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House of Commons Hansard #59 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was amendments.

Topics

Search and RescueOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has already answered these questions. There are really no new facts here. The fundamental facts remain the same. The Minister of National Defence paid for air travel to and from his personal vacation; government aircraft were used only when he was called away on government business.

Our government has reduced average annual spending on ministers' Challenger flights by some 80% compared with the previous Liberal government. It was not that difficult, because that hon. member used to use the Challenger every weekend as his personal taxi to get home.

Search and RescueOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, David Orchard would recognize what is going on here, as do the brave men and women of the Canadian Forces, and they have blown the whistle.

Search and rescue equipment was misused. It took not one trip, but a reconnaissance mission too. It cost $32,000 per hour. The chopper could not land. The minister had to be hoisted aboard in a basket, and all the while quick, inexpensive alternatives were available by land and boat.

Before this guise gets any worse, why will the government not simply accept the honesty of Colonel Ploughman and apologize?

Search and RescueOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, as I said, none of the facts here have changed. The Minister of National Defence paid for the travel to and from his own personal vacation. Government aircraft were only used when he was called away on government business.

Without any facts and without any changes, I know the hon. member can make a great deal of noise. I know he knows a lot about the use of government aircraft from his own personal experience. Our practices are very different from those of his government.

Search and RescueOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Massimo Pacetti Liberal Saint-Léonard—Saint-Michel, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is not what the emails say.

Under the pretext of participating in a search and rescue mission, the Minister of National Defence hailed a flying taxi at a cost of $32,000 an hour.

A rescue helicopter is like a fire truck or an ambulance. The Department of National Defence is not a Toys "R" Us. The minister does not seem to understand that this is serious.

Why does he have such contempt for the Canadian Forces?

Search and RescueOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

Peter Van Loan ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has already answered all these questions.There are no new facts here. The Minister of National Defence paid for the travel to and from his personal vacation. Government aircraft were used only when he was called away on government business.

EmploymentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, another 19,000 jobs were lost last month because of the government's inaction. For the second month in a row, job losses continue to mount for Canadian families. Our jobless rate is at its highest point in five months.

Canadians do not want excuses, they want action. Will the government sleepwalk into another crisis as it did in 2008, or will it act right now to create jobs?

EmploymentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Saint Boniface Manitoba

Conservative

Shelly Glover ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance

Mr. Speaker, as we said previously, we do sympathize with all the jobs that have been lost. While November's full-time job gains and Canada's recent third-quarter growth indicate that we are encouraged, we need to do more to ensure we will not face the same challenges that Europe and the United States face. That is why we must stick with the plan we have, which is the economic action plan that is a pro-job creation plan.

What we cannot afford is to raise taxes and kill more jobs, which will damage families. I am sorry but the plan by the NDP is leaving me speechless—

EmploymentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. member for Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques.

EmploymentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Guy Caron NDP Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

Mr. Speaker, approximately 19,000 jobs were lost in Canada last month. This is the third drop in four months. Clearly, this government wants to take all the credit when jobs are created, but it refuses to take responsibility when jobs are lost. The unemployment rate, which was less than 6% in 2007, has now climbed to 7.4%, the highest it has been in five months. These figures are still more sad evidence that the labour market is in crisis.

What is this government waiting for to help Canadian families who lose their livelihoods find other employment more quickly and easily? What is this government's plan to create jobs?

EmploymentOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo B.C.

Conservative

Cathy McLeod ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue

Mr. Speaker, I think I had better take over from my speechless colleague.

November's full-time job gains and Canada's recent third-quarter results were very encouraging. We do sympathize with those Canadians who have lost their jobs recently. It is important to note that while almost 600,000 net new jobs have been created since July 2009 and the OECD has confirmed that we will have the strongest economic growth in the G7 over the next few years, Canada is not immune to global economic turbulence from outside our borders. As we have said all along, the global recovery is fragile and we continue to have our economic action plan in place.

Minister of National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, contrary to what the Minister of National Defence said, his limo ride on a search and rescue helicopter was not a demonstration. The military says that it only did it at the minister's request. He was lifted from his friend's fishing lodge in a basket. Our troops crossed their fingers and hoped the helicopter would not be needed to respond to an actual emergency.

Either the Minister of National Defence is saying that the military is lying or he is misleading this House. Which is it?

Minister of National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as has been said many times, the Minister of National Defence left personal time to return to work early. The Minister of National Defence paid for his air travel to and from his personal vacation and used government aircraft only when called away on government business.

The policy for the Prime Minister and ministers requires that commercial travel be utilized for public business, with government aircraft being used when commercial travel is not available or is not compatible with security requirements.

