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Standing Committee on Public Accounts



Thursday, November 18, 2010

[Recorded by Electronic Apparatus]



    Colleagues, I call the meeting to order.
    Good morning. For this first part we're in public, as per usual.
    We'll discuss the recommendations emanating out of steering committee yesterday. Then we'll go on to the regular business, for which we will probably go in camera.
    Colleagues, yesterday, November 17, your subcommittee met to consider the business of the committee and agreed to make the following recommendations:
    1. That, pursuant to the motion adopted by the Committee on Thursday, April 15, 2010, in relation to correspondence concerning the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations in its report on Chapter 9, “Pension and Insurance Administration—Royal Canadian Mounted Police,” of the November 2006 Report of the Auditor General of Canada (2nd Report, 2nd Session of the 39th Parliament), the Chair be authorized to communicate with the government and that witnesses be invited to the Committee in the immediate future.
    Mr. Kramp.
    Chair, that wasn't quite the way I anticipated it, or what I thought I'd heard. What I'd heard at the meeting was that....
    There was no doubt we stated our concerns, and we wanted them dealt with, and we wanted a response. But it was my understanding that we were to issue that request for a response with an understanding that if we were not satisfied with that response, and that response was to be due PDQ, at that point then we would certainly be calling witnesses forward.
    I think we're prejudging when we're saying that “witnesses be invited”. Should we not wait for the response, unless you want to authorize it...? Are you suggesting that the chair be authorized to call witnesses if we don't like the response?
    That's just the point I'm trying to make here.
    Madame Faille? No? Okay.
    Thank you for that, Mr. Kramp. I don't think the recommendation is intended to convey that particular impression. You're quite right, we did debate this at some length. The idea was to communicate with the government and say there's complete dissatisfaction. If we don't get the answer, it will be....
    I think we tried to use the word that was the most appropriate--“forthwith”, “immediate”, and I think a few other words were conveyed to suggest the urgency. So this is the language to encapsulate all of that.
    There's no confusion in the chair's mind about where the steering committee wanted that recommendation to go. It's just very difficult to combine all of those in that one phrase.
    Fine. As long as we have that understanding, I'm fine.


    Do you agree, Madame Faille?
    And you, Monsieur D'Amours? Thank you.
    Yes, Mr. Saxton?


    I have a question. When you talk about “witnesses”, who are the witnesses going to be?
    Well, I think the committee yesterday...and I stand to be corrected if I convey the wrong impression. That's not my intent. But I think the witnesses were those who we would typically get, and that would be the deputy minister.
    Okay. I just wanted to clarify that.
    I think that's where we were going to start. We weren't going anywhere else.
    Okay. Good.
    I have acceptance of recommendation number one?
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Thank you. It's so accepted.
    Recommendation two reads as follows:
    2. That, in relation to the documents concerning the West Block restoration project, requested from the Department of Public Works and Government Services pursuant to the motions adopted by the Committee on Thursday, October 21 and Tuesday, November 2, 2010, the analysts from the Library of Parliament be authorized to review the documents
    --I notice that we haven't put them down as “at source”--
categorize them and create a list for the use of the Committee.
    The committee there would be for the steering committee, which would then, after receiving that information, make a determination of how we would proceed next.
    Mr. Kramp.


    I just want to go on record as well, Chair, that, for the reasons I gave at steering committee, obviously I'm in opposition to this. I think it's outside of our mandate, etc.
    Obviously the steering committee voted on this issue and it has come forward, but I'm stating very, very clearly that the government is opposed to this.
    Are you suggesting, Mr. Kramp, that we have a vote on it?
    Thank you.
    Those in favour of the recommendation?
    Recommendation accepted....
    Oops, sorry: it's five and five.
    Okay. The chair will have to vote.
    (Motion negatived [See Minutes of Proceedings]
    The Chair: I vote in favour of the recommendation as per the will of the steering committee. I would maintain that status quo.
    Some hon. members: Agreed.
    The Chair: Thank you very much.
    What status quo was that, Chair?
    The status quo was the recommendation of the steering committee.
    All right. Thank you very much. That would be it.
    We'll move on now to item two. For this part, we're going to go in camera.
    [Proceedings continue in camera]
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