This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #97 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was pope.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Layton NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister campaigned on a promise, and that promise was that when we were to send our troops abroad there would be a vote in the House of Commons. He did that in 2006, and he did that in 2008, but now the government is combining with the Liberals to break that promise to allow Canadians the right to have their Parliament vote on whether we put our troops in harm's way.

If it is the right thing to do, why not bring it to a vote in this chamber?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, we have never in this House of Commons put to a vote missions that do not involve combat. The government's actions here respect the parliamentary motion.

The fact of the matter is this: The NDP has a very extreme position on this issue. That party has opposed any Canadian involvement in Afghanistan since 2001, even though it was held with NATO, even though it was held under a United Nations mandate.

Because two dozen Canadians were killed in the 9/11 attacks, it is important that we work to ensure that Afghanistan never becomes a safe haven for terrorists. That is what we are doing and we are respecting the parliamentary motion.

Member for Central NovaOral Questions

November 16th, 2010 / 2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence must share our disappointment at the disappearance of the once progressive wing of his party.

First, the Minister of the Environment left for Bay Street, and now we understand that the defence minister, the second half of that progressive wing, is planning to join him.

This is a critical time for the defence department and it deserves a full-time minister.

Can the Minister of National Defence confirm that he has had discussions directly or indirectly with a law firm in Toronto about a job, and what has the Ethics Commissioner told him about this?

Member for Central NovaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

I am not sure this question has much to do with the administrative responsibilities of the government, but if the Minister of National Defence wishes to respond, we will of course hear him.

Member for Central NovaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, to paraphrase Mark Twain, “Rumours of my political death are greatly exaggerated”.

I really appreciate the genuine and sincere concern being expressed by the member opposite and some of the soothsayers and prognosticators who are with us today, but I can assure the House that I have every intention of continuing in my job, if the Prime Minister so wishes, and I continue to serve my constituents, the Canadian Forces and all Canadians to the best of my ability.

Member for Central NovaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

More, more.

Member for Central NovaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, we understand—

Member for Central NovaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Member for Central NovaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Peter Milliken

Order, please. We are getting more, but we will have some quiet so we can hear it.

The hon. member for Beauséjour has the floor.

Member for Central NovaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, we understand why the current minister wants to quit.

He was excluded from discussions on the new mission in Afghanistan and was shaken by the Camp Mirage fiasco in Dubai.

The minister did not answer the question. Can he confirm, directly or indirectly, that he has had discussions with a law firm in Toronto, or are those lawyers not telling the truth? If he has, what did the Ethics Commission have to say about these negotiations?

Member for Central NovaOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has answered those questions.

What we on this side of the House are all delighted to find out is that the member for Beauséjour, and I presume all members of the Liberal Party, have the same high opinion of the Minister of National Defence as all members of the government.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the purchase of the F-35s is becoming more and more embarrassing. The Pentagon, the British, the Dutch, the Norwegians, all are concerned about soaring costs. While other countries are deferring their decision to purchase F-35s, Canada is going full speed ahead in the opposite direction. Moreover, some experts are concerned that the F-35 is an unaffordable plane that does not meet Canada's real performance requirements.

When will the government show us why only one manufacturer is able to meet our requirements?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the reality is a competition was held. It took place under the previous Liberal government. There was a time when people such as the defence critic were the biggest cheerleaders for the F-35, but now times have changed.

I would ask the hon. member this. How does the aerospace industry in his riding feel about the potential of losing access to $12 billion in aerospace contracts provided by the F-35? It is the best plane on the market. We are going to get the best for the Canadian Forces.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the government is acting very irresponsibly in refusing to call for bids.

First, it could drag Canada into one of the worst fiascos in the history of federal government expenditures. Second, there is no proof that these planes meet our real needs. Third, the complexity of the planes could lead to huge, unpredictable maintenance costs.

