Committee
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Consult the user guide
For assistance, please contact us
Add search criteria
Results: 1 - 60 of 198
Karen Hogan
View Karen Hogan Profile
Karen Hogan
2020-06-22 12:04
Mr. Chair, thank you for inviting us to discuss the planned audit work of our office, including the work on the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. With me today is Andrew Hayes, deputy auditor general and interim commissioner of the environment and sustainable development.
My appointment as Auditor General of Canada was effective on June 8. I am very pleased to make my first appearance before a parliamentary committee as the Auditor General, and I look forward to supporting the government over the next 10 years.
When the interim auditor general, Sylvain Ricard, appeared before this committee on May 12, he discussed our audits of the government's investing in Canada plan and the government's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also spoke about the resourcing challenges that our office has been facing, and the difficult decisions that we had to make to delay other planned audit work in order to prioritize the investing in Canada and COVID-19 audits.
Today, I will build on the information that Mr. Ricard provided to this committee. Our audit of the investing in Canada plan is well under way. We know that there is considerable interest in this audit. We have been collecting and analyzing a significant amount of information.
We have also designed an audit approach that will allow us to provide as much information as possible to Parliament about the government's implementation and monitoring activities, and the nature of the projects that have been funded under the plan.
With respect to our COVID-19 audit work, we have been focusing on the government's spending related to health and safety protection, support to individuals and businesses, and other liquidity support and capital relief. We are also considering elements of emergency preparedness and early response actions. We expect to be conducting audits related to COVID-19 for many years.
Although our work is progressing, I think that it is worth noting that physical distancing and remote working arrangements present some challenges for our audits. We have seen that it takes more time and effort to work through the audit processes, and to access, receive and exchange information. I would emphasize, however, that we have seen a willingness and a concerted effort on the part of those that we audit to work with us.
We also know that there is important audit work that will have to be done at a later date. For example, information about the effectiveness of some programs and corrective actions that the government may take will only be available for audit in the future. For both the COVID-19 and the investing in Canada audits, we are exploring ways to report our findings to Parliament as quickly as possible.
At this point, it is likely that we will present specific audit reports to Parliament when they are completed, rather than take the traditional approach of setting a date for presenting a collection of reports.
I would now like to speak briefly about the unanimous motion that was passed by your committee on June 9.
We have always considered a unanimous motion from a parliamentary committee to be a very clear message to our office. The committee's motion calls on us to audit all federal programs associated with Canada's COVID-19 response, to conduct all audits requested by the House of Commons and to complete all previously scheduled audits. The motion also calls on the government to provide us with all the funding we need to carry out these audits and any other work that we deem to be appropriate.
We viewed the committee's motion as reinforcing the importance of our work and its value to Parliament. We pride ourselves in supporting Parliament to the best of our abilities. Given our current resourcing and funding levels, we need to be selective when deciding on the audits that we conduct. We will not be able to audit each and every federal program associated with Canada's COVID-19 response.
When I appeared before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates on May 29, I mentioned that once I was appointed, one of my first priorities would be to assess our funding needs in light of the current circumstances, which includes the significant work that we have been asked to do. At this point, I do not have an updated number to share, but I am confident that we will ask for a budget increase that will be greater than the $10.8 million of additional funding that the office requested in 2019 and in 2020. That amount was based on assessments that were done in 2017, and a lot has changed since then.
We are currently engaged in discussions with the Department of Finance about our funding. We expect that those discussions will continue over the next few weeks. Although we still believe that an independent funding mechanism is the best long-term solution, we are committed to exploring solutions with senior public servants so that our current funding needs can be addressed as quickly as possible.
If we encounter difficulties that cannot be overcome, we will be sure to inform Parliament; however, we are not sitting back and waiting. We have taken steps over the last week to maximize the performance of our audit work that we can do in the future. In particular, we launched a hiring process last Friday with the intention of significantly increasing the capacity of our performance audit practice. We know that it will take some time to hire and onboard the highly skilled people we need to do the work that you have asked us to do.
Obviously, we are taking some risks, because we have not received a permanent funding increase. On the other hand, if we do not start the hiring processes, we will not have the people in place to do our work. We will keep Parliament informed about our work and the impact on our resources.
