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House of Commons Hansard #108 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was refugees.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, it is now clear that the defence minister was fully aware two years ago of the true cost of the F-35s but chose to keep Canadians in the dark. He spent the last two weeks making up bogus excuses for his mishandling of the fighter jet procurement, further confirming that the government has lost all credibility on the file.

Will the minister stop hiding the truth from Canadians and finally take responsibility for this fiasco?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, far from being a fiasco, this procurement is moving ahead on the basis of a plan that was identified in the House repeatedly. Canada has not signed any contract. It has not spent any money on acquiring a replacement aircraft for the CF-18s. We will not proceed with such a purchase until the seven steps outlined by us over the course of recent weeks, as the member opposite knows full well, are completed and developmental work has sufficiently advanced. We have communicated a budget for replacing the aging CF-18s and we will stick to it. Our numbers cover the acquisition costs for replacement as well as the operating costs for this aircraft.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, that is funny. The Prime Minister and the Minister of National Defence both said they had a contract.

Here is what the defence minister said on the cost of the F-35s in 2011, and I quote. “Many figures have been circulated on the cost.... I have no idea where [they're] coming from. They’re simply made up — or they’re guessing.”

Was the Auditor General guessing in his report when he showed it was the defence minister repeatedly misleading costs for months on end? Was the Parliamentary Budget Officer simply making things up when he accurately estimated the costs?

When will the government stop making excuses for deceiving Canadians?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Ajax—Pickering Ontario

Conservative

Chris Alexander ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we do not apologize for the fact that Canada is following its laws and policies on procurement in securing a replacement for the aging CF-18s. There will be an independent review of the costs. The funding envelope is frozen. A new secretariat is being established. We are going to continue to identify opportunities to participate in an important developmental program. We are going to provide annual updates to Parliament and continue to evaluate options, and the Treasury Board Secretariat will review the sustainment costs of the F-35 to ensure full compliance with the procurement policies of this government. We make no apologies for any of that.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, underestimating the total cost of the F-35s by $10 billion is not an accounting error; it is ministerial incompetence.

The Conservatives have hidden information and mismanaged the file, and now they are refusing to take responsibility for this fiasco.

Even worse, history is repeating itself, but this time it has to do with close combat vehicles. Changes might be made to the procurement process and the initial cost of $2 billion could increase.

When will the Conservatives start showing some transparency when it comes to military procurement?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, when it comes to the close combat vehicle procurement, this procurement is going forward exactly as it should. We always try to engage fairness monitors to ensure that the procurement is happening in a fair and transparent manner. I have taken the advice of the fairness monitor and the advice of deputy ministers of Defence and Public Works, and a decision will be communicated to the bidders shortly.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, it looks like Public Works has a new role in military procurement, re-rigging rigged procurement processes.

Witness the F-35 secretariat. Now that it has been caught rigging the replacement for the CF-18s, it is re-rigging it all over again in Public Works this time. As for the latest one, the close combat vehicle, we learned from the fairness monistor, I mean monitor, that it got rigged too.

Why can they not hold open and transparent procurement processes? Are the Conservatives addicted to rigging?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

Rona Ambrose ConservativeMinister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women

Mr. Speaker, we make a habit at Public Works, as the contracting authority for the government when we do military procurements, to engage fairness monitors and they are there for exactly this reason.

They are monitors, not monsters. They do a very good job on our behalf and we look to them for good, sound advice to make sure that the process is being followed in a transparent, open and fair manner.

As I said, I have taken the advice of the fairness monitor and also the advice of our legal team and deputy ministers from Public Works and Defence, and the bidders will be communicated to shortly.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, it looks like this tendency to make it up as one goes along is spreading along the front benches on the other side.

Last week we learned the Conservatives are shutting down two prisons as well as the Ontario Regional Treatment Centre, but they have no plan for where the inmates will go. Thousands of the most dangerous offenders in this country, including those with serious mental illnesses, are supposed to be moved to facilities that are already full.

We can always tell when the Conservatives are trying to hide their mismanagement. They start holding crime photo ops.

Will the Minister of Public Safety instead table the documents he has based this decision on in the House, or are these reckless cuts simply a result of making up policy on the fly?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, what irony coming from the NDP that wants to release all these prisoners right onto the street. Why are they worried about prisoners in prisons?

Canadians gave our government a strong mandate to keep our streets and communities safe. The thrust of our legislation is ensuring that we keep dangerous and repeat offenders behind bars where they belong.

We are not creating new criminals, merely stopping the revolving door. We have not and will not build any new prisons. In fact, due to a lack of new prisoners, we are closing prisons to save taxpayer money.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives are adding 2,700 new cells to existing prisons. So much for saving money.

Leclerc prison just underwent a costly renovation project over the past three years. Since December 2011, over 60 new correctional officers have been hired. This closure smacks of improvisation. It is as though this decision has been made on the back of a napkin, completely in haste, in order to distract from the Conservative scandals.

So, why are the Conservatives going ahead with this closure, after having renovated the facility and hired new staff?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Provencher Manitoba

Conservative

Vic Toews ConservativeMinister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I am puzzled. First of all, the critic says there is no plan. Then the other member gets up and says we are constructing 2,700 new cells. In fact, they cannot even get their stories straight. Do they want prisons? Do they not want prisons?

All we know is that the NDP wants prisoners out on the street. We want them safe and secure, protecting Canadians.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, speaking of criminals, let us talk about the robofraud investigation that has moved to Conservative Party headquarters.

