Debates of May 13th, 2004
House of Commons Hansard #54 of the 37th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was public.
- Government Response to Petitions
- Federal Law-Civil Law Harmonization Act
- Interparliamentary Delegations
- Committees of the House
- Standing Orders
- Committees of the House
- Questions Passed as Orders for Returns
- Question No. 79
- Question No. 85
- Rights of the Unborn
- The Environment
- University of Prince Edward Island
- Canadian Railway Museum
- Samuel de Champlain
- Margaret Anna Lawson
- Member for Trois-Rivières
- Canadian Forces
- Member for Nanaimo--Cowichan
- Member for Davenport
- Member for Rimouski—Neigette-et-la Mitis
- Member for Vancouver South--Burnaby
- Liberal Party of Canada
- Member for Ottawa--Orléans
- Government Policies
- Member for Laval Centre
- Member for Vancouver Kingsway
- Member for York Centre
- Gasoline Prices
- Electoral Boundaries
- Gasoline Prices
- Employment Insurance
- Sponsorship Program
- Automobile Industry
- Gasoline Prices
- Quebec City Bridge
- Citizenship and Immigration
- Economic Development
- Presence in the Gallery
- Business of the House
- Right Hon. Member for Calgary Centre
- Message from the Senate
- Income Tax Act
The Deputy Speaker
It is my duty pursuant to Standing Order 38 to inform the House that the question to be raised tonight at the time of adjournment is as follows: the hon. member for New Brunswick Southwest, Campobello Island.
Resuming debate, the hon. member for Calgary Southeast.
Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB
Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in support of today's Conservative opposition motion. Let me read it once more into the record:
That, in the interest of transparency, the government should ensure that the work that has been done by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts into the sponsorship scandal be continued after the Prime Minister calls a general election and until the Standing Committee on Public Accounts is reconstituted in a new parliament by establishing a commission under the Inquiries Act.
The purpose of this motion is to allow the Prime Minister the opportunity to fulfill his solemn commitment given to Canadians in February of this year after the tabling of the Auditor General's report with respect to chapters 3, 4 and 5 dealing with the sponsorship program and government-wide advertising and public opinion research.
Following the release of this scandalous report, the Prime Minister exclaimed that he was as mad as hell. He said that the people responsible for this were going to pay. He said that anybody who was found to have known that people were cutting cheques or falsifying invoices did not belong in public life. He went on to say on Feb. 13 of this year:
I do know that clearly there...had to be political direction.
He then said:
Let me assure you that those who are responsible, regardless of who they are, where they work or whatever they may have worked in the past, will face the full consequences of their actions.
He later said:
It is impossible to believe there was no political direction.
The same Prime Minister went on to commit to Canadians that he would leave no stone unturned in getting to the bottom of the ad scam Liberal corruption. He promised that Canadians would have answers before an election was to be called.
Yet, we have been compelled to introduce this motion today precisely because Canadians do not have answers to the meaningful questions, and precisely because the Prime Minister has broken his word. He has violated his trust and, inadvertently perhaps, misled Canadians about his intent to get to the bottom of this before calling an election.
Why do I say that? We have heard the government members today carry on about the exhaustive, supposedly historic, measures taken to examine this historically enormous scandal.
Let us look at those efforts. First of all, references to the RCMP for criminal investigation and the laying of potential charges have barely even begun so far as we know. Indeed, this past week two charges were laid in respect of a report of the Auditor General that was tabled two years ago. It took the RCMP two years to investigate criminal wrongdoing related to three contracts totalling $2 million.
The RCMP is faced with hundreds of contracts involving as much as $100 million in fees and commissions paid to Liberal advertising firms principally operating in Montreal. The Auditor General testified there was little or no documentation to verify these contracts. She said in her report to Parliament that documentation was very poor and there was little evidence of analysis to support the expenditure of more than $250 million. Over $100 million was paid to communication agencies as production fees and commissions.
I am speaking on this because I have been an active member of the public accounts committee since February. I have sat through some 11 weeks of hearings and testimony, listening to witnesses. I am here to testify that after my best efforts, and I believe those of any member of the committee who is willing to be honest, I must say that we are not substantially closer to the truth of this affair today than we were when the public accounts committee began. That is partly because we have only begun the process of hearing evidence.
At the beginning of the process, members of the committee collaboratively agreed on a list of prospective witnesses who could bring important information to the committee. I have that witness list here.
