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House of Commons Hansard #88 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday's indictment of the Conservatives' reckless spending was shocking. We learned that when purchasing the Chinook helicopters, the government never defined the operational requirements, misled Canadians about the real costs, ignored ongoing maintenance requirements and did so without any public competition whatsoever. This is exactly the same process Conservatives are now prepared to use to buy a flying credit card.

Why not do the right thing and cancel this purchase and put the replacement of our fighter jets to an open Canadian public competition?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is more feigned rage against the machine. The member is singing a different tune than when he was the parliamentary secretary to the minister of defence when this project was first brought forward by his government.

We appreciate the recommendations from the Auditor General. As the Prime Minister has said, we will act on those recommendations. However, my concern and the concern expressed by the Prime Minister is that we continue with a process and procurements that will give the men and women in uniform the best equipment we can afford to ensure the success of their missions and to protect them so they can come home safely.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, four countries taking part in the F-35 program have already cancelled their purchases or are buying fewer planes.

The United States is making every effort to control costs. The Pentagon believes that costs have spiralled out of control. The Tories in Britain are downsizing their order by several aircraft.

Those are the two countries most involved in the program, and this Conservative government is completely ignoring them.

Why are those countries protecting their taxpayers, while the Conservatives here do nothing for Canadian taxpayers?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is completely false.

I think the Leader of the Opposition is having an Ebenezer Scrooge moment. We are seeing echoes of Liberal cancellations past. Everyone knows that.

The year was 1993, and the Liberal Party of Canada spent $1 billion not to buy helicopters. The Liberals cancelled the maritime helicopter project. With a stroke of the pen, they wrote “zero helicopters”.

Seventeen years later, we still have zero maritime helicopters as a result of Liberal irresponsibility.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, an RCMP officer recently said that the Vito Rizzuto clan controls part of the construction industry in Quebec and requires contractors to pay it 5% of the contracts they win. Here we have the Minister of Natural Resources attending a cocktail party at a restaurant whose owner, Ricardo Padulo, had previously borrowed money from Vito Rizzuto and whose father, Henri Padulo, was photographed with the Prime Minister. Henri Padulo's daughter will be a Conservative Party candidate in the next election.

Does the Minister of Natural Resources not find this situation embarrassing, if not worrisome?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Bloc has made allegations against the minister and certain government contracts. Senior officials involved testified before the parliamentary committee yesterday and they were all quite clear: there was no interference in the granting of these contracts.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Gilles Duceppe Bloc Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, that does not answer my question, but since the Prime Minister wants to get involved, let us talk about the Prime Minister who kicked out of his cabinet and his caucus the hon. member for Simcoe—Grey for being photographed with individuals close to the underworld. It was the Prime Minister himself who was photographed with a Vito Rizzuto associate, Henri Padulo, whose daughter is running as a Conservative Party candidate.

Does the Prime Minister not find that his situation is oddly similar to that of the hon. member for Simcoe—Grey?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, not at all. I must ask the leader of the Bloc if he can confirm whether he approved of the hon. member for Sherbrooke attending a fundraising party organized by members of the FLQ.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, with the help of a Conservative lobbyist, Paul Sauvé was successful in having the selection criteria for a West Block renovation contract changed. In addition, even though his business was being controlled by the Hells Angels and the powerful Casper Ouimet, he was not worried by the security checks that are usually done in similar situations.

Do these special favours not prove that Paul Sauvé, who organized a fundraising cocktail party for the Conservative godfather in Quebec, benefited from some form of protection?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we need facts. On October 19, journalist Denis Lessard reported that the Bloc member for Sherbrooke attended a fundraising meeting for the Réseau de Résistance du Québécois on October 2 in Sherbrooke. One of the RRQ's members is Rhéal Mathieu, a neo-FLQ member who pleaded guilty to a 1967 murder charge linked to a bomb attack that killed two people. We need facts.

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Bloc

Diane Bourgeois Bloc Terrebonne—Blainville, QC

Mr. Speaker, to thank the Conservatives, the businessman who won the contract to renovate the West Block after the rules were changed in his favour organized a fundraising cocktail party in a restaurant that belongs to someone close to Vito Rizzuto.

Is the Conservatives' Quebec lieutenant still comfortable with the fact that he attended a fundraising cocktail party in a restaurant frequented by a member of Montreal's mafia, which is known to control the construction industry?

Public Works and Government ServicesOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the question is clear: did the Bloc leader approve of one of his Bloc members attending a cocktail party organized by the FLQ? Yes or no?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives must change the way that Canadian Forces contracts are awarded. The helicopter contract is late, it is over budget, and the rules were broken. At the time, the Conservatives said that a tender process was not necessary, because the Chinook was the only option. The Auditor General has called that “unjustified”.

