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House of Commons Hansard #119 of the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was environmental.

Topics

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, to say the least, the loss of Corporal Langridge to suicide a very tragic case. I have met personally with Ms. Sheila Fynes. All of this very unsettling and sad saga is playing out before a Military Police Complaints Commission, which is looking into the details of this matter.

This matter is now before an arm's-length tribunal. I find it unfortunate that the member opposite has tried to politicize this before the House of Commons while the matter is yet to be determined by an arm's-length body, the Military Police Complaints Commission.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Liberal

Sean Casey Liberal Charlottetown, PE

Mr. Speaker, what is unfortunate is that the minister decided to attack instead of explain.

Corporal Steve Stoesz has defied orders and is courageously speaking out about the terrible state of mental health care services in the Canadian Forces.

He said:

“The country I fought for now has broken me.”

Meanwhile, the minister is cutting funding to programs to prevent suicide and to help soldiers overcome depression. Why?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, in fact we continue to increase our mental health services across the country. Let me quote Colonel Jean-Robert Bernier, who spoke last week. He said that since 2006, the military health budget has grown by more than $100 million, and $38.6 million is spent annually just to provide mental health care and preventative programs to the Canadian Forces.

Is there more we can do? Absolutely. Are we continuing to make those investments to support our men and women who are suffering from post-traumatic stress? Indeed we are. We are working every day to ensure that those services are available.

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Liberal

Hedy Fry Liberal Vancouver Centre, BC

Mr. Speaker, last October the government supported a Liberal motion to implement a national suicide prevention strategy. Eight months later, it has done nothing except cut suicide prevention programs for Inuit and aboriginal youth and the armed forces.

Today the Mental Health Commission of Canada recommended prevention of mental illness as one of six core strategic directions.

Does the Minister of Health comprehend that suicide prevention literally saves lives? Will she proceed urgently to develop a national suicide prevention strategy?

HealthOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Nunavut Nunavut

Conservative

Leona Aglukkaq ConservativeMinister of Health and Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency

Mr. Speaker, as I stated earlier, we welcomed the release of the Mental Health Commission's strategy this morning. As the opposition member knows, this is important work of the commission, and we continue to work with the provinces and territories in the rollout. That is why we have committed to long-term stable funding to the provinces and territories. The funding arrangements will see that health transfers reach a record high of $40 billion, and provinces and territories will be able to adjust it to priorities in their areas.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Christine Moore NDP Abitibi—Témiscamingue, QC

Mr. Speaker, the Conservatives needed only 160 words to justify a procurement process worth over $25 billion for the F-35s, which, I would again point out, are still in development and behind schedule and which come with no guarantee of any economic benefits.

A former senior official responsible for the F-35s has said: “The government insulted Canadians’ intelligence by using disinformation and repeatedly manipulating the facts to achieve its goals.”

So who is responsible for this manipulation?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what we are seeing is a very comprehensive response to concerns raised by the Auditor General. We have now in place much more transparency, accountability, and reporting to Parliament and to the public. We also have independent oversight. Let me also add that there is a freeze on any spending until all seven steps are met.

Most importantly, I remind the House and the member opposite that there has been no money spent on acquisition. There were no contracts signed, but we are moving forward with this important replacement of the CF-18. I would encourage the member opposite to support this important investment.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Matthew Kellway NDP Beaches—East York, ON

Mr. Speaker, we have heard a lot about the seven-step plan, but we have a seven-word solution: just put this contract out to tender.

A retired assistant deputy minister in charge of DND procurement disclosed a document confirming that the Minister of Public Works and Government Services would have signed off on the 160-word letter from DND.

For now, rhetoric aside, simply yes or no: did the Minister of Public Works and Government Services sign off on the letter from DND?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, again, we have followed the advice and the recommendation of the Auditor General. We responded with a very comprehensive plan. In fact, we have gone beyond that recommendation to ensure greater transparency and accountability. All of the departments now are working in unison through the secretariat.

We will move forward with this important procurement, unlike the members of the no-defence party. Those members have a thinly veiled agenda, which is not to support military procurement. We will move forward on this project.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, the Canadian Psychiatric Association president, Dr. Fiona McGregor, said that no officials in the Department of Defence have contacted the organization regarding mental health worker recruitment. Dr. McGregor said that recruiting by press conference is an ineffective way to encourage psychiatrists and psychologists to come to work for the military. She says that a more comprehensive approach to the problem is needed.

Can the minister tell the House what his government is actually doing to recruit mental health workers?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, yes, I can. I thank the member for that question, because we have actually undertaken, over the last number of years, a very extensive effort to recruit psychiatrists and mental health professionals, including the use of a contracting firm in which we advertised online. We went out to find trade journals that would reach those individuals. We have recruited at conferences; as well, we have gone to the annual Canadian Psychiatric Association conference and worked collaboratively with the Canadian Medical Association and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons.

