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View Tony Clement Profile
CPC (ON)
This is a constant challenge for anyone who is the President of the Treasury Board, to draw the distinction between the estimates process and the budget process. Ultimately they align, but it does take some months for that to occur. Because I'm statutorily required to table the estimates to the House of Commons prior to March 1, and frequently the budget is either around the same time, or in this case just after that, they don't align perfectly at the start of the year but they certainly align perfectly at the end of the year. So parliamentarians have the estimates process and they obviously pass or not. We have the budget, and then we have the public accounts for the previous year, which are a topic of examination and debate by this committee and by the parliamentary process.
Finally, I would say that one of the things I have instituted since being named the President of the Treasury Board in 2011 is to try to get us away from paper-based estimates and public accounts, and toward the more online versions, where through hypertext and other links it will be easier for you and your colleagues to examine each program year by year, each department year by year, and that way you can compare and contrast, rather than going through three sets of books of the past three years that are a metre high.
I think it is working better, and there is certainly more that can be done, but technology is our friend and it's making it easier for the government to be accountable to parliamentarians.
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Michelle d'Auray
View Michelle d'Auray Profile
H.E. Michelle d'Auray
2011-10-17 16:49
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I actually believe it will be the opposite. A web-based approach allows for a greater degree of information and greater flexibility in the use or manipulation, in the good sense of the term, of the information and data. I think that is indeed where governments are increasingly going. The print versions, while interesting, also have limitations in their format and what you can do with the information, whereas an electronic version allows you to add, change, and update on a regular basis.
For example, as Jim and I mentioned, we did the quarterly financial reporting electronically on organizations' websites. It's easily updated. If we had to go to a printing cycle, the delays in producing this would far outweigh the timeliness of the production of the information. So going to an electronic format actually speeds up a lot of the process. We wouldn't have been able to meet the deadlines on a quarterly reporting basis if we had not gone electronically.
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