The witness list originally included some 130 prospective witnesses. To date the committee has heard from little more than 40 of those witnesses. Ninety prospective witnesses have not yet been heard from. I will detail some of those witnesses in a moment.
The committee has requested several important documents that have not yet been received. Witnesses have come to the committee and I believe have deliberately misled the committee in contempt of Parliament and in de facto, if not in de jure, committed perjury, including former ministers of the Crown and former senior public officials.
We hired an expert forensic accounting firm, KPMG, to assist the committee in this important inquiry. KPMG has identified question after question and issue after issue that have not yet been resolved. These are all reasons why we must continue the work of the committee and do it diligently.
Let me give an example of some of the witnesses from whom we have not yet heard. For instance, we have not heard from former chairmen, several of them, of Canada Post, one of the crown corporations implicated in the scandal.
We have not heard from former senior officials at VIA Rail who could confirm or deny the testimony of Marc LeFrançois, the former president.
We have not heard from senior officials from the Royal Canadian Mint with respect to their knowledge of this affair, or people from the Business Development Bank which, of course, was centrally involved in these scandals, including Michel Vennat, the former chairman, or for that matter Jean Carle, former executive assistant to then Prime Minister Chrétien.
We have not heard from Jon Grant, former chairman of Canada Lands, a victim of the witch hunt of the government and an important whistleblower. We have not heard from senior officials from the Port of Montreal, who could testify about the bizarre $1.5 million grant for a giant screen for the port that seems to have disappeared.
We have not heard from senior people from the RCMP who could add to the inquiry. We have not heard from anyone responsible at Groupaction Marketing, perhaps the central ad scam agency involved in this matter. We certainly have not heard from Jean Brault, president of Groupaction, now under criminal charge for several counts of fraud.
Nor have we heard from Jean Lafleur of Lafleur Communications, who is a central figure, another multi-million dollar donor to the Liberal Party of Canada, a Liberal fundraiser, a Liberal crony, Liberal organizer and beneficiary of the millions that went missing in the ad scam.
We have not heard from anyone from Gosselin Communications stratégiques. We have not heard from anyone at Communications Coffin or Compass Communications. I could go on and on about the people from the ad agencies that have not yet testified before the committee.
We have not heard from former clerks of the Privy Council, like Jocelyne Bourgon or Mel Cappe, who could tell us what the Privy Council knew and when it knew, and what directions they gave. Whether for instance, did an official from the Federal-Provincial Relations Office of the PCO call Chuck Guité in 1995 and instruct him to bend the rules, if necessary, in the government's advertising program? We would like to hear them testify to that question.
We have not heard from the former minister of public works, now the member from a riding near Ottawa who was prepared to testify the other day, but was unable to because of Liberal procedural tactics. We have not heard from the current Minister of Finance, who was also a former minister of public works, and himself intervened to get sole sourced contracts for his friends at Earnscliffe Strategy Group.
We have not heard from former presidents of the treasury board, including two current members of this place. We have not heard from the Minister of the Environment, whose constituency staff told a constituent that there was a secret slush fund available that turned out to be the sponsorship program. We have not heard from the President of the Privy Council, whose name has come up on almost a daily basis in relation to the ad scam inquiry.
We have not heard from industry experts like the Advertising Standards Council or the Association of Quebec Advertising Agencies.
We have not heard from Robert Scully of L'Information essentielle, the man involved in the Rocket Richard series that was exposed by the Auditor General.We have not heard from dozens of political staffers like Mario Laguë, Bruce Hartley, Karl Littler, Terrie O'Leary, Warren Kinsella, Jean Carle, Albano Gidaro, Elly Alboim Earnscliffe, and Jacques Hudon.
We have not heard from political organizers for the Liberal Party in Quebec who could testify about the fundraising connections between the ad scam agencies and the Liberal Party of Canada in Quebec.
We have not heard from Vincenzo Gagliano, son of Alfonso Gagliano, who received suspicious government contracts routed through firms like Groupaction and Groupe Everest. We have not heard from political assistants to Mr. Gagliano like Pierre Brodeur. We have not heard from Pierre Tremblay, former chief of staff to minister Gagliano who then became executive director of the sponsorship program after the departure of Chuck Guité.
Most notably, we have not heard from the right hon. Jean Chrétien, former Prime Minister of Canada, who was the man ultimately in charge, and who gave the orders, I believe, to Jean Pelletier to get this thing done. Ultimately, he set up the peculiar relationship between Chuck Guité and his ministers like David Dingwall and Alfonso Gagliano. Jean Chrétien fired the member of the House who was for a brief while public works minister and refused to play the game.
