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House of Commons Hansard #89 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

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, when the Prime Minister was the policy director for the Reform Party in 1993, he had this to say about the replacement of the Sea King helicopters, “the best approach is to defer the replacement beyond the year 2000 and to re-evaluate the role of a ship borne helicopter”.

Why will the Prime Minister not apply the same judgment he had in 1993 at the beginning of his so-called decade of darkness, stop the irresponsible sole-sourcing of the F-35 and have an open Canadian competition in the interests of taxpayers?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, when the member was on this side of the House and was the parliamentary secretary to defence, he used to extol the virtues of the F-35 project. He used to espouse the benefits that would come to the Canadian aerospace industry. He has completely turned himself inside out.

As the Prime Minister said, we will move ahead with the purchase of the best plane on the planet, to give the best protection to the men and women in uniform and bring tremendous benefits to the Canadian aerospace industry. Jobs in Canada, benefits to the Canadian air force, this government is all about that.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister is ignoring Alan Williams, who literally wrote the book on defence procurement. He is ignoring the Auditor General, who has said that the purchase of the F-35s is too risky. He is ignoring the actions of the Pentagon and the British Conservatives and even his own comments in 1993.

Why is the Prime Minister going along with such irresponsible spending? What does he have against good management of taxpayers' money?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what does the member opposite, the defence critic for the Liberal Party, and the interim leader serving for the Liberal Party here today, have against giving the men and women in uniform the best equipment that we possibly can? Why do they continually oppose efforts to build up the Canadian Forces so they can do the important work that we ask of them?

All of the experts know that this is the best aircraft. This is the best opportunity Canada has to replace the CF-18 with the aircraft that the forces need for the next 20 and 30 years.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the centre of the scandal that is the treatment of Omar Khadr is the Conservative government's stubborn refusal to acknowledge that he is a child soldier. The UN's special representative on children and armed conflict recently said, and I quote, “In every sense Omar represents the classic child soldier narrative, recruited by unscrupulous groups to undertake actions at the bidding of adults to fight battles they barely understand”.

Will the government finally acknowledge that Omar Khadr, who was captured at the age of 15, is a child soldier?

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I have had the opportunity to answer that question on numerous occasions. I repeat: this government decided to comply with the American authorities and let them to try Mr. Khadr, who has acknowledged his guilt. The American trial is under way right now. The court is hearing from witnesses, and until this process is complete, we will refrain from making any other comments.

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Khadr was forced to plead guilty because the government abandoned him. Not only should Omar Khadr have the rights provided for in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, but the government had and still has the obligation to ensure that his constitutional rights are respected. These rights are currently being violated, as was pointed out in decisions from the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

Will the Conservative government finally take responsibility, ensure that Omar Khadr's rights are respected, and have him repatriated?

Omar KhadrOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Pontiac Québec

Conservative

Lawrence Cannon ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, he is guilty. Mr. Khadr answered the charges. He testified and said that he was guilty. As soon as he said that he was guilty of murder, the Bloc Québécois was convinced that he was exonerated.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie's mandate was to trim 5% of the Canadian Forces’ $19 billion budget immediately. In the meantime, the Conservatives want to spend $470 billion on military procurement over the next 20 years.

Does the Prime Minister realize that without a real foreign defence policy all these cuts and all these purchases will be totally improvised and inconsistent?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I could have sworn I saw the member opposite's comments in the paper today supporting contracts such as the F-35.

With respect to reserves, we are going to continue to value their service. They are doing an extraordinary job in Afghanistan, as they have around the globe in previous missions.

I find it a little ironic that we are getting advice from the Bloc, a party that does not want the country to succeed, let alone our foreign policy to succeed.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Bloc

Claude Bachand Bloc Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois has been calling for a comprehensive military procurement policy for years. Unlike the Conservatives' F-35 purchase that the minister just mentioned, the Bloc Québécois is asking that all military procurement come with minimum economic spinoff requirements. In aerospace, for example, the government should make sure that Quebec receives its fair share, 55% of the spinoffs.

When will we have a policy that responds to Quebec's priorities?

National DefenceOral Questions

October 28th, 2010 / 2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what we will do is ensure that all companies across the country are given fair and equal access to these incredible contracts that can be awarded up to $12 billion worth of benefits. That is billions of dollars and thousands of jobs that can result from Canada moving forward on the MOU that was started by the members opposite.

The coalition parties better get their message straight on the F-35. The member opposite is veering a little off script.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, sources in the media are telling us that the government apparently is starting to get it when it comes to the whole question of selling off a strategic resource like potash to the Australian multinationals.

