Interventions in the House of Commons
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View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-11-24 11:50 [p.15587]
Madam Speaker, my colleague was not talking about the fight against ISIS. He was talking about how this government is treating our serving military members. Its treatment of them is callous. It is turning its back on our veterans and even now threatening to cut the monthly allowance for injured soldiers.
The Liberals are proposing a state-funded program for radicalized terrorists, but they are not even providing a similar level of service to law-abiding Canadian citizens.
Why should terrorists who fought against our country be entitled to free reintegration services even as the Liberals abandon our own veterans and serving military members?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-11-03 11:06 [p.14956]
Mr. Speaker, this November, as members of Parliament, we have the duty and privilege to say a few words in the House to acknowledge the extraordinary dedication that our veterans and active military members show to our country, day after day, from one military conflict to the next.
We must not forget that these men and women in uniform often serve on Canadian soil, as we saw most recently during the unfortunate flooding last spring.
Therefore, in addition to remembering their many sacrifices, we must also develop legislation that helps improve their lives. I have taken action, and in May, I introduced Bill C-357 to fix a bureaucratic injustice that affects veterans.
During this time of remembrance, I urge my colleagues from all parties to take a serious look at this bill and to help me pass it, to guarantee that our veterans will be respected in their transition to civilian life.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-06-05 15:12 [p.12019]
moved for leave to introduce Bill C-357, An Act to amend the Public Service Superannuation Act (Group 1 contributors).
He said: Mr. Speaker, it is with honour and pride, but mostly with humility that I rise today because this is the first time in my life that I have had the opportunity and incredible privilege, as a Canadian, to act as a legislator and introduce my first bill.
It is a private member's bill, of course, but it would require royal assent. I intend to do everything I possibly can to make the government see the importance of this bill.
It seeks to ensure that veterans can benefit from the grandfather provision in the changes made to the federal public service pension legislation.
In 2012, some changes were made to ensure the vitality of federal public service pensions. Some grandfather provisions were applied to ensure that those who were public servants before 2013 could benefit from the status quo. Veterans were inadvertently excluded from this.
When a veteran who fought for our country for many years brought the issue to my attention, I did not hesitate to move forward. For a year, I prepared everything I needed to and today I am very pleased to introduce this bill.
In closing, I would like to say that I love grassroots politics, but I want to be a full-fledged legislator. This is a big day for me and for all the veterans who served this country in another way, in the Canadian federal public service in particular.
That is why I am introducing this bill today.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-30 14:52 [p.11668]
Mr. Speaker, the Liberal government has managed to mess up yet another an important file, that is, the replacement of Canada's search and rescue aircraft.
That is not surprising, however, since the department has been without leadership since 2015, and even more so for the past two months, considering the very partisan parliamentary secretary who is responsible for the department's policy issues.
When will the Prime Minister understand how important and how urgent procurement is and finally intervene before this completely falls apart?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-05-08 16:04 [p.10910]
Mr. Speaker, I will begin by simply saying that the Minister of National Defence must resign, not only because of numbers or political decisions, but because of ministerial responsibility, a very important constitutional convention in this country. Since he does not want to follow that convention, we need to use an opposition day today to call for his resignation, which is coming soon. By the end of my speech, members will understand why.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the men and women who serve their country in the Canadian Armed Forces for the hard work they do every day, as demonstrated recently when they took quick action to help address the flooding in many regions of Quebec and Ontario.
I would also like to thank the members of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment, with whom I had the honour of serving our country, for the dedication they have shown since the regiment was created to the homeland and in every conflict.
Like my other opposition colleagues, today, I want to talk about our motion, which reads as follows:
That the House has lost confidence in the Minister of National Defence's ability to carry out his responsibilities on behalf of the government since, on multiple occasions the Minister misrepresented his military service and provided misleading information to the House.
This is really very serious. It all began with earlier issues, which I will talk about shortly. First, I want to explain a little about what has brought us to this opposition day, namely Operation Medusa, which took place in Afghanistan in 2006.
