Evidence of meeting #11 for Public Accounts in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was auditor.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

  • Michael Ferguson  Nominee for the position of Auditor General of Canada, As an Individual

4:55 p.m.

Nominee for the position of Auditor General of Canada, As an Individual

Michael Ferguson

Fundamentally, the roles are very similar. In fact, when I look at the legislation for the Auditor General of Canada versus that for New Brunswick, they're very similar. The scope is very similar—financial audits, performance audits, compliance audits, and special reviews. The main difference is that the federal Auditor General has the sustainable development mandate in terms of the environment.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

Guy Caron Rimouski-Neigette—Témiscouata—Les Basques, QC

I'm going to quote a passage that I'll read slowly. I know I tend to speak quickly and I want to make sure the interpretation is clear.

The site of the New Brunswick Progressive Conservative Party states that, last year, the auditor general [Mr. Ferguson] said that there was a $400 million deficit and that it would be better for New Brunswick if more people were working and paying less taxes. This year, the auditor general said again that the province was collecting too much tax and that the economic data did not justify higher taxes. Michael Ferguson said that he felt high taxes hinder the economy.

Did you make these comments as reported on the Progressive Conservative site?

4:55 p.m.

Nominee for the position of Auditor General of Canada, As an Individual

Michael Ferguson

I certainly don't know the context of that quote. I would have to know. I don't remember making those statements.

I'm not saying—I don't remember making those statements.

I would have to see where that was quoted from to be able to make a comment on that.

4:55 p.m.

NDP

The Chair David Christopherson

Sorry, your time has expired.

The last speaker in rotation is our guest colleague, Mr. Warawa. Welcome, and you have the floor.

October 31st, 2011 / 4:55 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Thank you, Chair.

Mr. Ferguson, thank you for being here. I read your CV and was very impressed. The selection process for the next Auditor General of Canada has been a very thorough, national search, and I want to congratulate you on being nominated for this position.

Regrettably, there have been some who have prejudged your suitability for this position and even before you were here today said they will not be supporting you. As I said, I find that regrettable.

I'd like to focus on the selection criteria that was established. There were 28 points, and one of those was language skills. I too need to improve my French, but yours is far better than mine. I'd like to focus on those 28 points, so I'm just going to go through them quickly, and you can make comments on whether you see yourself as being suitable.

From the briefing and CV, it appears to me you are very qualified and very capable of doing audits, and would do a good job for this country, but the selection criteria begins with your having a degree from a recognized university, preferably from a university specializing in accounting. Do you have that?

5 p.m.

Nominee for the position of Auditor General of Canada, As an Individual

Michael Ferguson

Yes, Mr. Chair.

Are we really going to go through all 28 of these?

5 p.m.

Voices

Oh, oh!

5 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Yes, Chair, I would like to do that because I believe Mr. Ferguson is very qualified, and some around the table, surprisingly, are focusing on only one of those 28 qualifications.

Are you a candidate who is a highly competent, seasoned chartered accountant and auditor?

5 p.m.

Nominee for the position of Auditor General of Canada, As an Individual

Michael Ferguson

I believe so.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Thank you.

Do you have proven leadership and management experience at the senior executive level in large, complex, private or public sector organizations?

I would say yes.

5 p.m.

Nominee for the position of Auditor General of Canada, As an Individual

Michael Ferguson

I believe so.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Do you have experience in auditing complex organizations, including audits and value-for-money audits in human resources management optimization?

5 p.m.

Nominee for the position of Auditor General of Canada, As an Individual

Michael Ferguson

I believe so.

5 p.m.

Conservative

Mark Warawa Langley, BC

Do you demonstrate skills in strategic management and organizational change, particularly in circumstances where financial or human resource constraints are major factors?

5 p.m.

Nominee for the position of Auditor General of Canada, As an Individual