House of Commons Hansard #198 of the 42nd Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was statistics.


National DefenceAdjournment Proceedings

10:55 p.m.

Saint-Jean Québec


Jean Rioux LiberalParliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, my colleague's original question had to do with pay for our troops who are deployed to Kuwait to fight against Daesh as part of Operation Impact. The member opposite also mentioned the Minister of National Defence in his speech.

I am pleased that he has given me an opportunity to reiterate that the minister is a former reservist who has an excellent understanding of the needs of soldiers and their families and who believes that our troops are by far our greatest asset. He is a minister who puts his experience on the ground, his expertise, and his energy into serving our men and women in uniform every day. He is a minister who ensures that our soldiers have the resources, training, equipment, and support they need to successfully carry out the missions and operations assigned to them.

Like the minister, our entire government is determined to ensure that the members of the Canadian Armed Forces get all the benefits they need to take care of their families here in Canada, particularly when they are sent on missions abroad.

That is why we supported the motion moved by the member opposite last March regarding tax relief for military personnel sent to Kuwait. That motion was debated on March 9, 2017, and was adopted unanimously in the House.

The Minister of National Defence became personally engaged in this file in February 2016. On May 18, the Minister of National Defence announced that we would be offering tax relief to all Canadian Armed Forces members who take part in international chief of the defence staff named operations, up to the highest rank of lieutenant-colonel. This change is retroactive to January 2017. In addition, this measure does not affect the hardship allowance, risk allowance, or deployment allowance set out in the National Defence military foreign service instructions. Those payments will continue.

Our women and men in uniform who take part in overseas operations are doing a tremendous job. They are highly skilled and very well trained, and are the pride of Canadians from coast to coast to coast. They represent Canada with professionalism and courage, and we are very grateful to them.

Our new policy includes several measures to ensure that our troops get the support they need whether they are transitioning from civilian to military life or back to civilian life at the end of their career.

We put our troops and their families at the heart of this policy by making sure they get the care, support, training, and resources they need to accomplish what we ask of them. The government's new defence policy includes a new vision and a new approach to defence. We provided a clear direction on defence priorities over a 20-year horizon and provided matching long-term investments to fully fund the implementation of our new policy.

The government set out an ambitious but realistic plan to ensure that Canada can respond to current and future defence challenges. Over the next 10 years, annual military spending will rise from $18.9 billion to $32.7 billion. The size of the regular force will grow by 3,500, and the reserve force will be increased by 1,500. We will also invest to grow, maintain, and upgrade Canadian Armed Forces capabilities.

The Minister of National Defence is deeply committed to our troops, and the new defence policy reflects that commitment.

National DefenceAdjournment Proceedings

11 p.m.


James Bezan Conservative Selkirk—Interlake—Eastman, MB

Mr. Speaker, we are not questioning the minister's record. We are questioning his trustworthiness. Case in point, the sole-sourcing for 18 Super Hornets where the capability gap is imaginary. We already know that 88% of defence experts and 13 former Royal Canadian Air Force commanders have said there is no capability gap.

We have already seen $12 billion worth of cuts in two budgets under this minister. The government has done a defence policy review, but there is no money to actually resource it. If there is no money to resource it, then it is a book of empty promises.

The minister has been out there doing his tour. Canadians and members of the Canadian Armed Forces are hoping it is his farewell tour, because this is a minister who has gone out, and tried to sell something when we know the money is not in the budget. The Minister of Finance has said that currently the Canadian Armed Forces are properly provisioned. I can tell the House the money is not there to do the things the government says it is going to do.

National DefenceAdjournment Proceedings

11 p.m.


Jean Rioux Liberal Saint-Jean, QC

Mr. Speaker, in a context of complex and unpredictable international security, Canada has to anticipate new threats and new challenges, adapt to the changing context, and act with decisive military capability.

I want to point out that the minister chaired the most important consultation in years in order to develop Canada's new defence policy. His unwavering passion contributed to the plan for Canada's protection, North America's security, and the commitment related to maintaining stability in a constantly changing world for the next 20 years.

As the Chief of the Defence Staff said when the new defence policy was unveiled, this is a good day for people in uniform. Canadian Armed Forces members are happy with the Minister of National Defence and they respect him. That is abundantly clear on the ground. I have seen it many times.

National DefenceAdjournment Proceedings

11 p.m.


The Assistant Deputy Speaker Liberal Anthony Rota

The motion to adjourn the House is now deemed to have been adopted. Accordingly, the House stands adjourned until tomorrow at 2 p.m., pursuant to Standing Order 24(1).

(The House adjourned at 11:04 p.m.)