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House of Commons Hansard #105 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

Aviation SafetyOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, the member does not use the right numbers, but I am sure she will have more questions. For the moment, I will thank the Auditor General for his work and we accept his recommendations.

The Auditor General confirms that Canada has one of the safest aviation systems in the world. That is what he said today.

My department has already identified these shortcomings, and I can confirm that some of the recommendations are already in place.

Aviation SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Olivia Chow NDP Trinity—Spadina, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives just do not understand their reckless cuts will have real safety consequences. The Auditor General found there was no plan to meet inspection needs, no up-to-date information to assess risk, and no management oversight, no approval process. It took the minister sometimes 10 years to deal with emerging safety issues, 10 years.

Will the minister clean up his department and stop these dangerous cuts?

Aviation SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, we are always working to make air travel safer and as safe as possible. Our actions deliver results. Since 2000, the number of aviation accidents fell by 25%. The Auditor General has confirmed that we are making real progress by being the first country in the world to implement a safety management systems approach, and we are confident it will be better.

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Jamie Nicholls NDP Vaudreuil—Soulanges, QC

Mr. Speaker, the closure of Aveos has endangered Canada's reputation as a leader in the aerospace industry. Some investors have expressed interest but they need assurances that they will get contracts from Air Canada. The municipalities affected want to find a solution, as do the provincial governments.

Will this government work with the municipalities, the provinces, Air Canada and investors in order to find a solution?

Air CanadaOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, of course we are very sorry that these workers have lost their jobs.

As we said before, Air Canada is a private company, as is Aveos.

This member would have us, rather than the companies' representatives, manage the companies. We have a legal opinion confirming that Air Canada is complying with the legislation, and we are going to let the people at Air Canada make their business decisions because that is what we have to do. Our job is to promote a healthy and safe airline industry and that is what we are going to do.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General made it abundantly clear that the F-35 program started to crash when the Conservatives took office in 2006. The Department of Public Works did not even realize that the Minister of National Defence had initiated a sole-source procurement program four years earlier. However, nothing has changed. They still call the process the F-35 secretariat, with all the same impugned players, plus the minister of gazebos from Muskoka.

What is needed is an open process to get the right plane at the right price, not an F-35 secretariat.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I indicated, the Auditor General was very clear in his recommendation. His one recommendation is that the Department of National Defence needs to refine its cost estimates. We also believe that it needs to be more transparent.

Our government's response is also clear. We will not purchase new aircraft until that recommendation is met, and we are going further. We have a multi-point plan to address this, including freezing all of the funding allocated for the F-35 until conditions are met. To ensure further transparency, the secretariat will also have to table in Parliament the cost estimates.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, it appears that the only people asking questions are the opposition members. Clearly, it is not the ministers themselves.

When the PBO tabled the F-35 cost estimates in 2011, he was ridiculed by the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Defence and the Conservative caucus. In 2010, though, the U.S. government had already told the government that the F-35s would “cost more and take longer to finish than planned”. The PBO was right and the Prime Minister was wrong.

Did the minister know that he was misleading Parliament, or is he merely incompetent?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, to address the Auditor General's recommendation, we have immediately frozen the funding allocated to the F-35. We have also said we will not purchase new aircraft until this recommendation is met.

Furthermore, to ensure proper oversight and prior to any project approval moving forward, Treasury Board will first commission an independent review of the Department of National Defence's acquisition and sustainment project assumptions and the potential costs for the F-35. All of this will be made public and shared with Parliament.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Liberal Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General has just confirmed how incompetent and dishonest the Conservatives have been with regard to the F-35 procurement.

Billions of taxpayer dollars are at stake, but the Conservatives chose to ignore our warnings and never bothered to check whether there were any problems. Now our air force risks paying the price for the Conservatives' incompetence.

Why were the Conservatives dishonest with Canadians and why did they fail to ensure the integrity of the process?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, as I said earlier, the Auditor General made one recommendation, and that is for the Department of National Defence to refine its cost estimates.

However, our response goes much further than that to address this issue. We have frozen funding for the F-35 for this project. We have also established a secretariat to manage the process of replacing the CF-18s outside of the Department of National Defence. To ensure oversight, we will have a deputy ministers committee managing this process. All cost estimates will be tabled in Parliament and made public.

PovertyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, let us take a look at what the Conservatives waste taxpayer money on instead of helping seniors, especially low-income seniors when they retire: inefficient private pension plans; billions for failed fighter jets; and let us not forget glow sticks and gazebos in Muskoka.

Now we will not know the effects of the hardships caused by denying OAS for two extra years because the government cut the National Council of Welfare.

Did the Conservatives eliminate the council because they want to hide the truth about seniors poverty from Canadians?

PovertyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. Our budget is focused on making sure individuals have jobs. That is the best way to eliminate poverty: making sure individuals have jobs.

With respect to the National Council of Welfare, we are putting our policy resources to best use and in the most efficient manner. There are many non-governmental organizations that provide comparable independent advice and research on poverty and other related issues.

We will continue to take poverty very seriously, but we are also going to be focused on making sure Canadians have the skills they need so that they can participate in the economy.

PovertyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Irene Mathyssen NDP London—Fanshawe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives will not listen to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, so what makes us think they will listen to anyone else?

