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.


Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

An hon. member

Tell us about Peterborough.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Peterborough is a great city. The people in Peterborough will be just as frustrated about our military. When I was a young man of about 20 years of age I worked in Peterborough with Ethicon sutures, a Johnson & Johnson company, that brought a whole bunch of new people to the community and livened it up. In those days our military personnel were quite happy people. We had a good military in those days. I remember my grandfather--

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.


John O'Reilly Liberal Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

I was in the reserves then.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

You have been in the reserves all your life.

My grandfather lived in Barrie, Ontario, in Camp Borden, and fought in the first world war and the second world war. I still have some of his medals in my jewellery case at home. I never heard him complain at all. I used to go out to Camp Borden with him those days and cut the lawns on some Saturdays. I never heard anyone in the military complain. They were always proud people, proud of our country, and proud of what we did for them.

The last two governments, but this one in particular with its major cuts, have really hurt us. Even the members on the other side must be embarrassed today when they see the Americans announce their major security perimeter for North America and they talk about how it includes Mexico, Canada, the Caribbean. We are not even there. They just ignore us. Their ambassador is asking us to put more money into military to do our fair job around the country.

We read about all these wasteful projects in the auditor general's report. Some of those things happen, we have to be realistic about that, but not $174 million for a security system. That is a little much. Everyone can make mistakes in expense accounts but that is a ridiculous one.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

An hon. member

The Tories bought it.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

The member says the Tories bought it. If the Tories bought it why did they not get rid of it the first year they were here? They got rid of a lot of other things.

It is literally unbelievable the December budget ignored what every one of these experts said. Canada's security needs and the Canadian sovereignty itself have been placed in a perilous position. Why?

For one, we can no longer pull our weight in international coalitions, thus reducing our influence and our credibility. Nothing was more evident than that today and what happened just before the House sat for question period.

Our navy is unlikely to be able to sustain its task group deployment beyond six months due to personnel shortages and other gaps in naval capability. The navy only has two operational support ships left, making it impossible to sustain a task group in the Indian Ocean and still support our ships in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

What did we hear yesterday? One of our ships is sitting idle in Victoria Harbour. If it were sitting in the harbour in Montreal or somewhere a little closer in central Canada it might be put into use but it is in British Columbia. The Prime Minister has only visited B.C. for 15 days in the last couple of years usually for Liberal fundraising dinners. He had 39 days in Florida, Jamaica or wherever.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.


John O'Reilly Liberal Haliburton—Victoria—Brock, ON

The Prime Minister did a fundraising dinner for you.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

The then prime minister did do a fundraising event many years ago and we did quite well too. He did not fly out on a government jet either. In those days he flew out on a regular airplane as I still do as Leader of the Opposition and get along quite fine.

The fact is that the ship is probably sitting empty in Victoria Harbour because it has been forgotten. It is in western Canada and Liberals have a tendency to forget about us in western Canada.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

An hon. member

These eastern Canadians--

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

We do not beat up eastern Canadians. I am one of them. I was born in Ontario and raised in Quebec. I am just saying it is the government that has ignored western Canada, the fastest growing area in the country. It really is a shame.

The Sea King helicopters now require 40 hours of maintenance for every hour in the air, seriously impeding the navy's ability to maintain an effective air element to support its ships at sea. Forty hours of maintenance for every hour in the air, which is about what it takes for my friend across the way to get a couple of good hours in the House every week.

The army cannot sustain even 750 soldiers in Afghanistan for a second six month rotation without impairing our ability to maintain our commitment of 1,600 troops in Bosnia. Some of our units face the prospect of spending almost back to back rotations overseas. What does this mean to someone who is in a reserve going overseas for an additional rotation?

I watched an interesting program on 60 Minutes or Dateline a few months ago about a young man who was in the Vietnam War and did the same thing. He did about three rotations and then disappeared. He was discovered 30 years later in Australia leading quite a normal life. The whole program was about how his family thought he had died but because he had received a ticket from police in Australia they found out where he really was. It was all about how messed up his mind was from doing three rotations in the Vietnam War.

What are we doing to young people in the reserves by sending them back two or three times? Do we really know what is happening there? Would it not be better to implement a major program encouraging young people to join the forces? I commend the few ads that are on now but we could be doing a lot more to encourage people in this country to do military service. We should make sure our forces are up to scratch, that they all have uniforms and that people are not having to do unnecessary triple rotations.

The air force could not air lift our troops overseas because it has no heavy lift aircraft. Its medium lift aircraft are aging and often break down. If it does not have heavy lift aircraft it has to be rented, whether from Federal Express or whoever. I do not know if that company is used for those types of things but the government is chartering from someone or borrowing American airplanes or doing what it does. Yet it can still buy two jets to fly its members around when it has four that the army says work fine. It is a pretty sad commentary.

The deployment of CF-18s overseas, as occurred during the gulf war in 1991 and in Kosovo in 1999, has become increasingly difficult given the decision to run down the number of total CF-18s to just 80 aircraft from 120. We will not be able to defend our own air space and still meet possible international commitments.

We will have serious difficulty simply responding to internal emergencies in Canada. That is another key thing. We need people internally. Do we have them? Most people say no. The air force only has 32 C-130 transport aircraft of which at least 75% are unavailable at any given time.

That is an unbelievable figure. If Avis rent a car had 75% of its fleet unavailable, it would be broke. What kind of encouragement is that to anyone in the forces? It is like an old comedy routine where there are 100 planes on the tarmac, they all run out and only 25 take off. It is just not good enough.

Moreover, since 19 of the 32 C-130s are more than 35 years old, these aircraft are subject to periodic breakdowns. The Challengers were only 16 or 19 years old, babies in comparison. We have no strategic or tactical heavy lift aircraft or helicopters.

During the 1998 ice storm, American aircraft had to lift troops and supplies from western Canada to eastern Canada in order to respond to the emergency. We are lucky that today it is about 30 degrees outside and there will not be an ice storm this year anyway, but it could happen again next year. However we are in Ottawa so we had better watch out because it could happen this weekend.

At the time of the Oka crisis in 1990, the army deployed nearly a full brigade, several thousand troops, to deal with that emergency. Given the fact that the total strength of the army is down to less than 19,000 troops of which only 9,000 or so can be considered front line, it is very difficult for the army to sustain its overseas commitments and simultaneously respond to emergencies, especially multiple ones, internally.

The total strength of the army reserve is now less than 14,000, perhaps as few as 11,000, most of whom are poorly trained and equipped. They can provide little support to the regular army and would not even be able to guard vital points in Canada, such as power plants and pipelines, in an effective manner.

The protection of Canadian sovereignty is increasingly compromised. The flying time for the Aurora aircraft, our main sovereignty protection aircraft, is being reduced to just 8,000 hours per year. That is 3,500 hours below that recommended by the chief of the air staff.

The Prime Minister the other day in an answer to me about flying from Gatineau instead of the Ottawa airport because Gatineau is 10 minutes closer to Sussex Drive, said that he does not make those decisions, that the RCMP makes them for him. The Prime Minister gave that answer in the House and I will accept it as accurate.

If that is the case, when the military recommends 11,500 hours a year and the government reduces it to 8,000 hours a year, why are we interfering with the military? Why is the government interfering with members of the military, reducing what they say is necessary to give us the protection we need in Canada?