The RCMP and Elections Canada are going over the Conservative database to find out who had access with Pierre Poutine, but a funny thing happened. The database has been altered. It seems that key records have been deleted. Holy Watergate, Batman.

Before the member for Peterborough gets up with his usual bizarre countercharge, will he comment on the fact that it is usually the cover-up, not the original crime, that gets one caught in the end?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, once again we see the member opposite doing exactly what the Chief Electoral Officer told him not to do, which is jump to crazy conclusions.

Let us be clear. We have indicated from the get-go and from the outset that we were fully participating in supporting Elections Canada in its work and its research in this regard. We regard any effort to suppress a vote as being completely unacceptable.

What we do know in addition to that is that the NDP does not co-operate with Elections Canada. It has not co-operated in the investigations into the NDP with respect to its own conventions, where it took illegal donations from unions. Why will it not co-operate?

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, he will not get a $16 orange juice from the minister of international development with lousy answers like that.

Let us talk about the government's lack of accountability. Ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce the minister of international development, who would not stay in a five-star hotel in posh London because it was not good enough for her. Now she has had to pay the money back.

This is a woman with a long history. Do members remember the thousand-dollar limo joyrides she used to take through the streets of Toronto or the fact that she slashed international development funds so she could live like a queen? Is someone over there not embarrassed by her behaviour? Will someone stand up and apologize to the hard-working Canadian taxpayers? She is living like a queen off their backs.

EthicsOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government believes very much that all ministers must respect taxpayer dollars. The minister, of course, has repaid the costs in question.

The hon. member for Timmins—James Bay asked a question earlier that perhaps the member for Thunder Bay—Superior North would have something to say about. I understand that NDP member will now sit as an independent member because he is tired of having his votes suppressed by his leadership.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Ève Péclet NDP La Pointe-de-l'Île, QC

Mr. Speaker, there is nothing too good for the working class. The Minister of International Cooperation refused to stay at a five-star hotel in London and chose instead to stay at the luxurious Savoy hotel. The price of her hotel room could have covered the cost of vaccinating 140 children living in poor countries. Instead, the minister treated herself to a marble bathroom.

Is she going to use the same sleeping bag defence as the minister responsible for conflicts of interest?

As long as she is wasting public funds, did the minister at least take the shampoo samples from the room?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, our government expects our ministers to use taxpayers' money properly. The minister reimbursed the cost of changing hotels.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Scott Andrews Liberal Avalon, NL

Mr. Speaker, during a trip to London, the minister for CIDA attended a five-star hotel where the conference was being held, but that was not swanky enough for her. She wanted to go down to the Savoy Hotel and more than double the costs. She was carried the two kilometres from her hotel at the conference in a limo that cost $1,000 a day, while she sat back and sipped orange juice at $16.00 a glass. Ironically, her department suffered almost $400 million in cuts.

Let us get to the real reason why she switched hotels. Will the minister stop ripping off taxpayer dollars because she could not get a smoking room and stop living a millionaire on the taxpayers' dime?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, anybody who has looked at the expense disclosures of Liberal ministers when they were in government would know what swanky living was. The difference is this government respects taxpayer dollars, and we expect all ministers to do so. That is why the minister in question has repaid the expenditures in question.

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Lise St-Denis Liberal Saint-Maurice—Champlain, QC

Mr. Speaker, when the Minister of International Cooperation attended a conference in London, a room was reserved for her at the conference site at a luxury hotel, but the minister insisted on being treated even more like a queen at another hotel at a much higher cost.

Will the minister confirm the name of the hotel and say whether it would be appropriate to recommend that hotel to the hon. members of the House of Commons?

EthicsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I think I have answered this question thoroughly. Of course, our government has been very focused on respecting taxpayer dollars in every regard, including ministers' offices. In fact, over the last three years, ministers' offices' budgets have been reduced by 18% by this government. That is what Canadians want to see. That is real leadership. That is what the Liberals never gave. That is why they are over there.

Elections CanadaOral Questions

April 23rd, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, every news story on election fraud brings more scandal and corruption closer to the Prime Minister. First, incriminating access logs to the Conservative database were deleted. Now it is revealed a high-level staffer in the Conservative war room has been named as having calls under investigation traced to him.

However, government denials so far sound familiar to the in-and-out scandal, where the Conservative Party had to pay fines and return $300,000 stolen from Canadians.

Why will the Prime Minister not come clean and implement a royal commission into this scandal? Or is this issue just too close to his office?

Elections CanadaOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I am sure that Canadians would always entertain receiving a cheque from the Liberal Party for the missing $43 million from the sponsorship scandal that the member forgot to mention.

However, as we have indicated from the get-go, unlike the Liberal member for Guelph who had to get caught for a phony call, using a phony number and a phony name, we have actually been participating with Elections Canada, assisting it as we could in this matter.

As we said earlier, we have nothing to hide in this. The Conservative Party played absolutely no role in any of the allegations that the member has just indicated. However, what I can say is that we will continue to assist Elections Canada. Will the Liberal Party?

Official LanguagesOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Commissioner of Official Languages has published a scathing report on the closing of the Quebec City marine rescue sub-centre. He states that the Trenton and Halifax centres cannot respond to distress calls in both official languages. There is no guarantee that people in distress will receive the essential services to which they are entitled.

Why is this government playing with the safety of Canadians by not guaranteeing that francophones in distress will have adequate services in French?