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Results: 1 - 15 of 141
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
Honourable members, good morning.
On Thursday, I put some motions on notice, and the time has come to debate them. I have two.
With your permission, Mr. Chair, I will read the first one. Then, we can discuss it and move on to the next. That would be the best way to proceed.
I will read the motion slowly, so the interpreters can do their job properly.
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the Committee undertakes a study of the expenditure of nearly $100,000 in public funds by the Governor General of Canada for catering services during an eight day tour of the Middle East in March 2022; and that the Committee invites the Governor General to appear before the Committee for a period of two (2) hours on or before June 23, 2022.
If I may, Mr. Chair, I will explain my reason for proposing the motion.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Everyone is aware of what happened. We were informed that the Governor General incurred very significant expenditures, and obviously that caught our attention and set off alarm bells. The average person would see it as exorbitant spending.
Both the committee and Parliament are tasked with ensuring the sound management of public funds. At a time when people are telling us how much they are struggling to make ends meet as the cost of living goes up, we find out that the new Governor General, who has been on the job for less than a year, has already picked up some peculiar habits. As a result, she has racked up quite a bill, to say the least.
According to the information we received, her trip was nine days long in all. Since we last spoke, Mr. Chair, we learned new information from the media, which shed more light on the whole situation. It is all the more important that the Governor General appear before the committee. As I said, we now know more about the situation, but not enough to dispense with her appearance before the committee.
I'd like to share some of the information we learned from the media, information corroborated by the Department of National Defence.
On the trip with the Governor General were 29 of her colleagues—I wouldn't know what else to call them, but they were accompanying the Governor General—and 17 security and logistics personnel.
We now know that the bill wasn't $92,000 or $93,000. It was reviewed and lowered, and actually ended up being $80,000. I'm not sure why exactly, but it doesn't really matter. The money was for two lunches, three breakfasts and snacks. It did not include alcohol or dinners. It did not include the expenses for the duration of the nine-day trip.
I wrote the figures down. The average person wants to know what they cover. As an average person, myself, I would describe the amounts as exorbitant. Let's say the snacks cost $5,000. These aren't the kinds of snacks you buy from Mondoux. They went all out. It works out to $319 per meal. We are talking breakfasts and lunches for everyone on board, even the crew, assuming the food was available to everyone.
Here are my questions, and I may have more. I am simply trying to show how shocking this is and how much information we are missing.
First of all, who are all those people? Why does the Governor General have 29 people travelling with her?
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Of course, Mr. Chair. That's no problem. It's normal for members to have questions.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
I agree with the member.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I understand your decision and, obviously, I support it. I should tell you that I did my homework, and I had a whole explanation ready to show—a bit like you're doing—why this motion was in order. There is a lot of overlap between what you're saying and the rationale my party put together, so we are quite satisfied with your decision.
I am not at all swayed by the arguments of the honourable Liberal member, whom I have the utmost respect for. I still believe the motion is in order.
Thank you.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you, Mr. Chair.
I'll try to keep it short. In any case, I had already explained why it was important to support the motion.
The valiant member for Châteauguay—Lacolle, the riding next to mine, said that the committee's purpose was to examine the management of public funds. That is precisely why I am bringing this situation to the committee's attention. I was almost done. I was saying that some questions were still unanswered. This won't take too long.
Why were there 29 people? Who were they all? All the information we got was—
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
The honourable member for the NDP pointed to the Department of National Defence, but the governor general is involved with—
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Very well.
I can't propose an amendment or change to the first motion, but another party could propose a friendly amendment to alter the substance of the motion so that the committee could resume debate on whether it was in order or—
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
All right.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Very well.
With your permission, Mr. Chair, I will read the second motion. Here it is slowly:
That the Committee mandates the Chair to send a letter to the Auditor General of Canada strongly recommending to investigate the expenses and costs incurred by the Governor General of Canada, from public funds, in her capacity as Canada's representative at home and abroad since her appointment on July 6, 2021.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
I had started commenting.
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
I don't know whether I should repeat my comments because it's been a while since I spoke. My clothes are out of style now.
This is about the Governor General, the 29 guests on the trip, and the 17 crew members and security personnel. Just over $80,000 was spent on two lunches, three breakfasts and snacks.
That's only a portion of the expenses. It's surprising because the figure was originally $91,000 or $92,000 for a nine-day trip. People thought that was a lot for a nine-day trip. They assumed it included breakfasts, lunches and dinners, but didn't know whether it was in flight or not. That doesn't matter. People also thought it included alcohol.
Surprisingly, the Department of National Defence paid the bill. The NDP member said earlier—
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Fine. What's happening exactly?
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
I would like to greet the witnesses who came to do us the honour of sharing their thoughts with us.
I would also like to greet my colleagues, whom I do not see very often.
I'm very happy to be with all of you today.
Mr. Chair, I would begin my remarks with the tabling of two motions. I will read the motions and then, if I may, I will explain very briefly why I consider that they should be tabled and endorsed by the committee, so that they can take effect as soon as possible.
I will read the motions slowly, to give the interpreters a chance to do their job. We're very fond of our interpreters; we need to take care of them.
Here is the first motion:
That the committee mandates—
View Alain Therrien Profile
BQ (QC)
I will begin reading the first motion again:
That the committee mandates the Chair to send a letter to the Auditor General of Canada strongly recommending she investigate the expenses and costs incurred by the Governor General of Canada, from public funds, in her capacity as Canada's representative at home and abroad since her appointment on July 6, 2021.
That is the first motion.
If I may, Mr. Chair, I will table the second one and then I will give my reasons for tabling these two motions.
Here is the second motion:
That, pursuant to Standing Order 108(2), the committee undertakes a study of the expenditure of nearly $100,000 in public funds by the Governor General of Canada for catering services during an eight-day tour of the Middle East in March 2022; and that the committee invites the Governor General to appear before the committee for a period of two (2) hours on or before June 23, 2022.
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