In yesterday’s episode, the NDP’s David Christopherson attempted to convince Defence Minister Peter MacKay to say either the word “yes” or the word “no.”
Christopherson. Mr. Speaker, the Minister of National Defence has proven that he is good at misdirection, rhetoric and personal insults. What he is not so good at is giving straight answers. The minister hurls accusations of fearmongering, but the biggest source of fearmongering is the minister’s refusal to clear the air on base closures. The minister is the only who can put military families and their communities at ease. Will he please stand in his place and assure military base communities that they have nothing to fear?
MacKay. Mr. Speaker, me thinks he doth protest too much. When it comes to fearmongering, he is referring to a report that was late. The October 2011 departmental directive, which he is referring to, does not speak of base closures. What does reference in an accompanying news article is a Liberal senator musing about base closures. The only person who is causing alarm in the military community, their families and in the country and misleading Canadians about base closures is the member opposite.
Christopherson. Mr. Speaker, I have a copy of the directive to which the minister refers. It says: We will also reduce portfolio size, footprint and associated overhead costs by consolidating Defence operations and programs to fewer operational sites. Again, does this mean base closures, yes or no?
MacKay. Mr. Speaker, sound and fury signifying nothing. Let me be clear about what the NDP members are up to, and we have seen this before. It is an old opposition tactic. Create a crisis, panic people, put fearmongering out there among military families and then when it does not happen, claim credit. That is what they are up to. The member opposite is simply trying to create a crisis that does not exist. The NDP does not support the military, it does not support the investments and that is unfortunate.