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House of Commons Hansard #80 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was veterans.

Topics

Government ContractsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is the one that brought the Federal Accountability Act—some very strong legislation—to the House of Commons. Our government follows all the rules. That is absolutely essential, after all those years of Liberal scandals. Government officials, not Conservative ministers, look after contracts.

Government ContractsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us review the timing with the Minister of Natural Resources.

In addition to three businesses that won contracts for Hill renovations, Joseph Broccolini also attended the Conservative fundraising activity in January 2009. And we know that after the fundraising cocktail party Broccolini Construction won at least three contracts totalling $600 million to build federal buildings.

Will the Minister of Natural Resources, who attended this fundraiser as the public works minister, admit that under Alfonso Gagliano, government suppliers were expected to fund the party in power? Back then, it was the Liberals, now it is the Conservatives.

Government ContractsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it was our government that brought in the Federal Accountability Act, the toughest anti-corruption legislation in Canadian history, in response to years of Liberal scandals.

Let me be clear. The Minister of Natural Resources, both in his current job and his former one, has always acted in an ethical fashion. He is an example of ethics and accountability in this government, and the Canadian people are lucky to have him working on their behalf.

Government ContractsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about that model. In December 2009, the Minister of Natural Resources, who was then the public works minister, revealed in the House that an internal investigation was being conducted regarding the awarding of Parliament Hill renovation contracts. Ten months later, the results of that internal investigation have still not been made public as the minister promised.

By hiding this report, is the minister not proving that there is something to hide, like a kickback system benefiting the Conservatives?

Government ContractsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear: there is no big money in federal politics in Canada. We eliminated big money. We stopped unions from donating to political parties. We stopped businesses from donating to political parties.

There are two separate issues, completely different. The mention of an investigation made by the then minister of public works in the House on December 8 was not in reference to the RCMP inquiring into the work on the West Block. It was in reference to a public service investigation of a proactive disclosure of wrongdoing in the workplace, which was unrelated to both the West Block and the Sauvé contract.

The EconomyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, there is more bad news for families today. There were 6,600 net jobs lost in September. While full-time employment has inched up for the first time in memory, we need more than a little pause in the shift from full-time jobs to part-time work. Since the start of the recession, 250,000 full-time jobs are gone. That is the bottom line.

In light of this full-time job crisis, will the government come to its senses, change its position, and continue the stimulus program so that Canadians can get back to work?

The EconomyOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we were pleased to see 37,000 new full-time jobs. We are concerned when we see the number of part-time jobs going down. That is why we remain focused on jobs and the economy. But there are two distinct visions: our vision of low taxes that attract business, attract investment, and create jobs; and the vision of the coalition members opposite, who want to raise taxes that would kill jobs. That is the choice that Canadians have before them in this debate on the economy.

National DefenceOral Questions

October 8th, 2010 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, anyone who criticizes the Conservatives' decisions has his or her name dragged through the mud. For instance, the Prime Minister said yesterday that lives would be in danger if we do not buy the F-35s.

When will the Conservatives stop insulting our intelligence and the intelligence of Canadians concerning the F-35s, and stop intimidating people who criticize the government's decisions on this file?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, it is not about anything of the sort. We have the responsibility to ensure that our men and women in uniform, those in the air force, have the equipment they need to do their jobs. We cannot ask these men and women who serve Canada so bravely to get into planes that were designed in the 1970s. In 2020 and beyond, we will need new aircraft so that these men and women can keep Canada safe and protect our sovereignty. That is why the previous government was involved in this contract, and that is why this government is seeing it through.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, we have $16 billion on untendered contracts for fighter jets without 16 seconds of debate in the House. Yesterday, former assistant deputy minister Alan Williams contradicted the Prime Minister, whose panicked statement that lives are at risk is totally without merit.

The joint strike fighter program does not require us to buy this jet to get Canadian work. The program does not prevent competition. People are being misled by the government. It will not even release a statement of requirements, so that we know what we need. We have no real idea of the total cost.

Why will Conservatives not come clean and tell us what is really behind this deal?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the F-35 program was started many years ago under a competitive process that was initiated by the former Liberal government to equip the Canadian Forces, the air force, with the best technology available, which is fifth generation technology. It was initiated to provide thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in work for Canadian industry.

It is not just a next generation fighter; it is the next generation industrial capability for Canada. We are at the leading edge of that capability, which is going to take our industry and our military capability to the next 40 years and beyond. It is a great program and all Canadians should get behind it.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Canadians finally heard the truth about not holding an open competition for the stealth fighter deal from Alan Williams, the former head of defence procurement. Under this deal, the Pentagon will decide what the Canadian Forces need. Under this deal, there will be fewer industrial benefits for Canadian companies. Under this deal, there will be a wastage of $3.2 billion, all borrowed dollars.

