House of Commons Hansard #140 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was c-38.

Topics

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 14th, 11:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 14th, 11:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yea.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 14th, 11:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

All those opposed will please say nay.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 14th, 11:15 p.m.

Some hon. members

Nay.

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 14th, 11:15 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

In my opinion the yeas have it.

And five or more members having risen:

(The House divided on the motion, which was agreed to on the following division:)

Vote #442

Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act
Government Orders

June 14th, 11:20 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Andrew Scheer

I declare the motion carried.

A motion to adjourn the House under Standing Order 38 deemed to have been moved.

National Defence
Adjournment Proceedings

June 14th, 11:25 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I am very pleased to participate in the late show today because today's situation is rather unusual. We voted 159 times on a bill. We voted on 871 amendments grouped into 158 votes. Not a single amendment passed.

The government has shown that it is incapable of admitting that it does not have all the answers. It thinks it is perfect. It thinks that it can do no wrong and that it cannot have forgotten anything. That shows a real lack of maturity.

When I started working as a nurse, I learned that I was not perfect, that it was possible for me to make mistakes and that the worst thing to do after making a mistake is to continue on in the same fashion.

The same thing is true when it comes to the F-35s. The government refused to correct its mistake. It was unable to admit, at various stages along the way, that it should perhaps consider what the opposition was saying, that those arguments perhaps made sense. But no, the government continued being stubborn.

This is a big mess. Many questions about military procurement remain unanswered. Now, with the National Fighter Procurement Secretariat, when we ask questions, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services tells us that no money has been spent yet.

I would like to remind her that the mismanagement of the F-35 program has cost money. People have worked on this file and that costs money. Of course, the money spent so far pales in comparison to the enormous cost of an F-35, but I am sure that many Canadians would love to make ends meet with the money that has been invested in this mismanagement.

I would like to point out that it is not just the Conservatives' defence plan that is flawed. Before the Minister of National Defence even announced the F-35 procurement in June 2010, he already knew that the numbers the government was using were not correct. The Minister of National Defence and the Associate Minister of National Defencehad informed us one month earlier that the costs would go up. The ministers were updated in April 2011 and in February 2012, but until the Auditor General forced them to take a modicum of responsibility, it did not occur to anyone to notify the public or even rethink this whole plan.

The opposition rose and asked questions, and asked whether there was a plan B. Every time, the government absolutely did not listen, and it became more mired in the problem.

I would like to know if the government will understand one day that the opposition's role is not just to criticize. The opposition provides arguments to help advance issues. It advances arguments to prevent such problems with oversight of very significant military procurement from happening again.

I would like to know whether the government realizes this and if it understands that the opposition is trying to help it with a program that seems to be going awry. Furthermore, I would like to know if the government now knows in what direction it is headed.

National Defence
Adjournment Proceedings

June 14th, 11:30 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering
Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, it is truly a great privilege to be here with you and my hon. colleague on this historic evening to talk about one of this government's important priorities.

However, the opposition does not agree, once again, with our program to replace the CF-18s, which have served the Royal Canadian Air Force and Canada very well. The opposition says that it is the wrong program. It is not apologizing for keeping us here all night to vote on the extensive budget we have just passed and that we have worked so hard on.

I would like to insist on the fact that Wednesday, June 13, which is still under way in the House, is a historic day for the program to replace the CF-18 jets. Our government is keeping its promises with today's announcement of the creation of a National Fighter Procurement Secretariat for Canada.

It is great to be able to have this opportunity. We made this promise a couple of months ago. It has taken time to assembly the right people, the right outside expertise, including a former Auditor General of Canada who is joining the team on the secretariat, as well as all the relevant departments. It has taken time to make sure that we are actually hitting the standards that we know we can hit in the Government of Canada and that we have hit before in military procurement for the national shipbuilding program.

As the member well knows, we have been a partner in the joint strike fighter program since 1997. That has brought enormous benefits to Canada. The member's leader disagrees and does not think there are jobs flowing from this program. There are. We will continue to show it and prove it. Canadians know it.

In 2008, the Government of Canada announced its intent to replace the CF-18 fleet with next generation fighter capability. That was part of the Canada first defence strategy. In July 2010, we announced our intent to acquire the F-35 aircraft. We do not apologize for any of that. It is history. It is part of our policy. It is part of our program to replace the CF-18, which has been going on under two governments for over a decade.

The Auditor General's report of this spring is also history. Its recommendation was important. We accept it. We accept the conclusions. That is why we are going beyond that, by not only agreeing to put forward full life-cycle costs but also establishing a seven-point plan which this secretariat will oversee.

In conclusion, let me just emphasize the role of this secretariat.

The secretariat will be responsible for reviewing, monitoring and coordinating the implementation of the government's seven-point action plan. There will be key roles with respect to transparency, impartiality and reports to Parliament and to the public. The secretariat's initial overall costs will be available in the fall. The secretariat will provide the due diligence that Canada deserves and that the government is responsible for delivering in such cases.

National Defence
Adjournment Proceedings

June 14th, 11:35 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that the parliamentary secretary is trumpeting the Minister of Public Works and Government Services' seven-point plan when the government does not seem to have much respect for the newly created secretariat or the plan.

A few days ago, I asked the minister why the cost updates will not be released 60 days after the forecasts, as stated in the third point of the plan. The government is already breaking promises. Now we are being told to wait until the fall. That was in May, so the cost updates ought to be available in early July. That is their plan, but they cannot even stick to it.