Why do the Conservatives never learn? Why make the same mistake with the F-35s?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we are talking about two completely different acquisitions. In the case of the helicopters, as I have already said, the government will look at the Auditor General's recommendations and take action. In the case of the F-35 fighter jets, a contract process has been in place for a long time, in fact, since the previous Liberal government was in power. These jets absolutely must be replaced before the end of this decade.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister cannot accept the Auditor General's recommendations and then refuse to implement them. That does not make sense.

The Auditor General warned that the systemic mismanagement she observed is going to mean cuts in the operational support for our armed forces. This is a serious matter.

Will the government abide by the recommendations of the Auditor General, which would mean putting a stop to its plan to implement a sole-source contract for the purchase of the F-35, or is it going to repeat the helicopter boondoggle?

National DefenceOral Questions

October 27th, 2010 / 2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, these are two different matters. Of course the government will act on the recommendations vis-à-vis the helicopter situation. There has been a process in place for this since the days of the previous Liberal government.

The leader of the NDP, however, should not pretend for a moment that he is raising these concerns on behalf of the military. The military has been absolutely clear about the need here. This is simply coalition politics playing games with military contracts, against what the entire aerospace industry and the entire defence establishment realize is necessary. The government is going to proceed.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

All right, let us talk about support for the military, Mr. Speaker.

On November 6, soldiers and veterans, people who have served this country, are going to be out in protest against the way the government has been treating veterans.

We are learning from reports that management is sending down signals that some of our service personnel and civilians who work for them are not going to be allowed to go to that protest.

These soldiers and these people who work in our armed forces fought for the right to free speech.

Have the government and the Prime Minister sent down an order telling any of these people not to participate, including the RCMP?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Of course not, Mr. Speaker. But the government does not have to issue any such orders, because the truth of the matter is this: when it comes to standing up for the men and women in uniform, getting them the equipment they need, these people understand that there is only one party in this Parliament that supports them. It is this government. When it comes to improving benefits for our veterans, there is only one party that has not voted against those things, as the NDP has done. It is this party. We will continue to protect our men and women in uniform today and in the future.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Veterans Affairs is campaigning to have a new mega prison built in his riding. Meanwhile, his government has cut what were already inadequate subsidies for crime prevention and victim assistance programs with proven track records. Mega prisons will not lower crime rates. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Why does the minister want to waste public funds on building megaprisons in Conservative ridings?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the protection of Canadians must come first. Part of keeping our communities safe is keeping dangerous criminals behind bars, not releasing them into our streets early.

Contrary to the philosophy of the Liberal Party, we believe that public safety comes before the interests of criminals.

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, Canadians learned yesterday that the cost of jailing an inmate rose by 25% during the first three years of this Conservative mismanagement, and Canadians still do not know the true cost of their Republican mega-prison policy. First the government said $90 million. Then it ballooned over 100 times to $11 billion.

Do they even know how much their prison policy will cost, or is this just another reckless Conservative blank cheque?

Government PrioritiesOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, obviously the member will not listen to what I am saying, but perhaps she will listen to what the provinces have been saying.

An NDP justice minister in Manitoba said that we are going a long way toward giving people confidence in the justice system. The Ontario attorney general, a Liberal, welcomed Wednesday's move by the federal government to end the practice of giving convicted criminals double credit for time served in pretrial custody.

We are working with the provinces in the best interests of the people that we serve, unlike the Liberal Party of Canada.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, four months after the event, the government still does not know how much its 72-hour summit blowout cost. We have unearthed $200 million in fake lakes, fiddlers, and sweet snacks, but more than $1 billion is still hidden. What is the reason? The government is still waiting for the bills. The minister says they will not arrive until December, so the minister hands out blank cheques to contractors, waits around for six months, and lets them fill in any dollar amount they want for Christmas. He is like Brian Mulroney in a Santa suit.

The minister either gets price guarantees or he does not. If he has them, let him put them on the table so we can see them.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, we are proud of our accomplishments at the G8 and the G20 summits. Canada is leading the global economic recovery as well as international efforts to aid developing countries. We have said from the beginning that these were legitimate expenses. We are waiting for our provincial and municipal partners to provide us with those bills before we pay them.

I know the Liberals are prepared to pay bills before they get them. We, however, will be responsible with the taxpayers' money.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Mark Holland Liberal Ajax—Pickering, ON

Mr. Speaker, the only thing they are leading in is waste.

Everyone else in the world can hold these summits without blowing the bank, but not the Conservatives. In London, Pittsburgh, Japan, and at home in Kananaskis, summits were held for a fraction of the cost. Now Korea announces that it will do security for 2% of what it cost the Conservatives. The minister's excuse is that countries are tricking us: they have secret costs. This is from the minister who wants to blow billions on prisons for unreported crimes.

If this government cannot hold 72 hours of meetings without turning it into incompetent waste, why should Canadians trust it to fix its record Conservative deficit?