The committee is not yet one-third of the way through hearing from prospective witnesses and has not heard from the critical witnesses, the people who ultimately could have and would have given the political direction about which the current Prime Minister has spoken. I am talking about witnesses like Jean Chrétien, Jean Carle, and people like Pierre Tremblay from the sponsorship program itself.
KPMG, our forensic auditors, have provided us with many pages of unanswered questions, of contradictory testimony, and of what yet needs to be done by the committee. It did this in a briefing before us only days ago. There are documents that we have requested that we have not yet received. There are documents that we in the opposition have requested that government members have refused to allow us access to, such as notes taken by the clerks of the Privy Council in meetings with the former Prime Minister that pertain to the sponsorship scandal.
These would allow us to know what this Prime Minister and his predecessor knew about the ad scam, and what direction they gave and when they gave it. Liberals will not allow us to see those documents because presumably they have something to hide.
The Liberals voted against an opposition motion to give access to the Gagliano papers, his diaries and agendas, which would have allowed us to verify whether or not Mr. Gagliano misled the committee, and committed perjury when he claimed to have had virtually no working relationship with Chuck Guité and exercised no political direction or oversight in the program.
What we have here is the anatomy of a cover-up of the largest scandal involving public funds and the abuse of public trust in decades according to sober minded political historians like Michael Bliss. This is a scandal that has brought government itself, not just this government, but government itself into disrepute in this country and abroad.
What we have here is a unit of government that was set up in the words of Huguette Tremblay “without any rules” and in the words of the Auditor General was designed “to break all the rules” in order to benefit, and I believe criminally, certain people who had certain privileged access to the governing party.
That is what we are dealing with here. We are not dealing with some run of the mill misadministration that the government will look into. This is about a fundamental issue of trust. This is about theft. The former Prime Minister, Mr. Chrétien, himself said that “millions may have been stolen”.
This is not just the assertion of the opposition. The former Prime Minister, the man most likely to have provided the political direction, said “millions may have been stolen”, but it was justified because, in his perverse view of the world, $100 million thrown out the window to Liberal friendly ad agencies somehow saved the country.
I believe Canada is stronger. The strength of the federation is greater than millions of dollars of pork handed out to partisan friends of a corrupt administration.
Canadians were outraged in February, as they are today, and the Prime Minister knew it, which is why he said he was mad as hell and he promised to get to the bottom of this before an election. How will we get to the bottom of it? As I said earlier, the RCMP will have barely begun its criminal investigation into the revelations of the Auditor General's February report.
The Prime Minister has said that he has appointed an independent judicial inquiry led by Justice Gomery. Justice Gomery will not even begin hearing witnesses or receiving evidence until September of this year and will not report back until December of 2005. Therefore, no meaningful criminal investigation will be revealed before an election is expected next week. The judicial inquiry will not even begin its hearings. The only show in town, the only window Canadians have on the truth in this matter has been at the public accounts inquiry. It has sat for the past 11 weeks, dealt with perjurious witnesses, witnesses who skated around and avoided answering questions, witnesses who deliberately, I believe, misled us. Yet it is the only show in town.
The Prime Minister said that his judicial inquiry would operate on an expedited basis. Yet it will take that inquiry nearly two years to do its job. After 11 weeks, he has effectively given the order for the guillotine to fall down on the only inquiry that exists at the public accounts committee. How has he done that? For weeks, anybody who has watched those hearings has seen the procedural nonsense of the Liberal members, led by the very face of Liberal arrogance, the member for Notre-Dame-de-Grâce—Lachine who in motion after motion and one spurious point of order after another has sought to hamper the work of the committee.
Then this week we were concerned that the government was about to effectively shut down the committee. We asked the government about this. Hansard of Monday, May 10 reveals that the Deputy Prime Minister said the government “wants to get to the bottom of this matter. I call upon the public accounts committee to continue its work”. She said, “On behalf of the government, I would encourage the public accounts committee to continue its work”. She further said, “I would encourage the public accounts committee to get on with its work”. She further said “It has been the government that has been encouraging the committee to get on with its work”.
