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House of Commons Hansard #107 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was general.

Topics

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:25 p.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate that the leader of the third party is frustrated that he does not have the opportunity to present opposition day speeches and debates as often as he might otherwise have if the Liberals were the official opposition, as they formerly were.

Essentially, that is what we have had. I have heard nothing in the way of any meaningful question of privilege that can be addressed here.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Let the Speaker decide that.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

The fact is, in the report of the Auditor General, the Auditor General was somewhat critical and cast questions on the conduct and diligence of officials.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Your nose is somewhat growing.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

It is absolutely understandable that officials in the affected departments would want to defend and explain their actions. That is what has been reported by the Auditor General in his report. In the sections that said that the officials in those two departments, not the government, took issue, I can understand the actual inclination for them to want to do it. However, the position of the government is not the position taken by the officials in those departments.

The position of the government, as reported in the House by us, is a position that is taken by the Governor-in-Council. It is a position that is taken by cabinet. We have had the opportunity and the benefit of reading the Auditor General's report, taking into account all the facts related in it, the information that has been provided, including the efforts by members of the department to explain their actions. The fact is, having considered all those findings and having considered those recommendations, cabinet, the Governor-in-Council, agrees with the Auditor General.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:25 p.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

And he said you misled the House.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Conservative Edmonton Centre, AB

That was not in the report.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order, please. In questions of privilege of this nature, certainly members are afforded the opportunity to respond. In that the first statement was respected in terms of listening, we would like to afford the same opportunity for the government House leader.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:25 p.m.

Conservative

Peter Van Loan Conservative York—Simcoe, ON

Mr. Speaker, the leader of the opposition may wish that we were bound to take the same position as officials in the department defending their actions. That is not the case here. In fact, that is why the Office of the Auditor General exists, to provide the government and the Canadian public with the opportunity to have this level of oversight and to be able to rely on that opinion, those findings, that advice and that work of the Auditor General. That is exactly what we are doing in this case and that is what the actions we are taking reflect as well.

In terms of any question of what has been said to Parliament, a very important point to understand, and it is the same point the Auditor General has expressed in his report, is that as a government, as ministers, as a cabinet, we have a right and an expectation that the advice we receive is something on which we can rely. This is something that, in this case, the Auditor General made some findings on. We happen to agree with those findings in the end.

In this case there is no privilege or question of any efforts to have misled Parliament. The Auditor General has spoken to it quite clearly and quite completely, laying out the circumstances in which that occurred, and we happen to agree with the Auditor General.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

April 5th, 2012 / 12:25 p.m.

NDP

Joe Comartin NDP Windsor—Tecumseh, ON

Mr. Speaker, we just heard the argument from the member for Toronto Centre, so I would like to reserve our opportunity to come back after the break with a more fulsome comment.

I want to get this on the record now. It is clear that when we hear what the Auditor General has said, every one of us as members of Parliament has to think if our privileges have been breached. On a preliminary basis, our analysis is that it is still premature to determine that. I say that from the perspective of the Speaker having to make an ultimate ruling on this motion.

However, we are still analyzing all the information we have. As the leader of the third party mentioned, more information came out in a scrum this morning from the Auditor General. Therefore, we are doing that analysis. Both for the reason that we have heard the arguments for the first time and for the reality of the need to continue to do that analysis, I ask for the right to be able to respond after the break.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:30 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I will be addressing the same point and I will be brief.

The leader of the Liberal Party spoke eloquently in his presentation on the fiasco that the whole plan, the whole program to purchase these F-35 jets represents.

However, I have to add one thing: it is very rare for this government to admit that it has made an error. That has to be recognized. The Conservatives have been in power since 2006, and even when they were in a minority position, never once did they admit that they had made an error. This time, they have done that, more or less, by transferring or, if you like, shovelling the entire matter over to the Department of Public Works. They are so prideful, however, that they have decided to call it the F-35 Secretariat.

So to them, this does not mean reviewing the competition process, seeing whether there was a real need to buy these jets, and also reviewing the entire defence or even foreign affairs policy. And that means that after all the information we have had from the Auditor General and the statistics provided by the Parliamentary Budget Officer, we can be certain that not just this House, but the public as a whole has been misled by the Conservative government in this matter.

Ultimately, what we have to remember, and I will conclude on this point, is that it is the public who will be paying all those billions of dollars in this whole F-35 fiasco.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:30 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

Mr. Speaker, having heard the hon. member for Toronto Centre and the points from the hon. member for Windsor—Tecumseh, I want to make this one point very clearly.

