This week, I changed much of the tech behind this site. If you see anything that looks like a bug, please let me know!

House of Commons Hansard #127 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was seniors.

Topics

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, on the west coast, the government has announced the closure of the Kitsilano Coast Guard station located in the heart of Vancouver and one of the busiest stations in the country. This is the third station to close. However, it does not end there. The Conservatives are now contemplating closing 10 of 22 marine communications and traffic service centres.

This is not about finding savings in administration or duplication of services. The government cannot cover this up with some temporary summer programs. This is a straight-up attack on marine safety.

Why are the Conservatives gutting these marine safety services?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, we are doing our part in reducing the deficit. We have taken a very careful look at where our services are, where they need to be and where they can be administered in the most effective way. That is what we have done on the west coast and, in fact, that is what we have done throughout the country.

I can assure the member that the safety of mariners will not be affected.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:30 a.m.

NDP

Randall Garrison NDP Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca, BC

Mr. Speaker, these closures are happening right now. Services are being cut to Coast Guard stations, lighthouses and command centres.

The minister cannot deny that these are short-sighted and reckless cuts that will put Canadians at risk on the water. It looks like the Conservatives just do not care about people who make a living on the water or about Canadians who use the water for recreation. They are cutting the Vancouver centre at the busiest time of the year and it is one of the busiest stations. It is one of the most dangerous cuts we have ever seen in this kind of safety.

Why are the Conservatives going full steam ahead under this policy?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, as I have already said, we have taken a very careful look at where the search and rescue facilities are, where the services are located and how they can best meet the needs of mariners, and that is what we have done in this case.

With respect to the particular station the member refers to at Kitsilano, it is 17 nautical miles from Sea Island and that station will be able to continue to operate. In fact, it is that station that got the new hovercraft in the 2010 budget to be able to better service this area.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Minister of Canadian Heritage had no qualms about publicly criticizing the Canada Science and Technology Museum. Now he is washing his hands of the whole matter by saying that he simply gave his opinion.

Come on. Clearly, if the minister criticizes something loudly and clearly, it has an impact. He has failed to respect the independence of museums—period.

Since today is International Museum Day, will the government take this opportunity to promise to stop meddling in the exhibit choices of museums?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, the minister was invited to the Museum of Science and Technology by the president of the museum. He was asked for his personal opinion on the exhibit and he gave his personal opinion on the exhibit.

We, of course, value the independence of our national museums. We leave the decisions on their displays up to the museums and the board of directors. We expect that they will be reviewing it and we will see what happens with that display in the near future.

On this side of the House, when we are asked our personal opinion, we do not actually call our big union bosses and ask them what it should be. We actually speak for ourselves.

Arts and CultureOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

NDP

Rosane Doré Lefebvre NDP Alfred-Pellan, QC

Mr. Speaker, after hearing the minister's comments, some parents trusted his words and were opposed to the exhibit but many checked it out for themselves and saw the educational value and brought their children in. Come on, daddio, it is time for the minister to get back in the DeLorean. It is not 1955. Sex happens and it is better if youth are more informed, not less.

Will the government commit to stop interfering with museums, culture and science?

Arts and CultureOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Oak Ridges—Markham Ontario

Conservative

Paul Calandra ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Canadian Heritage

Mr. Speaker, as I have said in the House a number of times, this government has actually invested more in arts and culture than any government has in the history of this country, and that includes our national museums. When we took over government, our national museums were starved for funding and resources. We actually reversed that trend.

On the exhibit that the member talks about, I am the father of two young girls and I will not be visiting it. It is up to parents to make that decision on their own. Originally the exhibit was meant for children 12 years and up. I was very pleased, as was the minister, that it was changed to 16.

We know Canadian parents can make their own choices. That is why we brought in choice for child care on this side of the House. The NDP voted against it. We will continue to focus on the priorities of Canadians.

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Liberal

Lawrence MacAulay Liberal Cardigan, PE

Mr. Speaker, the government is gutting the Fisheries Act, taking quota away from the fishers and considering the elimination of the owner-operator and fleet separation policies. We now understand that it is eliminating over 1,000 jobs from DFO, on top of the over 400 employees who were fired at Christmas.

These employees give a valuable service to science and the protection of the fishery.

Why is the government trying to destroy the Canadian fishery?

Fisheries and OceansOral Questions

11:35 a.m.

Pitt Meadows—Maple Ridge—Mission B.C.

Conservative

Randy Kamp ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans and for the Asia-Pacific Gateway

Mr. Speaker, to the contrary. While we will not apologize for acknowledging that our government's top priorities are to ensure a strong and growing economy and to spend tax dollars wisely, our government has found fair, balanced and moderate savings to reduce the deficit and accomplish this goal. Of course, DFO is included in that.

We have made business decisions to align activities and spending to focus on our core responsibilities, take advantage of modern technologies and remain efficient and effective.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Wayne Easter Liberal Malpeque, PE

Mr. Speaker, do the dark secrets of the Prime Minister's election tactics never cease?

Today it is the Privacy Commissioner's concern with respect to internal data from the Conservative CIMS mining information on Canadians for votes.

Previously, it was the admission of guilt on the in and out scandal that saw the Conservatives violating election laws as they ran on a platform of accountability, and the huge 2011 Conservative election fraud by way of the widespread, systematic robocall campaign of lies and misinformation.

