Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I want to thank all the witnesses here today for their testimony. I'm pleased to be here as recently appointed shadow minister for public services and procurement.
I'd like to address the motion that's been put forward by my colleague Kelly McCauley. The motion requests that this committee undertake a study of the federal government's defence procurement process.
I think, Mr. Chair, that this is simply a good idea. I think it would present an opportunity for the committee to address what I think—and I think most Canadians would agree with me—is an urgent need in the Canadian Armed Forces.
I appreciate the study that you're doing on greening and I certainly appreciated the witness testimony here. That said, it has been studied quite a bit over the last number of years. Conversely, a non-partisan study on cleaning up the extremely cumbersome procurement process gives an opportunity to the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates to work in tandem to address the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces and the security of all Canadians at the same time.
Mr. Chair, the burdensome procurement process, as you know, is not something new; it has been around for years. I have been told by a number of officials, for instance in the Department of National Defence, that this can and should be a top priority. As procurement ombudsman Alexander Jeglic noted, the present process is complicated, time-consuming, and bureaucratic, with far too many overlapping procurement rules.
One suggestion was to implement training for every bureaucrat. I unreservedly agree with that recommendation, as they are in the best position to simplify the process and make it accessible.
Getting feedback from those who bid on contracts, I think, is also of key importance for this improvement. I've heard time and again, particularly from small businesses, that the administrative process is too burdensome. I'm sure all my colleagues have heard this from small businesses that have wanted to be part of this process.
Colleagues, I think we have the opportunity to make a real difference with this study, to streamline the process. Naming a decision-maker for timeline approval alone would make a tremendous difference. It shouldn't take years to see the construction of a single Arctic patrol ship and select a preferred designer. Our allies are able to deliver these projects in less than two years. I think we should certainly look at the processes of our allies, such as Belgium and Australia, within this study.
It should be noted that the scope of the study would not encompass decisions made; it would rather focus on restructuring the process for maximum efficiency. We need to do better, and if we commit to working together, we can do better.
Mr. Chairman, thank you for your time. I look forward to further discussion on this matter. I hope it is something that will have the support of everyone here. I think it is very timely.