Evidence of meeting #43 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 chair.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Chair David Christopherson

Another thing—again, just working this through, colleagues—is we don't have to have the AG on Thursday. If the committee feels that they'd rather have an agenda with some certainty, and they're okay just waiting a few days, then we could have the AG as part of what Mr. McKay suggested. Just directly this week, this Thursday would be report writing. May 15 would be the first hour F-35s, the second hour estimates. May 17 would be a nice slot to do chapter 5, but May 17 remains open. I kind of like that better, actually.

The trade-off for the committee is that you wouldn't have the AG this week on F-35s; you wouldn't have him until next Tuesday. That's the only trade-off.

The positive thing is that it gives us more certainty. There's a far greater likelihood that Mr. Ferguson will be back up to speed and ready to come on Tuesday rather than Thursday. I'd like to give him a little time if we could, and not push him. I think that's a good suggestion.

Could people comment on that suggestion first, please?

Let's have your comments, Mr. Ravignat.

10:30 a.m.

NDP

Mathieu Ravignat Pontiac, QC

I like that suggestion. I think that stabilizes what we're doing. It ensures that the Auditor General can be here. We don't know what the nature of his medical condition is, so I think Tuesday is a good bet.

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Chair David Christopherson

Yes, thank you.

Is there anything further?

Go ahead, Mr. Saxton.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton North Vancouver, BC

Chair, I think my motion adequately addresses the concerns of the committee that have been voiced by Mr. McKay and others. I would say that we should still stick with my motion as it reads. It does offer the flexibility that if the Auditor General is not available this Thursday, then he can come on Tuesday. It offers flexibility, which is exactly what we're trying to achieve here.

I would recommend we just stick with my motion as it was said.

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Chair David Christopherson

I do remind colleagues that we have May 10, 15, and 17 to do estimates. If we don't hold a hearing on estimates in one of those three slots, it won't get done.

I remind colleagues that we have ten minutes.

Mr. Thibeault, welcome, sir.

May 8th, 2012 / 10:35 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Thank you very much.

In trying to understand the whole process here and what we're trying to accomplish with May 10, 15, and 17, we need to have a meeting on the estimates before the end of May--is that correct? Did I understand that correctly?

10:35 a.m.

NDP

The Chair David Christopherson

That is correct, and the Auditor General is not available the week of May 29.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Okay, so then we have next week to ensure we have a meeting on the estimates.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

The Chair David Christopherson

We have those three days: this coming Thursday, and Tuesday and Thursday next week, yes.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

We all wish the Auditor General well, but we have no idea if he's available this Thursday or not, so we—

10:35 a.m.

NDP

The Chair David Christopherson

The information I received—and if there's an update, I'll gladly take it—was that Mr. Ferguson thought he would be sufficiently recovered to be here on Thursday. I'm the one who's suggesting that with health things you never know. I was just trying to provide a little bit of a backup, rather than risk having him cancel at the last minute or, worse yet, come when he isn't fully recuperated because he felt a sense of commitment. I do get a sense that's the kind of person he is.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

Yes. So the motion right now is saying for the Auditor General to come Thursday; then we're going to ask him to come again next week for the estimates.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

The Chair David Christopherson

Yes.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

Glenn Thibeault Sudbury, ON

It just makes sense to me to have the Auditor General here for one day, and my suggestion would be to make it Tuesday. We could have him do the first hour on the F-35s and the second hour on the estimates. We'll have killed two birds with one stone. We'd get the report writing in. I think that works. I actually agree with colleagues that we should do that on Tuesday.

10:35 a.m.

NDP

The Chair David Christopherson

Very good. Thank you.

Something else comes to mind, too. If we do it that way, colleagues, what we would be doing is....

I'm going to wait until I have the attention of the two government leads.

If we had the Auditor General here one day—the first hour on F-35s and the second hour on estimates—we'd be truncating the estimates meeting. Normally it's a full two-hour meeting.

My personal sense from the committee is that we could probably do estimates in one hour. If we did schedule Tuesday firmly for both—the F-35s for one hour and then estimates the second hour—we'd have accomplished both, we would have met the deadline, and we would have a game plan. And we could do report writing on Thursday.