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Results: 1 - 89 of 89
View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 11:39
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Thank you, Mr. Ravignat. I understand your point. We did have a meeting scheduled to hear from the newly nominated integrity commissioner today, and at the last minute he has notified our committee that he will not be attending.
I have a speakers list.
Mr. Byrne, you wanted the floor briefly.
I'm going to ask—when you're done, Mr. Byrne, and perhaps Mr. Warkentin as well—the clerk to explain exactly what he was told by the office of the integrity commissioner as to why he can't attend.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 11:42
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No. The former commissioner, Mario Dion, is no longer there, and in the interim Mr. Friday was nominated to a six-month term to be the interim integrity commissioner.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 11:43
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No, he is interim commissioner for six months and he's about three months into that six-month appointment. But still, this committee is allowed to and in fact is obliged to vet that appointment.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 11:52
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I think Mr. Byrne may have been pointing out as well that it's not quite as simple as saying this committee shall summon the witness. The process is such that I would have to report to the House that a witness was unwilling to attend, and the House—the Speaker in fact—would have to direct a vote in Parliament to compel that witness to attend. It's a multi-step process for the standing committee to exercise their extraordinary powers to compel the attendance of a witness who is otherwise unwilling to attend.
I believe Mr. Byrne's amendment may have been in that vein. It may be a more achievable outcome if we in fact rephrase it to inform him that his attendance is expected.
Mr. Ravignat, and then we really must move on, I believe.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-12 12:07
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Thank you, Mr. Brahmi.
Just for information, we could not return to the word “summon” because it has already been voted down within the context of the same meaning. We can't vote again on the same issue twice.
Is there any further debate? Seeing none, the question is on the motion by Mr. Kerr.
(Motion agreed to [See Minutes of Proceedings])
The Chair: The motion is carried and I believe the issue is resolved for the purposes of this meeting.
We will move on then to the orders of the day.
I offer my great apologies to the representatives here today from Shared Services Canada. First they were made to wait until the vote had finished in the House of Commons, and now they've had to suffer through a prolonged debate about committee business.
One of the witnesses was forced to leave already. Elizabeth Tromp, the acting senior assistant deputy minister and chief financial officer for corporate services, unfortunately had to excuse herself. Perhaps someone else can read her presentation.
Mr. Radford, if you wouldn't mind, introduce the rest of your panel and proceed with Ms. Tromp's presentation.
Thank you.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-10 17:01
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I'm afraid that's not a point of order, Mr. Byrne, but you have made your point, and that does come close to the time that we have for the minister with us today.
But I just want to say before you go, Minister, that this has not exactly been a triumph of scrutiny and oversight and due diligence, in that 241 billion dollars' worth of spending just flew past under our noses with the most cursory overview of one hour with the committee, and one party with political standing got exactly five minutes to question all of the spending on the main estimates and the supplementary estimates (C).
It's a bit like walking a chicken past a pot of boiling water and calling it chicken soup. It hardly qualifies as oversight, in my view.
On a point of order, Mr. Albas.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-10 17:03
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Mr. Albas, I'm not sure if you were a member of this committee when we did a comprehensive review of the way the committee deals with estimates, where we made 17 very robust recommendations and a commitment to the public that we would do a more comprehensive analysis of the estimates for the very reason that it's our obligation as an oversight committee, which happens to be called the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates.
A one-hour analysis of 241 billion dollars' worth of spending does not satisfy those—
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-10 17:04
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That's very generous of you, Minister. Frankly, the buck stops with you, and it's you we would like to question.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2015-03-10 17:33
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Thank you, Mr. Albas.
Just to take a second, I think it would be useful for new members of the committee to see the helpful chart that Mr. Matthews put together for us to help us understand the continuity of the flow of supply, which included everything from estimates to budget to DPRs. It helped me at least to have that graphically illustrated to understand that flow of supply.
Mr. Byrne.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2014-05-05 16:53
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If I'm not mistaken, we've spent $1.2 billion building a building for CSEC and 2,000 full-time employees to spy on Canadians, and we're spending $1.6 million a year to provide access to information.
Thank you for that answer. I'm very surprised to learn that, actually.
Can I ask a specific question? What's the relationship between the Treasury Board's open government steering committee and the advisory panel on open data?
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View Shelly Glover Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Good day to my fellow members. Thank you for having me here for the first time in my role as Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. I remember my visits to this committee when I was parliamentary secretary. My greetings to Mr. Godin who was a member of the committee at that time and is one still. All the other members have changed.
So, let us begin.
I would like to recognize this committee's achievements. Your study on immersion programs across the country is an indication of your commitment to promoting our national languages. I was, however, a little disappointed that I did not receive an invitation to appear, especially given the fact that, as the product of an immersion program myself, I have often expressed my concerns regarding the changes that have been made to programs since I was in school.
