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House of Commons Hansard #133 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Bourassa has the floor.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, maybe the Minister of the Environment does not want to listen and that is why.

Finally this weekend the defence minister allowed us to understand why he was so reluctant to tell us when the Canadian mission in Afghanistan would end. He told us that he expects the Canadian Forces to be embroiled in violent conflict for the next 10 to 15 years. That sure is a long time. That is roughly as long as the Vietnam war.

If it is not in Afghanistan that we are bogged down in violent conflict for the next decade, the minister tells us that he will find other operation theatres to put all his new hardware to use. He suggests tanks in Darfur. Is this a new government policy?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

As has been said, Mr. Speaker, and as I have told the newspapers and TV, as I have told this Parliament, and as the Prime Minister has also confirmed, our military commitment in Afghanistan is to the end of February 2009. However, we have to plan for the long haul, for other possible ventures by other governments in other countries.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few days ago Le Devoir reported that Quebec will receive 30% of the economic spinoffs from the C-17 airplane contract, which is not nearly enough since Quebec was supposed to be receiving close to 60%. There were regional quotas associated with this contract even though we have been told a number of times in this House that there were not.

How could the Prime Minister say there were no regional quotas in the C-17 contract, when we find out that there were and that these quotas were added to the contract at Boeing's request, and not the government's?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, it is important to specify in this House, and to the leader of the Bloc Québécois, that we have confidence in Canada's aerospace companies. We also have confidence in Quebec's entrepreneurs in the aerospace companies. We are confident that they will be able to get their fair share of the contracts from the industrial spinoffs.

When we talk about figures or when it is a matter of specific minimum percentages, the most important thing to realize is that the real percentage is the one Quebec's entrepreneurs would like to have.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a Boeing spokesperson says the amount will be up to 30% and that it was Boeing that imposed this figure. However, we are still told there are no quotas. We are not being told the truth here. The worst part is that we were told there were no quotas, but now we know there are. We know they are 30% of the spinoffs, which is not nearly enough. There is more. This government told Boeing that 30% was too much for Quebec and that the limit should be 15%. There are quotas of 15%.

If this minister says the contrary, then I would like him to table the contract in this House so that we can see what happened. Whose interests is he serving?

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc Québécois lacks confidence in Quebec's entrepreneurs. They will be able to get their fair share of all the spinoffs from the military contracts.

I can kind of understand where the leader of the Bloc Québécois is coming from because, since March 26, the Bloc Québécois has been trying to determine its purpose here in Ottawa. Even people from the Parti Québécois are asking the Bloc Québécois to fold. The hon. member for Repentigny has said he is bored in the Commons.

On this side of the House, we are not bored and we are working in the interest of all Quebeckers.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Industry has said repeatedly that his government could do great things for Quebec. Well, military contracts are a sorry example of what it can do.

How can he explain to Quebeckers today that all his government is delivering to Quebec is 15% of military contract spinoffs when 60% of the aerospace industry is concentrated in Quebec? This is nothing less than a blatant injustice at the expense of Quebec's economy.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, Quebeckers know very well that the Bloc Québécois cannot do a thing for Quebeckers. It has been in opposition for 15 years, yet has not come up with any policy favouring Quebec. In fact, in its last election platform, the Bloc Québécois advocated cutting military spending. This military spending is what will pay for the contracts that will be awarded to aerospace companies in Montreal and Canada.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Paule Brunelle Bloc Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister can shout himself hoarse boasting about the decisions made by the Conservative government, but he cannot deny that the injustice done to Quebec is a very serious one. He should explain and justify how it is that this particular decision of the Conservative government will have 85% of aerospace contracts go to the rest of Canada, which accounts for merely 40% of the aerospace industry. If that is their idea of looking after Quebec, they do not deserve any congratulations.

Aerospace IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of Industry

Mr. Speaker, if I understand the Bloc Québécois' request correctly, they have not taken note of the last election. The people of Canada and Quebec said they had enough. They are fed up with patronage. On this side of the House, there will never be any patronage. They are asking us to engage in patronage.

