House of Commons Hansard #116 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

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's answers are making less sense and getting more convoluted daily. At least there are others willing to tell the truth.

Today, when the PBO was asked if the government was seeking to mislead Canadians about the real cost of the F-35s, he gave a clear and simple answer, yes. Is there any minister on that side of the House who is honest enough to stand and take responsibility?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, let us listen to what the professional public service had to say about that. Deputy Minister Fonberg, in responding to committee this morning about this issue of reporting and numbers given to the PBO, said the following, “To the best of my knowledge we fully responded to the PBO's request”. He went on to say, “I don't believe he raised issues with us on a substantive nature of the response, so I'm not sure what conclusions he”, the PBO, “was drawing”.

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I guess the answer is no. No one will take responsibility for misleading Canadians and no one will take responsibility for suppressing information to Parliament's independent watchdogs. Instead, the Minister of National Defence says that buying a fleet of fighter jets is like buying a minivan and, by the way, he has offered accounting tips to the Auditor General, who apparently has it all wrong.

For how much longer will the government keep up the ridiculous claims that the PBO cannot do his job and the AG cannot count?

National Defence
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova
Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what I do know is that the no-defence party's mini-me is doing his best to confuse Canadians on this file.

What we know is that the Department of National Defence is moving toward an important procurement to see that we have CF-18 fighter aircraft replaced in the coming years. We have a more comprehensive process in place now in response to the Auditor General. We have responded in a way that will give greater transparency, greater information to Parliament and the public.

There has been no money spent and no contract signed. Canada's interests are protected and so are the interests of the Canadian Forces.

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, of course ministers have to travel. However, it would be nice if they refrained from doing so simply for photo ops with limousines and F-35s. Furthermore, having a driver is not unusual. What is unusual, however, is keeping a driver on standby 24/7, 360 days a year, as the President of the Treasury Board of Canada did.

Hundreds of thousands of taxpayers' dollars are being wasted. Whenever we ask ministers about their lavish lifestyles, they justify this wastefulness by saying they work hard. Well, Quebeckers and Canadians also work hard and want value for their money. They also want their government to act responsibly.

When will the ministers start acting accordingly?

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, what the hon. member fails to discuss in the House is that standby does not mean drivers get paid for all of that time. In fact, they get paid for one-eighth of the time, which meant 45 days of overtime, not 260 days, as he is trying to allege in the House.

We have a system in place. We have drivers and cars, just like their colleagues do in Manitoba and just like their colleagues do in Nova Scotia, NDP colleagues. If members are going to complain in the House, they should come here with clean hands.

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, we in the NDP like drivers and workers, whether they are unionized or not. However, unlike the Conservative government, the NDP does not attack their rights. The Conservative caucus is completely shameless.

While essential public services are being axed, the government is spending more and more money on cabinet's every little whim. The Conservatives brag about their fiscal responsibility, but they do not walk the talk. Their limousine parties and $16 glasses of orange juice prove it.

Would any Conservative minister agree that having limousines on standby is an abuse of power?

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Today, Mr. Speaker, those members are defending the workers. Yesterday they were condemning the workers for working overtime. That is the hypocrisy on that side.

I will say in the House that we are looking at some changes and we would like to ensure that we can defend the taxpayer better because we believe that change can be positive. In this place:

And the men who hold high places
Must be the ones to start
To mould a new reality
Closer to the heart.

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, there those members go, another rush to excuses when they get caught.

Last week it was the minister who refused to stay at a five star posh hotel that was not good enough for her. Then we had the outrageous charges for the government chauffeurs. Then we have the Muskoka minister who not only blew through the $50 million slush fund, but who has a driver at his beck and call 360 days a year.

On talk radio last night, it was asked how often an average Canadian took a limo. People said maybe once, maybe for their prom. Therefore, is every night prom night for Conservative insiders?

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, that is another fly-by-night question. As I have already reiterated, on this side of the House, we would suggest that the hon. member come here with clean hands. We have the Nova Scotia NDP government, cars and drivers and the Manitoba NDP government, cars and drivers. That is the right thing to do in certain circumstances and with the right Treasury Board guidelines, to which we adhere.

The hon. member has not come here with clean hands. What a La Villa Strangiato?

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, I think he thinks it is a joke when the government gets caught for abusing taxpayer dollars.

He needs to understand that we are not asking ministers to shack up at the Paradise Motel when they do travel. We are not asking them to travel like common people on the public transit. However, we do expect them to treat taxpayers with respect, just like the New Democratic government in Manitoba does.

I see ministers who get their limo and ride from the bottom of the Hill up to the top of the Hill every day, and that is five minutes. Those Conservatives might talk the talk about accountability, but when will they step out of their limousines and walk the walk?

Ministerial Expenditures
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka
Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement President of the Treasury Board and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, I can assure the hon. member that on this side of the House we are new world men and women.

What I would say for hon. member is that we are adhering to the guidelines, that we are in fact ensuring the guidelines are better. We want to do some changes. This could be one area of the changes.

The fact is the member stands in the House with righteous indignation, but his colleagues and his cohorts use cars and drivers. It is, in the right circumstances, the right thing to do. When will the member stop speaking out of both sides of his mouth?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jean Crowder Nanaimo—Cowichan, BC

Mr. Speaker, the UN special rapporteur on the right to food is about to begin his first ever official mission to a developed country. That country is Canada.

When the rapporteur on housing came to Canada, the result was a scathing report about third world conditions faced by first nations, Métis and Inuit in our country.

The fact is, for far too many of these communities, there is simply not enough food.

Will the minister do his job and agree to meet with the rapporteur to discuss this crisis in Canada?

Aboriginal Affairs
Oral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver Island North
B.C.

Conservative

John Duncan Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development

Mr. Speaker, our government continues to assist first nation communities across the country to expand their economic opportunities and realize their full potential. Through skills training and employment incentives, we have invested significantly in measures to ensure first nations have access to food, shelter and economic opportunity.

We accepted the UN rapporteur's request to come to Canada. Government officials will be meeting with the rapporteur, and we look forward to his report.

Access to Information
Oral Questions

May 3rd, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, with the help of public funding, the Conservatives have amassed a large volume of data about individual Canadians. It is all in their central database, the Conservative information management system known as CIMS, names, addresses, phone numbers, religion, ethnicity, political activity and on it goes.

The risk of abuse is enormous. Who in the government has access to CIMS and has that database ever been consulted when the government is responding to an access to information request, a grant application or an immigration file, yes or no?