The government cannot have it both ways. It cannot say “We are going to spend an extra $20,000 for the Prime Minister to get on an airplane in Gatineau because of security reasons, but we are not going to give it to the army overseas because we do not think the hours they want are correct”. They are correct and we should follow the recommendations.

The recommendations were made by the chief of the air staff, Lieutenant General Campbell, in 1999 when he commanded 1 Canadian Air Division. He gave us the minimum acceptable level to make commitments on the Aurora flights over the Arctic and they dwindled to just about zero. That is shameful.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

An hon. member

They are needed more than ever up there.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:30 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

They are needed more than ever. Today the Americans made their announcement on the security perimeter for North America and we do not have anyone flying over the north. It is absolutely shameful.

Increasingly we are failing to pull our weight in Norad. As noted, the air force is reducing the size of its CF-18 fighter force by one-third. This will necessitate increased reliance on American aircraft to protect Canadian air space.

The government today got a standing ovation from members in the House after saying “We are going to be Canadian first, we are independent”, but it has reduced our force by one-third and now we have to rely on American aircraft. I have no problem with that because the Americans have a big force, but we should be working with them. When they make an announcement like the major one they did today, I would like to see our minister standing next to their minister and our Prime Minister standing next to their president.

I found it interesting that just a few weeks ago when the Prime Minister was in Africa, the prime minister of England was in the United States dealing with the war, dealing with the serious issues. Our Prime Minister was trying to build a legacy in Africa with a different story in every country.

We are increasingly failing to pull our weight in Norad, as I said. As noted, the air force is reducing the size of its CF-18 fighter force by one-third and this will necessitate increased reliance on American aircraft. We already know that U.S. aircraft played that role in many parts of Canada on September 11.

Our navy has no presence in Canada's third ocean, the Arctic. Our sovereignty claims there, which are not recognized by the United States, are largely unenforced. The continual delays in offering political support to the United States on national missile defence mean that the Americans are moving ahead without Canada in this area. This imperils the future of Norad which is central to monitoring Canadian sovereignty and which is funded by the United States to the tune of 90%.

All these threats to Canadian sovereignty and security will only become more serious in the coming years due to the shortfalls which presently exist in the equipment and operations budgets of the Department of National Defence. Increasingly the armed forces will be unable to maintain even present levels of capability. The result will inevitably be growing dependence on the United States and almost no credibility or influence abroad on security matters. This scenario is the greatest threat to sovereignty.

It is imperative that the government act soon. There is simply too much at stake for the government to continue to sit on its hands.

The following is an excerpt from Esprit de Corps magazine of April 17, 2002, volume 9. It is entitled “What can our forces do?”. It states:

Our navy provides the main Canadian element committed to the war on terrorism. With upgraded tribal class destroyers, state of the art city class frigates and the ability to operate seamlessly with the United States navy, it has been dispatched to support the U.S. led coalition flotilla. The major weakness of our task force is the fleet of aging Sea King helicopters, which require 40 hours of maintenance per hour of flying time.

Forty hours of service for every hour. We can picture a couple of guys hanging off the back with wrenches in their hands.

The old Sea King has reduced endurance and payload capacity in hot weather.

It cannot be used in a lot of areas.

The six Canadians ships are equipped with first rate anti-aircraft, anti-ship and submarine weapons as well as anti-missile defences. Unfortunately they have no long range ship to shore weapons and no strike aircraft other than Sea Kings designed specifically to hunt and attack submarines. The poor state of these shipborne helicopters preclude them from being used even in a ship to shore helicopter assault role.

Land-locked Afghanistan has no air force left and no navy. Given that during the height of the gulf war in 1991, Iraq failed to mount a single successful sortie against the U.S. coalition fleet, Canada's naval task force's limited role would therefore be to defend against the unlikely threat of an air or seaborne attack. However, the command and control flag ship, HMCS Iroquois, support ship HMCS Preserver, and four frigates will be standing off at a distance to provide a measure of symbolic support to our U.S. allies.Since the Canadian navy is fully interoperable with the U.S. navy, U.S. warships could be theoretically assigned under the command of the Canadian flotilla as was done during the gulf war.

Search and rescue will be a possible task for shipborne helicopters in the event that a U.S. strike aircraft or helicopter crashes into the sea.

Another possible mission scenario would be protection of supertankers and other merchant ships if the current conflict expands beyond the Arabian Sea.

Keeping this many Canadian ships on station will stretch the navy to its limit. With only four destroyers and one permanently docked, to sustain one in the Arabian Sea, one should be getting ready, one returning, and one deployed. Of the navy's 12 frigates, seven are on reduced readiness. To sustain three or four frigates will require full activation of the entire fleet. Given that the navy is short some 400 technically skilled sailors, this will be very difficult. The navy has two supply ships, so the normal minimum of a two to one deployment ratio is impossible. The extra time required on station will be extremely hard on the crews. In addition, either our west or east coast fleets will be without any support ship at all.

Canada's air force has a lesser role to play as it has less capability. The first problem is deployment; Canada sold off its Boeing 707 air refuelers in 1997, but has five C130 Hercules aircraft configured as tankers. But “Hercs” carry only half the fuel that an Airbus can, and can't fly fast enough or high enough for CF-18s to refuel the required four times during ocean crossings.Canada can no longer rely on the USAF air-to-air refuelers because they've all been earmarked to support U.S. forces. Canada is the only NATO nation without a large tanker aircraft.

It is the only NATO nation. That is shameful.

CF-18 fighter pilots fly a plane that has carrier landing capability, but the pilots do not.

Just read that.

The avionics on board are not interoperable with U.S. strike aircraft.

Yet the Americans are our allies, the people we work with. What great planning.

The lack of deployment capability, interoperability, and carrier landing ability is probably why the U.S. did not specifically request them. The Aurora surveillance aircraft are almost identical to the USN P3 Orion, the type of aircraft (albeit with different avionics) that was rammed by a Chinese fighter jet several months ago. Their primary role is patrolling our coastlines. They will most likely perform the same role in the Persian Gulf or Arabian Sea.

The C130 Hercules tactical transport planes will likely be used as part of the psychological operations by dropping food and other humanitarian aid to the Afghani refugees who previously fled the Taliban regime, and the now swelling ranks of refugees fleeing U.S. air strikes.

The Airbus strategic transporter will likely deliver aid to hard standing airfields once these are available.

The secretive commando unit titled Joint Task Force 2, or JTF2 in the vernacular, is a well-trained and equipped counterterrorist unit. It is capable of carrying out some of the covert tasks required such as reconnaissance or directing aircraft strikes. The one limitation is the unit's size. At approximately 250 men, perhaps a maximum of 64 could be sustained beyond the six month commitment. The army however will probably be unable to make a more meaningful contribution.

At present the army has a 1,500 man battle group deployed to Bosnia based on units from 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group (5 CMBG). A brigade normally has strength of approximately 5,000. Due to the lack of recruits and continued downsizing, today's brigades consist of little more than 3,000. This means that more than half of the entire brigades combat assets must be cannibalized and augmented by reservists to form one powerful combat ready battle group.

Canada has only three brigades, with one deployed, one just returned from an overseas operation and one training. A powerful battle group based on 1 CMBG could theoretically be sent to the region now, or it could be used to replace American units in Bosnia. This would only be a knee-jerk solution, as in six months' time there would be no units to replace those deployed. Canada's army today can only sustain one deployed fighting force indefinitely.