On behalf of the Green Party of Canada, I would like to associate myself with every point made by the member for Toronto Centre. Also, I agree with the member for Windsor—Tecumseh that there are more facts to be uncovered and more information to be gained.

I have felt offended by hearing government members in the House claim that they have accepted, and that their departments have accepted, the findings of the Auditor General, when in black and white in the report of the Auditor General, it says very clearly, at page 31, chapter 2:

Both National Defence and Public Works and Government Services Canada disagree with our conclusion that they did not demonstrate due diligence in their respective roles in the replacement of the CF-18 jets.

I believe there is a clear contradiction there. I know the Speaker will take time and consider carefully the points of the hon. member for Toronto Centre with which we agree on every syllable.

National DefencePrivilegeOral Questions

12:30 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

I would like to thank the hon. member for Toronto Centre for his intervention, the responses from the government House leader and the comments by the member for Richmond—Arthabaska and the member for Saanich—Gulf Islands.

The Chair notes that the member for Windsor—Tecumseh would like to reserve an opportunity to speak on the point perhaps after the break.

I think there is more than enough here for us to consider in the days ahead. We will take the matter under advisement and get back to the House in due course.

Official LanguagesRoutine Proceedings

12:30 p.m.

Lotbinière—Chutes-de-la-Chaudière Québec

Conservative

Jacques Gourde ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Works and Government Services

Mr. Speaker, Canada's two official languages are an integral part of this country's history and identity. That is why today, I am proud to table, in both official languages, the mid-term report of the Roadmap for Canada's Linguistic Duality 2008-2013: Acting for the Future.

As the report states, our investments in support of official languages in each of the Roadmap action areas have resulted in real progress and tangible preliminary results for all Canadians.

Government Response to PetitionsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Regina—Lumsden—Lake Centre Saskatchewan

Conservative

Tom Lukiwski ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 36(8) I have the honour to table, in both official languages, the government's response to 32 petitions.

Interparliamentary DelegationsRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Conservative

Mike Wallace Conservative Burlington, ON

Mr. Speaker, pursuant to Standing Order 34(1) I have the honour to present to the House, in both official languages, the report of the Canadian Joint Delegation of Canada-China Legislative Association and the Canada-Japan Inter-Parliamentary Group respecting its participation at the 20th annual meeting of the Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum, APPF, which was held in Tokyo, Japan, from January 8 to 12.

Fish Inspection ActRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Green

Elizabeth May Green Saanich—Gulf Islands, BC

,

seconded by the member for Richmond—Arthabaska, moved for leave to introduce Bill C-417, An Act to amend the Fish Inspection Act and the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act (importation and labelling of shark).

She said: Mr. Speaker, today is my first opportunity to present a private member's bill in the House. This one is very complementary to other legislation in the House dealing with the ongoing and devastating practice of the finning of sharks for the purpose of one type of rare and prized dish accepted in Chinese culture. Shark fin soup is leading to the actual extinction of shark species around the planet. Over 70 million individual sharks a year are killed for this practice.

This bill attempts to help consumers through proper labelling. By focusing on labelling, I will be clear that the intent of the bill is to assist in the ending of the practice of trade and consumption of shark fins. In brief, the bill deals with the fact that as a high-end predator on the food chain, shark fins are contaminated with high levels of mercury. Currently, there is no warning of that in the consumption of sharks. It is also very important that the country of origin be labelled.

Through this labelling effort, the hope is that the practice will be come more difficult and in fact come to an end.

(Motions deemed adopted, bill read the first time and printed)

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:35 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I have eight travel motions and I hope I will receive the support of the House.

I move:

That, in relation to its study on the land-use and sustainable economic development, seven members of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development be authorized to travel to Roberval, Quebec, Truro and Sydney, Nova Scotia, in the spring of 2012, and that the necessary staff accompany the Committee.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Does the chief government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to adopt the motion?

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

(Motion agreed to)

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Carleton—Mississippi Mills Ontario

Conservative

Gordon O'Connor ConservativeMinister of State and Chief Government Whip

Mr. Speaker, I move:

That, in relation to its study on the land-use and sustainable economic development, seven members of the Standing Committee on Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development be authorized to travel to Westbank, Penticton and Osoyoos, British Columbia, and Saskatoon, Leask and North Battleford, Saskatchewan, in the spring of 2012, and that the necessary staff accompany the committee.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Does the chief government whip have the unanimous consent of the House to adopt the motion?

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.

Aboriginal Affairs and Northern DevelopmentCommittees of the HouseRoutine Proceedings

12:40 p.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

(Motion agreed to)