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House of Commons Hansard #5 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was federal.

Topics

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, there have been indications that the oxygen canister system in the submarine fleet may be potentially unsafe and a possible source of fire.

Will the minister confirm that this is true? If so, was corrective action taken to ensure the oxygen system was modified to make it safe before HMCS Chicoutimi went to sea?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I could not speak to a specific system on board the ship. All I can tell the hon. member is what I said earlier. The captain of the ship, the experts of the naval staff and the British suppliers went through every piece of equipment on the ship on sea trials and on land. They worked with it and examined it minutely. And, no, any decision to put to sea was only made after it was confirmed that this ship was seaworthy and ready to go to sea.

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, Quebec's minister for economic and regional development, Michel Audet, is asking the federal government to help Bombardier, which just announced the elimination of 1,400 jobs in Montreal.

Will the Prime Minister commit now to helping Bombardier by implementing a clear aerospace policy, as the Quebec government has requested, so that the company can develop the new aircraft that it needs and create jobs?

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as was announced by the industry and international trade ministers, we intend not only to initiate a complete study, but to develop a strategy for the Canadian aerospace industry. This is a very fundamental industry in which Canada has had huge success, and it is our intention to maintain this level of success.

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier, QC

Mr. Speaker, in order to maintain a level of success, we should definitely encourage exports.

Over the past three years, Canada has funded 41% of Bombardier's deliveries of regional aircraft, while during the same period, Brazil funded in excess of 80% of the deliveries of Embraer, which is Bombardier's direct competitor. The difference is obvious.

When will the federal government increase its funding for business exports to the level of our competition, a measure that would greatly help Bombardier, not only with its regional jets, but also with all its current and future products, since we must keep the future in mind?

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Willowdale Ontario

Liberal

Jim Peterson LiberalMinister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, we fully agree with the hon. leader of the Bloc Quebecois that the aerospace industry is very important to Canada. This is why, in the past, we have supported its exports and sales. We will continue to work with this key industry for our country.

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, in June, as we know, the government announced a $500 million program to help the Ontario automotive industry. Of that amount, $200 million was allocated to GM and $100 million to Ford. As recently as September 27, the Minister of Transport was quoted as saying:

The aerospace industry is to Quebec what the automotive industry is to Ontario.

If that is so, what is keeping the federal government from now announcing an aerospace industry support policy similar to its program for the automotive industry?

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

11:20 a.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, I have been meeting with members of the aerospace industry in Canada. I have been meeting with the union leadership. I am having discussions with provincial governments. We are accelerating the development of an aerospace strategy for Canada that would include, of course, dealing with Bombardier issues, but it would be broader and it would extend to the aerospace industry across the country.

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Paul Crête Bloc Rivière-Du-Loup—Montmagny, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the key elements in aerospace research assistance at this time is the Technology Partnerships Canada program. There is no need to wait any longer, except that, unfortunately, the existing program is underfunded.

What is keeping the government from allocating a substantial increase in funding to this program, thereby enabling Bombardier to develop its new line of aircraft?

Aerospace IndustryOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Vancouver Kingsway B.C.

Liberal

David Emerson LiberalMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the technology partnership program is under review. It is part of an overall program review in the Government of Canada. We will ensure that the programs that are necessary to create a competitive aerospace industry are in fact in place.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, as the Prime Minister prepares to visit Russia, I would like to ask him about the comments of the Russian ambassador to Canada last week. The ambassador indicated that he opposed the missile defence plan. One reason he gave was that the plan would involve the weaponization of space and that he had been briefed by American officials accordingly.

The U.S. is clear on its plans. Russia is clear on the U.S.'s plans as well. The U.S.'s plans are clear for all to see.

Does the Prime Minister think that the Russian ambassador was telling the truth about George Bush's plans to weaponize space?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the government has made it very clear that we are opposed to the weaponization of space. That is our position and I have made it very clear in discussions with the President, as I know the Minister of Foreign Affairs has with his counterparts and as we have through the defence channels as well. I have also been assured that the anti-ballistic missile system that is being put in place does not involve the weaponization of space.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the Prime Minister does not believe that the Russian ambassador is telling the truth. It is clear that he does not want to come clean on the relationship between missile defence and the weaponization of space despite all evidence to the contrary, coming from sources that are as credible as can be found. The weaponization of space is not the only reason to oppose missile defence.