That said, the vitality of our national languages is important to me both as the minister and as a member of the Franco-Manitoban community. I am honoured to work in both Saint-Boniface and Ottawa toward the advancement of French and English, as well as official language communities.
As you know, in the summer of 2012, we undertook official language cross-Canada consultations. Canadians told us that we have made significant progress in key areas since 2008. However, they also mentioned that there was still work to be done to unleash the full potential of our linguistic duality and contribute even more effectively to developing our minority communities.
In its report on the previous Roadmap, your committee shared the concerns expressed by the general public and representatives of organizations in francophone and anglophone minority communities. In the budget tabled on March 21, 2013, our government committed to measures reiterating support for our national languages and showcasing their importance for our identity. A week later, we rolled out the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013-2018.
This new strategy for official languages translates into $1.1 billion invested over five years in education, immigration, and communities. I'm pleased to confirm that all of the road map's initiatives are now funded on a permanent basis. This is important as only three-quarters of the funding in the previous road map took the form of ongoing support. Road map 2013 to 2018 provides clear testimony of our continuing commitment to official languages in this country.
As I explained in the 2011-2012 Annual Report on Official Languages that I tabled in Parliament last November, Canadian Heritage oversees two main programs supporting official languages. One aims to develop minority official language communities. The other's objective is to promote French and English in Canadian society.
Our programs support the offer of minority-language services at the provincial and territorial level in sectors such as education, justice, culture and health. Our actions have tangible results. For example, working closely with the provinces and territories, we are supporting minority-language education. Every morning across our country, more than 240,000 students in minority communities go to school in their own language.
We support second-language learning. A total of 2.4 million young people are learning French or English as a second language in Canada, more than 340,000 of them in immersion classes. Our young people are among our greatest resources. That is why I am pleased that we were able to offer bursaries to 7,800 students in 2011-2012 that enable them to improve their skills in their second national language. We also created some 700 summer or short-term jobs for bilingual young Canadians. These jobs allow them to practice their knowledge of French and English.
The annual report also provides details about my role in coordinating official languages support within federal institutions. In 2011-12, Canadian Heritage adopted a broader approach to coordination to make the accounting process uniform among all institutions. For three years we've been using this approach, adopted jointly with the Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat.
Some 170 federal institutions now have the opportunity to showcase their achievements, which provides Canadians with a complete picture of national efforts to promote French and English.
In the interest of efficiency, we also launched a review in 2013 of our support for organizations in official language communities. Through this review, we want to ensure that our measures effectively meet the needs of communities, particularly in key areas such as youth and culture. This review is being carried out in consultation with community organizations. Our investment levels remain unchanged. I simply want to ensure that we are achieving the best possible results.
The Commissioner of Official Languages has also acknowledged these results. In his 2012-2013 Annual Report, he applauded the efforts to date of Canadian Heritage and other federal institutions with regard to respect for official languages. We will be continuing along this path. We welcome the Commissioner's report and the recommendations in it. They will be used to inform our government's actions. I want to mention here that, last year, our government renewed the appointment of the Commissioner of Official Languages, Mr. Graham Fraser, for three years. This reappointment was applauded by numerous key stakeholders in official languages. I also want to note that I agree with the Commissioner when it comes to the importance of promoting our linguistic duality as part of large-scale events.
Let's talk about celebrations.
We are currently conducting online consultations and holding roundtables across the country to learn more about how Canadians want to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary in 2017. The consultations taking place are mindful of our commitment to promote our linguistic duality as part of the celebrations.
The Commissioner also mentioned in his report that he will be monitoring the implementation of the protocol for agreements for minority language education and second language instruction. I am very pleased that we recently renewed our co-operation with the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada. The protocol for agreements that we signed with the council provides for more than $1.3 billion in federal investment over five years to support the provincial and territorial governments in the area of official languages in teaching.
we have taken concrete action to promote respect for national languages. We will continue our efforts in this regard, because our action generates results for Canadians and benefits for minority communities.
Thank you for your attention. I am ready to answer your questions.
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View Shelly Glover Profile
CPC (MB)
I don't know of any.
The cultural program Juste pour rire has a budget of about $1 million. Another event we support is Montréal en lumière. I was there last week. It attracts thousands of people. Funding for the festival comes from our department and the roadmap, obviously, as well as the Canada Council for the Arts. Thus, we support opportunities that enable people to take part in activities in the minority language, and that applies not just to English in Quebec but also to French in the rest of the country. Both the QCGN and ELAN receive funding as well.
I repeat, Canada is the only G7 nation that did not make cuts in the area of official languages, and we should be proud of that.
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View Shelly Glover Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you so much for your question.
