House of Commons Hansard #170 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was 2017.

Topics

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Oh, oh!

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Liberal

The Speaker Liberal Geoff Regan

The hon. member for Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie.

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, it is a shame that we sometimes cannot hear everything a member has to say.

Last fall, after being caught red-handed, the Liberals decided to press pause on their cash for access fundraisers, but as we might have guessed, they decided to press play again. This evening, the Prime Minister will be in Montreal rubbing shoulders with some of the Liberal Party's generous donors. The Liberals seem to think that no one will notice, however. It is though they are trying to play a Jedi mind trick on us by waving their hand and saying, “This is not a cash for access fundraiser”.

Honestly, do the Liberals not realize that Canadians can see right through them?

EthicsOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Burlington Ontario

Liberal

Karina Gould LiberalMinister of Democratic Institutions

Mr. Speaker, our government is taking real action to be more open and transparent with Canadians. That is why my new mandate involves introducing a bill to make political fundraising more open and transparent. If that bill passes, it will apply to events attended by the Prime Minister, ministers, party leaders, and party leadership candidates. It is always possible to raise the bar, and we will continue to take action to make the government more transparent.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice NDP Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Mr. Speaker, a few years ago, an opposition member asked the parliamentary budget officer to have a look at the true cost of the F-35s, and did we ever learn a lot. Who was it who had asked? It was the current Minister of Fisheries.

Unfortunately, under the changes his government wants to make, the PBO would no longer be able to study such things. The minister wants to prevent us from having the same opportunities that he himself had. He also wants to prevent the parliamentary budget officer from undertaking any studies that were not already planned at the beginning of the year.

Why do the Liberals want to put the government spending watchdog in a straitjacket?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to giving more independence to the parliamentary budget officer, and that is the primary objective of the bill recently introduced in the House of Commons.

Our government welcomes suggestions on ways to improve the bill, and we are open to amendments to ensure we accomplish the objective of an effective and independent parliamentary budget officer. We appreciate the work he does.

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:25 p.m.

NDP

Nathan Cullen NDP Skeena—Bulkley Valley, BC

Let us try this again. A rose by any other name, Mr. Speaker. The answer we just heard is total nonsense. The PBO itself is saying that Liberals are restricting its ability to do its job.

The Liberal omnibus bill will allow the government to shut down any PBO work that is not to the government's liking. It will give the Senate veto over the parliamentary budget officer's work and stop Canadians from getting the answers they so rightly deserve.

These changes are clearly not designed to help accountability. They are designed to help the Liberal Party in governing. Why do the Liberals keep pursuing these unaccountable changes? When will they finally turn a corner and do what they promised to do for Canadians?

Government SpendingOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Waterloo Ontario

Liberal

Bardish Chagger LiberalLeader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism

Mr. Speaker, our government is committed to providing greater independence to the parliamentary budget officer, and this is the overriding intent of the legislation recently introduced in the House of Commons.

Our government welcomes suggestions on how to improve the bill and we are open to amendments to ensure we accomplish the objective of an effective and independent parliamentary budget office.

We appreciate the work he does, and I look forward to working with the member opposite.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, soldiers deployed in the fight against ISIS are saying that they feel despair after the minister betrayed them by not fully restoring their danger pay. This is in addition to the Minister of National Defence's already established casual relationship with the truth that is demoralizing our troops.

A 27-year veteran stated, “The Defence Minister cannot continue to lead the men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, having lost the respect and trust in this way.”

Will the minister listen to the voices of those who have served, do the honourable thing and resign?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, with respect to the service of every Canadian Armed Forces member and also every veteran, our government is focused on making sure our troops have all the necessary benefits to look after their families in making sure we have all the right capabilities.

Last year we conducted a thorough defence policy review that had a very good analysis and gave us a good area for us to work on by making sure we have a fully costed, fully funded defence policy that will look after the Canadian Armed Forces for the next 20 years.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, the minister's misleading comments about his service record are a direct hit on our men and women in uniform.

Yesterday, a parent of a Canadian Armed Forces member wrote me saying that the minister's stolen valour “has directly affected the morale and confidence of Canada's front line infantry soldiers”. The feelings of our troops and veterans have gone from disappointment and outrage to distrust and dismay.

Will the minister do the honourable thing and resign?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I will always honour the service of our men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces, the ones I have not met and the ones with whom I have even served.

As the Minister of National Defence, it is my responsibility and our government's responsibility to make sure our Canadian Armed Forces have all the right and necessary equipment, and have the right benefits.

We conducted an extremely thorough defence policy review in which all members of Parliament had an opportunity to take part. This is exactly what this defence policy will do: set the Canadian Armed Forces on the right funded track for the next 20 years.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, the four fundamental values of the Canadian Armed Forces are duty, integrity, loyalty, and courage. Distorting reality is not on the list.

With all his mistruths, the minister has lost all credibility. Spokesperson Charles McCabe of the Armed Forces Pensioners'/Annuitants' Association of Canada said, “It is disgusting. Everyone is disgusted. He has lost the confidence of everyone who wears or has worn the uniform”.

When will he step down?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I stated, I honour the service of all Canadian Armed Forces members who are currently serving and have served before.