They want to hide the fact that pushing the retirement age back to 67 is going to hurt low-income seniors, so they have eliminated the National Council of Welfare. The government thinks if poverty is not measured, it simply does not exist. Low-income seniors will slip between the cracks and the Conservatives will continue to choose their big business friends over those who truly need help.

Why will the Conservatives not come clean and admit they do not care about seniors living in poverty?

PovertyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Simcoe—Grey Ontario

Conservative

Kellie Leitch ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development and to the Minister of Labour

Mr. Speaker, let us be clear. This country has one of the lowest poverty rates for seniors in the world because of this Conservative government. In fact, under the Liberals, in 1999 it was 7.9%. Under this government, it was 5.2% in 2009.

This government increased the GIS, a record increase, in the last quarter of the century, and the NDP voted against it.

Let us be very clear. These changes will begin in 2023. They will be fully implemented in 2029. We are looking out for low-income seniors. We are making sure that they are provided for.

Highway InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Hoang Mai NDP Brossard—La Prairie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the idea of setting up a toll on the Champlain Bridge was bad enough, but now the Conservatives are talking about setting up tolls on the Jacques Cartier and Mercier bridges as well.

This decision could have an adverse economic effect on families on the south shore and the merchants of Montreal. People are going to take detours in order to avoid the tolls.

Why do the Conservatives want to make families pay for a new bridge when access to the island is currently free?

Highway InfrastructureOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Roberval—Lac-Saint-Jean Québec

Conservative

Denis Lebel ConservativeMinister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, I am extremely proud of the way we are dealing with the matter of the new bridge over the St. Lawrence. A lot of progress has been made. In the coming weeks, we will announce which company or companies won the contract for the environmental aspect as we continue moving forward.

For now, there will not be any tolls. However, during the consultation process that we conducted, a number of mayors in the region spoke to me about a regional toll. Why would we do all the work and spend the money without looking at tolls? We are going to consider every possible avenue. We will stay on course and deliver a new bridge over the St. Lawrence instead of complaining about it.

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

April 3rd, 2012 / 2:40 p.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to talk about bridges, but I would refer to the bridge that has been burned between Quebec and the Conservative government.

This morning the Government of Quebec confirmed that it plans to go to court to prevent the Conservatives from destroying the data from the firearms registry.

This ideological government and its lackeys in the Senate refuse to listen to the calls of Quebeckers, police chiefs and, most importantly, victims. It is not too late. The data can still be saved.

Will the government save the data in order to protect public safety or would it rather become embroiled in a long and costly court battle with Quebec?

Firearms RegistryOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Beauce Québec

Conservative

Maxime Bernier ConservativeMinister of State (Small Business and Tourism)

Mr. Speaker, our legislation provides for the elimination of the data related to the long gun registry— inaccurate, outdated and erroneous data. I am not the one saying so. As early as 2006, the Auditor General confirmed that that data was inaccurate.

We are acting within the federal government's jurisdiction in the area of criminal law and we will defend our jurisdiction.

Human TraffickingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Joy Smith Conservative Kildonan—St. Paul, MB

Mr. Speaker, today the leader of what is called the largest proven human trafficking ring in Canadian history will be sentenced.

This is a deplorable crime that leads to vulnerable people being taken advantage of, often for the profit of criminal and terrorist organizations.

Could the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety tell the House what the government is doing on this file?

Human TraffickingOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for her terrific work on this file.

Human trafficking is a despicable crime. Our government has taken strong action, such as helping to implement mandatory minimum sentences for those convicted of child trafficking, and supporting the RCMP in its Blue Blindfold campaign to raise public awareness.

We are also committed to implementing a national action plan to combat human trafficking.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, at the precise moment when Canada should be helping emerging democracies, this government decides to eliminate the organization that is in the best position to do that job: Rights & Democracy.

The Conservatives made partisan appointments to Rights & Democracy. Then they attacked its respected director, who unfortunately then died. In a nutshell, they literally poisoned the organization, and today they have decided to finish it off.

Does the minister think this is what showing leadership on the international scene means?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, promoting freedom, human rights and democracy is a central element of our foreign policy. Our ambassadors and our foreign service officers do that work every day, all around the world.

For some time, the numerous problems at Rights & Democracy have been the subject of much comment in the media. It is high time that we put these problems behind us and move forward.

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the problem is that the Conservatives created those problems.

The government dumped the idea of a democracy promotion institute that they had announced in the Speech from the Throne in 2008. Now they are killing Rights and Democracy, and they want to cut DFAIT programming under the international assistance envelope, which is often used to promote democracy.

The government speaks a lot about democracy, but it does not seem to want to walk the talk. What does it have against democracy?

Rights & DemocracyOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, here is what we are doing. There have been many problems at this agency for some time. These problems are very well known. What we are simply doing is taking this important project of rights, democracy and freedom and bringing that within our department.

I have a lot of confidence in the hard-working public servants at the Department of Foreign Affairs that we will be able to continue to tackle this issue. We have played a big role in helping the people seek freedom in Libya. We are working with the international community on Syria and we will never let that go. Freedom is an important responsibility and we will continue to promote it around the world.