In fact, that was the second matter I discussed with the Commissioner of Official Languages when we met just before his annual report was published. He said in his report that the government cut an envelope of about $30 million that was intended for accountability and the coordination of departments, but that is false.
As Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, I am responsible for a large part of the programs' management. In the previous roadmap, money was set aside for governance and coordination. However, during the consultations we held across the country in 2012 regarding the next roadmap, the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadienne asked us to remove that envelope from the roadmap because francophone and Acadian communities were not directly benefiting from that money.
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View Shelly Glover Profile
CPC (MB)
Yes. The audit report should be published soon.
However, I want to point out that this was a mistake made by the Commissioner of Official Languages. He admitted his error, but his annual report had already been published.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2014-03-04 9:45
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I appreciate all of this, and it's helping to give some definition as to what type of information will be put up for open.... If the default is to be openness, that's an important directive. Currently the default seems to be secrecy. It's like pulling teeth to get sensitive information out of the government through the access to information regime. Even though you say this is not set up to replace or to do the job of ATI, you mention in the opening page of your website, data.gc.ca, that this is really an extension of the spirit, if not the letter, of the Access to Information Act.
I'm still suspicious and I'm still interested, but you didn't answer my question as to who screens. Who ultimately gets to say what goes up and what stays down in terms of the portal? Is it the minister, is it the government of the day, or is there some overarching, independent authority, such as the Information Commissioner, who says that cutting the hair of Afghan detainees should be public information and should go up on the portal, and that you shouldn't have to wait a thousand days and go to court to find out whether or not you cut the hair of the Afghan detainees?
Who is your boss who says what goes up and what does not go up?
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View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
View James Bezan Profile
2013-11-26 17:03
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Thank you, Mr. Chair, through you I want to welcome our witnesses and thank them for their testimony today.
To both our witnesses, Mr. Wiebe and Mr. Fraser, under our Westminster style of Parliament and governance system, do you guys believe in the supremacy of Parliament in drafting legislation?
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View James Bezan Profile
CPC (MB)
View James Bezan Profile
2013-11-26 17:04
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And under international conventions such as what we're discussing here today, it takes the Canadian Parliament to actually bring into force the convention under Canadian law through a bill in the House, correct?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 11:20
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Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.
In listening to your presentation, Ms. Legault, my ears perked up when you indicated that proactive disclosure is a good thing. I think that we and the vast majority of Canadians, if not all, would agree that proactive disclosure is a good thing. I notice that Mr. Lukiwski also picked up on that particular point. It is something on which, even though there are two parties in agreement about progressing, we have already taken the next step. We are saying that Liberal MPs and Liberal senators have to participate in proactive disclosure.
The issue, of course, is that it has that much more meaning if in fact it is administered to all political parties and is done through the administration. We hope to be able to achieve that. It's been difficult, because the NDP do not want to participate in proactive disclosure, but we'll continue to try to get those reforms brought in.
That was more of a political statement than anything else. I will get to my question.
You also made the comment that “in order to promote trust in public institutions...”. Well, we have made other suggestions, such as having performance audits conducted on expenditures on a more regular basis.
I'm interested in knowing your thoughts about the value of having performance audits be conducted by Canada's Auditor General.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 11:24
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I guess, Ms. Legault, what I am getting to is that, whether it's a question of more detailed reports coming from the Auditor General or of putting in a mandate under which they are doing these audits every three years, it actually complements that process to see forward movement on access to information, so that the two of them, hand in hand, can ensure more accountability and transparency.
Would you not agree to that?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 11:25
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In an ideal world, let's say I meet with a senior on pension because he's having issues with the Canada Pension Plan, and I meet him over at McDonald's for lunch. What should I state on the form?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 11:26
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If we look at that specific example, should I be putting in the constituent's name? Whether it is disclosed or not, should I be putting that constituent's name on the receipt, saying “I met with John Doe over lunch”?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 12:18
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Well, actually, Mr. Chair, there are some things I cannot resist, of course, and I want to pick up on Ms. O'Brien's comments in terms of applying rules to everyone.
Mr. Scott was making reference to the Liberal Party leader. He wants to know where the Liberal Party leader flies. The good news is that in regard to where the Liberal Party is flying at taxpayers' expense, you can find out. We have what they call proactive disclosure.
It's something that you refuse to participate in. A good example is, we would say that we should also be able to know where your leader flies. We understand that he flew to Winnipeg in first class while our leader was flying economy. We want to be able to know how much your leader is spending on airfare.
Through you, Mr. Chair, of course....
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 12:18
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But of course, Mr. Chair.
We believe that Canadians have a right to know who's flying first class, to know if they choose first class, like your leader, or who's flying economy, like our leader is flying economy. These are things on which, at the very least, everyone within the Liberal caucus has taken a step forward through proactive disclosure.
