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House of Commons Hansard #33 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was grain.

Topics

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister cannot completely wash his hands of this matter. The government did not make public how the bids were evaluated. Workers in Lévis do not know why they did not get anything. The government did not explain why there is not enough work for three shipyards if there is enough for two.

When will a maritime strategy be developed so that our shipyards can reap the benefits of continuing demand and stable employment and avoid boom and bust cycles?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the NDP's position is completely contradictory. The member for Louis-Hébert said, “We would like to ensure that all the processes are clear and transparent and we recognize that that is the case here.” The member for Sackville—Eastern Shore said, “I am confident that this is fair. To this point, nothing has led me to believe that there has been any political interference. We are very pleased and we congratulate the government on that process.”

The government has a program that will benefit not only the shipyards selected yesterday, but also the entire industry, taxpayers and the Canadian economy.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Hull—Aylmer Québec

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDPLeader of the Opposition

Mr. Speaker, we agree and everyone agrees that the awarding of government contracts should not be a partisan process. This should be true not only for shipbuilding contracts, but also for those related to fighter jets and G8 gazebos. That being said, the government must put in place a Canada-wide strategy to develop the shipbuilding industry.

When will Davie workers have the opportunity to reap the benefits of such a strategy?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the NDP voted against this shipbuilding program and now NDP members are contradicting each other on the process.

The position on our side is, of course, completely clear. These are great initiatives not just for the shipbuilding industry but for the Canadian economy.

New Democrats have to get together and work out their policy on the other side. Meanwhile, we will get on with making sure that shipbuilding and the Canadian economy move forward.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, since 1829, the Davie shipyard has been an economic driving force in the Quebec City region. It has gone through good times and bad, but it has always endured. It helped make Canada a naval power. Today, the shipyard is offering its services to the Canadian government through a consortium that has the expertise and ability to perform. This government maintains that the selection process was open, fair and competitive.

If that is the case, Quebec wants to know what made the difference in how the contracts were awarded.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral 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 curious to find out why the member has not spoken to the NDP shipbuilding critic because he himself said yesterday that this was a great day for all of Canada. I agree with him because this shipbuilding contract will create more than 15,000 jobs across Canada in all regions and revitalize the marine industry.

Let us remember that Davie and all other shipyards across the country are welcome to bid on the construction of 100 smaller ships that have been set aside and the winners announced yesterday are not allowed to bid on those.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:20 p.m.

NDP

Denis Blanchette NDP Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, for the past 182 years, the Davie shipyard has been at the forefront of marine technology. The Davie shipyard and its consortium offer a unique opportunity for its national and international expertise to contribute to the development of the Canadian marine industry.

In the context of this procurement strategy, would it not have been possible, as the former Conservative public works minister, Michael Fortier, suggested yesterday, to use the potential offered by the Davie shipyard consortium to revive this Canadian industry?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral 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 said, Davie along with other shipyards are welcome to bid on the construction of over 100 smaller ships that have been set aside for national competition. In addition to that, there is also billions of dollars in maintenance work to be done for decades to come that Davie and other shipyards can also compete for.

I should just mention that John Dewar, the vice-president of Upper Lakes Group which now owns Davie in Ontario, said that the federal government bent over backwards to try and eliminate any political interference or manipulation of the results.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the small business federation has been clear about the fact that taxes on employment kill jobs.

I have a simple question for the Prime Minister: in light of the current difficult economic situation in Europe and in the United States—we are seeing signs of a recession—why not freeze taxes on employment now and ensure that people are not contributing to killing jobs in Canada?

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, I am surprised by this question from the leader of the Liberal Party because that party voted against tax cuts for small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada.

This government has a clear objective: to keep taxes low. Obviously, it is an essential aspect of our plan for the Canadian economy, a plan that continues to create jobs.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Prime Minister has an opportunity to do something very direct and very simple. I asked a question the other day for which he did not give a direct answer. The tax credits in the budget currently being discussed in committee are not refundable. Some people do not pay taxes because they are too poor. Why not make the tax credits refundable, for example, those for caregivers and volunteer firefighters? These are good examples of what could be done for the least fortunate in—

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The Right Hon. Prime Minister.

TaxationOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the Liberal Party is trying to justify his opposition to tax cuts for the Canadian economy. In the bill before Parliament there are significant tax cuts for SMEs, for families and for individuals. I encourage the leader of the Liberal Party to do the right thing and support these tax cuts.

