Evidence of meeting #18 for Government Operations and Estimates in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was billion.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Michelle d'Auray  Secretary of the Treasury Board of Canada, Treasury Board Secretariat
  • Bill Matthews  Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management, Treasury Board Secretariat
  • Christine Walker  Assistant Secretary and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Services, Treasury Board Secretariat
  • Sally Thornton  Executive Director, Expenditure Operations and Estimates, Expenditure Management, Treasury Board Secretariat

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Yes, but that is wishful thinking. The people around the table are all in favour of transparency. We all like apple pie, too. But do you have a plan, or a timetable? Are you committing yourself? When will it be done?

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Yes, of course.

4:20 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

But when?

4:20 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

Michelle.

4:20 p.m.

Secretary of the Treasury Board of Canada, Treasury Board Secretariat

Michelle d'Auray

In the first document you read, the quarterly financial reports that the departments have started to produce are one of the items the office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer commented on. The first one was published at the end of June, or in August, for the end of June. That is the report you were referring to, in which there are different colours for the scores. That was the first effort, and we recognized that. The next report is going to be presented at the end of November.

Because it is the first time, we have a plan for continuing, fine-tuning and refining, so that in fact the information will be easier to understand. This is the first time we have done this in the course of a year. You have the current expenditures. This is the first time, and it was started in August of this year. The second report will be ready in November. As well, discussion sessions and training sessions are being held for the people in the departments with the goal of improving the reports.

We hope this will mean that in the next report there will be more green than red, if I can put it that way, in terms of the score the office of the Parliamentary Budget Director gives us.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

So by next year, we will be able to have the answers in order to compare.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Alexandre Boulerice Rosemont—La Petite-Patrie, QC

Let us hope so.

I will give Mr. Ravignat the floor.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

Thank you to both of you.

As my colleague has kindly agreed to share his time with me, I'll go ahead with a question.

Here's my question. Whether it be Public Works or various other ministries, when you look at these estimates, the costs for external consultants and professional services that are not in the public service are increasing at a rapid rate. This has been going on under this government for some time. At Public Works and Government Services Canada, it's a 100% increase.

Now, about this transformation exercise you're talking about at the public service, it's a little bit difficult for Canadians to understand why you're cutting jobs in the public service while you're giving money to external consultants by the boatload.

Is this transformation really an exercise in the privatization of our public service?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

No. The role of the transformation exercise is to deliver high-quality services to Canadians. What we care about is what services Canadians are getting. I can assure you—

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

By handing money to the private sector?

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

No, no, you're keying in on one element. In some cases it's appropriate; in other cases it's not appropriate. I don't think we should have our ideological blinders on. Obviously, the utility of these things should be reviewed, just as there should be a review of the utility of delivering services the same old way.

We're not looking at it from an ideological point of view. We're looking at it from a common sense point of view to see whether there's a practical, pragmatic way to deliver better services to Canadians.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

The cost trend clearly indicates an ideological point of view.

4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Tony Clement Parry Sound—Muskoka, ON

I would disagree with you.

4:25 p.m.

NDP

The Chair Pat Martin

I'm afraid your time has concluded.

For the Conservatives, Mr. Laurie Hawn. Welcome, Laurie.

November 24th, 2011 / 4:25 p.m.

Conservative

Laurie Hawn Edmonton Centre, AB

Thank you, Mr. Chair. It's good to be here.

Thank you, Mr. Minister, and your officials.

When he became Prime Minister of Great Britain, Harold Macmillan was once asked what his greatest challenge would be in moving ahead with his agenda.