When the member makes reference to “we want more, we want more”, it's a kind of childish game that they're entering into. You can have this, what we have today, and we can do what Madam O'Brien is suggesting in terms of having a rule that applies to all political parties and is administered by the government, as opposed to a political party. All we need is the consent of the New Democrats in order to make that happen.
My specific question is for you, Madam O'Brien. The Auditor General of Canada has provided performance audits on MPs' expenditures in the past. One of the suggestions is that we have that on a more regular basis, so that every three years there would be a performance audit conducted by the Auditor General. Do you feel that would be helpful?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 12:20
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Do you think there would be value in terms of having performance audits conducted, then, on the expenditures of members of Parliament?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 12:22
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I think one of the things that's quite upsetting to many people is the fact that the Board of Internal Economy meets in camera as often as it does. My understanding is that, under the IPSA model, it also meets in camera. So even the outside independent body—both meet in camera.
Is there not a compromise here? One of the suggestions is that you have a subcommittee, and that subcommittee is the one that meets in camera. Anything decided would then come to the full committee for discussion. Can you provide comment on that?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 12:24
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But you see, the information discussed in the subcommittee ultimately would come in the form of recommendations for the entire board, where there would be a discussion about those recommendations, and you're able to bypass the sensitivity issues. Do you not think that would be helpful?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-21 12:24
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I think there is a great deal of pressure in terms of this whole in camera situation. There's this feeling that a lot of things happen behind closed doors, especially with politicians, in that sense. But having a subcommittee of sorts that's dealing with in camera issues, and then bringing them forward for ultimate ratification or decision, and allowing for some debate, that's always open to the public to participate.
Perhaps you can provide comment on this. If you had a mechanism like that, to what degree do you think it would change the amount of discussion within the typical board meeting?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 19:34
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Thank you, Speaker Milliken and Speaker Fraser. It's great to see the two of you here.
I have some experience from the Manitoba perspective. I sat on the Legislative Assembly Management Commission, which operates in a similar fashion to the internal board here in Ottawa. When I reflect and I try to understand why it was that we moved in a certain direction in the Province of Manitoba, I can't help but apply some of that here in Ottawa. For example, Canadians as a whole want to see more transparency. They want to see more accountability. The issue of proactive disclosure seems to be talked about a great deal. When you look at the things the Board of Internal Economy does, are there things we can take out of the Board of Internal Economy that might appease the need to be more transparent and accountable?
I'll give you a specific example. We have a commissioner in the Province of Manitoba. It's the commissioner who sets the pay and the pensions for MLAs. The Canadian public, as a whole, don't believe politicians should set their own pay or determine their pensions. Having that independent commission proves to be of value.
The idea of movement toward more public meetings and not to have in camera meetings, may be an issue. Can we set up a subcommittee that deals with highly personal, in camera type topics that do come up but ultimately have to go back to the full committee in order to ultimately be approved?
Can I get each of your thoughts with regard to answering those types of need? Are there some things that we can kind of hybrid away from the Board of Internal Economy, thereby giving more attention to those critical issues?
Speaker Milliken, do you want to start off?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:26
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I find it very interesting, the NDP pushing for more transparency and accountability. I hadn't witnessed that first-hand when we asked for the New Democrats to participate in proactive disclosure. I'll continue to hold my breath. Maybe that might be one of the first things on the agenda, whatever that new body might be, because of the hesitation and reluctance of the NDP to get involved in more proactive disclosure.
I do have a few specific questions I would like to ask.
Do you think it would be in the public's best interest if we actually had performance audits conducted on a regular basis? By regular, I mean every three years we would actually have performance audits conducted on MPs and how they're spending the money, done by the Auditor General.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:27
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What about the idea that we look at the Auditor General looking at ways in which they can provide more detailed audits on how those tax dollars are being spent? Is that something else you would support?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:28
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I understand you make reference to the rule versus the exception. There is this other independent body, IPSA, on the other side of the ocean. In your opinion, is there a difference if it's IPSA in camera versus the current system in camera?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:28
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But in principle, if we change the system so that it's not a group of individuals on the Hill going in camera, it's some other group that does its meetings in camera, are they both problematic in your opinion?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:29
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What about the idea that we virtually put it into law that the Board of Internal Economy has to meet in public, with some possible exceptions—there might be issues related to security or staff responsibilities, but with odd exceptions—and maybe even require unanimous consent of all the members?
How would you respond to that?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:29
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But what we would be seeing here is that the Board of Internal Economy would be meeting in public. It would always be open to the public to participate. What Mr. Walsh was referring to, and I'm definitely open to the idea with respect to the Board of Internal Economy, is that it meet in public, almost without exception. It would almost be the law of the land that it would be meeting in public.
