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House of Commons Hansard #81 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was guns.

Topics

National DefenceOral questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, how can the defence ministers admit that there is a slew of problems with the F-35 program and then turn around and tell our men and women in uniform that the F-35 is the safest aircraft for our troops?

Simply rhyming off Lockheed Martin's talking points and playing with the safety of our troops is completely unacceptable behaviour on the part of this government.

When will we see a plan B? When will we have an open, transparent competitive bidding process?

National DefenceOral questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, again I repeat, the Royal Canadian Air Force plays an important role in protecting our sovereignty and defending our internal interests and external interests abroad. Canada's CF-18s are nearing the end of their life cycle. We will ensure that Canada's air force is properly equipped for the job we ask of it.

National DefenceOral questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, as we have said before, it is the same line over and over, “Again I repeat”.

Italy is the latest country to come up with a plan B for its F-35s. It is reducing its order by 40 planes. Meanwhile, the guys selling us the plane confirmed the obvious: the price is going up.

At last, our defence minister is no longer prepared to say that Canada will get 65 planes on time and on budget.

Will the minister give Canadians a straight answer today? Is the government ordering the same number of planes, yes or no?

National DefenceOral questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite has consistently cast aspersions on this program which is an effort to provide our men and women with the tools and assets they need to to do the job we require of them at the best cost for Canadian taxpayers.

National DefenceOral questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, we do little more than read the headlines in the news every day and repeat even what the American government is telling us. It is no secret there will be a time when the CF-18s will no longer be airworthy. It is no secret that the F-35s have been plagued with problems. It is no secret that the F-35s will not be ready on time and on budget.

The question is, does the minister have a secret plan B? Today we hear that the Conservatives are going shopping again, this time for armed drones. Is this plan B?

National DefenceOral questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that premise is absolutely incorrect.

As part of the Canada first defence strategy we will ensure that the Canadian armed forces is equipped with the tools it needs. Any suggestion, as made by the member, that the Royal Canadian Air Force will be acquiring these systems is speculation at best.

National DefenceOral questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

David Christopherson NDP Hamilton Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, for months now the Conservatives have ignored the warning signs, have ignored the opposition, and clearly are ignoring reality. No wonder they are in panic mode over their F-35 fiasco. Allies continue to bail out and retreat on their purchases, costs are skyrocketing and production continues to be delayed; all this for a plane that is still unproven and might not even meet Canada's needs.

Will the government get its head out of the clouds, accept reality and open up this purchase to fair competition?

National DefenceOral questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the question from the member opposite. I want to assure him, and the rhetoric of the NDP, that we are always assessing the implications of decisions resulting from all of these situations.

As well, the Government of Canada is ensuring that Canada's air force is properly equipped for the job we ask of it.

National DefenceOral questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, my question is for the same minister because I think we need to explore this issue a little more deeply.

The Prime Minister said that the government is going to stay within the $9.5 billion budget. General Natyncyzk said that at least 65 planes are needed, and that is a minimum number. Now Lockheed has said that the price is going to be far higher than the original $75 million. These are three things that just do not go together.

I am asking the minister very directly to tell us face to face, because he and I know each other well, what exactly is the government planning to do as we go forward? What is it going to do about this venture?

National DefenceOral questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, friendship has nothing to do with the answer I will give my hon. friend.

We are very much involved in the procurement of an asset that will ensure our men and women have the best opportunity of success. To the best ability we will ensure that Canadian taxpayers are well served. At the same time we will do what needs to be done, taking all these issues into account.

National DefenceOral questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, we are trying to get a clear answer. Since I have yet to receive a clear answer, I will try once more.

According to their plan right now, how many planes are they going buy, at what cost and when? When will we get the planes? Everyone knows—and we agree—that we need to have the planes by 2020, but how many and at what price? My question is simple; it is not difficult.

National DefenceOral questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I want to be absolutely certain that the hon. member realizes that we are monitoring the situation ongoing. Moreover, we have a budget allocated and we will ensure that we work and supply the assets necessary within that budget.

National DefenceOral questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Bob Rae Liberal Toronto Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, then government has to make a decision on whether it will put up with fewer planes for the same price or it will look to an open competition to see whether we can get more planes that would be equally suitable at a lower price that we can afford. That is the question we have to answer. It is very simple. As a party, we have been raising this for 18 months trying to get a clear answer. It is not a matter of just monitoring. We do not need a robocall answer, but a real answer to these questions.

