I think there's a ripe opportunity right now with the government having advanced this proposal for estimates reform. I think that, to some extent, the deemed rule reflected the decline of the role of estimates in that process within Parliament.
For those who don't know, after a certain period of time the estimates are effectively deemed to have passed. The very core Magna Carta rights of parliamentarians were traded at the time for—I think—extra staff and office space. It sounds silly, but when we think about subverting the core obligations of all members of Parliament, linked not just to the Magna Carta but to our Constitution and the Financial Administration Act, I think it is worthy of time, effort, and information.
Mr. Caron asked, “What is the nature of information?” It's a good question. Well, yes, program activity, things that make sense to you and me, but also the information that goes with it.... I agree with you that if the government didn't have the deemed rule, then all of a sudden there wouldn't be the same time pressure. You could have fulsome discussions on things that are important. If parliamentarians are getting information about deviations from the budget or about performance, then the discussion can focus around that. You're not going through every last page of the blue books looking for something that—as I learned when I worked at Treasury Board—you're never going to find anyway. Instead, you're looking at things that are important, and consistent with the questions Mr. François-Philippe Champagne asked about performance, and you're getting reports on that basis. Then you'll ask about those things that are important to you and to your constituents. I think the time pressures will be taken off, and there will be far more time, consistent with you appropriating $250 billion.