House of Commons Hansard #156 of the 39th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was chair.

Topics

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Chair, I am happy to tell the House that it was to recruit new applicants to the Canadian Forces, the regular forces. The key target group was men aged 18 to 24. How many new applicants were there during the first quarter of this year?

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, the member opposite may think she is smart. She is asking detailed questions that will take some time for me to provide the answers.

I do not maintain every figure in my head for every detail in the department. We have about 110,000 employees and we spend $17 billion.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Chair, the minister is accompanied by experts from the armed forces and from his ministry. They are there to provide him with every detail that he requires. If they do not have them, then they are not properly prepared.

I can tell the minister how many new applicants there were according to his own department documents. There were 11,600 in the first quarter of this year.

Would the minister be in a position and is he smart enough—

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gary Goodyear Conservative Cambridge, ON

Come on.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

He just said he thought I thought I was pretty smart, so I am turning it back on him. Is he smart enough to tell us what percentage of those 11,600 new applicants were visible minorities?

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, I must point out that there may be staff representatives here, but they were asked questions within 30 or 60 seconds and we cannot immediately get the answers.

When I can, I will provide the member with the answer.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Am I then to presume, Mr. Chair, that the minister is also unable to tell us what percentage of these 11,600 new applicants were aboriginal, what percentage were women and what percentage were from the official language minority, which is francophone?

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, when I can, I will provide the member with those details.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Chair, is the minister in a position to tell us just what was the enrolment for regular forces in the first quarter of this year?

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

8:55 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, when I have these details, all the details that the member opposite has asked for, she will be provided with them.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Marlene Jennings Liberal Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine, QC

Mr. Chair, can the minister tell us when will defence public affairs unveil its comprehensive communications plan to inform Canadians and expand their understanding of the Canadian Forces mission in Afghanistan?

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, this is not the primary responsibility of the defence department. It is a government-wide communications plan.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Chair, I know the minister is aware of ITAR. ITAR is an American regulation that prevents Canadians who were born in certain countries from working on contracts that were paid for by Canadians through the Canadian government.

We heard reports that the federal government had signed a deal with the American government to exempt Canadians who work with the department. Is that accurate?

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, today I announced that an arrangement has been made between the defence department, DND, and the U.S. state department that controls the ITARs in the United States. Under that arrangement the Americans will accept any person that DND declares has the proper security clearance for receiving information without caveats.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

May 17th, 2007 / 9 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Chair, does that also include Canadians who work in the private sector?

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, this is the first step. We are working on a process with the Americans where step by step, department by department and then into industry we are getting the Americans to change their approach to ITARs. This is the very first step. The defence department now has an arrangement with the U.S. government.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Chair, I wonder if the minister agrees that ITAR violates our Constitution which guarantees equal rights to all Canadians. ITAR currently creates two classes of Canadian citizenship.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, I am pleased to have this arrangement starting with the defence department which will eventually solve this entire problem.

We agree that it is a problem. We agree that it violates our charter. We are working now in a practical way to make sure that this goes away.

The primary department that is responsible for ITARs is foreign affairs, so if you want more details on ITARs and what is going to happen, you will have to talk to the foreign affairs minister.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Minister, ITAR covers contracts that were signed by your department. It includes employees--

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

The Assistant Deputy Chair Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. I have let a few of these slip by so far, but I am going to remind both the minister and the member to address their comments through the Chair.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Chair, it includes employees who work for the minister's department, employees who work for contractors who are working for his department. Therefore, it is the responsibility of the defence minister.

I am curious. If he is admitting that it violates our Constitution, why is the minister ignoring the needs of those Canadians who work for the private sector?

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, we live in a world of practicalities. We live in a world where we have to make things better and we are making things better.

At the defence department now, all employees of the defence department, if they have the proper security clearance, will not be subject to the limitations of ITARs.

The Government of Canada is working to try to overcome the situation. By the way, this did not just appear this year. This has been with us for decades. Your government through 13 years of reign never did anything to correct it.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

The Assistant Deputy Chair Conservative Andrew Scheer

Again, please address comments through the Chair. The hon. member for Mississauga—Erindale.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Liberal

Omar Alghabra Liberal Mississauga—Erindale, ON

Mr. Chair, this problem has arisen by the large amounts of contracts that the defence department had signed over the last year.

If the minister is admitting that it violates the charter, there is no practicality in violating our charter. You cannot tolerate breaking our charter, so why are you leaving Canadians out in the cold who are working for the private sector, for contracts that are paid for by them? Canadians paid for those contracts and the government must protect their rights.

National Defence—Main Estimates 2007-08Business of SupplyGovernment Orders

9 p.m.

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor Conservative Carleton—Mississippi Mills, ON

Mr. Chair, it is not true that it is as a result of recent acquisitions. It has been around for decades and the previous government ignored it for decades. Year after year the Liberals ignored it. They should be answering for this, not us.

We are cleaning up the mess. We are getting the job done.