Both Andrew and I would now be happy to answer any questions the committee may have.
Thank you.
Andrew Hayes
View Andrew Hayes Profile
Andrew Hayes
2020-06-22 12:20
Yes, indeed. The spending and design of the CERB was the other main area that I think we were going to mention.
View Peter Julian Profile
NDP (BC)
Thanks, Mr. Chair.
Welcome, Auditor General Hogan.
Mr. Hayes, thank you very much.
Congratulations. It's a very important position that you hold. I have no doubt that people right across the country are looking to make sure that money is spent effectively and wisely.
I will start off by mentioning the finger pointing between the Conservatives and Liberals, which I don't think anyone finds credible. The reality is, as we all know, that we look at constant dollars. It is only under minority parliaments that the Auditor General's department has been adequately financed. The moment the Harper Conservatives became a majority government, they started slashing. The current government has continued that practice, a massive slash from a decade ago that has made it very difficult to have the Auditor General do the important work on behalf of Canadians.
The contradiction is very clear. We've seen previous Conservatives governments and the current Liberal government splurging on banks and big businesses at the same time as they nickel and dime the Auditor General and that important function to death. I think it's good we have unanimous support around restoring the funding, but the reality is that only happens in minority parliaments. Now we can move forward.
You mentioned earlier the importance of putting in place an independent funding mechanism. You have cited other countries that have in place an auditor general function that is independent from whether or not the majority government can run roughshod over the important function the auditor general performs.
In your mind, what is the best example of other countries that have independent funding mechanisms that should really apply in the case of the Auditor General?
Karen Hogan
View Karen Hogan Profile
Karen Hogan
2020-06-22 12:38
There are a few examples we can look to. There are provinces across our country that have an independent funding mechanism, and there are also the U.K. and New Zealand that have such a mechanism. While we can look to those to inform what we might want to come up with, I do think it's something that even Parliament plays a role in helping shape.
I have been talking with the public accounts committee and their chair about exactly that. There is a role for Parliament to play in oversight once an independent funding mechanism is in there. There is a control function to rightsize, when needed, the Auditor General's budget and to do so in such a way such that it can be stable for the organization.
View Marty Morantz Profile
CPC (MB)
I just wanted to circle back to the independent funding mechanism, because I want to get your perspective on this. It's obviously important for you to have a stable source of funding so that you can conduct your work, but I see the independent funding mechanism as more than that. Your department, as much as any auditing organization, needs to be perceived as being independent of government.
Do you see the independent funding mechanism not only as a source of stable funding but as an added safeguard in the system, basically, to ensure that the public perception of the Auditor General remains independent?
Karen Hogan
View Karen Hogan Profile
Karen Hogan
2020-06-22 13:04
Absolutely. As you noted, it is from two fronts that we need it to be independent, not just for stability. There is an added complexity when you must turn to a department that you audit on a regular basis, both financially and through performance audits, and ask them for money. Obviously, there's a need to have it just be in a better realm, where there is no potential perceived or real conflict.
View Francesco Sorbara Profile
Lib. (ON)
Excellent.
I do know that when we came into office in 2015, there were various departments that had undergone very draconian spending cuts by the Conservative government. For example, we invested over a billion dollars into the Canada Revenue Agency. A lot of it went into technology. You see some of those investments paying off in the ability to undertake the Canada emergency response benefit, whereby Canadians applied on a Monday morning and received a direct deposit into their accounts sometimes within 24 or 36 hours. You heard that anecdotal evidence and, for that matter, the reality that it was.
We need to ensure that the Auditor General's office has the resources, and not only the human capital but also the technological wherewithal, to move within a more digitized period. For me, it's something that we need to do. Transparency and accountability are bedrock in my principles as a parliamentarian and as someone who sat on the Accounting Standards Board user advisory committee in Canada for almost a decade. Those are two things that have been drilled into me. It's very important.
In terms of the workflow or the workflow plan, you said that you were out hiring. I read this morning that there's an engineering firm in Montreal that's looking to hire as well, but they're having difficulty in hiring. We are seeing some green shoots in the economy, but because of the traditional way of hiring someone—screening them and meeting with them—it's not happening as quickly as possible. Can you give us some feedback in terms of your hiring process? Can we get the individuals in, interviewed and going through that process, or are you finding some difficulties there?