Why does the government still refuse to follow normal procedure and call for bids?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we are committed, as I have said time and time again, to getting the best plane that will ensure mission success, that will support the Canadian Forces, that will support the Canadian aerospace industry to the tune of $12 billion.

What I would ask the hon. member opposite to explain is the absolute debacle that is known as the Sea King replacement program, costing the country upward of $1 billion, where the air force is now forced to continue to fly almost 50-year-old helicopters.

That member has nothing to teach us about procurement. He should stand behind his former colleagues in the Canadian Forces and support this project.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of the Environment is minimizing the importance of the upcoming climate change summit in Cancun. The Conservative government still does not have a clear plan, objective or policy. It is showing up in Cancun empty handed. It was precisely that type of attitude that torpedoed the Copenhagen conference.

Does the minister realize that his attitude is contributing to what will inevitably be a series of negotiations that will result in lip service and nothing binding?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, that is not the case at all. The Government of Canada was very proud of its participation in the Copenhagen accord negotiations. We will continue to work very hard in Cancun with more than 130 countries that have signed the Copenhagen accord. If 130 countries are in favour of it, why does the Bloc not support them?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Bernard Bigras Bloc Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has a lot of nerve to talk to us about the Copenhagen conference. He was the one in 2007 who torpedoed the Bali climate change conference when he tabled a climate change plan that renounced the objectives of the Kyoto protocol.

What are the minister's intentions: show leadership in Cancun or stifle any progress at the upcoming climate change conference?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, in Cancun, Canada will continue to work on achieving concrete results for all the items on the agenda, such as funding, deforestation, adoption, technology, commitments made by major polluters on mitigation, and reviewing mitigation commitments. We accomplished good work in Copenhagen and we will carry on our work in Cancun.

Contaminated Water in ShannonOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, last weekend the Shannon citizens' committee held its second annual day of remembrance for those killed by exposure to TCE. The families and victims in Shannon took that opportunity to express their anger and confusion to the government, which is adding to their pain by not telling them the truth.

How can the government still not acknowledge its responsibility in this human and environmental disaster?

Contaminated Water in ShannonOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, since 1998, the federal government has invested nearly $60 million in projects that aim to upgrade and maintain the base's water supply systems, to help the municipality of Shannon upgrade its water supply system and to look at water quality. We have been working hard with all individuals, municipalities and levels of government on this issue.

Contaminated Water in ShannonOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, the people of Shannon now feel it is up to Société immobilière Valcartier to take legal action against the federal government and ask it to repay the $800,000 spent on decontaminating the former Canadian Arsenals lands.

Since the government partially acknowledged its responsibility by assuming the costs of decontamination up until 2007, does the Minister of National Defence not feel that it is time to compensate the victims for its negligence and decontaminate all of the sites?

Contaminated Water in ShannonOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I said, the federal government, successive governments, have invested substantial dollars, upwards of $60 million, in addressing this issue. We have been working with all of the stakeholders, the municipality, the city of Quebec and all of the people affected.

As the member herself has said, quite rightly, there is a class action and the issue is now before the courts. They are seized with this issue. It would be totally inappropriate for me to comment further.

PovertyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, today Food Banks Canada released its HungerCount showing food bank usage up 9% this year and 28% over two years. The government claims it has no money to help Canada's poor, but when it comes to G8 spending the sky is the limit.

New documents show the government spent $8,704 on a power cord for a generator. How does one spend almost $9,000 on a power cord? Was it a 240 kilometre-long cord from Huntsville to downtown Toronto to power the fridges used to chill the Conservative champagne, while other Canadians go hungry?

PovertyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Souris—Moose Mountain Saskatchewan

Conservative

Ed Komarnicki ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, the best way to fight poverty is to get Canadians working again. The economic action plan is doing that by helping to grow the economy and increasing the number of jobs by nearly 430,000 since July 2009.

Liberal coalition plans to increase every tax there is would kill at least 400,000 jobs, according to outside experts. This would not do those in poverty very well.