The interim Liberal leader rose long after the customary leaders’ turns to join the interrogation of Julian Fantino, the associate minister of defence. Here’s how that went.
Bob Rae: Mr. Speaker, to the same minister, I think we need to explore this a little more deeply. The Prime Minister said that the government is going to live within its $9.5 billion budget. General Natyncyzk said they need at least 65 planes, and that is a minimum number. Now Lockheed has said that the price is going to be far higher than the original $75 million. These are three things that just do not go together. I am asking the minister very directly to tell us, face-to-face because he and I know each other well, what exactly is the government planning to do as we go forward? What is it going to do about this venture?
Julian Fantino: Mr. Speaker, friendship has nothing to do with the answer I will give my honourable friend. We are very much involved in the procurement of an asset that will ensure our men and women have the best opportunity of success. To the best ability, we will ensure that Canadian taxpayers are well served. At the same time, we will do what needs to be done, taking all these issues into account.
Bob Rae: Monsieur le Président, on essaie de trouver une réponse claire. Je n’ai pas encore réussi, mais je vais essayer encore une fois. Aujourd’hui, selon leur plan, combien d’avions est-ce qu’on va acheter, à quel prix et quand? Quel est le moment où nous aurons les avions? Nous sommes d’accord avec eux qu’il faut avoir les avions pour 2020, mais combien et à quel prix? C’est très simple, ce n’est pas une question difficile.
Julian Fantino: Mr. Speaker, I want to be absolutely certain that the hon. member realizes that we are monitoring the situation, ongoing. Moreover, we have a budget allocated and we will ensure that we work and supply the assets necessary within that budget.
Bob Rae: Mr. Speaker, the government has to make a decision on whether it will put up with fewer planes for the same price or it will look to an open competition to see whether we can get more planes that would be equally suitable at a lower price that we can afford. That is the question we have to answer. It is very simple.As a party, we have been raising this for 18 months trying to get a clear answer. It is not a matter of just monitoring. We do not need the Robocall answer, we need a real answer to these questions. How many planes? At what price? And when are they going to be delivered? Those are three very simple questions.
Julian Fantino: Mr. Speaker, I say with all respect to the member: Stay tuned, that answer will be forthcoming.