Mr. Speaker, I wish to make the following statement in response to the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke on a question of privilege that she raised yesterday in the House.
The hon. member raised a question of privilege in relation to a response provided by the parliamentary secretary for national defence on the future of the Emergency Preparedness College in Arnprior, Ontario.
This statement is intended to provide clarification on this issue.
The hon. member stated yesterday:
--either the department offered false information to the parliamentary secretary, who inadvertently offered false information to the House, or the department advised the parliamentary secretary of the decision, in which case the charge of contempt should be laid against the member.
The parliamentary secretary for national defence provided an accurate response to the hon. member on Friday, October 25 based on advice provided to him by the Department of National Defence. In his response the parliamentary secretary for national defence stated the following:
--the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College is expanding its training program. The December budget allocated significant funds for this purpose. Much work has been done, but no final decision has yet been made. We are considering all possible options.
Let me clear, Mr. Speaker. The decision on the future of Emergency Preparedness College has yet to be made. I ultimately must direct the Department of National Defence, through the Office of Critical Infrastructure Protection and Emergency Preparedness, to choose the location to permit the expansion of the college.
I recognize that departmental officials are presently recommending to my office and officials of the department of public works that the college be relocated based on an options analysis and business case that has been completed.
I had an opportunity to discuss this issue with my associate deputy minister responsible for advising me on this issue yesterday. I have directed my officials to contact and meet with local representatives in the Arnprior area as soon as possible to discuss the department's recommendations for the college. My understanding is that this meeting will take place on Wednesday, October 30.
After being informed of the department's recommendations, I intend to wait for this meeting to be held with local representatives before making a final decision on the future of the college. It is however my intention to make a decision shortly.
In summary, the parliamentary secretary for national defence responded accurately and appropriately to the hon. member for Renfrew—Nipissing—Pembroke on Friday, October 25.