Another option would be to use one or all three of the army's “light” battalions. That is, those troops who fight on foot without the benefit of armoured vehicles such as the LAV III, Coyote or Leopard C2 tank. Tactical deployment could be by air assault using the militarized Bell 412 Helicopter dubbed the Griffon.

This would be problematic. Even in terms of the initial deployment of any assets in theater, Canada would either need to ask for US help (unlikely given their current priority is moving their own units), or rent civilian transport aircraft to deploy quickly. The other alternative would be to move by rented ships (like the GTS Katie), as our Navy has no sea lift capability.

Secondly, the Griffon has less capability than the aircraft it replaced, the venerable “Twin Huey” (which were sold, and subsequently found their way to the Colombian military), and cannot carry the “light” 105 MM artillery howitzers that are assigned to light infantry battalions. In order to save money, the battalion's integral mortar platoon (with eight 81mm medium mortars) which could be lifted easily by helicopter, has been cut from the order of battle. This severely retards the unit's fire power. The Army's seven Chinook CH 147 medium lift helicopters would have had the range and payload capacity to make up for the Griffon's shortcomings, but all were sold to the Dutch in the early nineties.

The one unit that could have been used on short notice has been gone for many years. The Canadian Airborne Regiment was disbanded on orders of the Liberal government in 1995.

People forget sometimes that we had a very good airborne regiment that was abolished by the government in 1995.

I wonder if we would like to tell the country's military families about the priorities of the government. The new Challenger jets, the luxury planes, twin flying Taj Mahals so the fat cat cabinet can fly faster, higher and farther.

We have retired military pilots who flew the Sea Kings 40 years ago. Today those very helicopters are being flown by those same pilots' children.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

An hon. member

And grandchildren.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

4:45 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

And grandchildren, as somebody mentions.

These families that serve our country worry about their loved ones. They worry about their safety every day when one of those helicopters goes up in the air. The following is an excerpt from a report prepared by Michel Rossignol from the political and social affairs division of the Parliamentary Research Branch and written on October 19, 1998:

The Sea King helicopters that operate from Canada's new frigates and other warships entered into service in 1963. Designed primarily for anti-submarine warfare (ASW), the Sea Kings also provide Canadian warships with surveillance and transportation capabilities and occasionally participate in search and rescue operations.

The modernization of their ASW electronic sensors kept the helicopters fairly up-to-date in their primary role and routine maintenance and overhauls over the years have kept them in flying condition, despite their extensive use in difficult weather conditions. The older the Sea Kings become, however, the more maintenance they require and the greater the concern about their safety of operation.

If we are concerned about the safety of the aircrafts' operation, we obviously have to be very concerned about the safety of those who are flying them. The report continued:

With this in mind, in the mid-1980s the Department of National Defence began the process of selecting new helicopters to replace the Sea Kings by the late 1990s. The EH-101 helicopter was chosen to replace both the Sea King and the Labrador... Contracts were signed in 1992 with EH Industries for 50 helicopters and with Paramax Canada for the supply of ASW and other electronic equipment for 35 of these aircraft. The total estimated cost of the purchase was some $5 billion, although only about half of the costs were for the airframes and engines, the ASW electronic sensors accounting for a substantial portion of the rest.

The cost of the new helicopters at a time when the armed forces of NATO and other countries were being cut at the end of the Cold War made the issue very controversial, even after the August 1993 announcement that the number of ASW EH-101s would be reduced to cut costs.

The contracts were cancelled by the Liberal government formed in November 1993, as the Liberal Party had promised during the federal election. However, because of the age of the existing helicopters and growing concerns as a result of a number of accidents, the replacement of the Sea Kings is still considered necessary, albeit at a lower cost than that of the EH-101 project. Moreover, the shipborne helicopter remains an important element of Canada's military capabilities.

If we go back to 1993, we know election promises were made, numerous ones. Getting rid of the GST was another major one. The government never did that. Free trade was another one. It never did that. However, Mulroney ordered the helicopters and the Prime Minister did it for that reason.

He also said he would never fly the big Airbus that Mulroney had made for the Prime Minister. I think they still use it a little bit, but he has stuck to his word most of the time. I think that is more of a legal problem because the airplane is there and it is a good airplane. We did not need to buy two $101 million Challenger jets. We could have used this other airplane for longer flights. It is certainly good enough for the Governor General. It is good enough for the Prime Minister. It is a shame, that political decision on that day darn near 10 years ago, because our forces today could have had the most modern helicopters and a force that could have offered assistance to our allies in this war against terrorism, but here we are today still debating the issue of helicopters, still wondering why we have two new Challenger jets with gold faucets and the fancy toilets and no new helicopters.

Mr. Rossignol's report continued, stating:

Although the submarine threat has greatly diminished with the end of the Cold War, the helicopter replacing the Sea King would still complement the capabilities of Canadian ships by providing surveillance above and around them, by transporting supplies and personnel, and by carrying out rescue missions when required. Sea Kings were used extensively in the Persian Gulf and the Adriatic Sea, as well as for inspecting cargo ships as part of the enforcement of UN sanctions against Haiti; they were also used to transport supplies for UN peacekeepers in Somalia.

The selection of a replacement for the Sea Kings is also influenced by another factor, the need to replace the Labrador search and rescue helicopters.

Canada operates Labrador helicopters from CFB Comox, British Columbia, CFB Trenton, Ontario, and CFB Greenwood, Nova Scotia, as well as from other locations when required, solely for search and rescue operations. Like the Sea Kings, the Labradors entered service with the Canadian military in the early 1960s and the Department of National Defence began searching for a replacement during the mid-1980s. Around 1990, a decision was made to replace the Labradors with 15 transport versions of the EH-101 capable of flying in bad weather conditions. By using the same type of helicopter to replace both the Sea Kings and Labrador helicopters it was hoped to reduce the maintenance and pilot training costs.

With the cancellation of the EH-101 purchase, the Labrador replacement remained an issue. At a time when Air Command is reducing the number of types of aircraft in its fleet to cut operational costs, the expense of maintaining a small fleet of aging rescue helicopters poses problems. As with the Sea Kings, there is also some concern about the effects of aircraft age on flying safety, notably since the April 1992 crash of a Labrador due to engine failure.

On October 31, 1994, the Special Joint Committee on Canada's Defence Policy tabled a report recommending, among other things, quick action on the purchase of new shipborne and rescue helicopters. Following the completion of the parliamentary review, the Minister of National Defence presented the 1994 Defence White Paper outlining Canada's new defence policy.

The white paper indicated an urgent need for new shipborne helicopters and that the Sea Kings will be replaced by the end of the decade. It stated that the Labrador search and rescue helicopters would be replaced as soon as possible. While the same type of helicopter might be bought for both shipborne and rescue roles, other possibilities were being explored, such as different forms of partnership with the private sector for maintenance and even alternative financing arrangements for the purchase or replacement of aircraft.

The modernization of the existing airframes might appear to be a less expensive option than acquiring brand new aircraft; however, this option is less attractive in the long term because it simply delays the acquisition of new helicopters. The Sea King and Labrador airframes are over 30 years old and, even with extensive modifications, they would have to be replaced in five or ten years, or flown only occasionally.