But then Mr. Walsh brings in a new idea: that we might establish a subcommittee. That subcommittee might deal with those issues it had to deal with—examples might be security or personnel issues—but then would report back to the Board of Internal Economy or whatever that other group might be, and the discussion would continue before it could be ultimately passed or accepted, but it would occur in public.
What do you think of that?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:31
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I'm not sure how long you've been a journalist. One issue for me for many years, and I've raised it with Speaker Milliken, is the issue of pay and pensions. There's the expectation or public perception that politicians should not be directly or indirectly setting their pay and pension.
In Manitoba they have established a commission. Do you have any thoughts regarding that issue, or could you provide some thoughts on it?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:32
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Do you feel it is appropriate that money, whether it's the Minister of Finance or the Board of Internal Economy involved, be shuffled between the two of them? Is this something that's appropriate at this level, or should it be done independently—much as occurs in the case of Elections Canada with the boundaries redistribution, for example?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:32
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With the idea of proactive disclosure, we're saying that Canadians have a right to know where you're flying from and to, and that you should be listing how much you've paid and your hospitality expenses and so forth, and that we're putting it on the Internet. Is this something that you think all parties should have to do eventually ?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-20 20:33
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Should we have to wait until the law or regulation is changed to do that, or do you think we should be able to do it on our own?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 11:21
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Our New Democratic friend was starting to play a childish game. Maybe the NDP should just take the initiative and do what the Liberals and the Conservatives are saying, which is to move forward and say that we're prepared to provide proactive disclosure.
Anyway, it is about public trust. Politicians can only dream about having the type of public trust, Mr. Ferguson, that Canadians have in the Auditor General's office.
What I have found is that quite often when we find ourselves in trouble, because of the way affairs have been managed, one of the offices we always turn to is the Auditor General's office. Once again, in the last number of months, we find ourselves in a situation where we're turning to the Auditor General's office to get some assistance, some direction.
With respect to the idea that we need to undertake performance audits for the House of Commons administration, do you have any short thoughts you could share with us on performance audits, or the benefits of such audits?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 11:23
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To the best of your knowledge, has that been the case? Has there been follow-through on that?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 11:24
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That's right. So there's a need for us to invite you back.
Performing more detailed audits of parliamentary spending seems to be what Canadians are wanting to see. Do you feel this is something the Auditor General's office would be able to provide—looking at ways we could perform more detailed reporting of our expenditures? Do you believe this would help out in furthering accountability and transparency, Mr. Ferguson?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 11:26
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It is about trying to say to Canadians that we want to reform the system. One of the things that seems to come up is this whole idea of in camera meetings, to the degree that the leader of my party wants to see legislation that would in essence make it a law that we could not have in camera meetings of the Board of Internal Economy, with the odd exception, such as when dealing with security or personnel matters.
Are you able to comment on in camera meetings?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 11:27
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Currently there is proactive disclosure by ministers on such things as flights and hospitality. Have you ever had the opportunity to audit those things? If so, can you comment?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 12:26
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Welcome, Mr. Sills.
I have a few questions that I would like to get on the record. One of them is dealing with the process when members of Parliament say they want to be able to move in a certain direction and incur another expense. For example, with advertising, we don't think we should have a party logo on it. There would be a discussion and a decision would be made by the Board of Internal Economy, and then it's passed on.
What role does IPSA play in regard to guidelines for what a member of Parliament can or cannot spend money on? Or is that brought to IPSA?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 12:27
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Are you approached by the House or any of the committees who say they would like you to consider extending that sort of a benefit of expenditure, or to change something?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 12:28
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So the board would take it upon itself to meet with different caucuses, and independents, to get a sense of their feelings and thoughts.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 12:28
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What sort of an appeal mechanism do you have in place? For example, what happens when an MP puts in a claim, he or she gets a response, and they are not happy with the response? Who do they appeal to?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 12:29
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As a committee, you don't meet publicly. Is there any sense that there could be a need or a justification to allow it to be open? Can someone come in and participate, or watch?
What would the rationale be for not having it open to the public?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 12:30
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One of the issues that has come up in the province of Manitoba—and I really believe in this—is that they have actually appointed a commissioner who sets the salaries and pensions of MPs. It's non-debatable, and it takes effect after the following provincial election.
How precisely do you establish a member of Parliament's salary and pension benefits, and when does it take effect?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-19 12:32
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Through the committee and the establishment of the committee itself of IPSA, there are some mandatory positions, I believe. You said, for example, there's the High Court judge; I think you mentioned the auditor. Then it is left, is it, for the other three spots to be appointed by a hiring committee of the Speaker, which the Speaker would chair?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-07 11:24
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I want to pick up on the Manitoba example. I was present as an MLA representing the Liberal caucus when in fact we adopted the principle of the commission. I think it's actually worked quite well.