No fewer than half a dozen times on Monday of this week she said that the committee should get on with its work. Then on Wednesday of this week, her members came into that committee, the Liberal members, and voted to move the committee meetings in camera, in secret, and to hear from no more witnesses this week. Then the government line, including that of the Minister of Public Works and Government Services who had joined us, was that this was just an interim report to inform Canadians, but the committee will continue its work.
This morning my motion was put to have the committee meet from Monday through Friday of next week to continue to hear witnesses and to continue to shed light on this outrageous abuse of public trust. Every Liberal member of the committee voted against my motion effectively and voted not to continue meeting.
Why did the Deputy Prime Minister say, the government encourages the committee to get on with its work?” Why did she say, “On behalf of the government I would encourage the public accounts committee to continue its work”, in the present tense. Why did she say that if she did not mean it? Why no more hearings next week? Why meeting in camera this week? Why no judicial inquiry until September? There is only one reason. It is blatantly obvious this is a corrupt Liberal government that does not want the truth to come out before an election.
That is why we have moved this motion that would allow the public accounts committee effectively to continue with its work after the dissolution of Parliament anticipated next week. The motion would have the effect of creating an inquiry. I would suggest that all the current members of public accounts could continue under the aegis of that inquiry. Chaired by our current chairman, we could continue with our witness list and we could continue to do the work that we have set out to do, and the Prime Minister could keep his word that he would get to the bottom of this before going to the polls. I hope my colleagues opposite will support the motion for that reason.
Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON
Mr. Speaker, the member will know that the issue at hand has focussed around the disposition of $100 million of the $250 million sponsorship program. Unfortunately, and I think it is the right word, it has often been said that the money was lost or stolen. I would like to quote the Auditor General when she appeared at the public accounts committee on May 3. She said:
I think I have said, Mr. Chair, on numerous occasions that we have never said that the $100 million was missing, or stolen, or unaccounted for.
First, does the member agree with the Auditor General's statement? Second, if he does agree, then what does the member believe was the disposition of the $100 million if it was not lost, stolen or unaccounted for?
Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB
Mr. Speaker, I perhaps have more faith in the words of his former leader than that member does because the right hon. In May 2000 Jean Chrétien said, “A few million may have been stolen”. It may not have been the Auditor General's word. It was the word of the prime minister who helped to set up this scam who said that millions may have been stolen. In his characteristic sort of Marie-Antoinette l'etat c'est moi attitude he said, “So what? Maybe it did some good”.
I have never alleged that the Auditor General said money was stolen. Clearly, she has said it is unaccounted for. That would be a synonym for missing; millions upon millions. We now know, with the criminal charges laid this week that relate to this matter, without any doubt, and I believe we can infer reasonably, that there was fraud and theft involved, and the former prime minister confirmed that.
Let me give a couple examples of what have been credible media reports on this.
There was a story in the Ottawa Sun from senior sources who talked about the process of dry cleaning. Senior officials from Liberal ad scam firms, like Groupaction, would take their company credit card to go shopping at expensive boutique stores in Montreal with the spouses of prominent Ottawa Liberal political figures. They would purchase expensive items on their credit cards for the personal use of these Ottawa figures. Then the costs would all be dry cleaned through the ad scam contracts.
We have heard about $4,000 bottles of Pétrus wine being purchased by ad scam agencies and served to senior Liberal political figures and the cost of that being dry cleaned through advertising contracts.
We have heard about Crown corporations effectively purchasing luxury boxes at the Montreal hockey arena, but dry cleaning the cost of that through the ad scam agencies. This kind of activity goes on and on.
Yes, I believe, like Jean Chrétien, that millions were stolen. I agree with the Auditor General that we have no evidence about the whereabouts of millions of dollars. Let me just point to one example. This has not received much attention, but I think it is just a shocking example.
In May 2003, the Globe and Mail reported that a $64,000 donation from the company of Liberal fundraiser Alain Renaud was followed by a government sponsorship subcontract that benefited Mr. Renaud brother.
A few months after Alain Renaud made his donation, which, by the way, was the fifth largest donation to the Liberal Party that year, larger than several of the chartered banks, public works issued a $492,000 contract to Groupe Everest to produce promotional items, such as key chains and watches. Groupe Everest then subcontracted a $390,000 order to Communication Art Tellier Inc., controlled by Benoit Renaud, brother of Alain Renaud, and Groupe Everest got a $68,000 commission in the process.
Guess what? The company of Alain Renaud, which made this $64,000 donation to the Liberal Party, was shortly thereafter bankrupt. It had the same address as his brother Benoit Renaud who got the subcontract for $400,000.
