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House of Commons Hansard #144 of the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was child.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Edmonton Centre Alberta

Conservative

Laurie Hawn ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I spent more than 30 years of my life exercising sovereignty on behalf of Canadians.

Sovereignty is not something that is given to us; it is something we earn and something we keep. Somebody is going to exercise sovereignty over Canada and I would suggest that it should be us.

DND procurement experts stand by their cost projections. We have committed $9 billion for the purchase of 65 aircraft, and $250 million to $300 million a year over 20 years for in-service support.

The F-35 is the only jet that meets our demands, as Mr. Page himself acknowledged. The Minister of National Defence spoke yesterday with the U.S. Secretary of Defense, the U.K. Minister of Defence, and they both acknowledged they are committed to the program. The Secretary of Defense said the program is going very well.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, the statements by the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons clearly show that, for the Conservatives, democracy is just an obstacle, and a distraction from implementing their ideological platform. Your decisions, Mr. Speaker, are a serious wake-up call for this government, which refuses to be accountable to Parliament.

Instead of playing down their moral deficit, will the Conservatives stop their undemocratic behaviour, and respect Parliament and the people?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, I must be very clear. We have a great deal of respect for the Speaker of the House and his decisions. We are working hard and doing our best to provide the information that the Speaker has asked of the government. However, our absolute priority is economic growth and job creation. We are very proud of the Canadian economy, which created 15,000 new jobs last month. That is good new for Canadians and Quebeckers.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Bloc

Pierre Paquette Bloc Joliette, QC

Mr. Speaker, not only is the government acting undemocratically, but its ethics are very dubious. We need only think of the violation of the Canada Elections Act, the use of House resources for partisan purposes, the falsification of documents, and the refusal to provide the information that parliamentarians need to do their job. Respect for the people and the institutions is not an option; it is fundamental to democracy.

When will the Conservatives understand this?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we have a great deal of respect for the Speaker, for the House of Commons, and for democracy. That is why we created the Federal Accountability Act. It is also why we are focusing on the priorities of Canadians. We are working very hard on the economy, economic growth and job creation. These are our highest priorities and we will continue working on them.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has determined that the Conservative government misled us on the cost of the F-35s. The government told us the cost would be $16 billion, but Kevin Page is talking about a bill of at least $29 billion. What is more, the Conservative government is unable to guarantee a modicum of economic spinoffs for Quebec.

Will the government cancel this deal, impose a moratorium on major military purchases and present a real foreign policy and defence policy to guide its military procurement?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, the Bloc Québécois is having a change of heart; it is abandoning the regions and forgetting the entire aerospace sector of the economy. Take for example the military base in Bagotville, where there are 1,357 soldiers. Is the hon. member for Chicoutimi—Le Fjord also doing an about-face and abandoning our soldiers? He does not want to give them the same equipment that other nations have chosen. Everyone thinks this is the direction we should be taking. Are the Bloc MPs turning their backs on our soldiers?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Bloc

Luc Desnoyers Bloc Rivière-des-Mille-Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, since the government is determined to go ahead with the F-35s even at double the cost, it should at least proceed with a real call for tenders and conclude a contract with solid economic spinoffs for Quebec consistent with its share of jobs in the aerospace sector. That is what workers in the industry are calling for.

Will the government require a call for tenders and minimum spinoffs for Quebec?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Jonquière—Alma Québec

Conservative

Jean-Pierre Blackburn ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, we have invested $185 million with other nations to develop the best plane. Together we decided that the F-35 is the best and that is what the government has decided on for protecting our soldiers, securing our future for 40 years in certain military bases and ensuring that we have the best equipment.

He says there is no support for this, but John Saabas, president of Pratt & Whitney, said that all the other countries have chosen this plane and if we want to be a part of this, then the Government of Canada must decide right now to enter into the supply chain.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

March 11th, 2011 / 11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, this has been a tough week for the Conservatives and an even tougher week for Canadians. There are insiders facing criminal charges and potential jail time. There were two more rebukes from the Speaker. It seems that they have given up on accountability in favour of schoolyard behaviour as they cry that others did it too or resort to name-calling.

The courts have ruled, Parliament has ruled and now you, Mr. Speaker, have ruled as well.

When will the Conservatives stop their schoolyard antics and take responsibility for their wrongdoing and their actions?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, we respect your ruling and are right now working to do everything we can do comply with your ruling. We look forward to the committee hearings next week.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, we know that Senator Lavigne, who is facing charges and is in court today, was censured and disciplined by the Senate. However, Conservative senators also facing charges are still sitting in the Senate enjoying their perks and continuing to do party fundraising.

Why is there one set of rules for the Conservatives and another set of rules for everybody else? When will they take responsibility and suspend their senators facing these criminal charges?

