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House of Commons Hansard #122 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was budget.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

11:20 a.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, the enabling accessibility fund has made nearly 650 community projects and public spaces more accessible to Canadians with disabilities.

The Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development approved this project because it met the criteria for funding. An external evaluator certified the project and it provided value for money.

The NDP voted against the enabling accessibility fund when it was placed as an opportunity for them to support.

This government is proud of its record for families and Canadians with disabilities.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Ralph Goodale Liberal Wascana, SK

Mr. Speaker, there is screw-up after screw-up at National Defence. On top of the F-35 scandal, now the Libya mission cost 700% more than the ministry reported at the end of the mission, and Canadians are actually being lied to about what the contracts are actually for, claiming transmission parts instead of whole armoured vehicles.

Audit and control functions across government are being chopped, the Auditor General himself by some 10%. Access to Information is clamped down.

Why is the government choosing to hide the deceit and incompetence instead of actually fixing it?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, it will not come as any surprise to the member for Wascana that I do not share the premise of his question.

Let us look at what the minister did. He tabled substantial documents before Parliament, as he is required to do. He has been fully open and transparent.

Let us look at a backgrounder on the website of the Department of National Defence dated July 8, 2009, which explains the whole project. Let us look at the MERX listing from April 11. It indicates very clearly a Leopard 2 conversion to an AEV, not transmission equipment.

The minister has been completely open and completely transparent on this file.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:20 a.m.

Liberal

Denis Coderre Liberal Bourassa, QC

Mr. Speaker, that is all well and good but, despite the answer given by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, it appears as though the costs in Libya have increased from $50 million to $350 million. Yet, three days before that mission ended, the minister said on television that the costs were still below the $60 million threshold. Luckily, the minister was not flying a plane in the air raids because I do not know where the bombs would have landed, since he is already missing his budget targets.

The question is thus very simple. Is there a pilot flying the plane? Is there a minister at the Department of National Defence? And, does he know how to count?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Ottawa West—Nepean Ontario

Conservative

John Baird ConservativeMinister of Foreign Affairs

Mr. Speaker, let us be very clear. The men and women of the Canadian Forces did an exemplary job on behalf Canada. They helped to defend civilians on the ground in Libya. They did an exceptional job. The minister came forward with the costs associated with the mission. He tabled them in this House.

There are obviously incremental costs and obviously costs with respect to the assets that were used, that were already in Canadian ownership before the initiative.

The good news is that the Canadian Forces did an exemplary job defending innocent civilians on the ground in Libya. We should all be tremendously proud of them.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, the issue is the minister, not the military.

On Wednesday night, surrounded by the deputy minister and the Chief of the Defence Staff, the minister could not even tell the House the cost per flying hour of the F-18s, an airplane we have had for 30 years. It is therefore no surprise that the Conservatives have grossly understated the cost of the Libyan mission.

Every procurement under this Conservative government seems to have two sets of books. It takes a special brand of incompetence to confuse 105 million dollars' worth of armoured vehicles with transmission parts. Is the minister again running two sets of books?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the member and the media's description of this is dead wrong. In fact, as has already been stated, this information has been posted on the DND website for over three years. It was, in fact, included in a press release three years ago.

We are proud to continue to build the Canadian Forces, to make the investments in the equipment, the personnel, the programs, the places where they train, work and live.

We will continue to make those investments, despite the efforts by members opposite to oppose us in that regard.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, the Public Service Commission is now investigating 11 questionable appointments to ACOA, more jobs handed to Conservative supporters on a golden platter.

Merit and competence were thrown out the door and now it is the old boys' network of who one knows: a close friend of the Minister of National Defence, one of his former staffers and a failed Conservative candidate for good measure.

Why are Conservatives not looking beyond their Facebook friends when they appoint people to this taxpayer-funded group?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

South Shore—St. Margaret's Nova Scotia

Conservative

Gerald Keddy ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade

Mr. Speaker, the hon. member would know there are strict rules in place surrounding hiring to ensure agencies run their own competitive processes, free from political interference. These rules are important and must be respected.

The hon. member is ignoring, however, the fact that employment is up in Canada by 58,000 jobs. The private sector alone has acquired 86,000 new jobs. Full-time jobs are up by 44,000. The hon. member might want to pay attention to those numbers as well.

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Megan Leslie NDP Halifax, NS

Mr. Speaker, not only is it patronage as usual under the Conservatives, but they are using their Trojan Horse budget bill to quietly get rid of the patronage-fighting Public Appointments Commission.

ACOA employees are receiving pink slips and the government is dismantling the watchdog while Conservative insiders keep making big bucks. Five out of seven board members are Conservative Party donors and their donations total over $9,000 since 2007.

When will the Conservatives realize that appointments should go beyond their friends, their donors and their ex-employees?

Government AppointmentsOral Questions

May 11th, 2012 / 11:25 a.m.

York—Simcoe Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, we have been making outstanding appointments to serve the public in a number of capacities.

We did attempt to establish a Public Appointments Commission Secretariat and when we went to put someone in charge, the NDP blocked that. Then the NDP went on to resist the expenditure of funds. Members on that side of the House stood frequently to complain that money was being spent on it.

We made our efforts to make sure we had a thorough and complete process on public appointments. As a result, we are now able to accede to the request, eliminate the waste of money, and ensure that Canada has outstanding public individuals serving in the public service.

EthicsOral Questions

11:25 a.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, favouritism, patronage, questionable ethics and donations; that is the Conservative record.

This government's management of the contracting process is troubling, and so are the close ties between the Conservatives and SNC-Lavalin. Executives donated a lot of money to the Conservatives while they were lobbying the government. Miraculously, AECL was bought by SNC. We have seen the favouritism extended to the party's friends.

