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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

EthicsOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, our government has been clear. We will not accept or tolerate any misuse or abuse of taxpayer dollars in any fashion, including the fashion here.

We are talking about the activities of a former employee, and more important, we have recovered every e penny. The taxpayers are not on the hook for a single dime. That is the way a government should conduct itself.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, I learned in the navy that when one is the captain, one is responsible for the ship. That would be the Prime Minister. However, in the case of the Minister of National Defence, he reminds me more of the captain of the Costa Concordia. He wanted to show off his ship handling skills but he ran the ship aground. He was then one of the first to make a beeline for the lifeboat and even hid under a blanket.

When will the government show Canadians that it takes accountability seriously and fire the Minister of National Defence?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I will ignore the member's blanket comments and simply go to the facts.

The Auditor General has indicated clearly that the government is responding appropriately and is moving in the right direction. He pointed out, as others, including the Prime Minister, have emphasized here, that there was no money misspent and no money missing. No money has been spent on this file.

We are now moving forward with a process, appropriately under the guidance of the Minister of Public Works, to ensure that we have proper aircraft in the future to replace the aging CF-18s so that the men and women in uniform will have the proper equipment to do the important work that we ask of them. That is a serious issue.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Carolyn Bennett Liberal St. Paul's, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives have made deep cuts in the budget while at the same time misleading Canadians by $10 billion on the real cost of the F-35s. Ten billion dollars would pay for 10 years of Kelowna, 10 years of the child care plan. Ten billion dollars would actually pay for OAS for 1.6 million Canadians.

How can the Prime Minister possibly break his promise to Canadians to not touch the OAS at the same time as he is misleading Canadians with the $10 billion low-balling on the cost of the F-35s?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we have said time and again that we accept the recommendations from the Auditor General and we are implementing those recommendations. Work is ongoing as we speak. That is why we have frozen the funding for the acquisition and are establishing a separate secretariat to lead this project forward.

I must repeat again that the Auditor General said this morning that our government was taking steps in the right direction and he also confirmed that the audit found no money was misappropriated or misspent.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

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

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General informed us this morning that the Minister of National Defence and the Associate Minister of National Defence did not accept the conclusions of the Auditor General. What he informed us of this morning was that they felt that the Departments of National Defence, Public Works and Government Services and the Treasury Board had done due diligence. They do not accept the findings of the Auditor General.

That is not what was reported to the House. There are reasons that there are not resignations occurring on the front bench. It is because the Auditor General also informed us that senior ministers knew, which means that the Prime Minister knew. There are no resignations because he would have to take responsibility. Why does he not do--

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

Order, please. The hon. Minister for Public Works.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Edmonton—Spruce Grove Alberta

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the Auditor General's recommendation was that the Department of National Defence refine its cost estimates and table them in Parliament. We agree but we want to go much further than that.

This is a $9 billion acquisition, it is public funds, and we want to ensure that these cost estimates are also independently validated for parliamentarians. We expect nothing less and taxpayers expect nothing less.

This morning, the Auditor General said that we were moving in the right direction. He also said that his audit showed that no money was misspent, which is, of course, because no money has been spent on this acquisition yet.

Radio-Canada/CBCOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Pierre Dionne Labelle NDP Rivière-du-Nord, QC

Mr. Speaker, this government is attacking the very mission of our public broadcaster. In the government's budget, it is not bureaucracy that is being diminished, but local information, Canadian content and digital innovation.

We are talking about the elimination of 243 jobs in the French service of Radio-Canada, mainly in Montreal. That is a direct attack on the artists who promote French language and culture around the world.

When will this government stop preventing Radio-Canada from fulfilling its mandate? Or is this government cutting funding from Radio-Canada because it is fulfilling its mandate too well by informing Canadians of this government's ideological drift?

Radio-Canada/CBCOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, as I said yesterday, Radio-Canada/CBC has the necessary funding to fulfill its mandate under the Broadcasting Act. What is more, it has the necessary funding to continue its 2015 plan, which includes the necessary funding to continue to protect francophone and anglophone culture in every region of our country. That was a promise we made in the last election campaign, and we have kept that promise.

Radio-Canada/CBCOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Craig Scott NDP Toronto—Danforth, ON

Mr. Speaker, yesterday we saw the effects of the Conservative philosophy of Canadian culture: drastic slashing of people and services at the CBC, $115 million in cuts and at least 650 employees now gone. Millions of Canadians who rely on the CBC for local programming will pay the price, Canadians who want to see and listen to Canadian artists and Canadians who value commercial-free radio. When will the government finally put an end to its undermining of public broadcasting in this country?

Radio-Canada/CBCOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Port Moody—Westwood—Port Coquitlam B.C.

Conservative

James Moore ConservativeMinister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages

Mr. Speaker, as I just said to his colleague in French, the CBC has the funds necessary to fulfill its mandate in the Broadcasting Act and to continue with its 2015 plan.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Nycole Turmel NDP Hull—Aylmer, QC

Mr. Speaker, the CBC is not the only organization to be hit by the Conservatives' ideological cuts. Some 1,000 civilian employees at the Department of National Defence were the first to lose their jobs. On top of that, 840 positions have been eliminated at Health Canada. These cuts will have a negative impact on aviation safety, food safety and the health services provided to Canadians.

