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House of Commons Hansard #123 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was copyright.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, in October, the Minister of National Defence said that the cost of the mission in Libya would be $50 million. The minister stated that this was the all-up amount. On Friday, General Vance stated that the minister knew what the total estimated cost of the mission was. True to form, the minister keeps changing his story.

I would like to know why the minister did not provide estimates for the full duration of the mission last October when he knew full well what the eventual cost would be.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the answer is still the same. The amount that I gave at the time was the cost of the mission at that particular moment.

Let me read from the transcript. I went on to say, “I'm giving you that number with the proviso that there could be more costs that come in after the fact. The fact that we are now ramping down the mission, bringing back significant equipment and personnel, some 650 were there, we have a ship in the area, we have aircraft, fighter aircraft, patrol aircraft, refuellers.”

All of this is on the record. All of this is missing from the accusations coming from the members opposite and conveniently from one of the networks that reported this.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the minister has not told the truth about the cost of the mission in Libya, period.

The Department of National Defence’s latest report indicates that the government intends to purchase 65 F-35A conventional takeoff and landing aircraft.

Yet the Conservatives keep saying that no decision has been made regarding the F-35s. It looks like they are again going to have to retroactively change their report.

Does the minister not know what his department is doing?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the Government of Canada has taken action to ensure that due diligence, oversight and transparency are firmly embedded in the process to replace Canada's aging fighter aircraft. We are following a seven-step action plan to fulfill and/or exceed the Auditor General's recommendation. This includes freezing the funding and establishing a separate secretariat outside National Defence to lead this project moving forward.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of National Defence repeatedly claimed that no decision had been made about the F-35, but even while he was saying this, he tabled spending plans indicating that National Defence will deliver 65 F-35A aircraft.

We know that the government has taken this file away from the minister and given it to the damage control secretariat.

Will the minister tell us whether this is confusion, another typographical error, incompetence, or yet another attempt to mislead Canadians on the F-35 file?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that premise is absolutely absurd. We accept the conclusions of the Auditor General, as we have stated. There is an action plan being implemented. We will await the recommendations and make decisions based upon those recommendations by the secretariat.

It is really regrettable that so many things are taken out of context and put forward as fact when, in fact, they are not.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, the associate minister should connect with the Minister of National Defence , because the problem with that response is that the spending plans the defence ministry tabled last week were very specific: the plane, the F-35; the contractor, Lockheed Martin; and even a specific delivery date, 2017; this, after the Prime Minister himself claimed that no contract had been signed, no money had been spent, and no decision had yet been made.

Has the beleaguered defence minister informed his government that he still thinks he is buying these planes?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vaughan Ontario

Conservative

Julian Fantino ConservativeAssociate Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, the government has clearly communicated that the budget has been set to replace Canada's aging CF-18s and we will stay within that budget. Canada has not signed a contract and has not spent any money on acquiring replacement aircraft.

We will not proceed with a purchase until the seven-step action plan has been outlined and completed and developmental work is sufficiently advanced.

Political Party FinancingOral Questions

May 14th, 2012 / 2:35 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, it seems there is no stopping the Conservatives when it comes to filling the party's coffers, but never would I have thought they could stoop to using sick children.

Let me explain: a resident of Trois-Rivières received a phone call and agreed to make a donation to the Shriners, a very noble cause if ever there was one. When he was sending his cheque, he checked the return envelope that was provided and lo and behold it was addressed to the Conservative Party in Toronto.

Do the Conservatives find these telemarketing practices acceptable?

Political Party FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, no, we are not aware of the alleged facts in this specific case.

That being said, the Conservative Party abides by political party financing legislation. Clearly, there was some sort of administrative error in this case.

Political Party FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Robert Aubin NDP Trois-Rivières, QC

Mr. Speaker, while we are waiting for a more complete answer or some corrections, it might be best for us to look at the matter further.

The calls did not come from any old telemarketing firm. They came from Xentel, a former U.S. company that has already been involved in and found guilty of abusive practices. In 2010, it merged with the Conservatives' telemarketing company of choice, RMG. That is a lot of coincidences.

Would they have us believe that the envelopes simply got mixed up? How many other people were victims of this scheme?

Are the Conservatives going to hold these unscrupulous companies to account?

Political Party FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, clearly, the New Democrats are starting to make unfounded allegations.

It is not surprising that they would do this. They are trying to change the subject. Just last week their leader made an embarrassing gaffe in which he tried to divide the country by calling our natural resources sector a disease. He said that his plan to create jobs in Ontario is to kill them in western Canada.

Canadians will not accept that approach. Canadians believe the prosperity of one is the prosperity for all. We believe in one united Canada. That is how we govern this country. That is what the Canadian people expect.

Political Party FinancingOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, what Canadians believe in is honest and credible fundraising, and they have not heard that from the government side.

We cannot seem to catch up with all of the Conservatives' dubious tactics, but hitting up the Shriners, what is with that?

Diverting money that was intended for charity is a very serious allegation. I hope the Conservatives would understand that, because it is a question of trust. It is a question of ethics. At the very least, it is a question of competency.

Would the government agree to a full review of Conservative Party fundraising to ensure that Canadians could have some level of trust in what the Conservative Party is up to?

Political Party FinancingOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nepean—Carleton Ontario

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Transport

Mr. Speaker, there appears to have been an error. We are not aware of the facts surrounding this incident. That being said, we follow all of the laws and conduct all of our fundraising in an honest and ethical fashion.