Are they now hoping that Canadians will believe that there is no link between the donations and the awarding of this contract?

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, once again, the allegation is false. Why is the NDP repeating in the House of Commons the same allegations about robocalls when one of their members has already had to apologize? Why is the NDP accusing us of accepting legal and ethical donations when its leader received the same type of donations from the same people?

The NDP does not want to talk about the creation of 750,000 new jobs, an achievement celebrated by Canadians. The NDP should also be celebrating.

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, the premise of his answer is completely false, and I invite the parliamentary secretary to repeat these false allegations outside this House.

The ousted CEO of SNC-Lavalin, Pierre Duhaime, lobbied the federal government with respect to its nuclear policy at the same time that people like Riadh Ben Aïssa were donating thousands of dollars to the Conservatives.

Did the questionable funding campaigns influence this sale: yes or no? That is simple.

EthicsOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Cypress Hills—Grasslands Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite knows full well that those allegations are completely false. The government followed a transparent and open process. If he had been here prior to the election, he would have been aware of that process.

What those members really want to do is make sure that Canadians do not know about the great success that we have had in creating jobs over the last couple of months. This is the largest two month job growth that we have had in decades. It is unbelievable that people are going back to work the way they are.

This week the member's leader attacked the energy industry in western Canada. He talked about manufacturing jobs. While he was making up stories, 24,000 people were going back to work in the manufacturing sector.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the government's mismanagement of military procurement continues to amaze and astound.

The Conservatives are spending billions to arm ourselves for a war the government said is over, while our forces here at home do not have enough parkas, cold weather tents or heaters to do their jobs.

The Conservatives claim Arctic defence is a top priority. When will our forces get the equipment they need to do their job here at home?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, those are more inaccuracies from the member opposite.

As always, we are equipping our men and women in uniform not only for Arctic response but for the response they need to provide around the world. This gives our forces the unique ability to respond to the many different environments in which they work.

The Canadian army is very well equipped to participate in various Canadian Forces exercises in the Arctic in both winter and summer conditions. The small amount of extra equipment that was bought by Land Force Atlantic will augment the Canadian army's ability to participate in these important Arctic exercises.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, I hear about the government support for the troops, but I do not see it. Those without parkas, cold weather tents and heaters will not be feeling it either.

Information that was once public is now being kept secret by the Minister of National Defence. The Conservatives tried to use the term “vehicular power transmission components” to conceal the fact that they were actually purchasing 13 armoured vehicles. They are either trying to hide the billions they are spending or what they are spending the billions on.

Why are the Conservatives misleading Canadians on military procurements?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, wrong again. If the hon. member wants to see what we are doing, he should come out of Beaches—East York in Toronto and take a look around.

With respect to the investments that we have made, these investments were posted on MERX three years ago, clearly indicating Leopard 2 conversion to AEV, as was previously stated.

We have been crystal clear on these investments. In fact, a detailed description and summary that appeared on the Public Works and National Defence websites have been there for three years. There was information released to the public and to the press three years ago.

This is just baseless media and member criticism that is incorrect.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, let us be serious. Military procurement is deeply flawed.

The Prime Minister flies off to the far north for photo shoots every year, but our soldiers do not even have proper coats to carry out Arctic missions. There is an equipment shortage.

It is outrageous for the Conservatives to accuse the opposition of not caring about our troops and not wanting to give them the best equipment when they cannot even provide basic equipment for Arctic missions. How can they justify that?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we speak the truth. The member opposite and her party absolutely oppose every investment that we make in the Canadian Forces. That is well documented.

Also well documented on DND and Public Works websites are the investments that we have made. For years in the Arctic we have augmented the equipment the Canadian Forces need to conduct operations and training there.

I want to go on record as congratulating the Prime Minister, the first in history to be spending so much time in the Arctic and so much time supporting the Canadian Forces.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, with respect to Libya, I think that the Minister of National Defence has some serious problems doing the math. Because of his inability to add things up, the cost of the F-35s was underestimated by $10 billion. Now he is making the same mistake with costs related to the mission in Libya. In October, he said that it would cost $50 million.

Today we learned that it cost seven times that, or $350 million.

Why does the minister have such a hard time being honest when it is time to disclose true costs?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, wrong again, as always.

In fact, what I said was that as of October 13, figures that I have received from the department were under $50 million. Of course the mission went on. There were extensions. There were, in fact, the costs associated with bringing equipment and personnel home.

This is incremental costing. I think the member has been around long enough to understand that.

As I have stated, earlier numbers showed that these expenditures to October 13 were accurate, were correct. There were further costs incurred, of course, and, as we have seen, twisted logic tells us that they were withheld by tabling them in the House.

Firearms RegistrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Françoise Boivin NDP Gatineau, QC

Mr. Speaker, they cannot even control costs in areas under their own jurisdiction, yet they want to tell the provinces how to operate.

Take, for example, the Minister of Public Safety, who was told to mind his own business this week when he tried to intervene in provincial areas of jurisdiction with respect to firearms registration. Ontario told the minister that it would ignore his attempt to encroach on provincial jurisdiction and would continue to do what needs to be done in the interest of public safety, which is maintain a record of sales.

Will the minister stop interfering in provincial affairs that are none of his business?

Firearms RegistrationOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Portage—Lisgar Manitoba

Conservative

Candice Bergen ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety

Mr. Speaker, the member opposite is completely incorrect.

Our legislation ended the long gun registry across Canada. The minister has been very clear that we expect jurisdictions which are working under federal law to respect that.

Bill C-19 should be complied with, the spirit and the letter of the law. The minister directed CFOs throughout the province and the RCMP to comply with that.