Mr. Speaker, first on the procedural matter, it is customary for government to table responses to standing committee reports in the House. That was done.
I do not think it would have been within the normal practice to have given advance warning of that. However I did give a copy immediately to a member of the hon. member's party and the critic for the Reform Party immediately upon tabling, knowing that there were at least four hours before question period within which to reflect upon it.
On the specific point regarding the major capital purchases that have been called for in the white paper, it is very important to differentiate between the helicopter purchases required to replace the Labradors for search and rescue, the Sea Kings for the combat helicopters on ships and the armoured personnel carriers for the army from the submarine question.
The submarine question is simply a matter of investigating a possible arrangement with the United Kingdom that wants to sell four used conventionally powered submarines which would assist us in discharging our maritime mandate not just on the Atlantic coast but on the Pacific coast as well.
There is no commitment on the part of the government to purchase such submarines. Simply we are looking at the matter and we would have been remiss if we had not mentioned it in the white paper.