Our government has reduced average annual spending on ministers' Challenger flights by over 80% compared to the previous Liberal government.

Minister of National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence can go ahead and keep saying the same thing, but when he is contradicted by other reports he will have to change his talking points.

We now know that he was collected from an isolated fishing lodge in Newfoundland under the pretext of an imaginary rescue operation. We could say that the minister's story is nautical miles from reality.

Will he admit his mistake and apologize for using a Canadian Forces search and rescue helicopter for personal reasons?

Minister of National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, this is all about piling it on. All of these issues have already been addressed many times by the Minister of National Defence. There is no point in repeating the same response which is that he used the aircraft while on vacation to fulfill requirements to do with his job. How much more does the member need to know than what has already been said?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, all reasonable people agree that the F-35 program is a fiasco. Today it was vice admiral David Venlet, the Pentagon's man in charge of the F-35s, who said that the ballooning costs of the program “sucks the wind out of your lungs”. He then said that the F-35s are riddled with flaws.

Why is the Minister of National Defence isolating Canada from its allies with his blind support of a failed program? Why will he not put the contract to tender?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, our government is always monitoring our involvement in the joint fighter strike program. In any event, we are doing that very closely. As of now, the F-35 program is on track.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, although the minister is stubbornly defending the F-35 program, a new problem was discovered this week.

We learned today that production of the F-35 aircraft will be delayed because cracks were discovered during testing. These new problems will again increase costs significantly. The F-35 program is experiencing one problem after another.

When will the minister cancel this costly program that is doomed to failure and opt for an open and transparent bidding process?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am afraid that the hon. member opposite is reading too many headlines, and many of them are her own.

In any event, our program remains on track. We are monitoring the progress very closely, as are our partner nations.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government's failure to act in the fight against climate change is being criticized as far away as Africa.

A former minister in the Mandela government, Jay Naidoo, said he no longer recognizes Canada and described the Conservative government's actions as a betrayal towards Africa.

The unrestricted development of the oil sands will have repercussions on the entire planet.

Does this government realize that the green economy is the way of the future and will it do its fair share within the international community?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my colleague that on this side of the House we refer to that great Canadian resource as the oil sands.

Canada will participate in Durban in the same good faith that we have demonstrated at all of the pre-conference meetings throughout this year.

As my colleague should know, Canada is working toward a single new international climate change regime that will include commitments by all major emitters. The Cancun agreements building on Copenhagen provide a solid foundation for exactly that.

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Laurin Liu NDP Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's reputation continues to take a beating thanks to the government's inaction on the environment. Yesterday, the Minister of the Environment said that Canada's fossil of the day award came from the uninformed and was ideologically driven.

While we already know that the government does not listen to scientists nor environmentalists, now even China is shaking its head at us.

Canada's blocking progress at the Durban conference. If the government is so serious about creating jobs, why has it turned its back on the new green energy economy?

The EnvironmentOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Thornhill Ontario

Conservative

Peter Kent ConservativeMinister of the Environment

Mr. Speaker, I would remind my hon. colleague that this government is proud of the abundance of natural resources with which Canada has been blessed. We are equally proud of the responsible and sustainable way that we exploit those resources for the benefit of Canada and for the benefit of many developing countries and countries that are vulnerable to climate change and require adaptation.

We are also proud of our commitment to the Copenhagen accord and the Cancun agreements, and we are working to meet our 2020 greenhouse gas target reductions.

Government FundingOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault NDP Sudbury, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we all stood in the House to recognize World AIDS Day and renew our pledge to beat this disease.

World AIDS Day has come and gone, but the work is not done. For the first time ever, the global fund to fight AIDS, TB and malaria had to cancel its annual funding round because donors like Canada are reneging on their commitments. Despite its promise, the government has yet to transfer even one penny to the fund.

When will the government make good on its commitment and support the global fund?

Government FundingOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Newmarket—Aurora Ontario

Conservative

Lois Brown ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation

Mr. Speaker, Canada is very proud to be one of the largest contributors to the global fund. Our contributions are on track and we will fulfill our commitments.

Our contributions are making a difference. For example, the rate of TB infections is down for the first time in decades, more mothers and children are getting access to malaria drugs, and 3.2 million people are getting treatment for AIDS.

When this government makes a commitment, we live up to it.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Kevin Lamoureux Liberal Winnipeg North, MB

Mr. Speaker, under the guise of savings, the Prime Minister killed the Kelowna accord. That agreement had widespread support that dealt with aboriginal issues. Now they are blaming the community. Attawapiskat is being blamed for the government's killing of the Kelowna accord.

Will the government now acknowledge that Canada is facing a first nations aboriginal housing crisis, and what is it prepared to do about it?