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeLeader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, there is no member of the Conservative caucus, neither in the House nor in the Senate, facing criminal charges. The House leader of the NDP should stand in her place and apologize and, if she does not, she should have the courage of her convictions to go outside of this place and make those outrageous charges against two outstanding parliamentarians.

Government AccountabilityOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, Canadians want their government to fix health care, not elections. We know that they bought the 2006 campaign by cheating on their spending limits, and now they are scamming again by appointing their senior campaign team, the architects and masterminds of the biggest election fraud in Canadian history, to the Senate. One Liberal senator is in court today and he has been kicked out of caucus.

Why are these disgraced senators still at the public trough and still running the Conservative Party election campaign on the taxpayers' dime?

Government AccountabilityOral 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 know what to say to the member. I completely reject the premise. I think the member is getting a little out of control. There is no member of the Conservative caucus facing any criminal charges.

We have worked hard to eliminate the role of big money in politics. We have made outstanding progress in that regard and I completely reject the premise of the member's claim.

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Michael Savage Liberal Dartmouth—Cole Harbour, NS

Mr. Speaker, Canadians are outraged at the $534,000 of hush money paid to the former integrity commissioner. That is an obscene amount of money. The average adult with a disability in Canada makes $28,503. We need to think about that. That is about one-twentieth of the current cost of silence that the government pays.

A year ago, the government finally ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities but since then has done nothing. If the Conservatives had true integrity, would they not pay less to cover up their mistakes and a little more for people with disabilities?

Persons with DisabilitiesOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government is very proud of its record on helping persons with disabilities. In fact, our government brought in the registered disability savings plan to help the disabled and their families plan for the future. The Liberals voted against that one.

We also are investing significant amounts in over 300 projects across this country to make community facilities accessible so that people with disabilities can fully participate in society. Of course, the Liberals voted against that. The member even voted against making his church, Saint Iona's, in his riding accessible. I say shame on him.

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Lise Zarac Liberal LaSalle—Émard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are giving over $500,000 to a former integrity commissioner just so she will resign quietly and go away. That $500,000 also could have been used to match the provincial contribution to the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal, which had to eliminate some essential positions in July 2010 because the Conservatives cut funding to that organization.

Or do the Conservatives believe deep down that, like the former commissioner, aboriginal women in distress should just be quiet and go away?

Aboriginal AffairsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we are doing a great deal to help all vulnerable populations, including aboriginal people, people with disabilities and even women, anyone who faces barriers to fully participating in our society. For instance, we have the WITB to help people get over the “welfare wall”. We have done a great deal to help these people. They should have supported us in our efforts.

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, in British Columbia, 12 Conservative ridings were part of the in and out fraud. Six sitting MPs were part of a scheme to break the law. One of them is the President of the Treasury Board, the person in charge of spending taxpayer dollars.

How could the minister have gone along with this fraud? Did he not know this was wrong?

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I would like to ask the hon. member to explain why the Liberal Party transferred exactly $5,000 on July 19, 2004 to the Liberal riding of Simcoe--Grey, which then transferred $4,500 back on July 25, 2004. That was a direct in and out transfer during an election campaign.

That in and out transfer was recognized by Elections Canada as a legitimate local expense and, therefore, all of the same transactions the Conservatives made should be recognized the same.

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Sukh Dhaliwal Liberal Newton—North Delta, BC

Mr. Speaker, the government does not seem to get it. Two MPs, the former Conservative whip and the former House leader received back over $15,000 of taxpayer money through this fraud.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister said, “you win some, you lose some”. The Conservatives have clearly lost and it is time they returned this dirty money.

Will the Prime Minister order that these tax dollars be returned immediately?

Political FinancingOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, the reason I have been systematically pointing out that members of the opposition engaged in in and out transactions is to demonstrate that their national parties transferred funds to local campaigns which then purchased services from the national campaign and transferred the money back to pay for those services. That is precisely what the Conservative Party did.

If Elections Canada recognized all of those transactions by opposition parties as falling under local expenses, then it must also recognize similar Conservative transactions as local expenses.

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Bloc

Mario Laframboise Bloc Argenteuil—Papineau—Mirabel, QC

Mr. Speaker, in committee, the former integrity commissioner said that the $500,000 severance package she was offered was not negotiable. The government therefore offered her this amount to get rid of her and buy her silence. In addition, given that the Auditor General's report stated that there had been obvious mismanagement, there was no justification for giving the commissioner a severance package.

How can the government justify such a large amount of severance pay when it had every reason to dismiss the former commissioner without paying her a single cent?

Former Public Sector Integrity CommissionerOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

North Vancouver B.C.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board

Mr. Speaker, the former Public Sector Integrity Commissioner tendered her official resignation in October 2010. We received legal advice that, based on her 28 years of employment, this was the best way to ensure unresolved complaints would be resolved without putting taxpayers on the hook for any further salary and pension payments.

Our priority was and continues to be the protection of whistleblowers and the proper investigation of any complaints.