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House of Commons Hansard #87 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was privacy.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:15 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the Auditor General for the incredible work that she does. She has literally defined the role for our country.

I had the opportunity to meet with her last week to discuss some of the issues as they relate to the Department of National Defence. She has made constructive recommendations with regard to both the Department of National Defence and the Department of Public Works. She has given us some recommendations, all of which I can assure the hon. member and the House have been accepted. These recommendations will be acted upon.

For years, the Department of National Defence has been striving to streamline these complex acquisitions.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Siobhan Coady Liberal St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Does that sound familiar, Mr. Speaker?

The parallels between the Chinook process and the stealth fighters are uncanny. In both cases, the Conservatives have not accounted for full life cycle costs. In both cases, they did not identify the operational requirements before announcing the purchase. They did not take the procurement to tender. The maintenance contracts will not be signed until after we have lost all bargaining power.

Here is the $16 billion question. Why will the Conservatives not start an open and transparent fighter jet acquisition immediately?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

I know it is a short answer, Mr. Speaker, but it is because we already had one.

Again I thank the Auditor General for her recommendations. She gave us some very constructive plans to go forward with.

However, with respect to the acquisition of materiel and with respect to important equipment, be it helicopters, tanks, artillery or jet fighters, we will take no lessons from the members opposite. As Minister of National Defence, my greatest concern is providing the men and women of the Canadian Forces with the best equipment possible to ensure mission success to get them home safe to their families.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, in an interview a few days ago, the Minister of Natural Resources said that if he had to do it over, he would not attend his party's fundraising cocktail party for the Bourassa riding, which was held at the Da Enrico restaurant.

Did the Minister of Natural Resources say this because the owner of the restaurant where the cocktail party was held, Ricardo Padulo, is an associate of Vito Rizzuto, an influential member of the mafia?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, all of us and senior Public Works officials were at committee this morning and they were open, transparent and they answered all questions on the substance of this matter. If the member opposite still has questions, the public servants in charge of this file are able to appear at committee again and provide a briefing to the member.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, Ricardo Padulo's father, Henri Padulo, is a longstanding member of the Conservative Party who has said that Vito Rizzuto's family is a Quebec family like any other. This same person has been photographed with the Prime Minister, and his daughter will be a Conservative candidate in the next election.

Will the Prime Minister admit that such ties are disturbing, to say the least?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am not quite sure what the member's question has to do with the substance of the matter.

As I indicated, senior Public Works officials were at committee this morning and they were open, transparent and answered all questions on the substance of the matter. If the member opposite still has questions, the officials are able to appear in front of committee again to answer those questions or I can provide the member with a briefing.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, Public Works officials now acknowledge that the criteria for the West Block contract were altered one week before the deadline, at the request of LM Sauvé, with the result that the company was awarded the contract. It seems that the $140,000 paid by LM Sauvé to a Conservative lobbyist, Gilles Varin, opened the right Conservative doors.

When will the Conservatives admit that this whole thing reeks of patronage?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 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 indicated, and as the member knows, senior Public Works officials were at committee this morning and they were open, transparent and answered all questions on the substance of the matter. In fact, when asked if there was any indication of political involvement in the pre-qualification of this contract, a senior public servant, the assistant deputy minister said “no”.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, a contractor admits that he won a $9 million contract after the rules of the game were changed. A Conservative lobbyist is mixed up in the affair, and thousands of dollars are paid into Conservative Party coffers in the presence of the Minister of Public Works at a fundraising event in a restaurant belonging to a friend of the Rizzuto clan. And the minister sees nothing wrong with that. So what is the explanation for this litany of disturbing facts?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:25 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 indicated, senior Public Works officials in charge of this file were at committee this morning. They were open, transparent and answered all questions on the substance of this matter. In fact, when they were asked if any lobbyist ever contacted the Public Works representative who was working on this project, the assistant deputy minister in charge of acquisitions said, “no one has ever heard of this individual”.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, today's Auditor General report confirms what we have been saying all along, which is that the whole project started late, that projects were rejected simply because they did not meet the completely arbitrary deadline set down by the government and, worse than that, that they ran roughshod over the environmental assessment process. In fact, the Auditor General said that 93% of the projects never had the proper environmental assessment and that, in many cases, nobody even went down to the site to take a look at the impact on the environment.