National DefenceOral Questions

October 20th, 2011 / 2:25 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

There was no answer there, Mr. Speaker.

I have another question for the Prime Minister. If he can have a fairness officer rendering an opinion, if he can have a competition which is non-partisan, if he can have a process which is generally seen as being fair and objective when it comes to the shipbuilding contracts, why can the government not see the logic of doing the same thing with respect to the purchase of several billion dollars' worth of new fighter jets for this country? That contract is a fiasco. The government has numbers which no one believes. There is no fairness opinion. There is no objective opinion, and there is no--

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The right hon. Prime Minister.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Calgary Southwest Alberta

Conservative

Stephen Harper ConservativePrime Minister

Mr. Speaker, of course one of the elements of such a transparent, non-partisan and fair process is we do not re-open it later.

The fact of the matter is the previous Liberal government was part of an international process to select an aircraft company to develop the fifth generation fighter. That is obviously why this government is proceeding in that way.

The leader of the Liberal Party of course was not a member of the Liberal Party at the time, so he may not remember that.

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, many people are trying to understand today why this government did not want to distribute the $35 billion in shipbuilding contracts more fairly. There should not be winners and losers when we are awarding contracts. Yesterday, the Minister of Public Works and Government Services boasted that it was a historic day for all regions of Canada.

How is the government's announcement great news for workers at the Davie shipyard?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral 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, I would like to quote the NDP shipbuilding critic once again, because I think what he said yesterday was true. He said that yesterday was a great day for all of Canada. I agree with him.

I also agree with the president and CEO of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters, who said:

Beyond the benefits for the winning companies and their workers, the shipbuilding contracts will have profound benefits for the entire economy, coast-to-coast. We congratulate the government on a fair and transparent process that will maximize opportunity for participation and growth throughout all regions of Canada....

Shipbuilding IndustryOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, shipbuilding is a key, strategic industry in our country and it must remain stable. Unfortunately, the shipbuilding industry in Quebec is vulnerable right now. After 182 years of existence, the Davie shipyard is in a fragile position.

I would like to know how the Minister of Veterans Affairs, member for Lévis—Bellechasse, plans on reassuring the people of Lévis and Quebec City. In light of all of the jobs that have been lost, what is the government's economic development plan for the greater Quebec City area?

Shipbuilding IndustryOral 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, we cannot understate enough the opportunities that come out of the national shipbuilding strategy for all regions, and in fact for the entire marine sector, including Davie Canada.

Davie yards, along with other shipyards across the country, are welcome to bid on the construction of over 100 smaller ships that have been set aside for national competition, which are excluded from the two winners yesterday.

In addition, there will be billions of dollars in maintenance work to be done for decades to come, and of course, they are welcome to bid on those contracts as well.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence calls the process for shipbuilding contracts bulletproof.

Will the minister now admit his gamble on F-35 jets is riddled with holes? Conservatives are ready to spend billions without a single competitive bid.

Is the cost per jet $65 million or $148 million? Canadians do not know. The Associate Minister of National Defence does not know. The Minister of National Defence does not know.

If the process was fair for shipbuilding, why do we not have the same for jets?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I, too, applaud the fair and transparent way in which the national shipbuilding procurement was awarded.

On the F-35s, I remind the member opposite that the extensive and rigorous competitive process took place and it happened under the previous Liberal government. Now the Liberal members in this House have cold feet about the program they started.

The F-35s will provide our men and women in uniform with the best equipment to do their jobs and return home to their families, as we have supported them during their campaign in Libya.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have learned that about 20 public servants made sure that the shipbuilding contracts were awarded as fairly as possible, primarily because the Conservatives were not involved in the decision-making process. In the meantime, the government is stubbornly wanting to award a $30 billion contract for the F-35s without any kind of framework or bidding process.

Why is it that what is good for shipbuilding is not good for our air force?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the previous answer applies. I am sorry that the member was not listening.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Ryan Cleary NDP St. John's South—Mount Pearl, NL

Mr. Speaker, on the Prairies the Conservatives are attacking the livelihood of farmers. On the west and east coasts, the fisheries are their target.

The Conservatives' decision to cut the Department of Fisheries and Oceans shows they are completely out of touch with the needs of fishing communities.

The government's buddies on Bay Street cannot feed Canadian families. Why do the Conservatives have it in for Canada's primary producers?