Minister, thanks very much for joining us today. Mr. Purves, Ms. Santiago and Ms. Cahill, welcome back.
I hope you have a good reign as president of Treasury Board. We look forward to you working with us to bring much better transparency and oversight to our spending process.
Speaking of transparency, I want to chat with you about vote 10. Traditionally, Treasury Board vote 10 has been about $3 million a year, up until the last two years where it jumped to well over a third of a billion per year—$368 million and I think $371 million. Of course, that's on top of the $7 billion vote 40 slush fund and the extra $5 billion in the table A2.11 slush fund from last year.
I want to read right from your web page. It says that vote 10 is “subject to the approval of the Treasury Board, to supplement other appropriations in support of the implementation of strategic”—and I want to emphasize that word “strategic”—“management initiatives in the public service of Canada.”
I want to grasp how we have this need go from $3 million, $3 million, $3 million, up to well over a third of a billion dollars. The example I'm going to use is in the estimates this year, we have $3.5 million for CRA under vote 10. Now CRA is on a two-year cycle. Last year they lapsed $180 million, so I'm trying to figure out, for a short-term project, why there's a need for $3.5 million out of vote 10 for something that's not strategic, for a department that is lapsing the money. They can't even spend the money that they have approved, and yet we have to fall back on money that's pushed in there under vote 10 .