The primary purpose of it was actually that we did not feel that MLAs—or in this particular case politicians—should be setting their own pay or determining what their pensions were going to be. We wanted to ensure that there was an independent appeal mechanism. There are individuals who are not a part of the recognized party system, so it was felt that it would be more independent by having a commissioner designate it.
I'm wondering if you would acknowledge that there could be value to having that independent commissioner, who is actually appointed after an election takes place. Do you see any merit to that sort of a bringing in...? It appears to be working in Manitoba.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-07 11:27
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Mr. Walsh, one of the interesting things that I thought you said was about the makeup of the Board of Internal Economy: no ministers. Did you also say no House leaders and no government House leaders? Is that universal? Is it your recommendation that the House leadership of the respective caucuses not be allowed to have membership on the committee?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-07 11:28
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Finally, if I were to attempt to simplify your suggestion that we have these subcommittees, what do you think of the idea that anything that goes in camera has to go through the subcommittee, and that's only for a recommendation that would go before the full committee of the Board of Internal Economy, or whatever the name of that board might be?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-07 11:28
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Mr. Thomas, I did want to get your thoughts. One of the initiatives we've been espousing has been that we want more transparent accountability, more of a proactive disclosure, similar to what ministers use in terms of issues like travel and hospitality. I'm not too sure if you're familiar with the proposal, but if you are, perhaps you could provide a comment. I know it's not all-encompassing, but do you think this is the right direction we should be moving toward?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-05 12:26
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Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I do want to address the issue of what I believe is the public perception, which is something that we all have a responsibility to deal with.
To use an example, we and the leader of our party have been talking a great deal about proactive disclosure, making reference to ministers and how they would proactively declare the actual costs of making that flight in terms of where it is they're flying to, and the costs of meals in terms of where they're having those meals, and so forth. Here is an expectation that we're hearing from Canadians as a whole: they want to see more proactive disclosure.
I can appreciate that there might be additional costs for that, but we're in a democracy. We have to meet those costs in order to provide what it is that Canadians ultimately would like to see.
The question—and it might be best for Mr. Watters—is in regard to what steps we could be taking to make proactive disclosure to the same degree to which ministers have proactive disclosure on their trips. Is that something that's doable within your administration?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-05 12:29
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Yes, but that would be on the assumption that the proactive disclosure we're talking about is just limited to that in the future. If we look at it as a starting point.... I'm very much wanting to provide and deliver what Canadians are asking for. We had the opportunity, for example, to use this as a starting point back in June. We came very, very close to actually having it pass in the House. If it weren't for the New Democrats, in fact, we would have had the support to see it actually pass, and it could have been in place today. That is indeed a starting point.
You made reference to the fact that you went to other provinces. I was intrigued by Manitoba. I served in the Manitoba legislature for 20 years. I was a part of the process that brought us the commissioner. I can tell you that when we talked about bringing in the commissioner—I was part of those discussions and representing the Liberal Party at that time—we needed to make a clear statement that politicians should not be setting politicians' salaries—
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-05 12:31
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—nor should we be determining what our pensions are.
There was also a feeling that there needs to be an appeal mechanism that is not the Board of Internal Economy—we knew it as the Legislative Assembly Management Commission in the Province of Manitoba—so that if in fact a member has an issue, they could go to someone, and that was determined with the commissioner.
Here's the question I have for you. Do you believe that the potential role a commissioner could play here on the national scene could be of benefit to Canadians as a possible add-on? You talked about how we have the established Board of Internal Economy. Do you see the potential role that a commissioner could play in dealing with what Manitobans thought was important, but applying that nationally?
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-11-05 12:32
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I have one last question for you, Ms. O'Brien. I appreciated your comments about the importance of being in camera and how, if you remove the in camera aspect, decisions might ultimately end up being made in hallways as opposed to through a more formal process. I can appreciate that.
Something I have advocated for years is to allow for the assumption that meetings are in fact public, and if it is deemed necessary that a meeting go in camera, that it be done through unanimous consent of all the members of the Board of Internal Economy.
Do you feel that would be a problem? I'm familiar with the give and take and the nature of the discussions of a group such as the Board of Internal Economy. I wouldn't think it would be a problem, because, generally speaking, people from all political parties are sensitive about having to go in camera.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-09-08 13:12
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Thank you.
I actually appreciate the opportunity to come here today, as I suspect that a great deal of discussion has taken place in all of our ridings across the country, from coast to coast to coast, since Canadians are, in fact, quite concerned about what is taking place and what has been taking place in Ottawa over the last number of months.
