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House of Commons Hansard #129 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was defence.

Topics

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Wascana Saskatchewan

Liberal

Ralph Goodale LiberalMinister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member and all members of the House of Commons and all members of the public of Canada can be absolutely assured that in this matter all commitments made by the Liberal Party of Canada will be fully and completely honoured.

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Pauline Picard Bloc Drummond, QC

Mr. Speaker, according to our estimates, the amount of dirty money from which the Liberal Party of Canada benefited is not $750,000 but $5.4 million.

That being the case, ought the government not ensure that there is at least $750,000 of dirty money in that trust account?

Sponsorship ProgramOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Don Valley West Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure and Communities)

Mr. Speaker, that is the reason for the Gomery commission. We will know the exact amounts when its report comes out on November 1. We will then do what is necessary based on that.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the Minister of National Defence and it concerns Canadian policy in Afghanistan with respect to the handing over of captives, whether that be to the Americans or to the Afghan government.

I wonder if the Minister of National Defence could tell us how the Canadian government intends to ensure that Canadian troops are not in violation of Geneva conventions. Does he intend to work with NGOs, such as the Red Cross and Amnesty International, to make sure that Canada is not in violation of these conventions?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, absolutely. I appreciate the hon. member's question. I treat this issue very seriously.

Hon. members in the House should know that if we take prisoners in Afghanistan, some are released immediately because they are of no interest whatsoever. Any who are kept, because of suspicion of being involved in terrorist or other activity, are treated by Canada and by our Canadian troops in accordance with all standards of humanitarian and international law. When they are then turned over to either Afghan or American authorities, the Red Cross is notified in accordance with conventions so it can take the inspections. Members of the House have heard the assurances of the American government and others that prisoners will be properly treated in accordance with humanitarian standards.

HousingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Bill Blaikie NDP Elmwood—Transcona, MB

Mr. Speaker, we know that the Americans sometimes take a rather creative approach to international law, so I would urge the Minister of National Defence to keep his eye on the situation.

While Canadian troops are putting themselves in danger in Afghanistan, we find out that many of their families back here at home are also in danger because they are being compelled to live in Zonolite infested homes on base. Last night there was a program about a woman whose husband is in Afghanistan.

Could the minister assure us that he will look into this particular case and others, and get these families into decent housing?

HousingOral Question Period

11:25 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the member's interest in this issue and his general interest in the welfare of the families of our troops. I will work with him and other members of the committee to ensure that.

This Zonolite issue is something we have attacked very proactively. We are inspecting houses. We are scientifically looking at how we can manage this. We are shutting in those areas where they should be shut in. We are demolishing those houses which have to be demolished.

I am not aware of the specific case the hon. member referred to me, but I assure him and members of the House that I will refer it to the agency. I will request immediate information about the disposition of this matter and I will report back.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, the technology partnerships audit of 33 companies has been completed and 11 were found to be in breach of contract. The industry minister was informed of this on September 16. That was two weeks ago and yet the minister refuses to reveal the details of those audits.

For two weeks the results of those audits have been kept hidden from this Parliament. Who are the 11 involved? Was Mr. Dingwall one of the 11 or was he not? How much money was kicked back? In the interest of transparency, when will the minister tell the House?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the minister has acted totally responsibly. He will not start naming companies here in the House of Commons. However, he has said there will be zero tolerance in any breakage of any rules that are there. Every penny will be recouped by the government if any violations occurred.

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Michael Chong Conservative Wellington—Halton Hills, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister could save himself a lot of headache and a lot of heartache by simply coming clean on who the 11 are and how much money was kicked back. We will continue to ask the question until it is answered. There are 11 more David Dingwalls out there. The public deserves to know who they are, what these breaches were, and how much money was kicked back.

When will the government come clean on these illegal activities? Who received these kickbacks? How much did they get?

Technology Partnerships CanadaOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Chatham-Kent—Essex Ontario

Liberal

Jerry Pickard LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is really unfortunate that the party opposite is trying to criticize the government. The fact is that this government put audits in place. It worked with the Auditor General. It worked with public sector audits to ensure any public misuse of money was recovered and identified. We will ensure there is zero tolerance with it. It is very important for all Canadians to understand the strong responsibility this government shows for public funds.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, abandoning competition, the minister is seeking sole source procurement of Chinook and Hercules aircraft as well as 16 army requirements for Afghanistan totalling billions of dollars. Incredibly, the request for the aircraft is going forward without an approved statement of requirement. The minister is seeking billions of dollars without competition on the basis of someone's personal preferences. This is simply unacceptable.

Without open competition and proper documentation, how do Canadians know they are getting the best equipment and price?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, obviously, the hon. member knows more than Canadians know and more than I know because I have not yet brought any proposal forward for the acquisition of this equipment. I suggest he is rushing his fences a bit on this one. He should wait at least until we have a proposal to make before deciding to criticize us and on what basis.