Will the government drop its charade and call a royal commission? Will it just—

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro ConservativeParliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister and to the Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs

Mr. Speaker, one of the things that I think has really troubled Canadians in this entire story is the fact that it is the Liberals who actually did everything they could to obscure and hide the fact that they themselves had broken the law. It was not until they were caught that they then had to admit that they did conduct illegal calls using false names and, in fact, breaching election laws and CRTC regulations.

I will be clear here. The Conservative Party of Canada has been open. We are assisting Elections Canada. It is the Liberal Party that is not. Perhaps the member would like to turn over to the Privacy Commissioner all the records the Liberals have on U.S. servers on Canadians. That is what the Liberal Party—

41st General ElectionOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Conservative

The Acting Speaker Conservative Bruce Stanton

The hon. member for Ottawa—Vanier.

Canadian Co-operativesOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Liberal

Mauril Bélanger Liberal Ottawa—Vanier, ON

Mr. Speaker, on January 12, 2012, to launch the International Year of Co-operatives, the Minister of Veterans Affairs said on behalf of the government that the International Year of Co-operatives is a perfect opportunity to raise public awareness about co-operatives and their ability to meet the needs of Canadians, and that the common goal was to help co-operatives gain recognition in order to ensure they have more support and more exposure.

Can the government tell us what it has done since then to give Canadian co-operatives more support and more exposure?

Canadian Co-operativesOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Battlefords—Lloydminster Saskatchewan

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, with some 9,000 co-ops, 18 million members and some net worth of $350 billion or $360 billion, I think co-ops have a great foundation to continue this work on their own.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, the defence minister said several times that operating costs for the F-35 would be the same as the CF-18 operating costs. Now, the former parliamentary secretary is admitting that the F-35 will be much more expensive to fly than our CF-18s, roughly $12,000 more per hour.

Here is another contradiction. He now admits that the delivery of the planes will be pushed back by several years due to delays in rising costs.

Is the parliamentary secretary making up numbers or is this a sign of an impending cabinet shuffle?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, we will not speculate. What I would suggest is that the member take a look at the recommendations that will be coming out when the secretariat has a chance to bring all of these departments together to look at this important procurement project.

I would also suggest and encourage him to support this important replacement of the CF-18. This is a very major investment for our country. It is great for the aerospace industry. It will ensure that we have the ability to participate in Norad and NATO missions in the future. That is why we are pursuing this important replacement project, as we are on a number of fronts when it comes to our military.

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, we have known for some time that operating the F-35s is going to cost more than it does for the CF-18s, but once again, the Conservatives have tried to conceal this fact and discredit anyone who questions their statements. Now a member of their own government has admitted that it will cost $12,000 more an hour than it costs for the CF-18s.

Will the Minister of National Defence finally admit that he has underestimated the costs once again?

National DefenceOral Questions

11:40 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I have said a number of times in this House, we are proceeding with this important replacement of the CF-18s. There is a need to do so because an operational gap would occur if we do not make these investments.

The hon. member herself should know that these investments will happen over time. There has been no contract signed. There has been no money spent on the actual acquisition. It was, in fact, a previous government that entered us into an MOU to replace the CF-18s some years ago.

Now a very comprehensive review is taking place, led by a secretariat. There will be independent oversight and greater reporting to Parliament and the public, and we are moving ahead on that basis.

VeteransOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives want to spend money on an F-35 program run amok when they are not even doing enough to guarantee support services for our troops returning home from missions. A recent report confirms that veterans are not receiving the mental health care they need. Many are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and there are not enough health professionals to help them. Again this week, two specialists left the Petawawa base.

Why is this government failing to ensure that soldiers returning from missions have access to the help they need?

VeteransOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

That is not true, Mr. Speaker. Once again and as always, this hon. member is providing inaccurate information.

We are in fact relocating professionals to Petawawa, in order to have them closer to those members of the military who will need that support. We have had to do so because of retirements and because individuals have transferred to new jobs. This is common turnaround within the Canadian Forces.

We are moving forward to hire more mental health professionals. We, in fact, have a goal of doubling the number. We are moving rapidly in that direction and will continue to support those soldiers, their families and our veterans when they need those services.

VeteransOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

NDP

Don Davies NDP Vancouver Kingsway, BC

Mr. Speaker, talk is cheap. Just two weeks ago, a damning report slammed the government's lack of mental health treatment for Afghan veterans. It called the situation a crisis.

Currently, the 6,000-member base in Petawawa has no psychologists and just one working psychiatrist.

These brave soldiers who risked their lives deserve to have their health care needs met. Why is the government not investing more into the health of our men and women returning from combat? It is time to back up words with action.

VeteransOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, that is exactly what we are doing. We are doubling the number of mental health professionals within the employment of the Canadian Forces. We have made significant investments through the legacy of care. We are locating mental health professionals at Petawawa to do exactly what the member suggests: to make them more accessible and to ensure that those investments are providing the service when and where it is needed.

However, the member might have missed that, because in his haste to point this out, he is forgetting the fact that he and his party have voted against every investment we made to--

VeteransOral Questions

11:45 a.m.

Some hon. members

Hear, hear!