Karen Hogan
View Karen Hogan Profile
Karen Hogan
2020-06-22 13:11
Prior to the pandemic, as most audit shops across the country will tell you, we were having difficulty attracting individuals. There's just a high demand for them.
In this context, we just launched our process on Friday in order to increase significantly our performance audit practice and some of our HR group and in order to be able to onboard all of these individuals. We're still working through the mechanics of what that might look like, but we know that it's absolutely going to be in a virtual forum, a virtual interview. Even recruiting events are now going to be virtual across our social media platforms. It's going to take a little time for everyone to get used to that.
Onboarding will be different for individuals, and we've also started to train our managers, given that managing a remote workforce brings a whole set of different challenges. We need our managers as well as our employees to be at ease with what that might look like. We're not the only ones living through this. The entire federal public service is living through this. The private sector is living through this. We've been talking with many people in order to learn about best practices and hopefully leverage that.
What I can guarantee is that I think it will take some time, a little longer than we normally expect, which is why we decided to still launch our hiring process without the funding so that we could get the ball rolling.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
Thank you to the officials, and thank you, Mr. Minister, for appearing, not just today, but for providing regular updates before our committee. It's appreciated and important.
I want to ask you a question about the Auditor General. Both the outgoing Auditor General and the incoming Auditor General have stated publicly that the Office of the Auditor General is underfunded by approximately $11 million. As a result, performance audits have been reduced in half over the last number of years, and due to the government's COVID expenditures, nearly all non-COVID-related audits will be put off this year.
What is your government going to do to remedy that and provide the Auditor General with the $11 million she needs to do her job?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
First of all, Mr. Cooper, let me thank you for bringing up the Auditor General. I'm obviously very pleased that we've been able to appoint the new Auditor General. I think she will do a spectacular job. We know that she has significant experience and she'll bring that experience and a fresh look at what is a very important parliamentary role.
As you probably also know, we have increased funding for the Auditor General over the years. We've increased the number of positions in the Auditor General's office, or increased funding so they can increase the positions. I understand that the number of positions has been increased by 38 people.
What's incumbent on us is to work together with the new Auditor General to make sure that we ensure the office has the requisite ability to perform the function, so I will commit that it's an ongoing goal we have and we'll work together with her to do that.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Minister, in light of your commitment to working with the Auditor General, when can the Office of the Auditor General expect to receive the funding?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
She's now new in her role, and that is appropriately something we should work together with her on to get to the conclusion that ensures the office has the support required and the appropriate level of support to do the function.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
Well, the office doesn't have sufficient support, not when performance audits have been reduced in half, not when almost all non-COVID-related audits have been put off, and indeed the outgoing Auditor General said they'd probably need another year to deal with the COVID-related expenditures alone.
Thus, we have a government right now that is spending half a trillion dollars and the Auditor General is asking for $11 million.
In regard to half a trillion dollars in spending, $11 million constitutes a rounding error. What's the holdup?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
First of all, we should be clear with our numbers. The numbers you're throwing around are not accurate. We detailed the investments we're making for the pandemic in the report presented to this committee. You're a very long way off in the scope of those numbers.
I think the frame that we need to make sure the Auditor General has the appropriate resources is an important one. She's been in her new role for a couple of weeks I think, and we will be working with her to make sure there is the appropriate level of funding for the needs of the Auditor General.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
Well, your government is spending in total—not new spending—half a trillion dollars, and we're talking about $11 million.
I guess, Mr. Minister, the only reasonable conclusion one could reach about the refusal of your government to adequately resource the Office of the Auditor General is that your government is afraid of being accountable and having a fully resourced Auditor General shed light on mismanagement, including 20,000 unaccounted infrastructure projects, $5 billion in unaccounted infrastructure spending, and a $35-billion Infrastructure Bank that has completed precisely zero infrastructure projects.
Speaking of the failed Canada Infrastructure Bank, I will follow up with you on a question that I posed to the associate minister of finance when she last appeared before our committee. How much did the outgoing president of the Canada Infrastructure Bank receive in the way of bonuses?
