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House of Commons Hansard #40 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was workers.

Topics

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, last November the Prime Minister assured Canadians that this new training and aid mission in Afghanistan would involve “minimal risks to Canada”. Now, tragically, we see that just is not the case.

We still have 950 troops stationed in Afghanistan. Their families need an honest assessment about the true risks of this new mission.

Why has the Prime Minister not been more clear and straightforward about the real risks our soldiers are facing in Kabul?

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Let us be frank, Mr. Speaker. The reality is that this training mission is in a different configuration. It does not involve combat. It does not involve searching and engaging the enemy. It involves training in a static base form in and around Kabul.

There is no way to eliminate all risk, given the reality of that country. Given the security climate there, we can never mitigate that risk to zero, as I just said, but we certainly want to support our men and women in uniform with equipment. We want to support them morally, and that is what this government--

AfghanistanOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Beaches—East York.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the F-35s, the Minister of National Defence seems now to be at odds with everyone.

The Parliamentary Budget Officer sees cost overruns of $53 million per plane. U.S. Senator John McCain sees a train wreck coming. Last week reports surfaced that the minister's friends in cabinet and the Prime Minister's Office are questioning the minister's ability to manage this file.

When will the Minister of National Defence admit he has botched this file and send the contract out to tender?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in 2001 Canada participated in the extensive and rigorous U.S.-led competition process where two bidders developed and competed prototype aircraft--

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Stéphane Dion

Observer--

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Julian Fantino Conservative Vaughan, ON

Excuse me.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, order. If members use up all their time when a minister is giving an answer, they may find themselves short of a question.

The Associate Minister of National Defence.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Julian Fantino Conservative Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, partner nations were engaged during the competitive process, and this led to the selection of the Lockheed Martin and its partner agencies as the joint fighter manufacturer for our needs at this time and well into the future.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it seems that every week the opposition asks a straightforward question and every week the Minister of National Defence fails to answer it.

It is a simple but very important question, so I will ask it again. When will the Conservatives finally admit that the F-35 scheme is in a tailspin? When will they start putting Canadian taxpayers first, cancel the F-35 and establish a transparent and competitive process for the replacement of the CF-18?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, through a process launched by the previous Liberal government in the late 1990s--

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The minister has been asked a question and he has the right to answer it. The hon. minister has the floor.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Julian Fantino Conservative Vaughan, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada determined that the F-35 is the best and only aircraft that meets the needs of Canada's armed forces.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, last week a Commonwealth summit was held in Australia and discussions were held on human rights. Australia and Great Britain raised the issue of decriminalizing homosexuality. Sadly, homosexuality is a crime in 41 of the 54 Commonwealth countries. Decriminalizing homosexuality is a fundamental human rights issue.

Can the Prime Minister confirm whether he raised the issue of homosexual rights at the summit?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the promotion of human rights abroad is a central part of Canada's foreign policy. At the Commonwealth meetings last week, Canada was outspoken on the criminalization of homosexuality. We spoke very strongly against it. We will continue to work with our allies, like the United Kingdom and Australia, on this issue in the days, weeks, months and, regrettably, years to come.

Human RightsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, unfortunately, this weekend in Perth, Canada failed to get the Commonwealth to move on this basic human rights question. What we need is for every Commonwealth leader who believes in ending the state persecution of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and the transgendered to step up right now.

The government has a historic opportunity to provide leadership on this issue which it claims to care about. Could the minister tell me, why did the government fail in Perth? What is the government's plan to take action now to assert leadership on this issue in the Commonwealth?

Human RightsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let me assure the hon. member opposite and colleagues on all sides of the House that Canada was the loudest voice on this issue in Perth. We spoke out strongly against it. It is very clear, regrettably, that we will not see immediate changes in this regard, but it is important that we continue to push for human rights, whether it is for gays and lesbians, whether it is for religious freedom, whether it is for women, whether it is for other persecuted minorities. Canadians can count on this government to continue to fight for those issues.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jinny Sims NDP Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the arrest of Mr. Al-Atar, an Edmonton imam, while participating in the hajj is part of a larger problem. Amnesty International has raised concerns about the ill treatment of Saudi prisoners and the country's continued use of the death penalty. This is no place for Canadians to be stranded without government support.

What is the minister doing to improve the treatment of Canadians detained in Saudi Arabia?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Al-Atar was released from detention today, thanks to the good work of our consular officials and the co-operation of our partners in Saudi Arabia. I can assure the member that we are committed to providing the same level of assistance for all Canadians. However, each case is unique, and these cases are very often complex.

We will continue to work with our partners to ensure due process and the well-being of Canadians in distress in Saudi Arabia, as we do for Canadians all over the world.

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, for months now there have been a number of worrisome cases of Canadians imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Even more worrisome is how they are being treated. Among them, there is a young man from my riding, Mohamed Kohail. He has been in prison for almost five years and his family still does not know what to expect. He recently contracted tuberculosis in prison and he is gravely ill.

What is the government doing to ensure that Mohamed Kohail gets a fair trial and receives the necessary medical attention?

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Calgary Nose Hill Alberta

Conservative

Diane Ablonczy ConservativeMinister of State of Foreign Affairs (Americas and Consular Affairs)

Mr. Speaker, Canada will continue to pursue all avenues to assist Mr. Kohail. A retrial is currently in process for Mohamed Kohail. The last hearing took place this past May. Our government has continuously raised this case with Saudi officials. In total, six ministers and two parliamentary secretaries have raised this matter with top Saudi officials as well. Consular officials are actively providing assistance and support and remain in regular contact with the Kohail family and its legal counsel.

Our government will continue to work—

Foreign AffairsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order. The hon. member for Quebec.

VeteransOral Questions

October 31st, 2011 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, in five days a former soldier, Pascal Lacoste, will go on a hunger strike outside the offices of the Minister of Veterans Affairs. He is taking this extreme measure to protest the department's lack of action. He has been fighting for 11 years to be heard. Although he is only 38, he is seriously ill after being exposed to depleted uranium, primarily in Bosnia.

Time is running out. Why has the department done nothing in 11 years? What does the Minister of Veterans Affairs plan on doing in order for Mr. Lacoste to receive all—