The Liberals never rejected a foreign takeover and the Conservatives rejected only one when they listened to the NDP advice from Peggy Nash, the member of Parliament from Parkdale, and stopped the sale of MacDonald-Dettwiler.

When are the Conservatives going to simply get it and say no to the sale of the Potash Corporation?

Potash IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the NDP never saw a foreign investment that it liked, just like the Liberal Party has never seen one that is has turned down.

The truth of the matter is this government, according to the act, evaluates all investments on their merit. The Minister of Industry will be announcing a decision on this in the not too distant future.

Let me assure the House that when we announce this decision, the criteria will be clear and the decision will be taken in the best long-run interest of the Canadian economy.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, what is unfortunate is that the government does not take the advice of the NDP often enough. The same arguments put forward to save the Canadian potash industry apply to steel, nickel and aluminum. However, the government did nothing for those industries.

Rather than dithering, why does the Prime Minister not send a clear message right now?

Potash is Canadian and will remain Canadian.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, according to the law, the government is required to listen to all sides in this matter. I know that it is the NDP's position to oppose any foreign investment, and it is the Liberal Party's position to approve all foreign investment. The government will announce its decision in the near future. Our decision will be in the best, long-term interests of the Canadian economy.

Potash IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the lesson from potash is the government has to wake up and do a proper job of evaluating foreign investments in our country. One cannot do that in secret. That is the fundamental problem.

The government's approach to foreign takeovers is a tragic joke that makes Canada a sitting duck for any of these multinational operators to come in, because they know a sucker when they see one.

When will the government strengthen the Investment Canada Act to include public hearings, transparent decision making and real penalties whenever takeover artists fail to deliver?

Potash IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, as I just said, the government is obliged to listen to all of the perspectives on this transaction before taking a decision. That is what the government will do without bias, but also without the kind of ideology of the NDP that would oppose any foreign investment under any circumstances. That is the kind of anti-market view that party has. It is not in the best long-term interest of the Canadian economy.

We will evaluate these bids fairly and on their merits. The decisions we take will be in the best long-term interest of Canadians.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, Alan Williams confirmed that Canada could save 20%, up to $3 billion, if there were an open bidding process for our next fighter jet. That $3 billion could be used to help our veterans stay in their homes by increasing the veterans independence program or creating more hospital beds for veterans.

Why will the government not open up the bidding process?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, there was a competition and in fact it was the F-35 that emerged from that competition, and members opposite should know that. How was the process started? It was started under the previous government.

Let us look at what the current assistant deputy minister of materiel in charge of the program has to say. He says:

Let’s state the obvious: you must have more than one viable supplier to have a competition, and there is only one fifth-generation fighter available.

That is the one we are getting.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Kirsty Duncan Liberal Etobicoke North, ON

Mr. Speaker, Sheila Fynes, a mother of a dead soldier, made 22 phone calls trying to sort out her son's pension. The Canadian Forces legal adviser told this grieving mother to stop calling.

Maybe if the government listened to the Auditor General, it could find the money to get a single person to call Mrs. Fynes back.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I have instructed our senior officials to do just that. No one shares the member's outrage more than I do, with the exception of Mrs. Fynes herself. We will look into this matter and we will be speaking with her directly to address these issues.

It is unacceptable to refuse access to the Department of National Defence or to counsel others to do so. We will remedy this matter.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, security for the G8 and G20 summits was planned around the Conservatives' decision to hold two summits in two places.

Because of this, more than 40 sites had to be secured.

The head of the RCMP said, “This undertaking was the largest deployment of Security Personnel in Canadian history.”

Will they eventually realize that their decision to hold the summits in two different places, without regard for taxpayers, is exactly what caused this mess?

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:30 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.

As we have said from the beginning, these were legitimate expenses, the majority of which were for security. There were approximately 20,000 security personnel on the ground during the summits. The violence and the destruction that occurred proved the need to ensure that those who attended the summits were protected.

G8 and G20 SummitsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Pablo Rodriguez Liberal Honoré-Mercier, QC

Mr. Speaker, other countries organize summits as well—we are not the only ones—except that the Conservatives managed to multiply the bill by 50.

We learned this morning that the budget coordination was entirely centralized in the Prime Minister's office. He was the only one who had an overview of the costs. He was the only one who could have prevented this spending spree.

This is a financial mess. All Canadians are paying the bill. The Prime Minister could have stopped it, but he did not do anything. Why not?