What do we have here? One microcosm of the kind of unconscionable fraud, undoubtable fraud that occurred that benefited who? The Liberal Party got 64 grand out of this deal. Alain Renaud brother got a $400,000 contract. Groupe Everest, Liberal ad agency, got a $69,000 cheque for the trouble of passing the money on.
This is the kind of evidence which I see, as a member of the public accounts committee, is undoubtable circumstantial evidence about fraud and theft. That is precisely why the committee has been shut down. There will be no meaningful answers before going to the polls because the answers would be far too damning.
Lynne Yelich Blackstrap, SK
Mr. Speaker, I would just like to ask the hon. member what he thought when it appeared the Auditor General was taking some heat for her report and was probably overdramatizing. Has the member any comments about that?
Jason Kenney Calgary Southeast, AB
Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague has raised that point. As a member of the committee, I can tell everyone that the very first time the Auditor General appeared before us the Liberal members began by browbeating her, criticizing her methodology, questioning her findings and implying that she was given to hyperbole and overstatement.
We have seen a string of senior Liberals, from Alfonso Gagliano to Liberal appointees at crown corporations to the heads of Liberal ad agencies, attacking the Auditor General and making allegations. One Liberal referred to her, off the record because the person did not have the guts to say it on the record, as a drama queen.
I think there is a good reason why Sheila Fraser is the most popular woman in Canada today. It is because she is one of the very few people in public life who Canadians trust implicitly. They know she is a woman of precision, moderation and thoughtfulness, and they trust that her sober-minded findings are completely verifiable. I commend the Auditor General for having gone before the public accounts committee, last week I believe, to defend herself and the integrity of her office.
When asked by one of my Liberal colleagues whether she thought the opposition had misquoted or mischaracterized her findings and that this had led to unfair attacks on her integrity, she said, “No, not at all. I think the people who have been attacking our office have been doing so because they want to deflect from their own wrongdoing”. I am paraphrasing.
I think she deserves great commendation from Canadians, and not the kind of condemnation that she has received from members opposite, including the infamous $13 million man, the windbag from Winnipeg South, the President of the Treasury Board, who alleged that the whole program may have only had about $13 million, the whereabouts of which we do not know. He was forced to apologize in humiliation.
It was not the Auditor General who misled Canadians. It was the President of the Treasury Board who ought to have known better in his crude effort to cover up this Liberal scandal.
Message from the Senate
May 13th, 2004 / 5 p.m.
The Deputy Speaker
I have the honour to inform the House that a message has been received from the Senate informing this house that the Senate has passed certain bills, to which the concurrence of this House is desired.
The House resumed consideration of the motion.
Paul Szabo Mississauga South, ON
Mr. Speaker, I have listened to the debate today and have attended the public accounts committee on a couple of occasions to listen to testimony and to observe the committee in discharging its responsibilities on this important matter. I did that because, having been on the government operations and estimates committee, I was intimately involved in the George Radwanski case, the former privacy commissioner, who subsequently was found by this House to be in contempt of Parliament. There is no doubt that there were two different approaches as to how to proceed on these matters.
I want to add my contribution to this debate from a perspective of my background and the fact that I am also an elected person and feel very badly whenever there is a problem in terms of the mismanagement, misuse or waste of taxpayer money.
I am a chartered accountant by profession and I spent a number of years with Price Waterhouse in the auditing business. I was also in corporate life for some 23 years and for about 5 or 6 of those years I had responsibility for the internal audit function. I am fairly familiar with the scope of the work that is done within those functions.
I simply want to bring to the attention of the House that even within the chartered accounting profession, some years ago the audit opinion, which auditors give, was changed substantively from when I first wrote my exams and its history of what the audit opinion said. The substance of the change has to do with the fact that the financial statements are the responsibility, the property and the representation of management, and that the auditors do not take responsibility for anything they may not have found, such as fraud, mismanagement, or whatever. The auditors' job is not to detect, but should they detect, they must report in a fashion that would result in corrective action.
However the onus and the responsibility to detect is not the auditors. They are not opining on the statements on anything other than what has come to their attention. It really is the management. With regard to the sponsorship program, I think management is at the centre of the issue. How were the funds managed?
I can also comment on this whole matter from the standpoint that in September 2000 I was appointed the parliamentary secretary to the then public works minister, Alfonso Gagliano, and subsequently, his successor, the member for Glengarry—Prescott—Russell, and I carried on until January 2003 with the current finance minister who was then in that portfolio.