Old aircraft are sometimes modernized to prolong their use; for example, Australia is modernizing its Sea Kings to keep them in operation until about 2005. The Australian aircraft were built some 10 years later than the Canadian [aircraft], so their modernization is more cost effective. Thus for Canada, the purchase of new helicopters appears to be the best option.

The sooner the better.

Mr. Rossignol's report continued:

Numerous types of medium-sized helicopters are available, including versions of the Eurocopter Super Puma (Cougar or Panther), the Agusta-Westland Cormorant, which has the same airframe and engine as the EH-101, and the Sikorsky S-70 (called the H-60 by the U.S. military). Some of these are already used by many countries in the ASW and maritime surveillance roles. A few types of Russian helicopters are available, but doubts have been raised about the costs of bringing them up to Western standards and about the availability of spare parts.

While smaller helicopters are cheaper and can carry out some maritime surveillance and rescue duties, they may have less range or take a smaller load than medium-sized helicopters and cannot carry as many ASW sensors or passengers. Comparisons of different types of helicopters are tricky because, for example, one type might have less range than another, but could be equipped for air-to-air refuelling. The Air Force has 99 CH-146 Griffons (Bell 412s built in Canada) ordered in 1992 at a cost of $1 billion to replace almost all its small helicopters, such as the Twin Huey and Kiowa. However, for maritime and rescue operations, medium-sized helicopters are more suitable.

Indeed, because of the difficult Canadian weather conditions, the new helicopters require radar, navigation equipment and de-icing capabilities for the rotor blades. Bad weather capability is necessary to ensure the safety of flight personnel and to enable the aircraft to fulfil their mission. The costs of buying new helicopters with appropriate all-weather capabilities, while less than those for the EH-101, could still be quite significant. However, Canada may have little alternative if it wants to maintain its current rescue capabilities, ensure the surveillance of its territorial waters, and fulfil its international commitments.

In June and July 1995, news reports stated that the Cabinet was considering departmental proposals for the acquisition of new military equipment, including new shipborne and rescue helicopters. Although the department had hoped for quick approval of the four acquisition projects, questions were apparently raised during Cabinet meetings with respect to costs and the necessity for such acquisitions at a time of reduced government spending on social and other programs. There were also reports of concern among Cabinet members about the distribution of regional benefits if contracts were awarded.

As a result, only one of the four acquisition projects won quick Cabinet approval, the purchase of new armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and the modernization of existing ones, announced in August 1995. Final Cabinet approval for the acquisition of new shipborne and rescue helicopters was delayed. The Minister of National Defence suggested that a final decision on both projects would be made before the end of the 1995-1996 fiscal year.

Mr. Rossignol's report continued:

As with the shipborne helicopters, the final Cabinet decision on the new search and rescue helicopters was delayed amid speculation that the government wanted a wider distribution of whatever regional benefits the project would generate. On November 8, 1995, however, the Minister of National Defence announced that the government had decided to proceed with the acquisition of new search and rescue helicopters. The acquisition costs were estimated to be $600 million, but leasing arrangements and the contracting out of the maintenance were still considered options. Deliveries were expected to begin in 1998.

Following the announcement, the Department of National Defence sent manufacturers a Solicitation of Interest which contained the Statement of Operational Requirements (SOR). The statement confirmed that the Department wanted helicopters with a range of 500 nautical miles and the ability to fly in light icing conditions. It also stated that a rear loading ramp, a glass cockpit (a state of the art instrument panel with video presentation of data) and auto pilot were desirable. The manufacturers were expected to respond by the end of February 1996.

...The government's decision to proceed with the purchase of the new rescue helicopters came at the same time as residual issues from the cancellation of the EH-101 project were being resolved. On 31 March 1995, the government announced that it had reached an agreement with Unisys GSG Canada, formerly known as Paramax and now known as Lockheed Martin Canada, the prime contractor for the electronic equipment on the shipborne version of the EH-101 helicopters Canada had ordered. The government paid the company $166 million as compensation for the work completed prior to the cancellation of the EH-101 contract.

When we add that to the $100 million for jets I am quite sure we could have bought some of these planes a long time ago.

Mr. Rossignol's report continued:

On 9 November 1995, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services, David Dingwall, stated in the House of Commons that an agreement in principle on these costs had been reached with EH Industries, the Westland-Agusta Consortium. On January 23, 1966, the government announced the final terms of the agreement, which involved the payment of $157.8 million to EH Industries, made up of $136.6 million for work completed up to the cancellation and $21.2 million for termination costs. When added to the $166 million paid to Unisys GSG Canada and the $154.5 million for research and development and the costs of administering the project, the total spent on the EH project is about $478.6 million.

Half a billion dollars has been wasted while we have been looking for helicopters for 10 years. If we take that half billion dollars, add it to the $100 million for the jets that will fly the cabinet ministers around and add $174 million to the satellite dish sitting in a warehouse somewhere, it does not take very long to find out that we could buy some helicopters pretty quick if we wanted to support our military. It is pretty sad.

There were more delays and problems, stated Mr. Rossignol:

While the manufacturers were preparing their proposals, the Department of National Defence announced that the Request for Proposals for new search and rescue helicopters would be delayed by six months...the end of 1996...the department announced on 21 August 1996 that there would be two Requests for Proposals, one for the helicopters and one for their maintenance. The latter is to be issued in 1998.

Meanwhile, the Sea Kings and Labradors encountered some problems during the summer. On 23 August 1996, three of Canada's fleet of Sea Kings were grounded for the inspection and repair of cracks found in the tail section of the airframes. Although cracks were also found in the rest of the fleet, in different areas of the airframe, flight operations continued, pending repair at a later date. The three grounded Sea Kings returned to flight operations in early September. Cracks are often found in airframes, even in relatively new aircraft, and inspections are done on a regular basis in order to find them before they cause significant structural problems. In November four more Sea Kings were grounded pending repairs to their airframes.

Questions were also raised in August about the lack of action in dealing with some of the recommendations resulting from the official inquiry into the April 1994 crash of a Sea King. The inquiry had recommended patching a hole in the cabin ceiling to prevent the leakage of fuel into the cabin, and this had been done expeditiously--

Imagine patching a hole and it being done expeditiously.

--however, other recommendations were rejected by the military or have not been fully implemented. Meanwhile, there were news reports that the crews of Labrador helicopters had been instructed to carry out training flights over open fields rather than forested areas in case of an engine failure.

Is that not a sad commentary when our planes can only fly over nice flat areas with no trees in case their engines fail?

How much confidence would members of the armed forces have if a notice came down saying that they were not to fly over a forest in case their plane goes down? How would they feel about members of parliament, the fat cats in Ottawa, especially today with the new airplanes with their fancy toilets and fancy seats and missing things in warehouses?

It has apparently become more and more common since a Labrador crash-landed in a forest in Nova Scotia in May 1995 as a result of mechanical failure.

The report continues to state:

Labradors and Sea Kings have made a number of emergency landings over the years and every new incident raises questions about the age and maintenance of the aircraft. One Labrador from CFB Greenwood made an emergency landing on 20 October 1996 because of mechanical problems, while another Labrador from the same base made two emergency landings in early December. On 13 January 1997, a Labrador from CFB Comox crash-landed in the Georgia Strait after a fire had broken out on board.