Does the Prime Minister not believe that this new weapon system will cause a new arms race, cost billions and will not work? These are all good reasons to say no to George Bush. Why do we not--

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The right hon. Prime Minister.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

LaSalle—Émard Québec

Liberal

Paul Martin LiberalPrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I believe it is very important in terms of our relationship with any country that the record be very clear. I know that the hon. member did not mean to allege that the Russian ambassador was not telling the truth. I certainly am prepared to believe the Russian ambassador as I am prepared obviously to believe any ambassador when they state their country's position or what they understand to be the facts.

What I am saying is that Canada opposes the weaponization of space. The Americans have told us that the current anti-ballistic system that is under investigation does not involve the weaponization of space.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey Conservative North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, through access to information recently, we received an urgent defect report pertaining to the Victoria class submarines which outlined a very dangerous situation involving the oxygen canisters and their potential to self-ignite and cause great damage to the submarine. This report, which was produced by DND, recommends to remove the cartridges locker from the motor room with a fitted approved flooding arrangement. It says that the current locker is unacceptable and that its situation is a class-wide issue.

Prior to setting to sea did the Chicoutimi have these--

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

The Speaker

The hon. Minister of National Defence.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I cannot speak to any specific equipment on board the Chicoutimi . I can tell the hon. member that like himself I have visited the HMCS Windsor and I have seen the oxygen producing equipment to which he is referring to on that ship.

As I said earlier, the captain of this ship and the naval command were concerned about all the security aspects of the ship and would not have allowed it to put to sea if they had not been satisfied that all aspects of the equipment on the ship were secure and the personnel were in the best possible position in the security of this ship before it put to sea.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey Conservative North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, it is hard to believe the minister does not have an answer for that question.

The captain of the Victoria feared for his ship when he first reported this situation. This urgent report came out last October recommending these changes. I raised the issue of these cartridges in the House on March 9.

How can the minister not know about this safety issue which affects the lives of our sailors on our submarines?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the captain of the Chicoutimi himself raised security concerns prior to the ship leaving. The House can be assured that the reason he did that was that he assured himself that those security concerns were answered before his ship left port. That is why they are raised by these competent naval personnel.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

October 8th, 2004 / 11:30 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, on February 18 of this year the Prime Minister told the House that the government was “quite prepared to have cabinet documents pertinent to the sponsorship inquiry released to the public accounts committee”. The Prime Minister failed to keep his word.

This week we learned that 10 million documents that were given to the Gomery inquiry were not given to the public accounts committee before the election. How can Canadians trust a Prime Minister who says one thing and fails to deliver on his word when it comes to accountability?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the government cooperated fully with the committee. It also set up an independent commission. The commission will investigate whatever it feels it has to investigate. It has the mandate to do that.

I invite my hon. colleague to be patient. Let the commission do its work, draw its conclusions and make its recommendations, after which the government will act.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

James Moore Conservative Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam, BC

Mr. Speaker, we are not talking about the Gomery inquiry, but the public accounts committee with which this the Prime Minister promised to cooperate.

One of the cabinet documents just released shows that the sponsorship program was not about national unity but about helping the Liberals get votes in Quebec. How can Canadians trust a Prime Minister who on the one hand was saying he was mad as hell, but on the other hand was busy as hell hiding the truth from Canadians?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa—Vanier Ontario

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger LiberalDeputy Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the committee did not even want to make a report. We cooperated with the committee. The government established a commission minutes after the Auditor General's report was tabled in the House.

We invite the opposition to let the commission do its work, draw its conclusions, make its recommendations and the government will act on them.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Monique Guay Bloc Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, the four submarines purchased by Canada making the headlines is nothing new. In 1988, the testing of the Upholder , the current HMCS Chicoutimi , revealed construction defects, and the matter was even debated in the British House of Commons in 1989.

Could the Minister of National Defence tell us if this was known to him before the four submarines were purchased?