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Evidence of meeting #3 for Foreign Affairs and International Development in the 41st Parliament, 2nd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was million.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Nadir Patel  Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Sabine Nolke  Director General, Non-Proliferation and Security Threat Reduction Bureau, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development
Charles Lamarre  Director General of Operations, Strategic Joint Staff, Department of National Defence
Christopher Ram  Legal Counsel, Criminal Law Policy Section, Department of Justice

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Unallocated is unallocated.

3:45 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Nadir Patel

The $123.4 million was the total lapse.

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Yes, sorry, it's a lapse, not spent. We'll call it that for sure. Okay.

3:45 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Nadir Patel

Unspent. Of which...we break it down to the various buckets—

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Fine. So for the purposes of the discussion with the Minister, we'll say $320 million lapsed. Is that fair?

3:45 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Nadir Patel

No, it was $123.4 million in vote 1, then in the grants and contributions it was $150 million, and the majority of that or a good chunk was assessed contributions to international organizations where the assessments came in a lot lower than we had expected.

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Right. If I could cut through so people might actually understand this, there's about $300 million you could have spent that wasn't spent.

3:45 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Nadir Patel

The way I would characterize it, it's $300 million that we actually—

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

That you had available to you to spend.

3:45 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Nadir Patel

Well, we couldn't in fact spend it.

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

This is beautiful.

3:45 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Nadir Patel

Assessments, as an example, for international organizations was less than—

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

No, I get that.

3:45 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Nadir Patel

We wouldn't have given them more than what we were assessed. So there's an example of money—

3:45 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

But you had access to that money to spend.

3:50 p.m.

Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer, Corporate Finance and Operations, Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development

Nadir Patel

We had it in our reference levels, yes.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Yes, thank you.

That is really what we're talking about here, that in this past year, Minister, you had a good sum of money that you could have accessed but went unallocated.

You might need help with this, Minister, but I don't think so because I actually have the numbers from your department. In the first quarter of last year, 2012-13, you had 33 projects of over $25,000 that were approved. In this first quarter of 2013-14, you only have approved six projects over that amount. What's going on here? There seems to be a real slowing down of approvals.

November 19th, 2013 / 3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

We're doing smaller ones.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Okay. How many?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

We'd certainly be happy to get you that information.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

Okay, are you going to follow up with me on that? I'm sure you'll appreciate from what we just heard that there seems to be a real slowing down in approvals of that size, but you're contending here that there are many more smaller projects that are being approved—

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

I said that could be the case. I have to look at each of the numbers.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

So you don't know? You don't know, but you're going to get back to me on that?

3:50 p.m.

Conservative

John Baird Conservative Ottawa West—Nepean, ON

That's what I said.

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Paul Dewar NDP Ottawa Centre, ON

We're concerned that the money that actually is there and available to be allocated for all the good things Canada should be doing is not being allocated.

If you look at the department's main estimates this year, I'll give you an example of something we're very concerned about. It indicated that the funds for the Global Peace and Security Fund were going to be sunsetted. You'll recall that conversation we had the last time you were at committee.

It's interesting and I'll go back to what you said in April. In reference to the Global Peace and Security Fund, you said:

We'll be coming forward with a new initiative in this regard that I think will get widespread support.

The supplementary estimates suggest that the program is back, but with a 30% budget cut. I guess what I'm asking is what happened to—