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Results: 1 - 15 of 16
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, Mr. Chair. I didn't mean to interrupt your notes to the committee. I was just so eager to congratulate you that I raised my hand.
In the spirit of what you just said, I'd like to nominate our vice-chair. I nominate Jean Yip to play that role.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
It would be a close call, Mr. Chair. I'm not sure who had their hand up first, but since I'm speaking, I'll just agree with what Ms. Shanahan said. I will agree with what Mr. Lawrence said.
This is with all due respect to our our new colleague. Congratulations to him on his election. I'm looking forward to working with him.
However, these are sound points that have been raised in opposition to the motion. I would request a vote on division.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
I was, so it's nice to see Mr. Julian again and to hear today from Ms. Dzerowicz.
I'm here today for the motion, but to colleagues on all sides, I will be sitting in as an associate member from time to time, and I really look forward to working with everyone and, of course, you, Mr. Chair, our esteemed chair.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
I have a point of order, Chair.
Mr. Jake Stewart: The next question I have—
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Chair, on a point of order, could we just suspend for two minutes, to calm things a bit?
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Chair, Mr. McLean was elected in 2019, if I'm not mistaken, so he will know that putting explicitly political questions to public servants is not appropriate, and we're not just wavering into it; we're in that sphere already.
I would just caution my colleague that he's putting public servants in an impossible position.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much, Chair. It's great to be back at the finance committee meeting.
One of the recurring patterns I've noticed today, Chair—and I think colleagues around the table have seen it—is that Conservative colleagues are very preoccupied with questions relating specifically to audits but also more generally questions around due diligence. I find it interesting and a bit contradictory, with all due respect, because just a few months ago, a former Conservative member of the finance committee, Mr. Kelly, penned a letter to the Minister of National Revenue in November 2020 calling for audits to be suspended entirely. The letter was referenced earlier by Mr. Baker. These are audits on the use of the wage subsidy by small businesses, so I struggle to understand the Conservative position, but for the benefit of colleagues, specifically Conservative colleagues, I'll table that letter with the committee chair. I think it will help inform the work that's been happening here over the past few days.
To officials, first of all, thank you very much for your work throughout the pandemic and ongoing. It is truly appreciated by us but specifically by constituents in London, where I'm from—
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Chair, I'll table it, which is something I can also do.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
The number of CERB recipients is what I'm looking for, but I was just saying how appreciated CERB has been and it's appreciated because public servants put it forward. I believe the number is eight million. Is that correct?
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Thank you very much.
Furthermore, I just want to ask about something that was touched on earlier, I think in a question Mr. Julian raised.
Standard prepayment controls are used by the CRA for programs administered by the agency. That's not just very common; it's part of the mandate of the organization to put those controls in place. What are some of those controls outside of the pandemic? I'm talking about in normal times.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Mr. Vermaeten, I'm sorry. I don't mean to interrupt you, but for individuals as well, you check their hours worked and things like that, right?
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
Yes, and that's in normal times, but in the context of a pandemic, it's very difficult to do, and that's why the attestation approach was used, which is something mentioned in the sixth report of the Auditor General, which Madame Chatel referenced earlier.
For the benefit of the committee—this is not even a partisan comment—I would suggest that members read that report. It's highly instructive. It gives very good insight on CERB specifically, on some of the program design but also some of the thinking that went into that program design.
One of the key findings—and again, this is all in the context of analysis of an emergency program—is as follows. I quote directly from that report, Mr. Chair, and since Mr. McLean was so eager for me to read something into the record, I'll indulge him here.
It is paragraph 6.53. The Auditor General found, it says, the following:
We found that, by using attestations and limiting the number of pre-payment controls to validate eligibility, Employment and Social Development Canada and the Canada Revenue Agency were aware that some payments would be issued to applicants who were not entitled to the benefit. This included potential cases of intentional misrepresentation.
The key thing, though, is this:
Accepting risks in order to expedite payments to those in need is consistent with best practices promoted by the International Public Sector Fraud Forum and its Principles of Fraud Control in Emergency Management.
What we are left with is a really important insight, and again, to my colleagues across the way who have pressed this issue of due diligence, there were attestations. If there is time, I'll ask about those, but in the context of the pandemic, public servants put forward an approach that, yes, did involve some risk, but that always made sure to focus on Canadians, the now close to, as I heard Mr. Blaikie whisper a few minutes ago, nine million or eight million, or whatever the number is.
I'll go with public servants on that number, with all due respect to Mr. Blaikie. They get the support they need.
View Peter Fragiskatos Profile
Lib. (ON)
On a point of order, Chair—
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