The minister’s political career began recently, in 2015. Before the November 2015 election, he was still in the Canadian Armed Forces. In a speech in New Delhi, India, for the second time in his political career, he stated that he was the main architect of Operation Medusa. This was not an inadvertent error, since he had made the same false statement, the same exaggeration, previously, during the 2015 election campaign, in an interview with a journalist.
Operation Medusa was one of the most important operations conducted by the Canadian Armed Forces in Afghanistan. It has contributed to our national pride, since it was a success, according to a majority of analysts.
Since making that false statement, the minister has been severely criticized for this lie by the media, the opposition, and numerous active or retired members of the Canadian Armed Forces. Today, my colleagues have clearly shown this by referring to a number of retired members of the military who are disappointed and stunned by this minister’s conduct.
What is unfortunate, but what reinforces our position on this opposition day, is that the Minister of National Defence is setting a trend in terms of how he performs his ministerial duties.
Right at the beginning of his term as minister, in December 2015, when the newly elected government decided to end our CF-18 campaign in Iraq, the Minister of National Defence held talks with certain members of the Iraqi government. When the minister returned to Canada, we asked him several times whether he had actually heard any comments about the withdrawal of our CF-18s in Iraq, and he said that was not the case. However, thanks to the good work done by journalists, we recently learned that, on the contrary, the Iraqi government had informed the minister on numerous occasions of its concerns regarding the withdrawal of the CF-18s. That is the first point on which the Minister of National Defence misled us.
The second example of the trend that the minister is setting relates to Kuwait. We have armed forces personnel in Kuwait, and, since October 5, 2014, they have received tax relief that was put in place by the Conservative government, as is often the case for other missions.
Responding to questions on the Order Paper, the Minister of National Defence acknowledged that the Conservative government had in fact put that tax relief in place. In spite of the minister’s clear statements saying that members of the military deployed in Kuwait were entitled to tax relief offered by the previous Conservative government, he kept saying, several months later, falsely, that those soldiers were deployed without receiving tax relief from the Conservative government. Why did he change his mind? Did his parliamentary assistants not bother to tell him that he had signed a paper saying that in the House? That is probably what happened, and that is another example of incompetence.
The third thing that further highlights the minister’s pattern of misleading conduct toward Canadians and the House is our fighter fleet’s lack of capacity. There is no such thing. The commander of the air force, Lieutenant-General Michael Hood, said when he appeared before the Standing Committee on National Defence, as my colleague from Charlesbourg—Haute-Saint-Charles who sits on that committee and was there can attest, that there was no lack of capacity when it comes to Canada’s fighter fleet.
I have given three flagrant examples that show that the minister has misled the House of Commons, the parliamentarians who must vote for or against the government’s decisions. His pattern seems quite obvious to me, and that brings me to the second part of my speech.
I want to come back to the convention of ministerial responsibility. If there is one fantastic thing bequeathed to us by mother England, and its fantastic mother of parliament, Westminster, it is ministerial responsibility, which rests, first and foremost, on the honour of a man or woman, the honour of serving and of acknowledging that, when the time comes, he or she must resign from his position or her position.
I have to say that Canada has an interesting history when it comes to ministerial responsibility. I am going to give all the examples of ministers who have resigned, since 1867, for reasons ranging from the trivial to the most serious.
I thought that the change in the political culture that had taken place since the 1950s should have meant that very few ministers had resigned recently. We treat politicians as we treat products of mass consumption: we toss them out when they are no longer good. Contrary to what I thought, until this millennium, ministers have had the courage to resign for much more trivial reasons than we are currently discussing in the case of the Minister of National Defence.
Mr. Galt, one of the founders of the nation, resigned in 1867 because he no longer had the support and confidence of his cabinet colleagues, who held his policy responsible for the collapse of the Commercial Bank of Canada.
In 1878, Mr. Vail, defence minister, resigned because he had violated ministerial directives by being a shareholder of a company that had received government printing and advertising contracts.
In 1907, the minister of railways and canals, Mr. Emmerson, resigned because he had been accused of going to a Montreal hotel with a person of ill repute. Is that not unbelievable?
In 1965, the secretary of state of Canada, Mr. Lamontagne, resigned because he had been accused by the opposition, not by a court, of being involved in the scandal relating to a bankruptcy close to the prime minister.
