This amendment is along the same lines as the other amendment I have just presented, in that it is also intended to increase transparency. I have just talked about the frequency of reviewing the metric, but, in this case, I am talking about more transparency in the market basket measure. We have had this discussion here around this table. Several of us have asked who should be deciding what is in the basket. I am not saying that there is currently a danger that the figures will be manipulated in order to improve the government's record in the fight against poverty, but there could be one eventually. Over time, items could be taken out of or put into the basket, which would allow decision-makers to play with the poverty line calculation, basically in order to achieve the targets set.
We are proposing that the Chief Statistician of Canada make those decisions and that he or she publish on the Statistics Canada website the list of items in the basket of goods and services representing a modest, basic standard of living in Canada, and the prices of those items. This would ensure as much transparency as possible, and that the Chief Statistician of Canada will be making the decisions. The bill makes reference to Statistics Canada, but it does not mention who will decide what is in the market basket.
This amendment clarifies that. In addition, the contents of the market basket will be better known, because they will be published online and accessible to everyone. Canadians would therefore be able to find out which items have been added to, or removed from, the market basket. They would also be in a position to see whether any manipulation of the figures had taken place in order to match the targets set.