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House of Commons Hansard #77 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was investment.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Department of National Defence has undertaken a comprehensive review of investments and necessary transformation as we prepare for challenges that our country will face in the future. We have already built upon a strong reputation for contributing internationally, for giving our men and women in uniform the necessary support, equipment and compensation that they need and deserve. I could not be more proud as the Minister of National Defence of those brave men and women. They are our greatest citizens who do so much for our country at home and abroad.

Search and RescueOral Questions

February 9th, 2012 / 2:50 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, the tragedies in Newfoundland and Labrador as a result of inadequate search and rescue continue to mount. The latest victim is 14-year-old Burton Winters of Makkovik, Labrador. The defence department revealed Wednesday that its Goose Bay-based Griffon helicopters were out of service. Déjà vu. In 2009, when the Cougar helicopter went down off Newfoundland, the Gander-based Cormorants were in Nova Scotia and also unavailable.

How many more tragedies must there be before search and rescue problems are finally addressed?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said a number of times, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of young Burton Winters, his friends and the entire community of Makkovik. Officials were in Newfoundland yesterday providing detailed analysis of the circumstances around this tragedy.

A full investigation has now been completed. We have a much greater understanding of the timeline and the way that these tragic events unfolded. Both the RCMP and Canadian Forces officials have explained some of these circumstances. There are improvements that can be made perhaps in protocol and we are in a constant state of update and improvement.

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

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

Mr. Speaker, that is cold comfort for Newfoundland and Labrador mariners. That is no comfort. It is one thing for National Defence to state it met its own standards. It is another to say the response to Makkovik was satisfactory and the equipment adequate.

Yesterday's press conference raised more questions than it answered. First we learned weather delays prevented the rescue. Now we learn the helicopters in the region were out of commission. What is the real story?

Will the government finally fix search and rescue? Will the government finally fix what is broken?

Search and RescueOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, let us keep a few facts in mind. Our country has the largest search and rescue territory on the planet. We have dedicated SAR techs who do their best each and every time. As officials said yesterday and the member has just repeated, the weather in Makkovik was a factor when the first call came in. It impacted on officials' decisions as to when to dispatch aircraft. As explained by Admiral Gardam yesterday, the weather was an issue. The first call came 20 hours after this young man had apparently left his home. A second call came some 51 hours later.

Public TransitOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Andrew Cash NDP Davenport, ON

Mr. Speaker, it is very sad that Conservatives are not getting the job done for Toronto. Last night, Toronto city council committed to a practical light rail-based plan to fix its public transit. However, the good buddy of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Finance, Mayor Ford, said council should be ignored. It seems that there are a lot of dirty tricks that Mayor Ford is learning from his Conservative friends across the way. Will the government--

Public TransitOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Public TransitOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The member is out of time.

The hon. Minister of Transport.

Public TransitOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, it was a good discussion yesterday in the city of Toronto. However, we always said we would respect jurisdictions in public transit and we respect the choices of provinces in their politics.

Public TransitOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Mike Sullivan NDP York South—Weston, ON

Mr. Speaker, the federal government can help fix public transit in Toronto, but Conservatives refuse to act. The Canadian Urban Transit Association is on the Hill today talking about the importance of getting shovels in the ground on transit projects, projects that would increase productivity and get working families home sooner. Indexing the gas tax fund and increasing the transfer of gas tax money would mean cities could build the transit they need.

Will the government take our advice and help cities like Toronto?

Public TransitOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are happy and proud not to take any of their advice. Those members voted against $5 billion that we invested in public transit in this country.

I had a good meeting with CUTA this morning.

Everybody knows that no previous government has invested as much as we have in public transit in Canada. We will continue to do so.

CensusOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Geoff Regan Liberal Halifax West, NS

Mr. Speaker, this government paid $30 million extra for a census that has almost no scientific value. The Conservatives are wasting money in this manner at the very time that they are proposing cutting Canadians' pensions.

Does the minister understand that the government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars on data that are practically useless?

CensusOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Mégantic—L'Érable Québec

Conservative

Christian Paradis ConservativeMinister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture)

Mr. Speaker, it is strange to hear such questions and judgments that seem to come out of nowhere, knowing that, according to the facts, the response rate for the mandatory census was higher than in 2006. We also succeeded in increasing the rate of participation by using the Internet.

With regard to the long form, the response rate was 69.3%, which is well above the original target of 50%. Statistics Canada's chief statistician stated that the survey would produce useful and usable results—

CensusOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Vancouver Centre.

Airline IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, yesterday I received an urgent email from a constituent. He is concerned about the government's new gender identification requirements in the identity screening regulations to board an aircraft. He will be heading to a convention in San Diego this weekend along with Canadian transvestite and transgendered delegates.

Could the Minister of Transport tell this group if they will be allowed to travel? A simple yes or no will suffice.

Airline IndustryOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, safety at our airports is an important issue for our government. We have placed a lot of money and support toward what we have done.

Any travellers crossing the border and going outside the country will be identified. We will continue to do that.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, people in the small community of La Ronge, Saskatchewan, are worried. For decades, they have counted on CBC's satellite office to keep their community dynamic by giving them a voice. Unfortunately, with the cuts coming in the next budget, the Conservatives will force CBC to close its La Ronge office. These offices are important to isolated communities.

What will the government do to protect regional offices and local news?

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

2:55 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, it is true that the CBC has chosen to close its bureau in La Ronge, Saskatchewan, because it has been empty for the past year. The last reporter who worked there retired over a year ago. It is empty office space.

If we cannot get agreement from the NDP to not renew a lease on office space we are not using to help balance the budget, we will go nowhere as a country.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

3 p.m.

NDP

Tyrone Benskin NDP Jeanne-Le Ber, QC

Mr. Speaker, flippant answers notwithstanding, the closest Radio-Canada satellite office to La Ronge is more than 500 kilometres away.

With additional cuts to the CBC in the upcoming budget, more local services will be on the chopping block. Meanwhile, minority language communities in remote areas like La Ronge depend on Radio-Canada for news and entertainment. The government is blind if it thinks the private sector will take care of these communities.

Why are the Conservatives abandoning these communities? Will they commit to stabilizing the CBC's budget so it can build in communities like La Ronge instead of--

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please. The hon. Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, a geography lesson for the member: Prince Albert is about 250 kilometres and not 500 kilometres from La Ronge. The services are being consolidated there. Nothing is going to be missed because the office is empty. The last employee retired more than a year ago.

If this is an NDP crisis, I think it says a lot more about the NDP than about the rest of the country.

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

Canadian Broadcasting CorporationOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

The hon. member for Okanagan—Shuswap.

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Conservative

Colin Mayes Conservative Okanagan—Shuswap, BC

Mr. Speaker, Canada's forest sector was hit hard during the recession. Our government acted to create jobs and economic growth in our forestry communities across Canada. However, we did not just hand out money randomly, like the opposition would have us do, but targeted it to put the industry on a more sustainable path through investment and market diversification.

Could the parliamentary secretary tell the House how successful our market diversification strategy has been?

Forestry IndustryOral Questions

3 p.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

David Anderson ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources and for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Chair, I thank the member for Okanagan—Shuswap for his great work on this file.

Yesterday the Prime Minister visited one of China's largest wood-frame buildings, built with Canadian lumber. This project was made possible through our successful diversification and export programs.

It is working. Since 2006, wood exports to China have increased sevenfold. That 700% increase is keeping thousands of Canadian forestry workers on the job and supporting our forestry communities across Canada.