View Bill Morneau Profile
Lib. (ON)
There were a number of things wrapped up in that comment/question.
I think that first it's important to acknowledge that the Auditor General's resources were reduced under the previous Conservative government and we have subsequently increased them. The point that I think you're making is that we should continue to work with the Auditor General to make sure the office is appropriately resourced. I want to confirm, again, that we will do that.
With respect to the Canada Infrastructure Bank, we think it is a very important institution that will enable us to bring more resources into the building of infrastructure across the country. That is critical. We obviously have been very pleased that we got that institution up and running. Some of its projects are already supported, and there are other projects on the way. There has recently been a new chair appointed who has a particular expertise in this area.
This is an institution that I think will have a long-term and positive impact on our infrastructure and on our economy. I'm looking forward to more work that it's going to be able to do in the coming days, months and years.
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, on Tuesday, MPs from all parties of the finance committee unanimously passed a motion calling on the government to fully fund the Auditor General. Massive pre-COVID spending, a failing infrastructure program with 20,000 projects unaccounted for, new Crown corporations with giant budgets and unprecedented COVID support programs have vastly increased the Auditor General's workload.
Yesterday the Minister of Canadian Heritage said that if the Auditor General needed more money all he had to do was ask. Mr. Chair, he's already asked. The Auditor General has repeatedly asked for an additional $11 million. They've been asking for this money since 2018 and the government keeps saying no. Now, the Auditor General has stopped working on performance audits and for two years in a row has testified at the public accounts committee that the Office of the Auditor General doesn't have enough money to do its job.
This government is hiding from Parliament and it's hiding from the Auditor General, while hundreds of billions of dollars are being rushed out the door.
View Michael Cooper Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, yesterday, in a stunning display of ignorance the Minister of Canadian Heritage stated that the government would be happy to provide the Auditor General with additional resources, if only the Auditor General asked.
Well, news flash to the minister, both the former and current Auditor General have very publicly stated that the office is underfunded by $11 million. As a result, nearly all non-COVID-related audits will be put on hold this year. For a government that is spending more than half a trillion dollars a year, surely it can find $11 million, a rounding error, so that the Auditor General can follow the money and do his job. Canadian taxpayers deserve nothing less.
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, over the last 10 years, the size of the government has doubled, but the number of audits conducted by the Auditor General has gone down by half. Massive Liberal spending programs lack basic accountability and transparency. For their $180-billion infrastructure program, they can't even provide a full list of the number of projects.
What is the government trying to hide by starving the Auditor General's office by not properly funding it?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'm delighted to take this question and to signal both the urgency and transparency of our actions, especially in the current context. We look forward to providing the support the Auditor General requires, as we've done over the last few years. We know how important the work is, and we'll continue to work with the Auditor General.
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, they say they want to work with the Auditor General, and that's nice to hear, but the fact is the former interim auditor general testified at two public accounts committees that he asked this government twice for additional funds, first in 2018 and again in 2019, only for those requests to be ignored.
Canadians deserve to know how their money is being spent. This government must be properly audited. When will this government finally be accountable to taxpayers and fully fund the Auditor General's office?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Again, to provide the information Canadians need and deserve is our priority. We are doing this over time, especially in an emergency context. In 2018, we were pleased to substantially increase the budget of the Auditor General. We are going to work closely with her.
By the way, I congratulate her on her important appointment.
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Speaker, the fact is the newly appointed Auditor General started earlier this week and before she even started, she expressed concerns about the lack of funding from the government for her office. Will the government give the Auditor General the money her office requires to properly run the Auditor General's office?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
That's a great opportunity. I'm grateful for that to continue and to say that not only are we proud of her appointment, but we also are proud of the important work she will do on behalf of all Canadians, and all members of this House, to make sure Canadians and members of this House are able to follow the important investments we are making in the—
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, it's nice to hear the Liberals continue to make more investments, but what we need is, as they're spending, the number of audits should go up, not be cut down, and that's the situation right now.