It is not surprising that the NDP members would want to change the subject. Last week, their leader referred to an industry that employs hundreds of thousands of Canadians as an illness. He honestly believes that the only way for someone to get hired in Ontario is for someone else to get fired in western Canada.

That kind of divide and conquer strategy will never be accepted by this government or by our country.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

John McKay Liberal Scarborough—Guildwood, ON

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence clearly has some challenges with truth in numbers. First, he lowballs the F-35 by some $10 billion and calls it differences in accounting. Then he disguises $105 million in vehicle purchases and calls them transmission parts.

On national radio he lowballed the cost of the Libyan mission by $50 million. The Liberal Party has supported the mission in each vote and at every stage. Why can the minister not respect our military and its supporters with truthfulness in costs?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we have done at the Department of National Defence under this government. We have seen the budget rise by over $1 billion annually.

With respect to the costs that he is referring to, he is doing what he has been doing for some time now, deliberately giving misinformation, deliberately attributing things to this government that he has in fact said.

I have been nothing but upfront and honest on this file. The figures that were given in October were the figures to date. The figures provided last week were the final cost figures.

I will give the hon. member numbers: third party, third row.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Marc Garneau Liberal Westmount—Ville-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has a serious credibility problem when he talks about costs. We know how he estimated the F-35s. He underestimated them by $10 billion, possibly even $25 billion.

Recently, he disguised the acquisition of military vehicles worth $105 million by calling them “transmission parts”.

Now, of course, we know he is underestimating the cost of the war in Libya.

Where is this government’s accountability? How is this minister still sitting in the front row? It is time to send him off to the back benches.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is still false, as it has always been.

We provided the cost of the Libya mission in October. It was correct. We provided the cost of certain equipment for the Canadian Forces. It was correct.

Clearly, the hon. member does not want to accept reality.

While I am at it, it is very unfortunate that we have not seen the type of support and enthusiasm for the Canadian Forces while in opposition, because we certainly did not see it when the Liberals were in government.

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Judy Sgro Liberal York West, ON

Mr. Speaker, the U.S. forecasts that the F-35s will cost Canada over $40 billion. That is $25 billion more than the Conservatives claimed it would cost.

This same $25 billion could have funded the total old age pension of 160,000 low-income seniors for 25 years.

Why has the Conservative government chosen to sacrifice support for the lowest income seniors, while maintaining a “money is no object attitude” when it comes to the overruns on the F-35?

PensionsOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Haldimand—Norfolk Ontario

Conservative

Diane Finley ConservativeMinister of Human Resources and Skills Development

Mr. Speaker, as a government, our number one priority is to protect the safety and security of Canadians. We are protecting their security by ensuring that the old age security system is sustainable, not just for today's seniors, who will see no cuts to their pensions, but also for future generations.

We also have an obligation to protect those people, to protect our men and women in uniform who stand out there to defend Canadian values right around the world. We will ensure that they too have the resources they need and the proper equipment to do their job safety and securely, unlike what happened to them under the Liberals, who spent no money on them in the decade of darkness.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, Ontario apple and tender fruit farmers have been heavily hit by a spring frost that is expected to devastate the industry this year. Apple farmers alone are expected to lose a staggering 80% of this year's crop.

Ontario farmers are major producers of Canada's apple crop. This impact will be felt widely.

What will the government do to assure farmers that they will receive timely support from the government to help them through what is a major crisis in tender fruit in Ontario?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, the first thing we did was to get in contact with the provincial government. Minister Ted McMeekin has been touring the area, as have some of my officials, looking over the crop, ensuring that the farmers will be covered by the programs that are there.

We have a number of different programs for them. First and foremost, is crop insurance, in which I understand some two-thirds of the farmers have invested. That is good. We also have agrirecovery, which will pick up the slack after that. There are a number of different venues open to farmers who have made use of those management tools.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Malcolm Allen NDP Welland, ON

Mr. Speaker, farmers will be paying attention to whether that money arrives on time or not.

Ontario farmers are poised to lose tens of millions of dollars. Jobs will be lost and local businesses will suffer. Programs exist to deal with minor losses. Single farmers in a bad season, for instance, will get coverage. However, when an entire sector is hit, like it is now in Ontario, special measures should be taken to ensure its future is not put at risk.

What additional support will the government commit to the apple and tender fruit sector to help it through this major crisis?

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

Gerry Ritz ConservativeMinister of Agriculture and Agri-Food and Minister for the Canadian Wheat Board

Mr. Speaker, let us do a bit of a reality check here. This government is the government that stood with farmers regardless of what hit them, whether it was weather or market related. We have had programming to be there to backstop them. The opposition on the other hand has voted against every one of those issues.

When it comes to serving farmers, we will be with them.

AgricultureOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Pat Martin NDP Winnipeg Centre, MB

Mr. Speaker, in spite of all the pre-election photo ops, the much ballyhooed $50 million pasta plant in Regina has now been shelved. The company says that it was “because of uncertainty in the North American grain market”. Guess who caused uncertainty in the grain industry by deliberately destroying the most successful grain marketing company in the world, the Canadian Wheat Board?

How much did the government give to Alliance Grain Traders Inc. to conveniently announce this latest pasta plant scheme? What did that photo op cost us? How much of that money are we getting back?