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Results: 1 - 15 of 961
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
You know how fond I am of this committee and its members.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
Thank you, Mr. Chair. I'm delighted to be here with you at the committee again.
With me today are Brian Pagan, the assistant secretary of the expenditure management sector, and Karen Cahill, the chief financial officer. I would also like to introduce Glenn Purves, who has joined Treasury Board from Finance. Glenn will actually be replacing Brian.
Brian has announced that he will be retiring, after 33 years of serving the people of Canada exceptionally well, in six departments. Twelve of those years were in Treasury Board. He has done exceptional work on behalf of Canadians. I know he's worked closely with committee members, and he has played a leadership role in reforming the budget and estimates process in a way that I believe will live on as a legacy of his commitment to making a positive difference in the lives of Canadians.
Thank you, Brian, for all your great work.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
You see, on this side, we really appreciate the public service and the work you do.
Some hon. members: Oh, oh!
Hon. Scott Brison: Mr. Chair and committee members, we have exceptional public servants serving the people of Canada on an ongoing basis, and Brian Pagan is one of the finest with whom I've worked, in two different ministries. I want to thank you, Brian, for the work. Come back any time.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
Welcome, Glenn.
Supplementary Estimates present information to Parliament on spending that was either not developed in time for inclusion in the Main Estimates, or that has been refined to account for further development of particular programs and services.
As you will recall, the first Supplementary Estimates were typically presented in the spring.
However, thanks to recent changes to the sequencing of the main estimates and the budget for the duration of Parliament, the spring supplementary estimates were not necessary for 2018 and 2019. By having the main estimates actually follow the budget, parliamentarians can now understand more clearly how they relate to the big picture set out in the budget forecast.
Moreover, parliamentarians now have online access to more detailed and more accurate information. Thus, they're better able to hold government to account on how it spends tax dollars. We did this because of our belief in Canadians' right to know where public funds are being spent and invested.
That said, Supplementary Estimates are necessary to present the government's incremental spending requirements to Parliament.
To that end, we are seeking Parliament's approval of funding to invest in a number of important infrastructure projects, and to settle claims and deliver socio-economic programs for indigenous people.
I'd like to highlight a few of the major items: $827.3 million to provide three icebreakers for the Canadian Coast Guard; $666 million for compensation to first nations for specific claim settlements; $438.5 million for infrastructure projects in indigenous communities; $423.1 million for on-reserve water and waste-water infrastructure, operations, and capacity-building.
As of last week, Mr. Chair, in terms of results, 74 long-term drinking water advisories have been eliminated. We're on track to lift all of these by 2021 in indigenous communities across Canada.
Other items include $323.3 million to address a wide range of health, social and educational needs, according to Jordan's principle; $291.8 million for the new Champlain Bridge corridor project; $283.6 million for the Gordie Howe international bridge, the Detroit-Windsor crossing; $282.2 million for defence investments, such as acquiring military equipment and upgrading key facilities; $239 million to settle the Treaty No. 8 agricultural benefits specific claim with the Little Red River Cree Nation; and $210 million to allow Infrastructure Canada to deliver on the remaining funding agreements that had been undertaken with the former P3 Canada Fund.
I'd also like to draw your attention to the portion of the Supplementary Estimates for my department, although a very small part of these funds is for the Treasury Board Secretariat, or TBS, itself. Nearly all the funding requested is for two central votes.
Under the vote for compensation adjustments, we are seeking Parliament's authority for $541.4 million related to agreements concluded between August 2017 and August 2018. These funds are mainly for wage adjustments related to the border services, law and executive groups. After Parliament approves the appropriation act, funds will be distributed to the home departments of these agencies.
Under the vote for government-wide initiatives, we're also seeking $128 million for the LGBT Purge class action settlement, and $119 million for the indigenous early learning and child care framework. National Defence and Employment and Social Development, respectively, are responsible for leading these initiatives. They're working with partner departments and non-government organizations to determine the allocation of funding to departments and projects.
Distribution of funding to departments will begin after Parliament has approved the appropriation and these parameters are finalized.
I will take a moment to speak on estimates reform.
Mr. Chair, as you know, our government committed to improving parliamentary oversight of government spending around four pillars, and we have taken action in each area. I am very proud of the work we've done.
First, we've changed the sequencing so that the main estimates are tabled after the budget.
Second, we reconciled the accrual-based budget forecast with the cash-based estimates.
Third, we are piloting a vote structure that shows parliamentarians the purpose of funding provided for grants and contributions.
Fourth, our policy on results lets Canadians know how their tax dollars are spent, what results are achieved, and how they're being achieved.