It was terrible. Some of us in that area fish. It is becoming a dangerous occupation to do any sport fishing if the armed forces are going to be up there in those helicopters. We will have to phone over and ask if any helicopters are flying over the Gulf Islands on the weekend in case we want to go out and do a little pleasure boating. It is rather sad that the government this has allowed this to happen.

The report continues to state:

--one Sea King crash-landed on the flight deck of the HMCS Huron when one of its engines apparently failed. Two Sea Kings made emergency landings near Halifax, one on 7 November 1996 and another 12 June 1997.

I heard my hon. colleague, the Liberal across the way, say that they are flying in Afghanistan. How would we like to be flying those helicopters in Afghanistan? If they are crashing in the Georgia Strait and in Canada's seas they are not a safe aircraft. That is a fact.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

An hon. member

Keep scaring the families.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:05 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

The member says that we keep scaring the families. Let me say that they are damn scared every day. We have talked to them and they are scared every day because the government is making their husbands and wives fly those rotten helicopters. The government should replace them. It could have done it 10 years ago. It has no shame whatsoever.

The report continues:

While some helicopters have mechanical problems, both the Labradors and the Sea Kings nevertheless continue to play an important role in rescue operations across Canada. Labradors evacuated a number of persons during the 1996 floods in the Saguenay region of Quebec, both Labradors and Sea Kings were used in rescue and support operations during the 1997 floods in the Red River Valley in Manitoba.

Meanwhile, the process to select a replacement for the Labradors continued. The government issued a Request for Proposals from aircraft manufacturers on 27 November 1996, with a deadline of 5 May 1997. Four manufacturers officially presented bids. Agusta-Westland consortium ( E.H. Industries) proposed the AW520 Cormorant (a version of the EH-101); Boeing Canada Technology Ltd. proposed the Boeing CH-47D Chinook; Eurocopter proposed the Cougar Mark 2 (a version of the Aerospatiale Super Puma); and Sikorsky Canada Inc. proposed the Canadian version (Maplehawk) of the Sikorsky's S-70A Black Hawk. There had been speculation that some Canadian companies would offer modified versions of Russian-built helicopters such as the Kamov Ka-32 and the Mi-17 KF Kittiwake; however, these bids were not made, chiefly because these types of helicopters were still awaiting Transport Canada certification.

Most of the manufacturers who presented bids have allied themselves with various Canadian aerospace companies, some of which are already making components for specific helicopters. Other companies will make components or will participate in the assembly of the airframes if their team wins the contract. Pending the final selection, teams are emphasizing the Canadian jobs and the industrial benefits that would result from the selection of their type of helicopter.

Team Cormorant (Agusta-Westland) includes Bombardier Inc. of Montreal, Bristol Aerospace of Winnipeg, CAE Electronics of Saint-Laurent (Quebec), and CHC Helicopter of St. John's. Team Cougar (Eurocopter) includes Spar Aerospace in Mississauga (Ontario), SNC-Lavalin of Montreal, and IMP Group of Halifax. Team Maplehawk (Sikorsky) includes CAE Aviation of Edmonton, Canadian Marconi of Kanata, Litton Systems of Toronto, and General Electric of Mississauga. Boeing has not established a team; however, it emphasizes that if the Chinook is selected it will use components from a number of Canadian companies and that its existing plant in Arnprior, Ontario, will complete the assembly of the airframes. With the exception of Boeing, whose Chinook model is considered too big for Canadian naval vessels, the same manufacturers are expected to present bids for the shipborne helicopter project, if and when this is undertaken.

On 5 January 1998, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Works and Government Services announced that the government had selected the AW520 Cormorant helicopter proposed by E.H. Industries to replace the Labradors. The announcement stated that the maximum project cost would be $790 million for the delivery of 15 search and rescue Cormorants. The project cost includes a maximum of $593 million to be paid to E.H. Industries and approximately $200 million for training, spare parts, and logistic support.

To go back to what we were talking about earlier, we blew half a billion dollars and have nothing. Now we are spending just a shade more than that to get what we really need.

Mr. Rossignol's report continued:

On 23 April 1998, the Department of National Defence announced that the contract with E.H. Industries had been signed and that the acquisition costs had been reduced to $580 million from $593 million. Much of the reduction in costs was due to the decision to take delivery of the new helicopters at the final assembly line in Italy rather than in Canada. For its part, E.H. Industries made a commitment to generate $629 million in industrial and regional benefits in Canada. The first Cormorant is slated to be delivered in January 2001 and all 15 helicopters should be delivered by October 2002.

The decision in favour of the AW520 Cormorant was controversial because of the similarities between that helicopter and the 15 rescue versions of the EH-101 which had been ordered along with the maritime version in 1992 only to be cancelled in late 1993 by the Liberal government. In fact, even before the announcement, one of the companies bidding for the contract, Sikorsky, had complained about the selection process. Some critics expressed concerns that the 1993 cancellation had only delayed the replacement of the Labradors and the Sea Kings, which, because of their age, required an increasing number of maintenance hours for each hour of flying. There was also some speculation that reductions in the defence budget might lead the government to replace the Sea Kings with a cheaper and less capable helicopter in terms of range, performance, and equipment.

Critics were especially concerned about safety, stated the report:

--the possible growing risks of accidents in view of the advancing age of the Labradors and Sea Kings, both of which had entered service in the 1960s. The issue again became controversial following the 2 October 1998 crash of a Labrador in the Gaspé Peninsula in which the six military personnel aboard were killed. The remaining 12 Labradors were grounded (except if needed for life or death emergencies), a usual precaution when reasons for the crash of a particular type of aircraft are not immediately clear. Though, two weeks after the crash, investigators had not pinpointed the exact cause, there was speculation that the grounding order would be lifted after extensive inspection of the remaining aircraft. Nevertheless, the loss of six personnel and the complete destruction of the aircraft dealt a significant blow to Canada's search and rescue capabilities.

The effects of the 2 October crash were compounded when the entire Sea King fleet was grounded on 15 October after a fuel leak had been discovered in one of these helicopters prior to a training flight. With the grounding of the Labrador fleet, it had been up to the Sea Kings, which have carried out rescue missions in the past when Labradors were not available, as well as the smaller Griffon helicopters, to carry out rescue missions requiring helicopters. (Hercules transports and other fixed-wing aircraft are also available for rescue missions.) Although by 18 October all but one of the Sea Kings had been inspected and the grounding order was rescinded, the grounding of both the Labradors and the Sea Kings highlighted concerns about their safety and their importance to Canada's rescue capabilities.

Canada is not alone in experiencing difficulties with aging helicopters. The U.S. Marine Corps operates another version of the Labrador called the Sea Knight, which is just as prone to breakdowns. However, the process to replace the Labradors has at least been initiated in Canada and the date when the new helicopters will arrive has been fixed. The situation is more uncertain with respect to the Sea Kings, whose replacement is still many years away. As a result, major modifications, including the replacement of the centre section of the airframe at a cost of $500,000 per aircraft, are being made to ensure that these helicopters will continue in service until 2005. The T-58 engines are also being upgraded by Acro Aerospace of Canada to improve their reliability as well as their performance. Some new equipment has also been purchased to improve the Sea Kings' ability to carry out surveillance and other military missions.