In the past we attempted to deal with this, even prior to the House adjourning, or taking a recess, back in June. As members would know, it was the leader of the Liberal Party who brought forward four motions of substance. We attempted to get those passed. They are now referred to in the letter that Mr. Cullen has brought forward. I think it is important to note just how those motions, had they been passed, would have resolved a lot of concerns that many Canadians have today.
Unfortunately—and the record will show this—it was the New Democrats who actually prevented the motions from passing in the first place. So, on the one hand, we're glad to be here: we want to see changes. We want more transparency. We want those things, because we know that Canadians want them and are demanding them. We have seen strong leadership within our own party with regard to coming up with ideas on how we will be able to do just that.
I really believe that one of the first things we as a committee should do on this agenda—given the fact that back in June there appeared to be just a minority of New Democrats who were uncomfortable with the motions proposed by the Liberal Party—is to review those motions put forward by Mr. Trudeau and get the unanimous support of the committee. I think that would be a reasonable thing to ask. We've had the opportunity to review the motions. Everyone has had a copy of them, Mr. Chair. People are familiar with them. We would be doing a great service to Canadians if people would agree to let those motions pass.
Whether it passes unanimously today or not—and I will ask for that, Mr. Chair—as much as that would be great to see, I can tell you that we as a caucus are prepared to do it. We are committed, because we recognize what Canadians want us to do, and we're prepared to demonstrate that through leadership and to implement certain aspects of it ourselves. The question is to what degree other members are as well. I suspect that all members have had the opportunity to canvass their constituents and to find out that there should be support.
Mr. Chair, I'm not entirely sure of the proper procedure, but I am going to ask if you could canvass to see whether, in fact, there would be unanimous support for the four motions that were brought forward by Mr. Trudeau back on June 10.
I can quickly read them, Mr. Chair.
Mr. Trudeau moved:that the Board of Internal Economy begin posting the travel and hospitality expenses—
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-09-08 13:18
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I think a big part of it, Tom, is recognizing—which I wasn't too sure of in terms of the most appropriate way of bringing it forward in the form of an amendment—that what we're looking for is just getting the recognition from all three political parties that these suggestions or motions that were brought forward back on June 10 are very tangible and whether in fact they're supported by all political parties.
Now, it might not necessarily be appropriate as an amendment. That's why I was looking to see if we could get the unanimous support of the committee to at least acknowledge their existence and in fact support them, because what we're talking about is not studying them per se, but rather adopting them.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-09-08 13:20
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Okay. On that particular point, then, Mr. Chair, I appreciate your comments and I'll look forward to maybe a more appropriate time, when we could actually have some dialogue on the four motions that were brought forward by Mr. Trudeau.
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View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
Lib. (MB)
View Kevin Lamoureux Profile
2013-09-08 13:20
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Yes. I was hopeful that maybe we'd be able to draw some conclusions if possible, at least before the end of the day, so that we would have something tangible prior to the end of the meeting. I will hold off on providing more comments in regard to those particular motions, but suffice it to say that we're glad to be here today. We're anxious to see some movement in this area. We'll have to wait and see where it goes.
Thank you.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2013-06-04 11:30
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Ladies and gentlemen, we'll begin the proceedings. Because we lost a bit of time due to the vote today, we'll have a bit of a truncated meeting.
Welcome to the government operations and estimates committee. We're here today to discuss the integrity provisions for procurement and real property transactions. We're pleased to welcome as witnesses, representatives from the Department of Public Works and Government Services. Leading the delegation, I presume, is Deputy Minister Madame Michelle d'Auray.
Ms. d'Auray, welcome. I understand you have opening remarks. I'll perhaps leave it to you to introduce the rest of the guests you've brought with you today.
Let's proceed without delay.
You have the floor, Madame d'Auray.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2013-06-04 12:43
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I'm wondering whether Envoy will be allowed to bid again, or will it be precluded because the appeal is currently in effect in the courts?
Can you answer that cleanly, yes or no? We don't have very much time.
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2013-06-04 12:43
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Perfect. That's exactly what I wanted to know.
Next, is SNC-Lavalin on any qualified bidders list for procurement contracting with the Government of Canada?
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2013-06-04 12:44
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Are they eligible by virtue of a public interest override, or did they receive a pardon, as it were?
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2013-05-02 12:23
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Yes. My understanding is that it was created to prevent nepotism and to promote fairness in hiring. But I notice in your report on plans and priorities that you report to the Minister of Heritage. So is this an independence shift? It used to be an independent agency, and it was set up to prevent interference and nepotism and favouritism. Now you don't report to Parliament, you report to a minister, whereas Monsieur Dion is completely independent as an officer of Parliament and reports to Parliament, as I'm sure is vital in the type of business he's in.
Do you know anything about the history? When did it shift happen from being an independent office to essentially a part of government?