Tuesday the finance committee unanimously approved a Conservative motion calling on the government to fully fund the Auditor General and for her to fully audit all federal programs and any other work she deems appropriate. Will the government listen to its own members who voted for that motion, respect taxpayer dollars and fully fund the Auditor General?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
We're proud and pleased to see the Conservatives did bring that motion, given the fact that in 2014 they cut the budget of the Auditor General.
We are working in a different framework. We are going to make sure the Auditor General—I again congratulate her on her appointment—has all the tools she needs to do the work that Canadians and members of Parliament expect of her.
View Tim Uppal Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, the government loves to reach back in history and try to blame someone else for its mistakes. Yes, several years ago—actually two auditors general ago—the Auditor General at that time volunteered reductions to his office, but this did not affect the number of audits it conducted. Right now, the fact is that spending has doubled and the number of audits has gone down. How does the Treasury Board president explain that?
View Jean-Yves Duclos Profile
Lib. (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I think we all agree, including the opposition members, on the important role the Auditor General in general and the new Auditor General in particular have in our democracy. That's why we increased the budget of the Auditor General at that time in 2018, leading to the creation of more positions in that office to provide the important information Canadians need and deserve.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Chair, the Prime Minister is doing everything to avoid being accountable to Canadians. He is refusing to table a budget, refusing to provide an economic update and refusing to let the House of Commons do its work.
Will he at least provide the Auditor General with the additional funding she needs to look into government expenditures?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, not only are we introducing a bill this afternoon to help Canadians with the Canada emergency response benefit and those living with disabilities, but we are also proposing to the opposition parties that we hold a debate and a vote on that. I hope the opposition parties will allow a vote and a debate in the House on this important bill.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Chair, the Prime Minister wants parliamentarians to vote on aspects of the government's spending. We want the Auditor General to be able to examine that government spending.
Under the government, the Auditor General has had to do more with less, and her ability to conduct audits is being affected. The Auditor General has indicated that she will be able to do half as many audits, despite an almost doubling in the size of government spending.
I have a simple question. Will the Prime Minister give the Auditor General the money she needs to do her job, yes or no?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, we worked with the Auditor General to increase the funding of the Auditor General's office in 2018-19, and the equivalent of 38 full-time staff were added. We support the Auditor General, unlike the Conservative government, which fired 60 people from the Auditor General's office.
We are now proposing that we sit down to debate legislation this afternoon, and I certainly hope that members opposite will vote for debate.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
The Prime Minister is again engaged in revisionist history. He well knows that it was the Auditor General's office that volunteered to make administrative efficiencies, which did not affect its ability to do the job. In fact, as the interim auditor general, John Wiersema, said, “We would not have proposed [this] if we didn’t think it was the right thing to do and that we’d be able to carry out our role for Parliament.” Only the government's refusal to grant that extra funding is hampering the Auditor General's ability to give Canadians the answers they deserve, and we wonder why.
This is the government that cannot explain where 20,000 infrastructure projects went and where five billion dollars' worth of supposed infrastructure investments have gone. They can't identify that. Then there is, of course, the $35-billion Infrastructure Bank, which has completed precisely zero projects.
Are these the reasons the Prime Minister is so intent on withholding funds from the Auditor General?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, talking of revisionist history, Stephen Harper's Conservatives cut $6.5 million from the Auditor General's budget and fired 60 staff. On the contrary, we worked with the Auditor General's office and increased its funding and added the equivalent of 38 new full-time staff.
We will continue to demonstrate openness and transparency. We will continue to respect the officers of Parliament, whom the Conservatives, in their time in office, showed no respect for. We will continue to move forward in a way that has led, for example, to proposing debate and voting on important legislation this afternoon to help Canadians. The Conservatives don't seem to want that debate or vote.
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Mr. Chair, it's no surprise that the Prime Minister likes to reach back into history from before the 2015 election to justify his position. The 2015 election was the only time he got more votes than the Conservative Party did, so I understand why he likes to live in the past.
In May, the interim auditor general said, “Ten years ago, we were completing about 27 performance audits every year. With our current resources, we expect to be able to deliver 14 performance audits each year.” That's half the number of audits, despite a massive explosion in government spending.