After a Sea King helicopter crashed on the 28 April 1994, killing two crew members, the Minister of National Defence...was asked during Question Period in the House of Commons if swift action would be taken to replace the aging aircraft. The minister replied on 5 May that well maintained Sea Kings should be able to keep flying until the year 2000. He indicated that, like other defence issues, the replacement of the Sea Kings was being examined as part of the review of defence policy and that a decision would be taken only after the process was completed.

In its report Security in a Changing World, issued on October 1, 1994, the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Canada's Defence Policy recommended early action on the purchase of new shipborne and rescue helicopters to replace the Sea Kings and Labradors. In his response to the report, dated 1 December 1994, the Minister of National Defence noted that virtually all the committee's recommendations were reflected in the 1990 Defence White Paper issued the same day. Indeed, the white paper noted that the options available for the replacement of the shipborne and rescue helicopters were currently under consideration.

Here is an interesting chronology. On June 26, 1986, treasury board approval was given for the start of project definition phase for new shipborne aircraft to replace the Sea Kings. On March 15, 1991, the Department of National Defence merged planning for NSA and new search and rescue helicopters. On April 30, 1992, a Labrador crashed in British Columbia during a rescue operation, killing one search and rescue technician. On October 8, 1992, the Canadian government signed contracts with E.H. Industries Ltd. and Paramax Canada for the delivery of 50 EH-101 helicopters to replace Sea Kings and Labradors. On February 27, 1993, a Sea King ditched in the gulf of Mexico after suffering an electrical systems failure.

I will inject here another relevant fact in this timeline. On April 3, 1993, the Toronto Star carried a quote from the then leader of the Liberal opposition in the House. He said, with reference to the Mulroney government's announced intention to replace the then already too aged military helicopters, “I am sure when the cabinet made that decision that day, probably all the ministers, not only Charest, Campbell, were smoking pot. It makes no sense when we see so much poverty in the streets”. That was the leader of the opposition of the day, now the Prime Minister.

Well there is still poverty in the streets. There is poverty in the military. Our good soldiers have had to line up at civilian food banks, and over in the Prime Minister's office the air is still cloudy. Probably it is smoke still rising from the machinery of government that went into overdrive when the Prime Minister decided that he and his cabinet needed brand new luxury flying Taj Mahals to get to the golf courses even faster than they did with the jets they had before, which obviously were in perfect flying order according to the military that said the planes were in great shape and did not need to be replaced.

Too bad that their priorities are out of order. That $100 million would have gone a long way to keep our military safe in new helicopters. It sent a tragic signal to a lot of people that the money they send here is treated a lot like sewage, something we want to get rid of as soon as possible.

I should mention too that we also spent $120,000 last year on golf balls and $15,000 on tees. I doubt too many of the solders overseas are getting golf balls and tees.

In November 1993 the new Liberal government announced the cancellation of contracts with E.H. Industries and Paramax Canada for EH-101s. On April 28, 1994, a Sea King crashed in New Brunswick killing two crew members and injuring two others. On August 18, 1994, the Sea King fleet was temporarily grounded for the inspection of fuel leaks.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:20 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

Jim Gouk Canadian Alliance Kootenay—Boundary—Okanagan, BC

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Our leader has gone to a tremendous amount of trouble to put together some very pertinent facts and I think it would be nice if there was a minimum quorum of Liberals in the House.

And the count having been taken:

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

We have quorum.The hon. the Leader of the Opposition.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:25 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, on April 28, 1994, the Sea King fleet was temporarily grounded for the inspection of fuel leaks following an emergency landing by one aircraft. On October 31, 1994, a report of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons of Canada Defence Policy recommended quick action on the acquisition of new shipborne and rescue helicopters. On December 1, 1994, the white paper on defence policy indicated that the government would go ahead with the replacement of the Sea Kings and Labradors in the near future.

On March 31, 1995, the Canadian government and Unisys GSG Canada, one of the prime contractors for the EH-101 contract, reached an agreement on the payment of $166 million as compensation for the work done by the company prior to the cancellation of the contract. On May 1, 1995, a Labrador based at CFB Greenwood in Nova Scotia made an emergency landing because of mechanical problems. On September 20, 1995, a Sea King made an emergency landing because of mechanical problems. On November 8, 1995, the government announced its intention to proceed with the acquisition of new search and rescue helicopters.

On November 9, 1995, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services announced an agreement in principle had been reached with EH Industries on the termination costs of the contract for the EH-101 airplanes.

On January 23, 1996, the government announced the termination costs for the contract with EH Industries for the EH-101 airplanes were $157.8 million. On March 8, 1996, the Minister of National Defence said the decision on the shipborne helicopter project would be deferred for an additional year. On August 23, 1996, three of Canada's fleet of helicopters were grounded, pending the inspection and repair of cracks found in the tail section of the air frame. On November 27, 1996, the government issued the request for proposals from aircraft manufacturers for the rescue helicopter project.

On January 13, 1997, a Labrador made a crash landing in the Georgia Strait after a fire had broken out on board. This was one of the most serious of several emergency landings made by Labradors and Sea Kings in late 1996 and early 1997. On May 5, 1997, four manufacturers met the deadline for proposals for the new rescue helicopter: Agusta-Westland, Boeing Helicopter and Sikorsky.

On January 5, 1998, the Minister of National Defence and the Minister of Public Works and Government Services announced that EH Industries had been selected to supply 15 Cormorants to replace the Labrador search and rescue helicopters. On April 23, 1998, the Department of National Defence announced the signing of the contract with EH Industries and a cost of delivery of 15 Cormorants at $580 million. On October 2, 1998, a Labrador helicopter 413 Squadron based at Greenwood, Nova Scotia, crashed in the Gaspé Peninsula, killing all six persons aboard. The remaining 12 Labradors were grounded as a precaution. On October 15, 1998, all 30 Sea Kings were grounded after the discovery of a fuel leak in one of the aircraft. All but one returned to flight operations on October 18.

Let us shift here and talk a little about the latest budget. From the point of view of the Department of National Defence and the Canadian forces, the federal budget is highly unsatisfactory. Although it professes to address the post-September 11 environment, it largely ignores the urgent requirements of an essential component of national security, namely, the armed forces. There are two main concerns.

Additional funding assigned to general military capabilities and to operational readiness comprises only $510 million over two years. Whereas annual shortfalls in the DND budget, computed by the auditor general and others, far exceed that sum. The manner in which funding for defence is presented lacks clarity and could be misleading for those interested in defence issues but not well informed on budget procedures.

In raw terms the budget allocates $1.2 billion to DND and its agencies over a five year period starting in fiscal year 2001-02 to 2006-07. Full details are available on the Department of Finance website,

Over a five year, plus this year, horizon amounts from the above are assigned as follows: expand anti-terrorist capacity, $119 million; nuclear biological chemical threats, $513 million; and contingency, $100 million. The balance is assigned over two years including this year as follows: supporting Canada's military, $510 million. That is $1.2 billion.

Members should note that the budget document, budget plan 2001, also includes $396 million for emergency preparedness which is on page 92 of the document. In fact this amount will be assigned to and disbursed by other departments and agencies and is not included in this analysis. Much the same applies to the $513 million for NBC threats although some of it will remain in DND.

The additional funding is useful but only $510 million is available for application to conventional military capabilities and the commitments assigned under the 1994 white paper on defence.

Moreover the $510 million is specifically assigned as follows and therefore not available to address the long list of short hauls in the operation readiness of the CFC and these have all been pointed out not only in this speech today but by the Auditor General of Canada.