As the Minister of National Defence and as part of this government, my job is to ensure we look after the Canadian Armed Forces as we send them on training missions or any operations abroad. That is what our new defence policy for Canada will do. It is a fully funded and fully costed defence policy that will provide predictable funding for our men and women in the Canadian Armed Forces to be able to plan and carry out their missions.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:30 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Paul-Hus Conservative Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles, QC

Mr. Speaker, one of the first things we are taught in the army is to lead by example.

Ever since the Minister of National Defence joined the Liberal ranks, that lesson has been lost on him. He misled Canadians on withdrawing CF-18s from Iraq, on the capabilities of our Royal Canadian Air Force, on the danger pay for our troops fighting ISIS, and on his involvement in Operation Medusa. The minister is a complete joke. No one believes him any more.

When will he step down?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I thank the member opposite for his service.

When I visited Kuwait for the first time, I was able to learn about the tax-free exemption and to learn directly about this issue, which we were able to immediately fix. Unfortunately, much more work needs to be done, and that is what our government is doing right now. We are reviewing all compensation. We are also making sure we can actually have a long-term solution to this problem.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, it is becoming increasingly clear that the Minister of National Defence cannot escape this quagmire of his own making. He has lost the confidence of the Canadian people, of our allies, and, most important, our men and women in uniform. There are 12 members of the Liberal caucus who have served in the Canadian Forces and only one of them has been accused of stealing valour.

When will the Prime Minister fire the Minister of National Defence and replace him with someone worthy of the respect of our men and women in uniform?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as Minister of National Defence, I will always ensure we have all the necessary tools.

We have conducted an extremely thorough defence policy review. We have been making sure that we look at all the analysis to ensure where all the gaps are within our funding system, where all the cuts were made, so we can have a sustainable, predictable funding model for our Canadian Armed Forces so they can plan. We are making sure all the right benefits are there, the right equipment is there and all the tools necessary for all their training and operational missions.

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Strahl Conservative Chilliwack—Hope, BC

Mr. Speaker, if the minister does not have the honour to resign, he should be fired.

Instead of choosing to keep the disgraced minister in place, the Prime Minister could choose the member for Orléans, a former army commander. He could choose the MP for Kanata—Carleton, a former navigator and former squadron commander. He could choose the MP for Aurora—Oak Ridges—Richmond Hill, a former air force captain. He could choose any one of these Liberals who has not been accused of stealing valour.

Why will the Prime Minister not fire the minister and replace him with someone worthy of the trust of our men and women in uniform?

National DefenceOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I am honoured and privileged to serve with so many members of our caucus who have had military service. I also consider them mentors as well.

As Minister of National Defence, it is a privilege to be able to serve in this role. I will work extremely hard, as our government does, to ensure our troops have all the necessary tools. I will come for advice for all the folks who have served in the military and as members of Parliament. I have opened up to all for service of any other party—

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Hélène Laverdière NDP Laurier—Sainte-Marie, QC

Mr. Speaker, when he was in opposition, the member who is now the Minister of Public Safety accused the Conservative government of wanting to hide the truth when it refused to open an inquiry on Afghan detainees. Now, the Liberal government is the one that is refusing to launch a public inquiry.

What has changed? Why have the Liberals once again changed their tune?

Public SafetyOral Questions

May 4th, 2017 / 2:35 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, throughout our military operations in Afghanistan, Canada has committed to ensuring the individuals detained by the Canadian Armed Forces were handled and transferred and released in accordance with our obligations under international law.

Canada's policies and procedures regarding detainees have already been subject to significant scrutiny, including an external review by the Federal Court, MPCC, and an internal review through multiple administrative investigations.

I will be happy to make myself available to the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner should she choose to revisit the issue.

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:35 p.m.

NDP

Murray Rankin NDP Victoria, BC

Mr. Speaker, the flawed study of the Afghan detainees scandal was cut short by the Conservatives after only reviewing an initial set of documents. Stéphane Dion at that point said, “[w]hen you read these documents, you will have questions to ask to your Prime Minister”. He also said that the Conservatives were blocking an inquiry because of being “afraid of having to answer to Canadians”.

Therefore, will the Minister of National Defence appear before the defence committee to answer questions about this scandal, yes or no?

Public SafetyOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Vancouver South B.C.

Liberal

Harjit S. Sajjan LiberalMinister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, as I stated, Canada's policies and procedures regarding detainees have already been subjected to scrutiny, including an external review by the federal court, MPCC, and an internal review through multiple administrative investigations.

I would be happy to make myself available to the Commissioner of Conflict of Interest and Ethics if she chooses to revisit this issue.

FinanceOral Questions

2:40 p.m.

Conservative

Gérard Deltell Conservative Louis-Saint-Laurent, QC

Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary budget officer is concerned, and rightfully so. The government is using Bill C-44 to try to take away his power. As the parliamentary budget officer himself said, this will undermine his independence and political impartiality. Why? Because, from now on, the parliamentary budget officer will have to report to the Speaker of the House, and he will have to submit his game plan for the year. I really like you, Mr. Speaker, but you should have nothing to do with the work of the parliamentary budget officer.

Why is the Liberal government stooping so low?