Mr. Dupuis, a minister without portfolio, resigned in 1965 after exerting undue influence in the matter of a race track in Saint-Luc.
In 1986, the minister of regional industrial expansion, Mr. Stevens, resigned because he was being investigated in relation to conflict of interest allegations, which is much more serious.
In 2002, the solicitor general of Canada, currently Minister of Agriculture and Agri-food, resigned because he was being investigated in relation to conflict of interest allegations.
In 2005, the present member for Humber River—Black Creek resigned in the midst of allegations of improprieties.
Last, in 2010, minister of state Helena Guergis resigned because she was being investigated regarding allegations relating to her conduct.
As we can see, for various reasons, trivial or otherwise, ministers have followed a very important convention in our country, a constitutional convention that requires a man or woman who holds office as a minister of Canada to resign when the members of the House question their confidence in him or her. Here, it is not only us; it is the entire Canadian Forces that are questioning their confidence in the minister. He should simply resign.
When we learn the truth about all of the issues that concern us, and if he did not in fact lie to Canadians, he will be able to return.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-13 11:42 [p.10516]
Mr. Speaker, the military see the truth. They see it on their paycheque at the end of the month.
On April 6, the hon. member for Gatineau told me that I would get evidence of the capability gap that was cited as the reason for procuring the 18 Super Hornet jets without a bidding process. He told me that the Department of National Defence would provide me with that information.
However, on Tuesday, in committee, the Liberals voted twice against the Conservative motion calling on the Minister of National Defence to come present that evidence.
The Liberals keep saying that this capability gap exists. Why are two ministers responsible for this file unable to prove it and unable to illustrate their point in writing in a letter?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 18:47 [p.10313]
Mr. Speaker, somebody needs to get the situation at Public Services and Procurement Canada under control yesterday. Just look at the outrageous bonuses paid to executives involved with the Phoenix fiasco in various capacities.
I wish my colleague from Miramichi—Grand Lake were still here so I could tell him that the fact is, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement launched the Phoenix pay system on February 24, 2016. All of the access to information requests and all of the questions that we put on the House of Commons Order Paper leave no room for doubt, and the member for Gatineau knows it.
We initiated the Phoenix project as any responsible government would have done. We realized the previous pay system was outdated and had to be changed. However, we were not the ones who implemented it. Again, all of the access to information requests show that expert reports to the minister of the day said the system was not ready.
This evening, I want to talk about the Super Hornets, which the government plans to acquire very soon. My colleague from Edmonton West spoke about the advisability of procuring these aircraft and how long it would take. I would like to address another aspect of the problem.
The Government Contracts Regulations must apply to the Department of Public Services and Procurement because, in the end, that department's minister must give the go-ahead to the department that wants to enter into procurement contracts. The reason we have a framework for government procurement, the Government Contracts Regulations, is to prevent questionable acquisitions of this magnitude.
What I suspect, and I am confident in saying that my party colleagues agree, is that the exceptions in the regulations were rigged by the Liberal Party because it often mentions the exception contained in subsection 3(1)(g), which allows a contract to fulfill an interim requirement for defence supplies. I would like the record to show that this is not simply a legal void that the Liberal Party can use to contravene the Government Contracts Regulations.
For greater clarity, if the Minister of Public Services and Procurement approved the future purchase of the Super Hornets without a tender, she must have a letter from the Department of National Defence stating, in black and white, why an exception is being made to proceed without a tender. There are four possible reasons for the exception: state of war, an emergency, a gap, and so forth. In this case, the Liberals are saying that there is a capability gap. I do not believe it, and my party does not either. Where is the proof?
Can the parliamentary secretary show us a document from the Department of National Defence, signed by the minister, that proves there is a capability gap?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-04-06 18:54 [p.10314]
Mr. Speaker, the parliamentary secretary mentioned an honest political disagreement between the two of us. That is indeed the case, but that is not what I am talking about.
I would point out that Denmark was able to complete an open, transparent competition in 11 months.