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2012-11-20 10:17
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Could the general public find the information to questions put to you today on that open government website? Maybe John's questions, the detail he was seeking that you maybe used to put in your reports—is that going online so the general public can get answers to those questions?
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View Joyce Bateman Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you very much.
Thank you so much for being here, sir. We appreciate the detail you're giving us on this and that you're here yet again.
We've been discussing this for some time, so bear with me, if you will.
At the start of my little time slot, I just want to, for the record, get your recommendation on this issue. What was the essence of your recommendation on this very important chapter?
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View Joyce Bateman Profile
CPC (MB)
The actual wording will be captured. That's great.
Okay. So now, in terms of the government's response, sir, can you confirm for us...? I mean, you're the Auditor General of this country. Are you satisfied with the government's response?
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View Joyce Bateman Profile
CPC (MB)
I appreciate that you haven't audited the seven-point plan, sir, but as we go forward, we've recently had a rather successful procurement policy. We want to learn from what we're doing. We're here to serve taxpayers with the best possible value. Could you just speak briefly to the secretariat framework and the fact that it's going to address your recommendations?
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View Joyce Bateman Profile
CPC (MB)
I sure hope that at some point it does concern you, because it would be incredibly valuable for us to get your perspective on this seven-point plan.
I just want to move into one other part right now. A few of my colleagues have already spoken to the industrial benefits that accrue to many Canadian companies. I believe that more than 60 have already benefited from preparatory work. I believe that it's a $425 million amount that has resulted already in concrete contracts. How are you examining this in your work?
I come from Winnipeg. This matters to the aerospace industry in Winnipeg, and this is a very important part of our economy.
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View Joyce Bateman Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I want to speak to Madam Yeates and I'm going to be focusing on transparency. First I want to clarify a few things with Mr. Maxwell.
When a department heartily agrees with all of the recommendations, this is what makes Canada wonderful. This is what makes our bureaucracy a model for the world. We listen and we work in partnership to make things better for all Canadians. I compliment the work of the Auditor General, always.
Was this your first review, Mr. Maxwell, of the responsibilities for pharmaceutical drugs in regard to transparency and consistency?
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2012-02-29 17:01
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Thank you, Mike. I think that would be an interesting exercise.
I want to thank you, Mr. Page, for both the tone and content of your presentation today. I think it was very stimulating and very interesting. I find it a little gratifying. I'm not a rookie MP. This is my sixth term, and I can't make hide nor hair or sense out of the estimates. It's incomprehensible gobbledygook, and I'm starting to understand that maybe it's not me. Maybe it was by design that there is a—
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2012-02-29 17:03
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Maybe it's partly me, but I think it is a very important exercise, and I actually appreciate the non-partisan nature of the interest here. It is a genuine concern that people should be able to understand the country's accounts, especially if you're going to be asked to vote for or against them. It's a necessary work that this committee is doing.
Thank you very much. Maybe we'll even ask you back again as we move further with this project. Thank you very much for being here, all of you.
We have a bit of a planning meeting now for probably 15 or 20 minutes, so we can suspend and reopen in camera.
This meeting is adjourned, and we will begin a new planning meeting in a few moments.
[Proceedings continue in camera]
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View Joyce Bateman Profile
CPC (MB)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you so much for being here today and for giving us the opportunity to get to know you a little bit better, and for having given us purpose to study your CV, which in my view is very impressive. I'm a chartered accountant myself, and I really appreciate the comments you have made, and I truly appreciate that your value to the crown will be greater because you have worked on both sides of the equation. That's something we can be grateful for benefiting from.
I want to ask you some questions with an international focus. I'm very proud that we in Canada are so well regarded as a model, not only within the accounting profession, but when it comes to accountability in government. We have an incredibly open system. We allow the Auditor General to freely examine whatever he or she chooses to investigate and then to report publicly on those findings. Certainly we as government have improved things based on Auditor General findings in the past.
How do you see the role of the Auditor General—your role, je l'espère—in setting an example for other countries in the world in regard to that openness, that accountability piece?
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View Pat Martin Profile
NDP (MB)
View Pat Martin Profile
2011-06-20 11:59
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If I might just say, some of the answers given today serve as a graphic illustration to the committee that we've got to find better ways to follow the money. Your answers are honest and they're forthright and fulsome, but really what you're saying is there's no way of telling. Looking at these books, comparing this set of mains to this set of mains, the public would never know really what's going on. As the oversight committee for estimates, it's really difficult.
Mike has made it his life's work to follow the money and try to compare. But to compare apples to apples, we should be able to review those books and be able to say at the end of the day, this department went up or that department went down. It's a very frustrating process. But it's no fault of your own. I appreciate your answers and we appreciate your being here today.
Peter, did you have a point you wanted to make?
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