Most importantly, we continue to bring these professionals into the fold in the Canadian Forces so that we can meet the challenges of mental health and bring these issues into the light.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Jack Harris NDP St. John's East, NL

Mr. Speaker, cuts to mental health services in the Canadian Forces are of grave concern to its members, to their families and to all Canadians. Dr. McGregor said the Canadian Psychiatric Association and its members are keen to collaborate. Canadian soldiers returning from Afghanistan deserve support. This will not happen if the Conservative government continues its plan to cut services.

Military families are waiting for a commitment, Canadian health care professionals are waiting to collaborate and the Canadian public is ready for the government to treat our forces with the respect they deserve. Will the minister reverse his plan to cut these critical mental health services?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Central Nova Nova Scotia

Conservative

Peter MacKay ConservativeMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, what I will do is continue to work with my department to increase these critical mental health services, which is exactly what we are doing. We are working toward doubling the number of professionals in our hire right now.

We have continued to make those important investments, both in joint personal support units across the country, in programs and in working closely with Veterans Affairs. We will continue to make those investments because these individuals need the help and have asked for the help.

I am pleased to hear the member opposite mention that the Canadian Psychiatric Association is prepared to work with the Department of National Defence. We embrace that offer.

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Conservative

Ben Lobb Conservative Huron—Bruce, ON

Mr. Speaker, our government believes any violation of our veterans' privacy is totally unacceptable. Over a year ago we took action and put in place a 10-point privacy action plan to ensure strict disciplinary measures for those who violate the law, while strengthening access, controls and monitoring.

Could the minister update the House on how our government has continued to enhance protection around privacy for Canadian veterans?

Veterans AffairsOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Lévis—Bellechasse Québec

Conservative

Steven Blaney ConservativeMinister of Veterans Affairs

Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the member for Huron—Bruce for his commitment to our great veterans and their families.

We are building on the successes of the privacy action plan to ensure that the private information of our veterans remains protected. That is why I present today the privacy action plan 2.0, which includes providing targeted training on privacy principles, streamlining consent forms and ensuring new initiatives are compliant with privacy requirements.

Our government is clear: we will not tolerate any privacy breach.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

May 8th, 2012 / 2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, investigators have confirmed that the same IP address used by Pierre Poutine to order electro-fraud was also used by party staff to connect directly with the Conservative war room. Investigators have also confirmed that key evidence from the Conservative database has gone missing.

The Conservatives need to stop acting like Watergate burglars and come clean with Canadians. As first steps, would the parliamentary secretary at least admit that the IP address linked to voter fraud was linked to the Conservative Party? It is a simple question.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, the simple answer is the member is absolutely incorrect in stating that any IP address, as indicated, is in any way located or connected to the Conservative Party of Canada. It is absolutely incorrect. I can state that emphatically.

What I can also say is that the member continues to do what the Chief Electoral Officer has suggested that he should not do. The Chief Electoral Officer said he found making sweeping allegations of wrongdoing without facts to support them to be troubling. That is all this member does.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:45 p.m.

NDP

Charlie Angus NDP Timmins—James Bay, ON

Mr. Speaker, we will reiterate the facts. The computers linked to illegal acts in voter fraud are also linked to the Conservative Party. The database information came from the Conservatives' database over on Lancaster Road, and we now know that key data records have been deleted.

Therefore, rather than subject Canadians to this endless fan dance of prevarication, would the member stand up and tell Canadians that he actually takes it seriously that electoral fraud happened under the Conservatives' watch?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, I am not going to engage in a game of Clue with the member opposite, but perhaps he would like to get one.

What I can say quite clearly--

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

The Speaker Conservative Andrew Scheer

Order, please.

The hon. parliamentary secretary has the floor.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Conservative

Dean Del Mastro Conservative Peterborough, ON

What I can say quite clearly, Mr. Speaker, and the member knows this full well, is that there is no evidence. In fact, the evidence is clear. The Conservative Party of Canada had absolutely nothing to do with this. Any computer IP address that the member is referring to has nothing to do with the Conservative Party of Canada.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, what is clear is that when it comes to elections, the Conservatives are not very clean.

We are aware of new revelations about the crooks who hide in the Conservatives’ ranks. Their former candidate in Verchères—Les Patriotes was the notary for the West End Gang, a criminal organization in Montreal. The man who posed proudly on Conservative signs signed off on loans with a 60% interest rate.

Will the Conservatives take on the usurers who are ripping off thousands of Canadians, instead of associating with these criminals?

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

Peterborough Ontario

Conservative

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

Mr. Speaker, they just keep going into the mud pit.

The allegations made by the member, first, have nothing to do with the operations of government, and second, have absolutely nothing to do with the Conservative Party of Canada. The individual that the member has referred to has absolutely no connection with the Conservative Party. He has not been a member for many years and the member knows that full well. He should stop flinging mud.

41st General ElectionOral Questions

2:50 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat NDP Pontiac, QC

Mr. Speaker, what Canadians know is that the Conservatives got rid of him only because he accused the Prime Minister of abandoning Quebec, not because he was crooked.

The Conservatives chose a criminal who specialized in money laundering to represent them. They decided that a man who was hand in glove with organized crime was the dream candidate to be the Conservative standard-bearer in peaceable Montérégie.

Are the Conservatives going to admit their mistake and do something to take on their criminal pal who is stealing from people?