Welcome back, everyone. It's wonderful to have you back here.
I have to say right off the bat that I'm extremely disappointed in your department.
On November 28, 2017, both yourself and Ms. Lemay promised us by mid-December, within two weeks, that “We will get back to you in two weeks as to what the process will be.”
It's actually been three and a half months. As you can imagine, my party, the NDP, MPs across the country, and the several hundred thousand people affected by Phoenix are not impressed that it's taken you three and a half months, when you promised us two weeks. The system you've come up with is completely inadequate to help people.
One of the ladies I've been dealing with is Sebastianne Critchley. She was on Global News recently. She's been profiled in the National Post. I want to show you this. These are her emails that she has sent to us, and this is double-sided paper. Since I approached Ms. Lemay and Mr. Linklater in November to help her, she sent us about an eight-page letter outlining all of the issues that she's had. She approached me, and I went directly to the very top. Even with the very top people helping, we have a hundred pages of emails from the people in the department unable to help her.
The reason I mention this...and I go back to your new system where all it does for MPs is to tell the staff to go back to your department. If you can't fix it, we'll send a form up to escalate it, and we'll get back to you in two weeks.
These are Ms. Critchley's comments from this morning, “package outline steps to follow”. What happens when we follow those steps repeatedly? Again, these are the steps she has taken, and repeatedly it's failed.
I will ask you again, will your department please help MPs set up a proper process to help those who have been Phoenixed? There are a lot of minor issues that can be handled this way, but there are a lot of very serious issues, people's lives are being destroyed by this system. Simply telling them to go to the MP, and have the MPs send an email to the department, and hope to get back within two weeks is not enough.
Ms. Critchley sent another follow-up note to someone recently. She got a note back three weeks later saying, “We'll start looking into this, I am planning on reviewing this.” This is after three weeks, this is after Mr. Linklater, months ago, started it.
On behalf of those people affected, would you go back and take a serious look at providing resources, and help MPs to help their constituents? This is not a Conservative issue, it's not an NDP issue, it's not a Liberal issue. It's a non-partisan issue of MPs being able to help their constituents.
Simply sending out a form saying “Go to your boss” is not going to cut it. Please go back and review that, and get back to us on how you're going to improve the system. Why did it take three and a half months to get a simple form basically saying, “Go back to what you've already been doing”?
I want to get on to the estimates. You've committed $16 million to find a new system that's going to be going through Treasury Board. The Treasury Board is the same department that had the Gartner report, and sat on it. The Gartner report clearly said Phoenix wasn't ready to go ahead. Treasury Board did not apparently pass it on to PSPC, it sat on it.
This is the same Treasury Board that sat on the comptroller general's report in December that clearly showed the testing across all departments was showing a high failure rate, and Phoenix wasn't ready.
The same Treasury Board that sat on the project status report in December, two months before Phoenix started, said, “Clear the backlog before you go ahead with Phoenix”, the same backlog that the government has identified as the main problem with the Phoenix fiasco. It sat on it.
The same Treasury Board sat in committee in February, and questioned by the NDP and ourselves, said that Phoenix was good, 99% working, otherwise it wouldn't go ahead.
Now, Treasury Board is so complicit and incompetent in this matter, why in the world would we trust Treasury Board to choose a new system to replace Phoenix?