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House of Commons Hansard #81 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was spam.

Topics

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has told his story three times, and changed it with every version.

The first time, he did not talk about contracts at the cocktail fundraiser with anyone involved in construction.

The second time, he simply congratulated the contractor who organized the cocktail fundraiser on winning a contract.

Now the minister is changing his story again and admits that he discussed the contracting process with another company to which he later granted $650 million in contracts.

Which of the three versions is true and which two are false?

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Natural Resources

Mr. Speaker, as I have already stated in this House and I will say again: there was no discussion of any contracts at that event. Congratulating someone on doing business with the federal government and referring someone to a department because he or she had some questions about the tendering process do not constitute discussions about a contract. If the opposition is insinuating that any irregularities have taken place in the awarding of government contracts, my response to that is no.

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, he discussed the process for the awarding of contracts with a company to which he then awarded contracts. We have not heard the last of this.

How can Canadians believe the minister after he has changed his story three times?

How can Canadians believe the government when it has repeatedly denied its links to long-time Conservative operative, Gilles Varin, who took a $140,000 cut on the West Block contract? Now a second construction firm is walking off the West Block site and again the RCMP has been called in.

What will it take? How many other versions will the minister have to go through before they put him out of his misery and fire him?

Minister of Natural ResourcesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated before for the member and the House, no members of this government are part of this inquiry. In fact, the Government of Canada has no contractual relationship with the company that is mentioned. This is a dispute between two private entities.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has offered to end the federal spending power. The Minister of Finance will no longer guarantee federal health transfers. The member for Beauce wants to give tax points to the provinces in place of transfers. If the federal spending power is eliminated by giving tax points or otherwise, the Canada Health Act would be no more. It would be history.

What does the Minister of Health think about this issue?

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to the universal public health care system and we will continue to work with the provinces and territories to ensure that they have the necessary resources to deliver health care to their residents.

We have also increased the transfers to the provinces and territories by 6%, to an all-time high of $25.4 billion, so that they can continue to meet the health care needs of their residents.

HealthOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Ujjal Dosanjh Liberal Vancouver South, BC

Mr. Speaker, let me try the Prime Minister.

The leadership candidate from Beauce is parading the firewall federalism nonsense that our charter of health care, the Canada Health Act, violates the Canadian Constitution. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Will the Prime Minister stand in the House today and publicly rebuke the member for Beauce? If not, were the remarks of the leadership candidate from Beauce pre-authorized?

HealthOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not know what leadership he is referring to.

This government strongly supports the Canada Health Act, and we have always held that position.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Natural Resources has offered up a third explanation for his presence at a cocktail fundraiser attended by major construction contractors. The minister now admits he talked business with a real estate developer at a fundraiser, even though he had denied having done so.

Will the minister finally admit he used a Conservative Party cocktail fundraiser to discuss government contracts with a contractor who later won lucrative contracts?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let me be very clear. The minister acted entirely appropriately. When an individual approached him and notified him of the fact that he had been awarded a government contract, he congratulated him. When an individual came forward and made an inquiry about an upcoming contract, he did the right thing and referred the individual to a non-partisan public servant.

If the member opposite wants to insinuate that there is anything improper here, the answer would of course be no, nothing is.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Carole Freeman Bloc Châteauguay—Saint-Constant, QC

Mr. Speaker, after this cocktail fundraiser at which the former minister of public works and government services passed the hat, Joseph Broccolini won at least three federal contracts worth a total of more than $650 million to construct federal buildings.

How can the former minister of public works and government services deny that government suppliers are being asked to fund the Conservative Party, just as they were under Alfonso Gagliano?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, as I have indicated, a fairness monitor oversaw this process and has tabled reports that are available online. In her summary, she says that decisions were made “objectively, free from personal favouritism and political influence, and encompasses the elements of openness, competitiveness, transparency and compliance”.

JusticeOral Questions

October 18th, 2010 / 2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, separation of church and state is a fundamental principle in our society. However, a decision by the highest court in Ontario might allow women to testify in court wearing a full veil.

Will the Minister of Justice take the necessary measures to prevent individuals from testifying in court with their faces covered for religious reasons?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, there certainly was a great religious moment in the province of Quebec and across Canada and that was the canonization by the Catholic Church of Brother André. We can all celebrate that. That is one thing on which we can all agree.

