I think if you look at some of the variables I talked about, the Westminster Parliament really is at a severe disadvantage. Amendment powers are the same as in your House of Commons. Parliament can only reduce existing items. The last time the government was defeated on estimates was in 1919, when the Lord Chancellor was denied funding for a second bathroom. So that was a long, long time ago, 80 or 90 years ago.
The budget is routinely approved late. What happens in the meantime is that the government starts implementing its budget proposal. It's a system that puts Parliament at a disadvantage. The estimates are extremely high-level, in particular with big departments at the vote level, where many, many billions of pounds are appropriated in a single line. It effectively means that the executive can adjust the budget during the fiscal year in almost any way it likes. It can withhold the money, because British-style appropriations are only upper limits; they don't oblige the actual disbursement of these funds. That is up to the treasury's discretion. It's an upper limit at a very high level of aggregation, which means that a lot of money can be moved during the fiscal year.
You have the disadvantages of timing. In the British House of Commons, it's one of the very few parliaments in the OECD that does not have a specialized budget committee. There are only three or four parliaments within the OECD community where the legislature does not have a specialized finance or budget committee. There is a treasury select committee, but it is departmentally focused. It is not a finance or budget committee. Finally, they do not have a very extensive budget research capacity.
So on several of these counts, on several of these variables, the situation in Canada is actually already better. There is more for committee infrastructure. There is the Parliamentary Budget Officer. I think in many ways you already have a more useful set of estimates than the House of Commons in the United Kingdom gets at the moment.