister and the civilian side of the department.

With respect to the replacement of the CF-18, we have received a very specific recommendation from the Auditor General. We have responded with a comprehensive response that goes beyond that recommendation.

This will provide the transparency, accountability and confidence that Canadians need.

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dan Albas Okanagan—Coquihalla, BC

Mr. Speaker, since 2006, our government has been delivering for Canadians.

We have kept our word on our election promises and have always acted in the best interest of Canadian families, seniors and all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

It was one year ago today that Canadians acknowledged the tireless effort of our government by giving us a strong mandate and a strong majority government.

Can the Minister of Finance please highlight some of the economic accomplishments we have experienced over the past year?

The Economy
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Whitby—Oshawa
Ontario

Conservative

Jim Flaherty Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, on the first anniversary of this Conservative majority government, Canada has the best fiscal position in the G7, the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G7, the strongest job creation record in the G7, the best financial system in the world. It is the best place for business to invest, grow and create jobs, and has the highest credit rating in the world.

We will remain focused on jobs, the economy and long-term prosperity for all Canadians.

National Parks
Oral Questions

May 2nd, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, in last year's election campaign, the Conservatives did not announce a planned attack on our national parks.

Yesterday, they eliminated 1,600 jobs at Parks Canada. Today, we learned that they want to sell some parks and privatize the hot springs in Banff, Jasper and Radium. The discovery of these hot springs more than a century ago led to the creation of our first national park.

Why does the minister want to squander our national heritage?

National Parks
Oral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, first of all, my hon. colleague has the numbers entirely wrong. They are exaggerated, and that will be corrected in coming days.

What Parks Canada is doing is ensuring cost-effective delivery of world-class services and visitor experience.

With regard to the Canadian Rockies hot springs, we have announced we will invite proposals to operate these hot springs because the private sector does it better. Parks Canada is not responsible for operating hotels, golf courses or swimming pools.

National Parks
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, on the campaign the Conservatives actually promised that the cuts would happen through attrition, and a year later they are chopping up jobs and selling off our parks.

Canada's national parks were founded on the principle that the public should have access to public spaces and our heritage sites, but Parks Canada, as we know, confirmed that a new private operator will determine access for Canadians, when we own it.

This is the same minister who also green-lighted the privatization of Jasper National Park.

First our glaciers, and now our hot springs. Which of our national treasures will the minister put up for sale next?

National Parks
Oral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Thornhill
Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, my colleague is going from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Parks Canada is in the business of protecting our natural spaces. In national parks where we have facilities like golf courses, swimming pools or hotels, these services are much better provided by the private sector and we will continue to operate exactly that way.