How can the Conservatives continue to claim that these cuts will not affect Canadians?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, I think what the hon. member was referring to is perhaps the fact that NDP members voted against our economic action plan 2012 last night. They voted against the hope that Canadians have for more jobs. In fact, just this morning there was an announcement that there are 82,300 more jobs. That is what Canadians want to hear about. That is what they want the opposition to ask questions about. It is not what happens in the Ottawa bubble, but what Canadians care about.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives had to make up for their reckless corporate tax cuts by cutting public services. Let us have some straight talk on what is happening here. Killing over 1,000 jobs in the Department of National Defence hurts our military communities. Killing over 800 jobs in Health Canada hurts our health care system. Killing 20,000 jobs in the public sector kills 40,000 jobs in the private sector.

Will Conservatives give some straight answers on how these cuts will hurt Canadians?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, that may be NDP logic, but it is not economic logic. In fact, if the member had read the Fiscal Monitor that came out last Thursday, he would have seen that corporate revenues to the Government of Canada, including our reduction of corporate income tax, created a 20% increase in corporate income tax. Obviously, their assumptions are completely inaccurate. These increases in job numbers bring us to nearly 700,000 more Canadians working today than in July 2009.

The BudgetOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Conservative

Ryan Leef Conservative Yukon, YT

Mr. Speaker, our Conservative government is squarely focused on what matters to Canadians: jobs, growth and long-term prosperity. But while we are focused on growing Canada's economy, the NDP and the Liberals want to hike taxes, engage in reckless spending that would kill Canadian jobs and ruin Canada's finances for generations to come. Our Conservative government is on the right track for Canada's prosperity. Can the Minister of State (Finance) repeat for us those fantastic numbers we heard about on jobs today?

The BudgetOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Macleod Alberta

Conservative

Ted Menzies ConservativeMinister of State (Finance)

Mr. Speaker, those numbers are worth repeating: 82,300 more jobs in March. That is very important. Another important factor is that 70,000 of those are full-time jobs and 39,000 are youth employment. That is what we have seen as troubling, but jobs for youth have increased by 39,000. That is almost 700,000 net new jobs since the end of the recession.

National DefenceOral Questions

April 5th, 2012 / 11:50 a.m.

NDP

Tarik Brahmi NDP Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us talk about jobs. The Conservatives claim to support our soldiers, yet they are eliminating 1,100 civilian jobs within the Department of National Defence. Furthermore, the government is warning that more cuts are coming. No one is immune to them—not mechanics, cooks, technicians or communications specialists. Many of these cuts will occur in Quebec, including at the military base in Saint-Jean.

Why are the Conservatives not showing some respect for our soldiers by protecting these jobs?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is not correct. That is not accurate.

What we are seeing, of course, is a return to a normal tempo of operations after a very high, active tempo in Afghanistan. As a result of this, we are very much focused now on realigning our personnel and needs here in Canada, as well as focusing other resources to achieve long-term sustainability.

Let us not forget that it was this government that invested over $1 billion annually in the Department of National Defence. We have seen growth across the four pillars of the Department of National Defence as a result of the unprecedented Canada first defence strategy. We will continue to see growth in the future.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Annick Papillon NDP Québec, QC

Mr. Speaker, in fact, yes, we are talking about budget cuts and job losses at military bases in the province of Quebec and in Quebec City, which is going to be particularly hard hit by the cuts. Nearly 350 jobs are going to be cut in the province, 200 of them in the Quebec City area alone.

However, CFB Valcartier should be spared. We are very proud of all the families who work there. Once again, it is families who have to pay for the poor choices made by the Conservatives.

When will this government come to its senses and re-evaluate these disrespectful layoffs?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, first of all, a lot of what she has said is simply incorrect. Let me remind her that it was under this government that the number of civilian full-time equivalents grew by over 5,000. That was, of course, in response to the high tempo of operations taking place in Afghanistan.

We have now seen a substantial change in that tempo of operations. We are now returning to a normal state of being in terms of the department. We are seeing a realignment of personnel in response to that new reality. We are working toward achieving long-term sustainability for the Canadian Forces. I also need to remind her that her party has never supported a single initiative to help the Canadian Forces, their families, improvements to bases or equipment; never.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, New Democrats have always supported the men and women who run the bases across this country. However, bases across the country, including CFB Esquimalt in my riding, are now the targets of mean-spirited Conservative cuts. These Conservatives have dished out billions for corporate giveaways, but they are now picking the pockets of military and civilian families in my riding and asking them to sacrifice even more.

While the Conservatives are busy bragging about their budget and their management skills, what do they have to say to the individual men and women who stepped up to serve our country with honour and who will now lose their jobs because of these cuts to DND?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what I think I heard the hon. member say is that New Democrats support only the civilian people who work on the bases. I did not hear him say that they supported the billions of dollars that were invested in the men and women who wear the uniform, who actually fight for Canada overseas. We did not see that type of enthusiasm and support coming from the members opposite when we invested that money to improve the working conditions for the men and women in uniform, in equipment for the men and women in uniform and in programs that helped them and their families. We are continuing to do so. We will continue to support those brave citizens, both civilian and uniformed.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

11:50 a.m.

NDP

Peter Stoffer NDP Sackville—Eastern Shore, NS

Mr. Speaker, the following belongs in Ripley's Believe it or Not! A World War II veteran from Outremont, Quebec, diagnosed by seven doctors, has the following problems: coronary artery disease, prostate cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis, macular degeneration, degenerative disc disease and two others I cannot even pronounce. He applied for the veterans independence program. Here is what the DVA said, “Your present health condition does not meet the criterias for frail health and, thus, you are denied the veterans independence program”.

I am wondering if the Prime Minister of Canada can stand up for the Conservatives and define to all Canadians what he determines is frail health.