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House of Commons Hansard #170 of the 37th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was military.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Leon Benoit Canadian Alliance Lakeland, AB

Mr. Speaker, if the government had cleaned up its act and made a serious investment in our military we would have been offered a role in the northern command instead of having the U.S. in our backyard doing it for us.

We have heard continuous warnings from the U.S. ambassador, the NATO secretary general and countless Canadians that our military is in crisis.

I ask the minister this. Does not the real threat to Canadian sovereignty come from the erosion of our military because of what the government has not provided them?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the only crisis around here is in the Alliance Party. It is certainly not the case with this government or its forces.

We have sent a team of people to work and to talk with them about ways we can best co-ordinate our efforts in terms of defence of our respective countries. We can do that while maintaining all of the sovereignty that is important to be maintained by Canada.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, for most Quebecers, April 17 is the sad anniversary of the unilateral patriation of the constitution, a constitution which was imposed on Quebec and which all Quebec governments have refused to sign. And this will continue to be the case, because no Quebec government will ever deny the existence of the Quebec nation.

Given this state of affairs, will the Prime Minister admit that he is the head of a country in which almost one-quarter of the population will not allow their government, the government of Quebec, to sign the Canadian constitution?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian constitution is a Canadian law which used to be a British law.

I am very proud that we are no longer legally a colony of Great Britain and that we are here, in Canada, in a country which has its own constitution, which was approved by the Parliament of Canada and which serves all Canadian citizens, myself as a citizen of Quebec included.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec is a nation and, in this connection, I would like to offer the opinion of a Quebec politician who proposed as a solution to Canada's ills that the constitution be drawn up anew, not among ten provinces, but between two nations. This proposal was made by the current Prime Minister during his first nomination meeting in 1963.

Since the Canadian constitution recognizes the existence of one nation only, the Canadian nation, will the Prime Minister admit that, since the unilateral patriation, he has deviated from the task he assigned himself in 1963?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, when I ran for parliament, it was because I wanted us, francophones from Quebec, and the other francophones throughout Canada, to have a place in the Canadian government.

I left the province of Quebec at the age of 29 to work for and represent the people of the riding of Saint-Maurice, to make sure that all citizens in my riding were well represented in the Parliament of Canada. I think that they are not sorry I did so.

I am very proud of the fact that I am a francophone, that I come from the province of Quebec, and I am very proud to be a Canadian.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister may well harbour illusions, shut his eyes and claim that the 1982 unilateral patriation does not pose any problem.

How does he explain the fact then that no political party in Quebec signed the 1982 Constitution and that even the very federalist Quebec Liberal Party maintained this morning again that it would not sign it?

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Quebecois may well be living in the past, but Quebecers are looking to the future.

And for the future, Quebecers realize how the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which we owe to the current Prime Minister and to former Prime Minister Trudeau, is an achievement of which they, along with all Canadians, can be proud. The charter will protect their rights in the future, as it has for the past 20 years. This is what Quebecers are celebrating today.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Richard Marceau Bloc Charlesbourg—Jacques-Cartier, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about the future indeed.

Do the Prime Minister and the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs realize that if all Quebec premiers since 1982 have refused and continue to refuse to sign the constitution, it is because in time we are realizing that the building of Canada is increasingly, and at an ever faster rate, being achieved at the expense of Quebec's specificity? This is what the future holds.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Laurent—Cartierville Québec

Liberal

Stéphane Dion LiberalPresident of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada and Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I challenge the Bloc Quebecois to find a single supreme court judgment that goes against Quebecers' interests.

Over the past 20 years, Quebecers have made progress within the context of a federation with other Canadians, because their rights were strengthened. And they are proud of that.

This is undoubtedly one of the reasons why more of them vote for the Liberal Party of Canada than for the Bloc Quebecois.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

The ConstitutionOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. The hon. member for Winnipeg—Transcona.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, I can say that I was here 20 years ago and I remember 74 out of 75 Quebec MPs voting for the charter. It did not look to me like there was no support in Quebec for the charter of rights and freedoms.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Hon. members can relax. I was not even going to ask a question about that. Quiet.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

The Speaker

Order, please. I can say that I agree with the hon. member in this case. We must be able to hear the hon. member's question.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Prime Minister and it has to do with the announcement by the United States of the setting up of the northern command. It seems to me that obviously there are a number of concerns here which even the government may have about the implications of this northern command.

I wonder whether the Prime Minister would commit in a timely fashion, as the Minister of Health likes to say, that he or the Minister of Foreign Affairs will come before the House and make a full statement as to the Canadian government's position on the northern command.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I would like to say very categorically that the decision the American administration made about its own defence is its own business. The defence of Canada will be assured by the Canadian government and not by the American government.

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Winnipeg—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, nothing the Americans do, being so large and being our neighbour, is just their business. Obviously it has implications for us.

Will the Prime Minister commit, for example, to parliamentary hearings as to what the Canadian response should be to the northern command and how we can act appropriately in the circumstances?

National DefenceOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Saint-Maurice Québec

Liberal

Jean Chrétien LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member is right. We have a lot of communal interests with them. They are our neighbours and we have to work with them. It is why we are part of Norad where we have a joint command to address these problems. We have to do that but the sovereignty of Canada cannot be taken away by a decision made by the administration of the United States.

If the foreign affairs committee wants to look into the question, fine. We have committees for that and part of their mandate is to look at problems that might affect Canada. If the committee wants to look into that I have no objection.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

April 17th, 2002 / 2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the finance minister.

A report to the chief of defence staff concerning the Challengers recommended “that remedial action such as fleet modernization or replacement is not warranted”.

Why did the finance minister, as the Liberal's pasha of prudence, not pull the $100 million flying carpets out from under the sultan of Shawinigan? Why did the Prime Minister's old challenger not just say no to the Prime Minister's new Challengers?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as has been said many times before, these are more efficient aircraft. They can go longer distances. They can go on shorter runways. They are more fuel efficient. They are not luxurious. They have the same appointments as the current Challengers.

We are replacing two older Challengers with two newer Challengers to ensure that the government has the ability to travel as expeditiously as possible to deal with the government's business.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Progressive Conservative

Scott Brison Progressive Conservative Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago the Prime Minister said that he would rip up the EH-101 contract and write zero helicopters. He did, and today the Canadian armed forces are flying in old, decrepit helicopters while the old, decrepit cabinet wants to be flying in new jets.

Will the finance minister tell the Prime Minister to rip up the Challenger contract and write zero new flying Taj Mahals for cabinet?

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

York Centre Ontario

Liberal

Art Eggleton LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the EH-101, which that party put in place, was a bad deal for Canada. What we are doing right now will save over $1 billion and we will get a helicopter that is more suitable for today's needs.

Meanwhile, we have in fact invested some $50 million into the current Sea Kings. They are performing extremely well in the Arabian Gulf in support of the campaign against terrorism.

Government ExpendituresOral Question Period

2:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Grant Hill Canadian Alliance Macleod, AB

Mr. Speaker, the Liberals have squandered $101 million for luxury jets. They claim that $8.2 million of that is earmarked for pilot certification. The actual cost of pilot certification is $570,000.

Why did the Liberals fudge the figures for pilot training on these luxury Gucci jets?