I appreciate the committee's engagement in the study of the estimates, and I'm always happy to consider what we can do to better support this. For example, when I came to this committee in May to talk about the main estimates, I indicated that in respect of the allocations to departments and remaining balances for the line-by-line budget measures in the budget implementation act, Treasury Board vote 40, we would update the Excel table on a monthly basis and the text reporting in the next available estimates.
Mr. McCauley, at that time, requested that we update the text reporting on a monthly basis, as we do with the Excel table. I'm happy to say that we started doing this in August, as a result of Mr. McCauley's good suggestion. We're actually listening to the committee, and we're actually doing this.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
Well, Minister MacAulay is a great fellow, too.
With the changes we made so far, we are again raising the bar on openness and transparency. That was recently recognized in the Open Data Barometer survey, where we ranked number one globally in terms of how governments publish and use open data for accountability, innovation and social impact. It's also reflected in the Government of Canada becoming the lead government co-chair of the Open Government Partnership for 2018-19.
I've had about 21 and a half years as a member of Parliament, and of those, 16 were in opposition and as a member of committees. I respect greatly the work of parliamentarians of all parties and the work of committees. I also believe it's extremely important that members of Parliament from all parties have the opportunity to follow the money, to be able to track how tax dollars are spent. It's one of the most important roles of members of Parliament on behalf of Canadians. Therefore, I look forward to engaging with you and your committee members again today.
Thank you.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
We all have a vested interest in the success of indigenous peoples. This is the fastest-growing and youngest population in Canada. If we get this right, this is a huge opportunity for Canada. Having a young population and a fast-growing population can be a good thing. If we get this wrong, it is catastrophic for all of us in terms of the future, both economically and socially. Every one of us, indigenous and non-indigenous, has a vested interest in the future success of indigenous peoples and indigenous children.
That's why we're making these investments, such as the $423 million to lift long-term water advisories on public systems on reserves. Think about it, just having safe water. We're on track to lift all of these by 2021. In terms of critical infrastructure in housing, we're investing $287.4 million in capacity and also to address some very critical housing infrastructure needs. We're investing $322 million to help first nations children have access to the same publicly funded programs as other children, something as basic as that in terms of equality of opportunity, in terms of basic education. These are the kinds of investments that will really move the needle in terms of the future of indigenous peoples.
Minister Philpott has been doing a great job in terms of services. Also, if you look at the changes we've made in the machinery of government around indigenous people, it makes a great deal of sense in terms of the ability not just to invest the money, but to actually see the results.
The work that Carolyn Bennett is doing, in partnership with Minister Philpott, is extremely important. They're both doing tremendous work on behalf of all Canadians.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
You're quite right in identifying that many indigenous peoples are extremely concerned about climate change. Many of the communities of indigenous people are, in fact, coastal communities that will bear the brunt of climate change in the coming years.
We are making significant investments not just in terms of measures to reduce our carbon footprint as a government and as a country, addressing long-term climate change, but also in terms of a mitigation strategy and a resilience strategy to help communities become better prepared, including changes that will protect critical infrastructure and working with other levels of government.
In Nova Scotia, for instance, we've provided funding to the provincial government to make investments in some of the dike systems around the province, including in my riding, which is on the Bay of Fundy, where there are the highest tides in the world.
While we are investing to reduce our long-term emissions, we also recognize the need to invest in climate change resilience. Fortifying and strengthening coastal communities is part of that, and that has a significant impact on indigenous communities in a lot of cases as well.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
Treasury Board actually plays a role in cabinet committees on an ongoing basis in terms of challenge function. That's one of the reasons the President of the Treasury Board is a member of all cabinet committees, as is the Minister of Finance—
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
Treasury Board is involved in all major expenditures. Ultimately, on defence procurement, you actually have PSPC, Public Services and Procurement Canada, which leads the charge with National Defence. ISED is also involved.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
The Treasury Board president does sit on the Treasury Board cabinet committee. He, in fact, chairs it.
However, just on this, it's important—
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
The mandate of Public Services and Procurement Canada is to get the best value for tax dollars in an open and transparent process. National Defence's mandate is to get the best possible equipment for our brave men and women in uniform. ISED's mandate is to get the best possible jobs and ITBs for Canadians in terms of economic benefit. Treasury Board plays a role in terms of ensuring best value for money, but also in terms of a challenge function for all government expenditures.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
I don't recall exact dates of cabinet committees, but we can certainly—
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
Yes, we formed government in early November, as you'll recall, and I think cabinet was sworn in on November 4. That's the point at which I became President of the Treasury Board.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
I sat on.... In fact, it's a matter of public record that I've been the vice-chair.
View Scott Brison Profile
Lib. (NS)
I've been vice-chair of that. I'm not going to speak on matters of cabinet confidence. You'll understand that there are cabinet confidences that apply to cabinet meetings, and I'm not going to violate those.
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