Crucial Fact

  • His favourite word was forces.

Last in Parliament May 2004, as Liberal MP for Compton—Stanstead (Québec)

Lost his last election, in 2006, with 22% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Supply March 1st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, it is very easy. As I said before, now, when I ask questions, I get answers.

The Progressive Conservative Party is now saying that it has changed its policy. I proposed in committee that the bidding be based on two things: the airframe and the mission systems. Now, the Conservatives are saying that they do not agree with that. I did agree with that, and that is precisely what the government is doing. Therefore, I have no problem with it.

Supply March 1st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, that is an interesting question. Things have not changed just because I am on this side of the House. The questions still get asked. I guess the difference is that the questions get answered now.

I find it interesting that the member opposite keeps talking about this as not being a fair and open process. I think it is an extremely fair and open process, much fairer than what we have seen in the past. If we want to go back to processes, as I said before, I have the process from 1993.

If we look back to 1993, we are talking about the same type of situation: a separate platform and a separate mission systems. The only difference was that there was only one company that happened to bid on those two combined issues and it got the job.

Supply March 1st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, it is a pleasure to be in the House to speak about helicopters, a subject that is not new to me. Today I would like to focus on the remarks toward the central role that the Department of Public Works and Government Services is playing in managing the maritime helicopter project. I will be splitting my time with the member for Haliburton—Victoria—Brock.

Like my colleagues who have spoken before me, I have the utmost confidence in the department's ability to administer this major crown procurement. The Department of Public Works and Government Services is not only the federal government's main purchasing organization, it is the largest procurement outfit in Canada. This common service agency buys everything from paper clips to train services to scientific research and, yes, sophisticated military and defence equipment.

The department services more than 100 federal departments, agencies, crown corporations and special operating agencies, including parliament. It deals with thousands of suppliers, both here in Canada and internationally. On a day to day basis contract officers of Public Works and Governments Services Canada deal with a range of suppliers, from individual contractors to some of the biggest industrial, financial, consulting and manufacturing concerns in the world.

The department averages 50,000 contracts a year, with a total value of $8 billion, or about 57% of the federal government's total annual spending on goods and services.

As the House can see, Public Works and Government Services Canada brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the maritime helicopter project. With a value of close to $2.9 billion, there is no question that this project is larger than most. It is the single largest procurement currently being managed by the Department of Public Works and Government Services.

The same principles apply. I can assure hon. members on all sides of the House that this procurement will be managed efficiently, effectively and with the greatest respect for taxpayer dollars. The reason I can say this is because Public Works and Government Services Canada has 60 years of purchasing history behind it. It has earned a solid reputation as a highly competent and professional procurement agency. It operates to the highest standards which are clearly defined in federal statutes, regulations and policy manuals.

As hon. members are aware, the overall procurement and contracting policies of the Government of Canada are established by the treasury board. These policies are aimed at acquiring goods and services in a manner that enhances access, competition and fairness, and that results in value to the Canadian government.

The procurement strategy for the maritime helicopter project meets all of these criteria. It also complies with the Department of Public Works and Government Services' own framework of guiding principles for procurement.

The department has one governing postulate for all its activities, and that is integrity. Public Works and Government Services Canada is committed to ensuring that its supply activities are open, fair and transparent.

The integrity of the procurement strategy for the maritime helicopter project is above question. As the Minister of Public Works and Government Services has demonstrated through his earlier comments, the 28 maritime helicopters and associated integrated mission systems required by the Canadian forces will be purchased through a process that is fair, open and transparent.

The Department of Public Works and Government Services has identified several guiding principles that underlie this overall commitment to integrity. I would like to briefly review them for hon. members to further underscore the strength of this procurement strategy.

For each procurement it undertakes, the department is committed to satisfying the operational needs of its clients while obtaining the best price through the procurement process. That explains why procurement officers had to work hand in hand with officials of the Department of National Defence to develop the letter of interest and other documents released last August. It explains why the procurement includes an unprecedented commitment to industry dialogue and interaction.

As far as obtaining value, the procurement strategy ensures that once the client's operational and technical needs are met, the lowest price bidder for each requirement will be awarded the contract provided that acceptable terms and conditions and industrial and regional benefits are proposed.

The Public Works and Government Services Canada's procurement practices are also aimed at advancing the government's national objectives, particularly in the area of social economic policy. The maritime helicopter project meets this principle on two accounts. First, by ensuring that the men and women of the Canadian forces have the equipment they need to perform their vital work in the service of all Canadians. Second, by ensuring that a comprehensive package of industrial and regional benefits will be a key criterion in the evaluation of all bids.

It is generally acknowledged that no Canadian company is able to provide the entry level helicopter. However there is a possibility that Canadian firms will participate as subcontractors. We know that Canadians firms are capable of supplying the integrated mission systems and have expressed interest in doing so.

As the minister has indicated, the government's goal is to ensure that Canadian suppliers receive the maximum benefits from both contracts. Consistent with principles used for the previous procurements, the government will be seeking industrial and regional benefits equivalent to the value of the contracts both for the helicopter and the integrated mission system.

Competition is another guiding principle for procurements by Public Works and Government Services Canada. There can be no doubt as to its application to the maritime helicopter project. Two separate competitive processes will be undertaken to ensure that the crown obtains both the required helicopter and the integrated mission system, as well as the long term in service support it needs at the lowest possible price.

