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FINA Committee Meeting

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Meeting No. 11
Wednesday, November 3, 2004

The Standing Committee on Finance met in a televised session at 3:40 p.m. this day, in Room 253-D Centre Block, the Chair, Massimo Pacetti, presiding.


Members of the Committee present: Rona Ambrose, Don H. Bell, Guy Côté, Yvan Loubier, John McKay, Maria Minna, Massimo Pacetti, Brian Pallister, Charlie Penson, Monte Solberg and Judy Wasylycia-Leis.


Acting Members present: Bernard Bigras for Guy Côté, Gary Carr for Charles Hubbard and Nathan Cullen for Judy Wasylycia-Leis.


In attendance: House of Commons: Eugene Morawski, Committee Clerk. Library of Parliament: June Dewetering, Principal; Alexandre Laurin, Analyst.


Witnesses: Canadian Council for International Cooperation: Gerry Barr, President and Chief Executive Officer. David Suzuki Foundation: Heather Deal, Marine Strategist; Dale Marshall, Policy Analyst, Climate Change Program. Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences: Dawn Conway, Executive Director; Gordon McBean, Chairman, Board of Trustees. Health Partners International of Canada: Jake Epp, Chairman. Go for Green: Steve Grundy, Director of Development; Francine Godin, Executive Director. Health Partners International of Canada: John P. Kelsall, President. Conference of Defence Associations: Howard Marsh, Consultant, Technology, Strategy and Military Affairs Research. KAIROS (Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives): Michael Polanyi, Program Coordinator, Canadian Social Development, KAIROS, Canadian Ecumenical Justive Initiatives; Joe Gunn, Vice-Chair, Social Affairs Office, Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops. Conference of Defence Associations: Alain Pellerin, Executive Director; Richard J. Evraire, Chairman. Project Ploughshares: Ernie Regehr, Director, Institute for Science and International Security. Clean Air Renewable Energy Coalition: Mark S. Rudolph, Coordinator. Green Budget Coalition: Pierre Sadik, Program Manager. Nature Conservancy Canada : Thea Silver, Director of Government and External Relations. Sierra Club of Canada (B.C. Chapter): Shawn-Patrick Stensil, Director, Atmosphere and Energy. Nature Conservancy Canada : Barry Turner, Director of Government Relations, Ducks Unlimited Canada. World Vision Canada: Kathy Vandergrift, Director of Policy. The University of Western Ontario: Gordon A. McBean, Ph.D. Professor.

Pursuant to Standing Order 83.1, the Committee resumed its pre-budget consultations 2004.



The witnesses made statements and answered questions.




The witnesses made statements and answered questions.


At 5:03 p.m., the sitting was suspended.

At 5:16 p.m., the sitting resumed.

The Committee proceeded to the consideration of matters related to Committee business.

The Chair presented the Operational Budget on the Pre-Budget Consultations 2004.


It was agreed, — That the proposed Operational Budget be adopted and be presented to the Liaison Committee.


Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee resumed its study on the Motion of Judy Wasylycia-Leis.


Pursuant the motion on 48 hour motion notice agreed on Tuesday, October 12, 2004:

That the Standing Committee on Finance, in regard to the October 18, 2004 Order of Reference to the Committee instructing it to make recommendations relating to the provisions of independent fiscal forecasting advice for parliamentarians including the consideration of the recommendations of the external expert, consider the following as the basis of its terms of reference:

Terms of reference

Terms of reference for a review by the standing committee on Finance of independent fiscal forecasting advice for Parliament.

1. To assess whether access to independent fiscal forecasting advice would strengthen Parliament’s deliberations regarding budgetary matters and other issues with fiscal implications that come before Parliament from time to time.

2. To recommend as to the most effective mechanism for providing independent fiscal advice to Parliamentarians, whether it be through a new office reporting to Parliament or another mechanism.

3. To recommend as to the nature and range of independent fiscal advice to be available to Parliamentarians, if such a function is established, including but not restricted to:

a. Providing independent analysis of budgetary forecasts and projections, specifically respecting likely government revenue and expenditure in light of announced policies;

b. Providing independent cost or revenue estimates of budget spending or tax measures respectively;

c. Providing independent cost or revenue estimates of spending or tax measures as requested from time to time by Parliamentarians;

d. Provide independent quarterly fiscal forecasts, including year end projections, during the course of the fiscal year; and e. Other fiscal projections and estimates as might be requested from time to time by Parliamentarians.

4. To consider how an independent fiscal advisory function would access government data and information necessary to provide reasonable fiscal advice, including but not restricted to tax data, taking into account the need to protect government confidentiality in budget-making and other reasonable requirements for confidentiality.

5. In its deliberations the committee will be able to call on expert testimony, commission studies if required, and will also review mechanisms for providing independent fiscal advice to elected representatives that have been established in other countries, including but not limited to the Congressional Budget Office in the United States.


By unanimous consent, after debate, the question was put on the motion and it was agreed to.


Pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee resumed its study on the Motion of Monte Solberg.


Pursuant the Motion on 48 hour motion notice agreed on Tuesday, October 12, 2004, Monte Solberg moved the following Motion:

That the Committee call for all departmental and cabinet documents pertaining to any discussion on the government’s projected surplus based on the national accounts that were available in May; that the Minister of Finance respond in writing to the Committee within five working days, as to whether the national accounts, available in May, would have provided sufficient data for the government to revise its projected $1.9 billion surplus figure closer to $9.1 billion, and in his letter, the Minister indicate when the Committee can expect the documents requested in this motion.


By unanimous consent, after debate, the question was put on the motion and it was agreed to.


At 6:41 p.m., the Committee adjourned to the call of the Chair.


Richard Dupuis
Clerk of the Committee

2005/03/15 10:46 a.m.