We have also been told that nothing has been purchased, that no decision has been made, but the minister had no problem spending $50,000 for a photo op with the F-35s, which, really, have not even been selected yet, because there is no commitment and nothing has been done.

Is that not a little ironic? We are no farther ahead than we were before.

National Defence
Adjournment Proceedings

June 14th, 11:35 p.m.

Conservative

Chris Alexander Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, as my hon. colleague is fully aware, the whole question of costs is absolutely the central issue in determining what aircraft will replace the CF-18. The process of estimating the total cost of the entire life cycle of the aircraft that will replace the CF-18 needs to carried out very carefully and very thoroughly.

That is why we cannot complete it this spring. We made a promise to Canadians here in this House that we would independently verify all costs. That cannot be done overnight. It will take a few months. Based on the advice and expertise of our public officials, we have determined that we will have a better answer in the fall.

I will be more than happy to discuss the matter further with the hon. member in a few months' time.

Air Canada
Adjournment Proceedings

June 14th, 2012 / 11:35 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to remind the government that it was almost exactly a year ago next week that we sat in this same chamber debating and voting on the return to work of Canada Post. That began a trend by the government toward a system of labour relations that was designed to favour the employers and designed to signal to employers that the current government will intervene in every major labour dispute that threatens on the horizon.

The end result of that is bad labour relations in this country and a bad precedent. We only have to look as far back as a couple of weeks ago when we ended up debating the return to work of the CP workers, the latest in a long string of government interferences in private sector bargaining.

The government has no business interfering directly in private sector bargaining. The bargaining regime in this country is one of free collective bargaining, one without government interference, yet here we have a string of interferences by the government that signal to these major employers that the government is going to rescue them.

I was a bargainer for well over 30 years. I know that the parties have to work these things out with the fear of a strike or a lockout hurting both sides.

However, in the case of Canada Post, three times with Air Canada and now with CP, the government has decided to tell the employer—not the employees, but the employer—that it will bail them out.

There is no fear. They do not have to fear collective bargaining any more. They do not have to fear the outcome. The government will take sides, as it has done with Air Canada and as it did with Canada Post. The government is in a position of having undermined the very foundation of our free collective bargaining system, which was one based upon both sides working toward a deadline. It was the fear of what the consequences of that deadline would be that would drive them to a collective agreement. I have done it many times, and that is exactly what happens.

That is not the case any more, not if it is Air Canada, not if it is Canada Post, not if it is CP—and who knows what other employers are going to come forward after this latest in a string? The current government has signalled to the parties not to worry, that it will intervene, that it will take sides. Why would any management want to settle when that is the case? Why would any management want to put its trust in its collective bargaining when it knows the government will intervene?

That is not how the Canadian system works.

We have had a situation with Air Canada, which was the subject of my question originally, whereby the government's position was that it acted in the public's interest and for safety. However, since the government's intervention, we have had interruptions in service as a result of the upset of the employees. As well, as the result of the loss of Aveos, we now have pieces of airplanes falling out of the sky in Mississauga, as a result, we think, perhaps, of the maintenance situation at Air Canada, which in turn goes back to this collective bargaining process and in turn goes back to the fact that the employees were not permitted to bargain as to how that Aveos deal was to shake down.

My question is this: will the government finally stop interfering in free collective bargaining in this country?

Air Canada
Adjournment Proceedings

June 14th, 11:40 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey
Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, this is an historic evening. The government was successful in passing Bill C-38, an important piece of legislation for the Canadian economy, creating jobs and long-term prosperity for the country.

The member opposite accuses the government of reckless meddling in the Air Canada negotiations. With all due respect, if the hon. member had been paying attention during the debates over Air Canada, he would know that we went over the long process of conciliation and mediation that we went through with Air Canada in great detail.

We conscientiously and methodically followed the steps set out in the Canada Labour Code. This took time and effort. We exhausted all other avenues before we considered pre-emptive legislation to avert a work stoppage.

There was nothing reckless about our decision to bring forward Bill C-33. As we said many times, it was a last resort. We moved forward because putting forward this legislation meant protecting Canadian jobs and protecting Canadian citizens.

In the debates over Bill C-33, we presented this to the House with our projection of how costly a work stoppage at Air Canada would be, not just to the companies and unions but also to our economy.

We talked about the impact upon the travelling public, especially to families who depend upon Air Canada and do not have access to alternative carriers. We reminded the House that many Canadians were not parties to this labour dispute and that they would not have any way of affecting the outcome but would suffer the consequences of a work stoppage.

When we used this legislation to prevent a work stoppage at Air Canada, I know we did the right thing for Canadians by ensuring we were protecting air services, protecting jobs and protecting the Canadian economy.

Given all the risks associated with this situation, it would have been reckless not to bring forward Bill C-33.

Air Canada
Adjournment Proceedings

June 14th, 11:40 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, yes this is a historic night. It is yet another chapter in the anti-worker agenda of the government.

We have EI legislation which will now force people who are on EI, including those Aveos workers, to take jobs at a 30% reduction in their salary when they come off EI, which is an attack on their standard of living.

We have a situation where, through the immigration system, employers, including airlines, are free to hire temporary foreign workers, and there are airlines in this country doing it. This will undermine the value of the workforce of that airline by 15%. The government has now decided that employers can bring in temporary foreign workers at a 15% reduction. That is happening now in the airline industry.

My question again is, when will the government realize its mistakes and stop attacking the workers of this country?