Operation Apollo anti-terror coalition operations is $210 million, capital purchases $300 million. The funds for Operation Apollo have already been spent and will not contribute to stopping the decline of the operational readiness in the Canadian forces as a whole. The $300 million for capital purchases will be applied mainly to payments for projects already underway. For example, the lease to purchase payments for the new fleet of Victoria class submarines will relieve some pressure in future years in the DND capital program.

The expanded anti-terrorist capacity noted above refers to raising the strength of joint task force 2, JTF2, as well as providing it with appropriate equipment. Funding this new specific task will not alleviate the general malaise of the forces and in terms of the additional manpower requirements will impose further strains on an organization already pushed to the breaking point.

Recently a number of agencies issued reports and studies in which they analyzed the problems arising from the failure of the government to provide the funds necessary for DND and the Canadian forces to implement the policy set out in the 1994 white paper on defence. They were: the Royal Canadian Military Institute, the Federation of Military and United Services Institutes of Canada, the Conference of Defence Associations, Canadian Defence and Security in the 21st Century, and the House of Commons Standing Committee on National Defence and Veterans Affairs.

The government ignored what the committee of the House requested the House of Commons to do. I know the defence committee is one of those in which members work closely together because it is such an important issue for Canada. It is probably one of the most non-partisan committees where we work together as Canadians like foreign affairs. It made recommendations which have been ignored by the government. We should all be ashamed of that. The House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance has also made recommendations.

All of these reports and studies listed serious problems within the Canadian Forces arising inter alia from a lack of trained manpower, insufficient training, rusting out equipment and inadequate logistic support.

On December 7, 2001, the Auditor General of Canada issued her annual report. It verified and supported the findings of other reports listed above. In particular, it noted there was an ongoing deficit in the end operations and maintenance of $1.3 billion per annum. This meant that over a two year period DND would need $2.6 billion merely to clear the deficit as shown above. The 2001 federal budget provided only $510 million over two years. That amount is already spoken for in other areas.

In previous reports the auditor general identified an additional $6 billion to $10 billion over the next decade which would be needed for major equipment replacement. Yesterday in her report she talked about taking 30 years to catch up.

To date, DND has managed to survive by reprioritizing and reallocating resources. The so-called rob Peter to pay Paul approach, considering the failure of the 2001 budget to provide significant new funds, is no longer viable. It is therefore likely that a defence policy update scheduled for release in early 2002 will direct further downsizing of the Canadian forces, with associated elimination or reduction of combat capabilities.

The budget plan 2001 lacks clarity in addressing the above situation. For example, it sets out to illustrate incremental defence funding from 1999 to 2001. It provides information in a manner that could mislead the reader. The following statement from page 99 of the budget plan 2001 illustrates the point:

The $3.9 billion of new funding in the budgets of 1999 and 2000, together with the more than $1.2 billion of new funding in this budget, means that the government will have increased DND funding by $5.102 billion over the next five years.

The total of $5.102 billion is computed as follows: budget 1999, $550 million; budget 2000, $3.35 billion; and budget 2001, $1.202 billion.

It has already been shown in earlier paragraphs from this memo that only $510 million of the $1.202 billion allocated to DND budget 2001 would be available to support existing military capabilities of the Canadian forces. Moreover, this amount is designated in advance for specific purposes. The $550 million from the actions taken in budget 1999 is being applied to quality of life projects. It is very necessary, but not directly applicable to the rehabilitation of military capabilities.

It could also be critiqued in the same vein as illustrated in the next paragraph. It is, however, the totals of $3.35 billion shown for budget 2000 and the grand total which is 1999, 2000 and 2001 of $5.102 billion that are most questionable in the manner in which they are represented. The problem lies with confusion over approved rises in the base of the DND budget in a given year versus cumulative totals shown for succeeding years.

The first rise is indeed an increase in funding which raises the level of the budget base. However, the government refers to the ongoing insertion of the rise over a period of years as an investment. This may be correct, but there is also an implication that the level of the base has continued to rise past the first year. When that is not the case there are clear differences in meaning between the two terms, raise the base and total investment. These are explored in detail. Paragraph 2 on page 99 of the budget plan states:

This budget therefore commits substantial funding to enhance emergency response on preparedness. It allocates more than $1.6 billion over the next five years to improve the government's ability to detect, prevent and respond to threats, and to fund Canada's military participation in the international coalition against terrorism.

In conjunction with this quotation it should be noted that the form of budget 2001 is quite different from previous practice. Instead of making allocations directly to government departments and agencies, it assigns money to the number of agendas. DND and the Canadian forces are included in the security agenda. For this reason, most of the $1.6 billion would not be available for DND expenditure as already noted above for the emergency preparedness allotment.

Moreover, DND allocation funds are assigned to objects of expenditure in advance. Many are outside of the DND, for example, nuclear, chemical, and biological threats. The political intent of the above quotation may be interpreted as follows: to respond to public concerns regarding economic downturn and terrorism, to channel most of the new DND funds into local economies, and to deflect criticism by allies and analysts that the Canadian forces, including elements assigned to Operation Apollo, are not battle ready. Elsewhere the government has recognized this deficiency by stating that Operation Apollo would not be committed to combat operations.

We see that today in the operation announced by the Americans. There was nobody from Canada standing in that room and they were talking about defence for North America. We have no respect. We are losing it because the government has no respect for the military. It has no respect for the traditions of Canada in working with our allies to the south, our best friends and biggest traders. It is very unfortunate.

The results of budget 2001 indicate the operational readiness of the Canadian forces would continue to decline mainly as a result of underfunding. That is not just the opposition complaining which the opposition tends to do. It is the Auditor General of Canada, the one person we must respect who checks the books and keeps us in line. She said our military is in dire straits. We have ships with nobody to man them and officers without uniforms. The government can have fancy toilets in its jets, but Canadian soldiers do not get porta-potties over in Afghanistan.

As a result of underfunding there is a lack of trained manpower, the progressive rusting out of equipment and inadequate logistic support. The government does not intend to raise the defence expenditures above the level of 1.1% of GDP and therefore the policies stated in the 1994 white paper on defence would remain largely unaffordable in the context of government priorities.

We recommend the government initiate at once a broad national security review comprising a comprehensive public and parliamentary examination of Canada's needs in the realm of foreign and defence policy. At the conclusion of the process it should publish a new white paper on defence with a government commitment to adequate long term funding written into it. This process was recently undertaken and implemented in Australia. If we were to have a white paper, we must have the commitment from the government.

There is no sense in starting any studies unless the government says in advance that when this is done and it goes through a committee of the House of Commons that the government would support it with the necessary funds. That would right away improve the morale of our forces. Even if it took us a little while to get that done, at least they would know that we would sit down, put together a white paper that talked about where we would go in these areas and that the government would be committed to fully fund it after a full debate in committee and in the House.

The figures and explanations provided on page 99 of the budget plan document are most contentious in terms of misleading the reader and the public. To analyze them one must understand the basic framework of departmental budgets. The latter should be perceived in two parts: the foundation and a smaller superstructure, both of which exist for only one year and which must be rebuilt at the start of each new fiscal year.