We do not believe in patronage. We believe in Canadian businesses across the country being able to go and get their fair share of a contract, without the kind of patronage witnessed under the previous Liberal government.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, this government is provoking an escalation of Canada's commitment in Afghanistan by buying equipment and tanks without a debate and without Parliament's approval.

This government tends to increase the imbalance regarding this mission. The statements made by the Minister of National Defence are serious. It is truly a complete change of Canada's role in the world.

Does the Prime Minister not realize that the mission in Afghanistan is not working and that an escalation and an extension of the conflict are not the solution to this situation?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the mission in Afghanistan was approved by Parliament. It is an important mission for our national interests, for the United Nations and for the people of Afghanistan. It is a dangerous mission. We salute the sacrifices of our troops, who are working for us and for the population of Afghanistan.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, all Canadians support our troops, but the government is escalating the mission and it is lengthening the mission. The Minister of National Defence has now said that we could be involved in this kind of conflict for 15 more years.

We already know that the defence department has plans to extend the mission to 2011. When is the Prime Minister going to come clean on this? We know the Liberals got us into it without any plan, but that does not mean the government has to continue on that same path.

Canadians deserve an answer. For how much longer will our troops be committed to Afghanistan? The Prime Minister needs to tell us.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I will repeat again that this Parliament extended the military mission in Afghanistan to February 2009. If the government wants to extend it further, it will seek the approval of Parliament to do that.

That said, members of the Canadian Forces who are in Afghanistan are not escalating anything. They are there to defend our national interests and protect the population of Afghanistan. It is the Taliban who are committing violence against our troops and the Afghan people and this Parliament should be supporting our men and women in uniform.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, Canada's military commitment in Afghanistan is supposed to end in February 2009, but the government is now indicating that it has no intention of honouring that timeline.

Last week the Minister of National Defence suggested that Canadian troops could be withdrawn from Afghanistan by possibly as late as 2015, and the minister also admitted that cabinet had not even discussed an exit strategy.

Why can the minister not be clear with Canadians about how and when this mission will conclude?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I do not know where the hon. member got some of her information, because it is totally false. Our military commitment in Afghanistan is to the end of February 2009.

I will say it again for those who have not heard it: the end of February 2009.

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Liberal Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, if the end of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan is really going to be the end of February 2009, notice will need to be given in just nine months from now.

Are Canadians really supposed to believe that the government has not even discussed an exit scenario or is the minister simply softening up Canadians for an extension of this mission?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I will say it again: our commitment is the end of February 2009.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, a revealing report from the Ontario ombudsman shows how the government has failed the families of service personnel at CFB Petawawa.

The dramatic increase in the number of Canadians killed over the past year has caused children at the base to suffer extreme emotional distress out of fear for the safety of their parents, so I ask the minister, how can he plan to extend their parents' mission indefinitely when he is only offering one time funding to support services for these children?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I find it outrageous that the member is playing with the soldiers' commitment to Afghanistan and their families. I have said a number of times that our commitment is to the end of February 2009.

On the matter of looking after the families in Petawawa, we have transferred $100,000 to the Ontario government, which has full responsibility for this matter.

I would ask that member to stop playing with the lives of families.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Albina Guarnieri Liberal Mississauga East—Cooksville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the children of our military personnel should not need an ombudsman or a lobbyist to get what they need from their government. Families of military personnel on all Canadian bases have close ones in Afghanistan.

When will the government act to ensure that children on every military base have equal access to mental health care, before they suffer from the stress generated by Canada's most dangerous mission in 50 years?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Parry Sound—Muskoka Ontario

Conservative

Tony Clement ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario

Mr. Speaker, this government supports the children of military families.

I suggest the hon. member refer to budget 2007 which makes it clear that not only as the hon. member indicated we are supporting directly with operational funding, but we also have in the budget five new operational stress injury clinics to be located where military forces are to help the children, the families and the members involved in the military. That is the commitment of this government to the military of Canada.

AfghanistanOral Questions

April 16th, 2007 / 2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, defence representatives for countries present in southern Afghanistan met in Quebec City last week to discuss Afghanistan and military issues.

Did the Minister of National Defence take this opportunity to inform his allies that Canada's deadline for involvement in Afghanistan is February 2009, and that is that?