OFFICIAL REPORT (HANSARD)
Monday, November 5, 2012
Speaker: The Honourable Andrew Scheer
Committees of the House
Government Operations and Estimates
The House resumed from October 24 consideration of the motion.
Mr. Speaker, I want to thank my friend for making this a little more understandable for us parliamentarians. However, it is not understandable to most Canadians, which is one of things I want to ask him about.
This report may not do what it is Canadians might want it to do. I will give him a couple of examples of when Canadians were somewhat baffled by budgetary issues. Maybe he can comment.
One was the move of $50 million from the border infrastructure fund into equipment or gazebos in one of the ridings, purportedly for the G8 Summit. The other was the decision by the Minister of Natural Resources to spend less than half the money in the ecoEnergy retrofit program by unilaterally determining to cut off the program before its program date.
Both are examples of when the government makes announcements, and we vote on budgets. We vote on appropriations. Then the government unilaterally changes those things. I would like Canadians to understand how those things can happen in this parliamentary system of ours.
Mr. Speaker, I thank my hon. colleague for his very interesting question, which was addressed during the examination of the report. It is possible in the example of the G20, because the transfer of money from one sub-program to another is allowed without parliamentary approval. However, in a situation where funds can be presented for each program, controls could be tightened up in that regard. Some improvements could be made in that area.
Concerning the other program that was mentioned, even if those funds are voted on, it is up to the government to decide whether or not to spend the money. However, I agree with my colleague that when programs are good for Canadians, I do not see why money would not be spent to meet the targeted objectives.