The administration of justice is conducted at the provincial level, and I think that is the appropriate place to deal with that.

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Claude DeBellefeuille Bloc Beauharnois—Salaberry, QC

Mr. Speaker, I get the impression that the minister did not fully understand the question. I will start again.

It is the same thing as voting while wearing a veil. The government promised to force all electors to vote with their faces uncovered. Three years later, nothing has been done. In the next general election, individuals will be able to vote without anyone being able to verify their identity.

When will the government admit it does not make sense to allow an individual to testify in court or to vote without allowing anyone to see their face to validate their identity?

JusticeOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Niagara Falls Ontario

Conservative

Rob Nicholson ConservativeMinister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Mr. Speaker, this is very interesting coming from the Bloc Québécois, in as much as the administration of justice is within provincial jurisdiction. If I understand the hon. member correctly, she wants the federal government to take over that. That would come as a surprise in her province.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the secrecy surrounding the fighter jets has raised a number of questions to which we have not received any answers. Canadians want to know what role the government has in mind for these jets, and what capabilities they should have.

What do we get instead? A table of contents of the needs, while the rest of the document is hidden on the desk of the Minister of National Defence. When will the government announce a transparent competition, and make public the specific needs?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member had several opportunities to ask that question in committee.

We have had a very open discussion about this for some time. In fact, this entire process goes back to 1997, when the previous Liberal government entered into a process to replace what will be a 40-year-old aircraft by the time we get to the year 2020. In addition to the importance of supporting the military, it also supports Canadian aerospace.

I know the member opposite also received a letter today that talks about that, from Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters and the aerospace industry, wherein it is stated that the JSF program is the largest advanced technology opportunity ever presented to the Canadian aerospace industry.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about the largest military purchase in Canadian history with no transparency and no public competition.

The parliamentary secretary falsely claimed that Boeing, for example, was unable to lower its price when everyone knows that an open competitive process lowers the price across the board.

What proof does the government have that the F-35 provides the lowest cost at the best value to Canadian taxpayers when even the Pentagon thinks the costs are out of control? Why will the government not make any of this information public?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that was a fact-free question. This process goes back many years. It goes back to a time when the member opposite was, wait for it, the parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence. In 2003, he had this to say:

Our cooperation with the United States, for example on joint strike fighters has earned Canadian companies substantial industrial benefits.

At that time he was for the process and wanted to replace the aircraft. Now he has changed his position. We will not play politics on the backs of the military. We are going to replace--

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order. The hon. member for Halifax West.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, taxpayers will pay the price for the government's insistence on sole sourcing the $16 billion stealth fighter contract. The lack of competition will result in billions of dollars being squandered and lost business opportunities. That is the evidence of expert Alan Williams, who contradicted every falsehood the government has used to defend this sole-source contract.

Why not hold an open competition so we can get the best plane for the best price?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, putting aside some of the rhetoric, we are doing just that. We are getting the best aircraft at the best price. We are in fact ensuring that by the year 2020 the brave pilots and the men and women of the Canadian Forces will have a fifth generation fighter aircraft to help them do their jobs. However, let us listen to a real expert, not the member opposite. Let us listen to top Canadian Forces pilot André Deschamps, chief of the air staff, who said:

In summary, the F-35 Lightning II will provide Canada with the greatest probability of mission success, and the greatest probability for our men and women will survive, returning safely from their missions.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians have had enough of the Prime Minister's attempts to smear anyone who questions the F-35 contract.

Alan Williams was in charge of defence procurement for seven years. He wrote the book on it. On October 7, he testified:

Undertaking sole-source deals leaves the procurement process more vulnerable to fraud, bribery, and behind the scenes deal-making....

Maybe that is why the Conservatives are afraid of a fair and open competition.

Who are we supposed to believe, a defence expert or a defensive Prime Minister and Minister of National Defence?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have been listening to the lecturing and the harping of the member opposite who was part of a government that cancelled the maritime helicopter program, and 17 years later we are still flying that aircraft.

Let us listen to a current expert, Dan Ross, who is the assistant deputy minister for materiel. He said that officials looked at that and with their colleagues in Public Works asked was it sufficiently transparent, was that sufficiently rigorous, fair and open and obviously did it deliver the solution that here in 2010 was the most appropriate solution.

That is what the current assistant deputy minister for materiel is saying. I will take his word.