The Auditor General's office has requested more funds to be able to do the job that Canadians expect to be done. Will the Prime Minister give those additional funds to the Auditor General's office, yes or no?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, we very much look forward to working with the new Auditor General to ensure that her office has the ability to continue the important audits and transparency measures that are foundational to our institutions.
Speaking of what is foundational to our institutions, this afternoon we're putting forward a bill that would help Canadians across the country, and we've proposed to debate and vote on that bill. It actually looks like the Conservatives and other opposition parties might not want this. They have been complaining about not having debates and votes in Parliament, and now they're proposing not to have them. That's a little head-scratching. We hope they're going to help Canadians.
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
When will the government give the Auditor General the funds she needs to do her job?
View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
First, Mr. Chair, I would like to offer my congratulations to the new Auditor General for her appointment.
On behalf of the government, I would also like to offer her our full support and collaboration—
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
I share the minister's wish to congratulate the new Auditor General on her position. I will now ask him again when he will give her the funds she needs to do her job.
View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, her role is essential to our democracy. We are eager to work with her. She's more than welcome to share her concerns directly with the government. I can assure her that my—
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, I didn't ask him if he would like to work with the Auditor General. I asked him if he will give the Auditor General the money she needs to do her job.
View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, our government has added 38 permanent staff positions to her office, while the Conservative government, under their leadership, cut the funding for more than 60—
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, through you, I caution the minister to not mislead this House. If he will look at the committee transcripts of the time, he will know that it was the Auditor General's decision to reduce their own budget. The Conservatives did not cut positions. That is a matter of fact.
The point is that the Auditor General now does not have the money to do her job. She has cut performance audits and she has stopped work on performance audits. When will this government give the Auditor General the money she needs to do her job?
View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, this government has drastically expanded its spending and is avoiding accountability in every way it can.
The finance committee yesterday, with the support of Liberal backbench MPs who are on that committee, unanimously passed a motion to fund the Auditor General in full so that her office can do her job. If this minister will not listen to me, will he at least listen to his own backbenchers?
View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, our government is fully committed to supporting the important and ongoing work of the Auditor General, an independent officer of Parliament. If the Auditor General identifies the need for additional resources, we will work with the Office of the Auditor General to ensure that they have all the resources they need to continue fulfilling their mandate efficiently and effectively.
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, the Auditor General has consistently, since 2018, told this government that the office doesn't have enough funds. It's not a mystery. The Auditor General has told the public accounts committee that it cannot do its job. It's the first time in history that the Auditor General has had to tell public accounts that they don't have the resources to do their job.
It's not a matter of “if” the Auditor General needs more funds. The Auditor General couldn't be more clear. When will this government actually do the right thing and fully fund the Office of the Auditor General?
View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, maybe I'm not making myself clear in English. I will switch to my native tongue, French, in case it becomes clearer.
If the Auditor General identifies a need for additional resources, we will work with her to ensure that her office can continue to deliver its mandate efficiently and effectively.
In addition, our government worked with the Auditor General to increase funding in 2018-09. With this increase, the office was able to add the equivalent of 38 new full-time staff to its team. That's 38 more employees—
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
Mr. Chair, this isn't an “if” situation. The Auditor General has already told this government that her office does not have funds. This has been ongoing since 2018.
I would ask the minister to please stop with the platitudes and actually just say yes or no. Will the government give the Auditor General the money that the Auditor General has already asked for?
View Steven Guilbeault Profile
Lib. (QC)
Mr. Chair, we have already increased the budget of the Office of the Auditor General in the 2018-19 period.
View Pat Kelly Profile
CPC (AB)
Madam Chair, I know that no member would knowingly mislead the House. No member wants to do that. It's always customary to give members a chance to correct the record, so I call upon the minister to do so now, and perhaps even the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister misled the House in his response to a question. I have here the transcripts of the public accounts committee, and they will confirm that the—
View Pierre Poilievre Profile
CPC (ON)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I think this should be a relatively uncontroversial motion that should achieve unanimous support from committee members today.
As all of you know, the Auditor General has indicated a shortage of funding. This is due to the exceptional volume of government spending in need of auditing and some specific tasks that Parliament has given the office. One is to audit the missing funds in the infrastructure program. The other is to audit the $152 billion of new spending in the last two and a half months in response to COVID-19.