How many planes? At what price? And when are they going to be delivered? Those are three very simple questions.

National DefenceOral questions

2:40 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I say with all respect to the member: Stay tuned, that answer will be forthcoming.

PensionsOral questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government still cannot give seniors and families a straight answer when it comes to old age security. First, it was not raising the retirement age; now it is. Then it was happening in 2020; not it is not.

A quarter of a million Canadians will have to work two extra years to pay for this year's $3 billion Conservative corporate tax handout. Seniors and families are worried about their retirement. They deserve answers.

Is the government raising the OAS from age 65 to age 67, yes or no?

PensionsOral questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, one thing Canadians deserve is the truth and the truth is exactly what the Prime Minister and I have been saying for some time now.

As it stands, the current OAS system is not sustainable into the future. We do have to make changes so that future generations can still expect to get some OAS. In doing that, we will protect and preserve the benefits that current Canadian retirees are receiving, and those who are near retirement will receive. However, we must take action. It is the responsible thing to do for all Canadians.

PensionsOral questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, OAS is sustainable in the long term. This is not about sustainability. It is about a Prime Minister choosing to give handouts to his CEO friends while slashing retirement security for seniors.

I have been travelling across the country talking to Canadians and they are telling me that they want answers from the government. However, all Conservatives give them is double-talk and manufactured crises. And you raising the OAS from age 65 to age 67 is despicable. Tell us, yes or no?

PensionsOral questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. I will just remind colleagues to address their comments through the Chair, not directly at other members.

The hon. Minister of Human Resources.

PensionsOral questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, we too have been criss-crossing the country. The difference is that we are listening to Canadians, not talking to them. Canadians are telling us that they recognize that the aging of the baby boomers is going to have a huge impact. They recognize all the good things that we have been doing to help seniors, including increasing the GIS, increasing the exemption and providing pension splitting.

Here is what else they told us: “We're are heading towards trouble that cannot be staved off unless the OAS is reformed.” Who said that? Hilary Sinclair of the Canadian University Press. Hilary Sinclair gets it.

PensionsOral questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, the old age security program is sustainable in the long term. Therefore, the minister should stop telling us that changes are absolutely necessary. It is not true. Rather, it is a choice that the Conservatives are making, and it is a very bad choice.

The government keeps repeating that it is going to make changes to old age security, but what changes? It may be that this will not happen until 2020, but Canadians are worried just the same. They want to plan for their retirement, but they still do not have any information.

Will Canadians aged 57 or less have to wait until they reach the age of 67 to retire, yes or no?

PensionsOral questions

2:45 p.m.

Some hon. members

Yes or no?

PensionsOral questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, our government has acted to protect and help our seniors, and we will continue to do so by making changes to the OAS program.

Let us look at some examples. We are the ones who created the position of Minister of State for Seniors and established the National Seniors Council to represent seniors. We are the ones who increased the age credit, not once but twice. We are the ones who introduced the GIS exemption, and we are also the ones who increased it. We took these initiatives for the benefit of our seniors.

PensionsOral questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Lysane Blanchette-Lamothe NDP Pierrefonds—Dollard, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is still no information being provided. These answers will definitely not help Canadians better plan for their retirement. Unfortunately, it is not just a matter of planning, because not everyone can afford to plan for his or her retirement. The old age security program is particularly important for those who become unemployed before retirement age and have a hard time finding another job, for those who do physical work and whose bodies are tired, and for those who were not able to save enough for their retirement. These people deserve to know whether the government intends to raise the retirement age from 65 to 67. So, is the answer yes or no?

PensionsOral questions

2:45 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, everyone wants us to help our seniors. That is why we introduced the pooled registered pension plan. And does the NDP support this initiative? Of course not. We are the ones who introduced the tax free savings account. And again, does the NDP support it? Of course not. We are also the ones who made it easier to access the GIS. And does the NDP support that initiative? Of course not.

Air CanadaOral questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, a work stoppage at Air Canada would be contrary to the best interests of hard-working Canadians, Canadian businesses and the already fragile economy. The travelling public is concerned about any possible disruption in service at Canada's largest national airline.

The Minister of Labour informed the House yesterday that she had offered to extend mediation processes to both parties. Could the Minister of Labour please give the House an update on the status of the labour negotiations at Air Canada?