I am speaking to the parliamentary secretary, and it is not up to the Department of National Defence to answer me. My question is this. The rules surrounding government contracts demand that the Minister of Public Services and Procurement play a role. Any department can say that it wants this or that, for any given reason. It is too easy. Public Services and Procurement and the Government Contracts Regulations necessitate, require, and demand that the minister of public services receive a letter that explains why there is an exception, why the need is exceptional. I assume that, for the Liberals, the exception here is the capability gap. Personally, I do not think the capability gap exists—
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-10 11:48 [p.8795]
Mr. Speaker, there is clearly a political controversy surrounding the procurement of the Super Hornet fighter jets.
At the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates yesterday, the Liberals refused to hold an emergency debate, even though that committee's mandate is to examine procurement contracts. The goal is to ensure that everything is done by the book and that Canada's Government Contracts Regulations are followed.
Will the Liberal government allow our committee to do its job on these important matters and will it respect the parliamentary process?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2017-02-07 14:44 [p.8583]
Mr. Speaker, that is the main point: it is not the right equipment.
The Super Hornets will be operational for about 12 years, at most, and will cost Canadian taxpayers over $300 million per plane. Worse still, there are no significant industrial benefits on the horizon for Canadian workers or businesses. The Minister of Public Services and Procurement has a duty to manage taxpayers' money prudently, while also supporting Canadian industries.
How far is the minister willing to go to promote the Liberal Party's political interests rather than the interests of all Canadians in this great federation?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-12-12 15:57 [p.7968]
Mr. Speaker, I thank the member for her speech.
I heard something that really surprised me. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I thought she said that jobs in the Canadian Armed Forces are precarious. I would like to tell all Canadians who are listening that, on the contrary, working for the Canadian Armed Forces is wonderful. I did it, as did my brother, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. It is a very well-paid job.
I strongly encourage all young millennials who are watching at home to contact their closest recruitment centre and join the Canadian Armed Forces.
If the member is saying that being a member of the Canadian Armed Forces is precarious because it involves dangerous missions, I would like to remind her that statistics show that it is much more dangerous to be a fisherman in Acadie or a city firefighter than to be part of the Canadian Armed Forces.
I want Canadians to know that being part of the Canadian Armed Forces is a wonderful experience.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-12-05 14:52 [p.7638]
Mr. Speaker, last week, the Minister of Public Services and Procurement indicated that she did not intend to provide Canadians with the financial details of the contract to purchase Super Hornet fighter jets. She said that she wanted to talk to Boeing and the American government about it first.
The minister suggested that her government has not yet entered into discussions with Boeing, which is rather unbelievable. What is worse, Canadians are being treated like a second-class third party in this transaction, even though the minister is accountable to Canadians and Canadians only.
When will she rectify this situation and tell Canadians the unit price of the Super Hornets?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-12-01 14:46 [p.7519]
Mr. Speaker, we know three things for sure.
First, the Minister of Procurement does not know how much Super Hornet fighters cost. Second, in negotiations with Boeing and the United States, the Liberals put their cards on the table before the game even started. Third, the process to replace our fighter jets will not be done before the 2019 election.
Obviously, either the Liberals are totally incompetent, or they have a hidden agenda.
Can the minister tell us which is true?
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-30 14:54 [p.7442]
Mr. Speaker, I asked the Minister of Public Services and Procurement a very simple question yesterday. She did not answer me, so I would like to repeat my question.
Her government's controversial decision to purchase 18 outdated Super Hornet fighter jets makes no sense. The minister's mandate is to ensure that all contracts awarded by the Canadian government are as profitable as possible and represent the best possible value for Canadian taxpayers.
Will the minister finally confirm the unit price of each Super Hornet? If she cannot do so, we will have to assume that she went ahead without full knowledge of the facts.
View Alupa Clarke Profile
View Alupa Clarke Profile
2016-11-30 14:55 [p.7442]
Mr. Speaker, the truth is simple. She is not answering because she does not know the cost of the planes. That is what we call bad governance.
In Norway, their open and transparent process to replace their fleet of fighter jets took two years. The same kind of process took 16 months in South Korea and 11 months in Denmark.
The Liberals know that their management of this file will be a turning point for Canadians, who will judge the current government's performance very severely. That is precisely why they extended the bidding period over five years, until after the next election.
When will the minister properly fulfill her ministerial mandate instead of—
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