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Lanark, ON

Mr. Speaker, the minister is bringing the thing forward to the PMO on Monday. I am tired of the usual huffing and puffing from the minister. He usually blames a staffer or CDS for his decisions. It is his decision.

This abnormal rush to sole source equipment for Afghanistan confirms that the Liberals made a politically charged decision to commit troops to a high risk mission without ensuring they were properly equipped. This is despicable politics. This sole source is political damage control that will cost Canadians billions without a guarantee of effective cost and performance.

Is this the seed for a future Auditor General's investigation?

National DefenceOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Toronto Centre Ontario

Liberal

Bill Graham LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, huffing and puffing is one thing, but whistling and sucking is another. The hon. member cannot accuse me of rushing through procurement to get the things we need for our troops and at the same time accuse me of sending the troops out without the equipment.

Of course I am trying to get them the best equipment. This is a multinational mission. There will be other nations there with the equipment. The Chief of the Defence Staff has said that when we go in February our troops on this mission will be one of the best equipped and best led missions of all the multinational forces in Afghanistan, and that will be so.

David DingwallOral Question Period

11:30 a.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, this week, the president of the Treasury Board and the Minister of National Revenue came to the defence of their friend David Dingwall, the man who managed to offload on the Royal Canadian Mint a bill for $750,000 for miscellaneous expenses related to accommodation and his BMW. Yesterday, the minister responsible for the Royal Canadian Mint seemed open to the idea of David Dingwall receiving severance pay.

Does the Minister of National Revenue not agree that after living like a king at the Royal Canadian Mint, David Dingwall does not deserve any severance pay?

David DingwallOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, there is no evidence that Mr. Dingwall broke the rules on spending. All his expenses were audited by the board. What is more, the board is hiring two outside parties to reassess the situation.

It is common practice to give severance pay for such positions, both in the private sector and the public sector. The government, through the Privy Council Office, will assess the situation. No decision has yet been made, however.

David DingwallOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Odina Desrochers Bloc Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière, QC

Mr. Speaker, does the Prime Minister, who wanted to distance himself from the Chrétien-Gagliano legacy, not realize that by continuing to defend Liberal cronies like David Dingwall he is becoming their accomplice?

David DingwallOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Markham—Unionville Ontario

Liberal

John McCallum LiberalMinister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, that was not a new question. I have already said that he broke no rules. The board at the Royal Canadian Mint is hiring two highly credible outside parties to re-examine the policy in order to determine whether Mr. Dingwall complied with it and whether parts of it should be changed.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

September 30th, 2005 / 11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Alain Boire Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, after the sponsorship scandal, after the Dingwall affair, now it is the turn of several departments to suffer because of this government's inaction, as computer theft is skyrocketing and deceased employees continue to be issued pension cheques.

In the face of such troubling revelations, what does the government intend to do to put an end to this squandering?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Don Valley West Ontario

Liberal

John Godfrey LiberalMinister of State (Infrastructure and Communities)

Mr. Speaker, obviously, we will continue to improve our systems. We will make sure that, when new programs are initiated, any form of imperfection is removed. We are learning from our mistakes, but just the same, we will improve our systems.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Alain Boire Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, the list keeps getting longer and longer. After the Ouellets, the Dingwalls, and now the Taddeos, it is obvious that the criteria governing crown corporations need to be seriously tightened.

What is the government waiting for to mandate the Auditor General to conduct an investigation into all the practices of crown corporations?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, this is precisely the problem we have on this issue. We have made that change earlier this year. The Auditor General is now the auditor for all crown corporations, with the exception of the Bank of Canada which has a very specific regime embedded in its legislation.

We have extended access to information to crown corporations. We have required strengthened audit regimes. We have independent reporting of the internal audit to the board. We have required the boards to put in place clearly defined rules of procedure for both the oversight of management and the operation, and it goes on.

There are 31 items on the list. It has been regarded as state of the art in the country. The private sector has said we have raised the bar in corporate governance. The Prime Minister has done a superb job in improving the management of our crown corporations.

Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Conservative

Bill Casey Conservative North Nova, NS

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of National Defence wants a soldier to go to Afghanistan, he takes all the time in the world to take applications from every province in the country.

When the minister has a good safe job in Ottawa, such as the one he is advertising today that requires an expert in seamanship equipment, that safe job is restricted to only those people with postal codes around Ottawa.

I want the minister to explain to the people of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Alberta and Manitoba, and every other province why they are good enough to go to Afghanistan and risk their lives, but they are not good enough to work in Ottawa?

Public ServiceOral Question Period

11:35 a.m.

Winnipeg South Manitoba

Liberal

Reg Alcock LiberalPresident of the Treasury Board and Minister responsible for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the member has been raising this issue consistently. There was a discussion about some way that we could fix this process for lower level positions. The point he makes is a very important one and I agree with him completely. For the more senior levels of the public service there should be national competitions.

I can tell the member that I have spoken to the President of the Public Service Commission about this. She has been, as I told him before, working on this and I think he can expect an announcement on this shortly.