I want to comment on the actions that were taken by the current finance minister because I think members and the public should know that the government did not wait until there was an Auditor General's report to lay out matters. There was an internal audit that came forward in the year 2000. In fact, the internal audit report was published and available on the government website. All the findings of the internal audit, in which they identified management control problems and other aspects that had to be addressed, were addressed.
The current finance minister, who was then the minister of Public Works and Government Services, took charge. First, he froze the program until he could get a handle on the situation. He then came to the House and said that there were three particular items. He made the representation to the House that if there were deficiencies in the management controls surrounding these matters they would be corrected. As a consequence of the internal audit and the work that was done, changes were made starting right back in 2000.
The then public works minister said that if there were any allegations of wrongdoing they would be referred to the proper authorities for investigation, and indeed there were. I was parliamentary secretary at the time and I think there were seven referrals to the RCMP for investigation. Charges have been laid pursuant to those investigations that started back then when that minister made the representations and the commitment to the House.
He finally said that if there were any overpayments or improper payments for work not done, that we would take every possible step to recover those funds. This is responsible management.
I always tend, as an auditor and as a chartered accountant, to assess management, not only from the standpoint of how it handles matters that are going well, but how it responds when things are not going well. When there are problems, does management take remedial actions? Does it take charge of the situation? Does it put into place the kinds of action plans that are necessary to ensure that we mitigate any damage that is being done, and that it puts into place the controls that are necessary so that it would preclude the possibility from this kind of thing from ever happening again.
That is responsible management and I believe that the assessment of the House, of the public accounts committee and, I am sure, of the judicial inquiry will be that the government took all appropriate and necessary steps to address this in a sound, professional and good management practices way.
Yes, charges have been laid against two individuals. The public and the House are aware of the details as they have been widely published. Does anyone remember Bre-X, Enron and even Nortel? We can all think of the list of companies, corporations, organizations and NGOs where there have been problems.
We are talking about human beings and in some cases people have taken advantage of the opportunities provided within their responsibilities to do wrong. It is going to happen and we understand that.
However if we were to implement a program and put in controls that would give a 100% guarantee that something like what has happened with regard to sponsorship could never happen, the program would be so inefficient government would be spending $10 to save $1. It makes no sense. It is like asking people to check everything at the border to ensure that not one handgun crosses that border because we know so many handguns come across.
If we were to introduce programs and measures to do the kind of checking that would be necessary to stop every single handgun from coming into Canada, we would shut down the economies of two countries. Seventy per cent of our export business goes across that border.
If we were going to stop that commerce velocity to achieve another objective, we would find that the cost would be far more. As an auditor, as an accountant, as a parliamentarian and as a human being with some common sense, I would want reasonable measures put in place to properly discharge our responsibilities, understanding that there would be no 100% guarantee. There is never a 100% guarantee.
I just want to remind the House of some of the measures that were in the last report of the Auditor General. First, to establish an independent commission of inquiry. The government has done that.
Second, to appoint a special counsel for financial recovery, and, where it is possible and with all the tools to recover any moneys that were wrongfully disbursed to anyone, to recover those. The government has done that.
Third, to introduce whistleblower legislation by March 31, 2004. The bill has been introduced and it is Bill C-25. I happen to be the chair of the government operations and estimates committee presently hearing witnesses on this bill. It is a very good start.
Further, the government is looking at measures to strengthen the audit committees for crown corporations and the possible extension of the Access to Information Act to crown corporations. That is in process.
There is also the initiation of a review on changes to the governance of crown corporations; the initiation of changes to the FAA, and on the accountabilities of ministers and public servants. Another measure was to allow the public accounts committee to begin its work early, which has been done.
My professional assessment as a CA, my assessment as a member of Parliament who has watched this closely and has been involved intimately in similar matters, is that the government has taken all appropriate steps to mitigate the problem and to ensure that management controls are put in place to deal with it properly, that allocations are going to be properly dealt with and finally, financial recoveries will take place.
The Deputy Speaker
It being 5:15 p.m., it is my duty to interrupt the proceedings and put forthwith every question necessary to dispose of the business of supply.
The question is on the motion. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Some hon. members
Some hon. members
The Deputy Speaker
All those in favour of the motion will please say yea.
Some hon. members
The Deputy Speaker
All those opposed will please say nay.