The foundation is known as the base and the superstructure comprises sums of money added outside the base during the year. The complete structure is described in the annual departmental estimates. Recently, in the case of DND, the so-called fiscal framework budget, it is running about $9.5 billion per annum, and the estimates at about $11.5 billion. It is important that the DND budget base be set high enough to fund the commitments assigned to the Canadian forces in the 1994 white paper on defence.

An adequate budget base provides stability, allows coherent forward planning and keeps the Canadian forces in an effective state of operational readiness. If there were no federal budget to provide additional money to DND or if a given budget does not provide an additional allocation, then the central agency should build a base as it did in the previous year and, with approvals from cabinet, Treasury Board, Department of Finance and Privy Council Office, should add the superstructure as required, for example, in supplementary estimates for expenditures approved during the year.

The important point is that the base is made up of individual bricks, most comprising increases approved for the base in previous years. Hence, if a base increase is not approved in a given year, it must be inserted again in each succeeding year. Therefore it is only a real increase in defence funding the first year it appears. In succeeding years it is merely reinserted to keep the base at the approved level. Since the last base increase in budget 2000, this brick has become known as the program, integrity or sustainability.

For fiscal year 2000-01 it was set at $400 million. Since the additional funds allocated to DND in budget 2000 total $3.3 billion, including subsequent extrapolations out to fiscal year 2006-07, one may ask why the brick is only worth $400 million.

Part of the answer is that the $3.3 billion represents cumulative funding originally plus yearly insertions over that extended period in fiscal year 1999-2000. As well, other funds were designated and applied directly to such objects of expenditure as provincial disaster relief and the war in Kosovo. These and other factors meant that in the end, the brick of real new money applied to the base in the first year was only $400 million. A similar analysis could be applied to the brick for quality of life added in budget 1999 and amounting to $140 million.

On the other hand, the base raising brick of $400 million approved in budget 2000 has subsequently received approval to appreciate in a limited amount over the period to fiscal year 2007. This will raise the budget base incrementally during that period by an amount totalling $300 million. This means that between 2001 and 2007 the DND budget base will rise by $400 million plus $300 million for the equivalent of $700 million.

The government's interpretation of this situation differs from the above analysis. The government adds up all the bricks, the initial one plus the annual reinsertions in a cumulative fashion, and calls it a total investment in defence amounting to $5.1 billion. This could mislead those unfamiliar with budget procedures into believing that the government has made additions to the DND budget base when it has really only made insertions to the budget.

Using the government's logic, it could be said that the cumulative DND budget allocations for 2001 to 2007 totalling some $60 billion are also an investment in defence. The annual insertion of bricks serves to preserve the new level of money originally approved in any given budget, but afterwards it is not an increase in funding.

What is not acknowledged in the cabinet situation is the fact that the foundation is not large enough to address the annual ongoing DND deficit of $1.3 billion per annum identified by the auditor general in her report of December 2, 2001. What is required to resolve the severe underfunding problem within DND is the addition of a new and larger brick to the DND budget base in the order of $1 billion per annum in each of the next five years to bring the budget base up to a steady rate of some $14 billion to $15 billion. Until that happens, to use another analogy, any lesser increase in real funding will only serve to maintain life support systems rather than to cure the patient.

I would like now to quote a comment one of my colleagues, the hon. member for Lakeland, has raised in the House on many occasions:

While our men and women are risking their lives in the name of freedom, justice and democracy, it is incumbent on members of the House to provide support not only in our words and our hearts but more importantly through our actions. We must ask whether the government is doing enough to defend those who defend us. I must answer no to that question.

Canadians have been asking the same question. Not only the Canadian public but the government's own defence committee, military analysts from coast to coast, retired servicemen, the auditor general and even some of our allies have been urging Canada to provide a greater commitment to the military. The answer they all keep getting is no, the government is not committed to the military and is failing the men and women of the armed forces.

The military was virtually ignored in the December budget in spite of the fact it was called a defence and security budget.

The auditor general made it clear this week that we need a minimum of $2.2 billion a year to sustain the military at the current level and more to rebuild. The government offered less than 5% of that to the military. That is unacceptable. It shows the kind of commitment the government has made to the military. It is unacceptable to the men and women who put their lives on the line every day and who are certainly putting their lives on the line for our country in the mission in Afghanistan.

I will quote the Prime Minister's response to the criticism of people who care about the military. He said over the Christmas break “There is a bunch of guys who are lobbyists who are representing those who sell armaments, who tell you of course they will give you a better lunch if they had more comments”.

That was the Prime Minister's response when asked to comment on people who genuinely care about the military. It is shameful that our Prime Minister would point the finger and blame it on people who really care. Their only fault was pointing out what is really happening in the military.

I wonder who lobbied to get those two jets the Prime Minister needed so badly, those new fancy toilets in a jet that goes a little farther. I wonder who lobbied to sell the government the $174 million satellite dish that is sitting in a warehouse and which nobody is using. I wonder who lobbied to get all those grants that are going out with kickbacks to the Liberal Party.

The government has an absolutely shameful record on the military and is arrogant and corrupt. There are court cases right now with two people convicted in Quebec for doing things the wrong way with grants.

The government wants to knock anybody who talks about the realities of life. We continue to get the assurances of members of the government and the Minister of National Defence that the troops are well equipped for the mission. They say they have all the necessary resources to do their job and they are doing it safely. They say everything has been well planned and thought through and that the government has learned from past mistakes. These are the things we are told by the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence on a regular basis.

The reality is in the auditor general's report. It is too bad I am running out of time because I have a lot of pages from the auditor general's report. There is enough in it to talk for hours about the auditor general's report, about the waste in the government, not only in defence but in other departments. Is it not a shame that it takes the auditor general to tell the government not just last year, but this year it is even worse, what the government is not doing for our military.

It is time for a change in the country. It is time for a new younger vision, a younger leader and he will be sitting on this side after September 13. The country needs a change. It is so obvious by the auditor general's report. It is so obvious from the arrogance on the other side of the House.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:50 p.m.

An hon. member

Be careful of guys with white hair.

Committees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

5:50 p.m.

Canadian Alliance

John Reynolds Canadian Alliance West Vancouver—Sunshine Coast, BC

Mr. Speaker, a colleague over there said be careful of guys with white hair. I have white hair but I can say I am anxious because I have a party with young members in it, with ethnic diversity, with a new young leader who will excite the country and make sure our military is well funded.

He will bring us back the respect from our American allies and our friends around the world. The country is losing the respect we have had with our American colleagues. We need to build it back and we will build it back under the Canadian Alliance with Stephen Harper as the leader of our party.

I thank members in the House for listening. I hope all the Liberal members will go back to their cabinet colleagues to make sure they listen to what we have said today. Let us look after the people in our military the way they deserve to be looked after.

The House resumed from April 11 consideration of the motion that Bill C-344, an act to amend the Contraventions Act and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (marijuana), be read the second time and referred to a committee, and of the amendment.

Contraventions ActPrivate Members' Business

April 17th, 2002 / 5:50 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

It being 5.44 p.m., pursuant to order made on Wednesday, April 10, the House will now proceed to the taking of the deferred recorded division on the amendment to the motion at second reading stage of Bill C-344 under private members' business.

Call in the members.

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

Contraventions ActPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Bélair)

I declare the amendment carried.

The next question is on the main motion as amended. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?

Contraventions ActPrivate Members' Business

6:25 p.m.

Some hon. members