If we are going to ask for more information, I want to get some thoughts on the record and ask some questions as well.
As has been said, there's been a near-50% increase in funding, going from $2.1 million to $3.1 million. We've learned that the resulting increase in activities is having a significant impact on IIA staff. None of us want to see that, but there are two solutions: one is to increase the staff so that they no longer feel that pressure, and the other is to reduce the level of activity, to rightsize the level of activity with the current staffing levels.
That's a question that I would have. What level of activity would work? If 83 trips—travel activities, whatever that means, incoming, outgoing—are too much for the current group, I would like to know what the right number of trips for the current group would be. I think that's what the JIC should be looking at.
They should present us with two scenarios. One is the expansionist scenario of “We have a million dollars extra, and here's what we need to support that.” I understand there are two different funding envelopes, but if we can't support an extra million dollars in travel, then we shouldn't have an extra million dollars in travel. That's my perspective on it. They need to give us an indication of how many trips they can take.
I can tell you, as a new whip, seeing all of these travel requests come across my desk.... As they said in Field of Dreams, if you build it, they will come. If you offer a trip, members of Parliament will line up. Parliamentarians will take the trip. If the trips are reduced, fewer members will travel, yes, but I think we need to have a rationalization here. Just because they were granted a significant amount of money doesn't mean it all needs to be spent.
That's what I would like to see the JIC and staff come back with—what they can do with the current staffing. It would be incumbent on the JIC to do that within the current funding envelope for the staffing group.