Now that we have the truth, when will the Conservatives hold an open competition?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what we heard yesterday was not the truth; it was numbers pulled out of the air, that are completely unsupported, to allow some people to jump to conclusions. It was the former Liberal government that signed the memorandum of understanding for the joint strike fighter. It is illogical that the opposition members are now saying that we can participate in the program to develop the plane, but we will not buy that plane.

With respect to participation in industrial benefits, the impact on industry is clear. The MOU stipulates in 7.3 that only those industries that are in nations of participants procuring the JSF air systems will benefit. The execution of industrial activities outlined in industrial plans are contingent upon Canada's buying the aircraft.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

The hon. member for Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Brian Murphy Liberal Moncton—Riverview—Dieppe, NB

Mr. Speaker, Alan Williams was in charge of Canada's defence procurement for seven years. He has written a reference book on procurement. He testified yesterday that competition for Canada's replacement fighters should be an open competition. Yesterday, the Prime Minister sloughed off his advice and misquoted Mr. Williams.

How low will the Prime Minister go to prove his point? Who do Canadians believe, a defence expert or a defensive Prime Minister?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Denmark, the Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Australia, Israel and others have all come to the same conclusion. There is only one fifth generation fighter out there today which will meet our challenges for the air forces of the free world for the next 40 years or more.

We are in this deal together with those partner nations. We are getting the best deal for Canada because of the strength of that partnership. Membership does have its privileges and it is being exercised to good effect for the Canadian air force, for the Canadian people and for the Canadian industry.

Member for Nepean—CarletonOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister is the subject of an RCMP investigation after a serious security breach on Parliament Hill. He barged through a security checkpoint before his car was inspected and before he was even identified, a clear violation of security rules. Apparently it is not just the Prime Minister who thinks he makes the rules.

The member pretends to be tough on crime. Why does he think the law applies to all Canadians except him?

Member for Nepean—CarletonOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I do not share the premises of the question of the member opposite. Let me be very clear. The member in question has apologized. I think we should move on and discuss the real priorities of Canadians, such as the economy and keeping Canada safe.

Member for Nepean—CarletonOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Todd Russell Liberal Labrador, NL

Mr. Speaker, the member only apologized after the Conservatives attempted to have the media conceal the story. Apologies do not seem to mean anything to the member. He has a history of being forced to apologize for offensive language, offensive gestures and, most disturbing, for insulting every aboriginal Canadian. When are the Conservatives going to understand that yet another apology is not going to work?

The member has clearly demonstrated that he is unfit to be the Prime Minister's personal representative. Enough is enough. Will the Prime Minister fire his parliamentary secretary?

Member for Nepean—CarletonOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, for the member opposite, for whom I have a high regard, the people in his constituency and mine sent us to Parliament to work on their behalf. They sent us here to focus on things that are important, like jobs and the economy. They sent us here to make Canada safer by getting tough on crime and terrorism.

Let us focus on the priorities of the people of Canada and not these trivial matters.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Privacy Commissioner has slammed the government for its handling of Sean Bruyea's medical records. Mr. Bruyea is a former soldier who has been very critical of the Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Instead of pointing fingers at public servants, can the government explain to us why it did not take action as soon as it learned that the former soldier's psychological records had made their way to the minister's desk?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Greg Kerr ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, all members of the House, indeed all Canadians, not only were shocked, but angered by the information we had confirmed yesterday, and that was the invasion of privacy that took place within the Department of Veterans Affairs.

As the minister assured the public yesterday, we will do everything in our power to ensure that this terrible incident is not repeated and that all the actions necessary are taken so this will not happen in the future.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Guy André Bloc Berthier—Maskinongé, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government's position is inconsistent. On the one hand, it invokes freedom of choice and the intrusive nature of the long form to justify eliminating the mandatory census, and on the other hand, it has no problem poking around in soldiers' confidential files.

Is the use of personal information for political purposes not similar to the tactics used by totalitarian regimes?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

West Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Greg Kerr ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, the sense of outrage and frustration is there. Our government is committed to deal with this matter that has been under way for some time.

All I am saying for members of the House is that we have to follow the absolute proper procedures to ensure we deal with this within the fullness of the law and the fullness of our authority to ensure these very important veterans do not have their privacy hurt in the future. We are prepared and committed to do just that.

CensusOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Meili Faille Bloc Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, while the former industry minister uses imaginary complaints from the public to justify the elimination of the long form census, hundreds of very real complaints, many from Conservative ranks, have been sent to the Prime Minister's office denouncing this ideological decision.

Will the government listen to the people, the National Assembly of Quebec, francophones living outside Quebec, women and aboriginal peoples, and reinstate the long form?