Moreover, the mandatory prequalification process ensures a maximum level of competition for the contracts because it will mitigate the risk of receiving non-compliant bids. Hon. members can rest assured that there will be strong competition for these contracts.

Equal treatment is another principle adhered to by the Department of Public Works and Government Services' procurement officers. The department's policy is that all potential suppliers of a particular requirement must be subject to the same conditions.

Several elements of the procurement strategy, including its general openness, will contribute to the achievement of this principle. All potential bidders will have access to the same information and will be kept apprised of any changes and technical specifications and other requirements.

The industry interaction process initiated by the government, which will include the posting of technical specifications and other documents on the project's dedicated website, will provide for a two way dialogue that ensures there will be no surprises at the end of the road. All potential bidders will be given the same opportunity to demonstrate technical compliance through the prequalification process.

Finally, accountability is the cornerstone of the department's procurement activities. As is the case with all other procurements, the Public Works and Government Services Canada will be accountable for the integrity of the entire procurement process from start to finish.

Based on its long history of working with the Department of National Defence on many projects, including highly sensitive procurements, the Department of Public Works and Government Services anticipates no problem in this regard. The two departments have a close and positive working relationship that will be manifested through this maritime helicopter project.

The government will continue to be open, fair and transparent as this project moves forward over the next few months. All potential prime contractors are fully aware of the different elements of the government's procurement strategy, and all bids will be measured fairly against a strict and open set of evaluation criteria.

Some hon. members have questioned why the government is using the lowest cost compliant as the basis for awarding these two contracts when bids for the search and rescue helicopter were assessed based on overall value to the crown. The answer is simple: The mandatory prequalification process of the maritime helicopter project will ensure that all the helicopters and integrated mission systems ultimately considered by the government are capable of doing the job. Once this has been established, the evaluation of individual proposals can focus on cost so that the crown's needs are met at the lowest possible price.

The maritime helicopter project is an important step forward in providing the Canadian forces with state of the art equipment that meets the needs of the 21st century. I know this is of concern to Canadians from coast to coast. Having heard the range of views on the subject, I trust hon. members will recognize the strength of the government's approach and will give their unequivocal support to this endeavour.

Supply March 1st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, the member for Kings—Hants did not really answer the question, but I am used to that. When we asked questions we did not get answers from the other side. That happens but I will try again.

The PC Party's 1993 specifications show that the contract had separate units: a platform and mission system. I made that recommendation last year at SCONDVA. I would like to know when that was changed in PC Party policy.

Supply March 1st, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I find the speeches today very interesting, particularly the speech made by the member for Kings—Hants, in which he spoke a lot about the financial side of things and how much the costs ran over. In actual fact we have heard it here that we have actually saved money, because the whole project has changed. It is not the same as the 1993 project. The members on the other side do not seem to realize that. The mission systems are not the same. The needs are not the same.

The most interesting part is how the PC Party has changed its policy. The 1993 system was one helicopter, one piece, but since then there have been two different contracts. That was something proposed by the PC Party. I do not see why the PC members are now going to one piece, one contract. Perhaps the member could tell me why they have changed their minds.

Rural Programs And Services Fair February 15th, 2001

Mr. Speaker, I am proud to announce that on February 16 and 17, that is tomorrow and Saturday, in East Angus in the beautiful riding of Compton—Stanstead, the federal government will be holding its first rural programs and services fair.

This project is a new initiative based on the concept of showing the role federal government institutions play in people's day to day lives and improving communications between the public and the government.

The project dovetails perfectly with a number of government initiatives such as the Canadian Rural Partnership, Service Canada and the Canada Information Office.

As well, by providing the population with the skills for electronic access to the various departments, the event will make a truly concrete contribution to promoting the initiative of a connected Canada.

Once again we see the government not only talking but taking real action in rural Canada.

Health October 6th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, last night the Leader of the Opposition unveiled his party's right wing platform in Kitchener. The plan backtracks on a number of commitments that the leader of the party, formerly known as Reform, had committed himself to only a few short months ago.

Can the Minister of Health tell the House just what the Alliance platform will do to our Canadian health care system?

Endangered Species September 28th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, it is always a pleasure to ask the government for and receive valuable information in the House. My question is for the Minister of the Environment.

This morning the World Conservation Union released its red list of threatened species. The list shows that 62 of the globally threatened species are found in Canada. Could the minister indicate to the House what Canada is doing to ensure that those species will be protected?

National Defence June 7th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, yesterday Hon. John Fraser's report on land forces reserves restructure was tabled. Now we wonder if it was irrelevant. In fact, Mr. Fraser wrote to the Minister of National Defence on March 30 asking just that. The new funding model of March 2 states a $30 million cut in reserve pay this year and next year a $30 million input in equipment and rerolling.

Can the minister tell the House how he could approve $60 million in cuts and new spending three months before the tabling of the report?

National Defence June 6th, 2000

Mr. Speaker, we will not mention the communications equipment.

The Minister of National Defence has a responsibility to stand up for our armed forces personnel. He has the responsibility to tell the PMO when it is making unrealistic demands. He allowed the Prime Minister to commit underequipped troops. He helped make the political decision to understaff our ground crews at Aviano. Why did he not tell the Prime Minister that they were not adequately equipped for the task at hand? For once why did he not just say no?