There are also, of course, typically audits that the office is doing of its own accord without any parliamentary direction at all. The office has indicated, though, that this workload cannot happen with the current funding levels.
I'll put it into context here for clarity. This year government spending will be twice what it was a decade ago. It's hard to believe the government has doubled its expenses in just one decade, yet the Auditor General's budget has barely grown at the rate of inflation. The Liberal members—
View Sean Fraser Profile
Lib. (NS)
View Sean Fraser Profile
2020-06-09 18:25
I have a point of order.
I know during your prelude, Pierre, you indicated you hope to get support. I don't know if you were wanting to convince us with the introductory remarks, which you're entitled to, but I expect you'll find support from our side of the table for your motion. If it changes your approach to the sales job, that is information I thought you may want to have.
View Wayne Easter Profile
Lib. (PE)
All right, Mr. Clerk, we will have a recorded vote, please.
(Motion agreed to: yeas 10; nays 0 [See Minutes of Proceedings])
View Andrew Scheer Profile
CPC (SK)
Madam Chair, the Prime Minister brought up some of the government's spending. Well, we know that they like to waste money, giving $50 million to Mastercard and $12 million to Loblaws, but when the Auditor General asks for enough funding to do the work this House has asked her to do, the government refuses. The Auditor General is a key tool for members of Parliament to do our job, to provide that kind of oversight.
In a few moments, the Prime Minister is going to blame the previous government, but let me point out to him the quotes that we have from the previous auditor general with regard to the previous Conservative government's time. At no time did the previous auditor general ever tell Parliament, under the Conservative government, that he didn't have the funds to do his work. That has changed under the current government.
Without trying to reach into the past, will the Prime Minister live in the now and acknowledge the fact that it is his refusal to give the Auditor General the money she needs to do her job that is preventing the oversight that Canadians expect from their government?
View Justin Trudeau Profile
Lib. (QC)
Madam Chair, I can understand that the member opposite is asking us not to talk about what happened during the Harper years, but the reality is that the Conservative government cut nearly $6.5 million from the Auditor General's budget and fired 60 employees from the Auditor General's office.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
Mr. Chair, it's the Parliamentary Budget Officer who has stated that there have been projects that money has been spent on but they don't know where it's gone. The government says they've spent $10 billion on infrastructure; the Parliamentary Budget Officer says only $5 billion. The government has an opportunity to be transparent and they need to table those projects.
Another area where they've been holding back is on the Auditor General's ability to provide oversight of this massive amount of spending. When the Conservatives put money into infrastructure, when we stimulated the economy during one of the great recessions, we put it into legislation that the Auditor General would provide oversight, and we provided funding for that.
Will the Liberals provide funding for the Auditor General and let the Auditor General audit all the spending that has happened over the last number of months?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Chair, first I would like to offer my congratulations to the new Auditor General for her appointment. I'd also like, on behalf of the government, to offer her our full support and collaboration. Her role is essential to our democracy, and we are all eager to work with her.
The Auditor General is more than welcome to share her concerns directly with the government, and I can assure her that my colleague the Minister of Finance, the President of the Treasury Board and all of us will take these concerns into account.
View Candice Bergen Profile
CPC (MB)
There is an ongoing pattern here, Mr. Chair. The Liberals don't want to be held accountable. They've shut down Parliament, even though it's clear the Prime Minister will show up for gatherings that he thinks are important. They're not funding the Auditor General, and they're not being transparent on money that they've spent on infrastructure. Usually this ends up being some sort of a Liberal scandal.
Why don't the Liberals just be transparent, recall Parliament and give the Auditor General the funding she needs?
View Joyce Murray Profile
Lib. (BC)
Mr. Chair, the government actually worked with the Auditor General to increase funding levels in 2018-19, after they were cut by the previous Conservative government. Thanks to this funding, their office was able to add the equivalent of 38 new full-time staff to the team.
We're totally committed to working with the Auditor General and her staff on the important—
Results: 1 - 60 of 198 | Page: 1 of 4

1
2
3
4
>
>|
Export As: XML CSV RSS

For more data options, please see Open Data