Instead of this self-congratulation, could we find out whether the government is fixing these problems, yes or no?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the initial assessment made by the Auditor General speaks well to the good work done by the public servants at Infrastructure Canada. This was done at the political level. We thank her for her excellent work and we will obviously look to improve the process.

With respect to environmental assessments, could the member opposite identify a single project that was funded under the economic action plan with which he had any environmental concerns?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the situation is so bad that the Auditor General needs to write a separate report on precisely this point.

How can the government endorse a process that allows environmental assessments without any site visits? That is strange.

And as for the effectiveness of the program, there is no way to measure job creation.

Do the Conservatives realize that this lack of due diligence is undermining the government's credibility?

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I have great regard for the leader of the NDP. We funded some 23,000 infrastructure projects as part of the economic action plan right across Canada.

I would ask the leader of the NDP if there is one project that caused a concern with environmental assessments. Could he name one project with which he has a problem with the environmental record on the project? Out of 23,000 projects, I would ask him to name just one problem.

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

InfrastructureOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. The hon. member for Toronto—Danforth has the floor and we will want to hear his question.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

October 26th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, some day the Conservatives will be back on this side and then they can ask questions.

Here we are with a government that is setting itself up to allow yet another takeover of our key strategic resources. Where was the so-called net benefit it always talks about when Vale was bringing in strikebreakers in Sudbury? Where was the net benefit when it closed the metallurgical operation in Timmins or when Stelco broke the rules in Hamilton?

When will the government stand up for Canada and say no to the sale of Potash Corporation?

Potash IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I want to underline the fact that the government funded some 23,000 projects.

Two things are true. The NDP voted against the funding for each and every one of them and, despite coming to question period here today with environmental concerns, he cannot name one environmental problem in 23,000 projects.

That shows that this government worked with the provinces and the municipalities to get the job done.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, under current legislation, the 5,400 Air Canada maintenance jobs must be based in Canada, but now that Air Canada has only a minority interest, there are fears that those jobs will be moved to El Salvador. Over 5,000 permanent well-paying jobs would be lost under this government.

Will the government make sure the airline respects the intent of the law and protects Canadian jobs?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, of course Air Canada will respect the law. We have the Air Canada Public Participation Act. We have made it clear that it must adhere to the law and it has made it clear that it will do so. That is the expectation and we will hold Air Canada to it.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

John McCallum Liberal Markham—Unionville, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives hid behind Air Canada during the UAE fiasco and now they will not lift a finger to protect 5,400 permanent Air Canada maintenance jobs. Canada has already lost 162,000 permanent jobs over the last two years. We can hardly afford to lose 5,000 more.

Why will the government not assume its responsibilities and ensure that Air Canada respects the intent of the law and protects those Canadian jobs?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Chilliwack—Fraser Canyon B.C.

Conservative

Chuck Strahl ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the law is in place. The Air Canada Public Participation Act is in place. Air Canada must adhere to the law. I met with officials at Air Canada and they told me that they would absolutely adhere to the law. We will hold them to that and I expect parties on all sides of the House will be watching.

However, Air Canada will adhere to the law and we will make sure of it.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, what we heard in committee this morning is contradicted by the actions of the former public works minister. We know that Paul Sauvé paid a Conservative lobbyist $140,000 to get this contract.

If there was no political interference, how is it that the contractors who received millions of dollars in contracts held a fundraising cocktail party as a thank-you, with the former minister as the guest of honour?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral 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 the hon. member knows, senior Public Works officials were at committee this morning. They were open and transparent and answered all questions on the substance of this matter.

In fact, when asked was anyone from the minister's office involved in the process, the assistant deputy minister, Tom Ring, said, “No”.