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Evidence of meeting #50 for Procedure and House Affairs in the 40th Parliament, 3rd Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was chair.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

William V. Baker  Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety
Doug Nevison  Director, Fiscal Policy Division, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Ned Franks  Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Studies, Queen's University, As an Individual

March 17th, 2011 / 10:50 a.m.

William V. Baker Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety

Mr. Chair, Bill C-5, which deals with the international transfer of offenders, essentially changes the criteria under which the minister can consider a request to transfer an offender. As we've indicated in the material that has been provided to the committee, we do not see at this time a need for any incremental resources.

As we acknowledged, if this bill were to come into effect—it's at report stage right now—and if we were to detect that there were some implications that we could not foresee at this time, we would certainly find ways to address those within the funding framework that's available.

10:50 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Chair, according to the analysis put forward by Mr. Baker and Mr. Toews, no estimate of the additional costs or fees associated with the transfer of responsibilities for the department of foreign affairs has been established at this time.

10:50 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety

William V. Baker

Mr. Chair, we see there are potential implications for Correctional Service Canada, the Parole Board, and the Department of Foreign Affairs.

At this point in time, our professional judgment is that the implications are so remote and so ill-defined and would be of a magnitude that would not necessitate early flagging. We feel we're in the best shape to track the implementation of this bill and then address anything that may come up later. There may not be any implications there. It's speculative at this point.

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Chair, it is nevertheless interesting to hear that answer, especially since the bill has been introduced and fine-tuned. Some amount of funding will be allocated, but they haven't got a ballpark figure of how much it will cost.

10:55 a.m.

Deputy Minister, Department of Public Safety

William V. Baker

No. Mr. Chair, once again, if we had reason to believe, based on our analysis, that there was an identifiable amount, we would certainly have included that, first of all, in the discussions and the funding request, but it would also be captured in the material that we provided.

At this point we are unable to define any amount that can be reasonably attributed to the implementation of this bill.

10:55 a.m.

Bloc

Richard Nadeau Bloc Gatineau, QC

Mr. Chair, I am not sure how much time I have left, but I just want to add how fascinating it is that we are getting that very relevant information only today and how long it took to get it. I get the sense that it takes a situation like this one before you can manage to get any facts from the government, not to mention, information that is plain, clear and accurate.

Thank you very much.

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Thank you.

Monsieur Godin, for five minutes.

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I completely agree with my colleague, Mr. Nadeau.

The unfortunate thing is that we have been waiting for this information for four months now. Then, at the last minute, the government hands over this tome, during the meeting no less.

Is there any other information or documentation protected by Cabinet confidence that we do not have access to? Do we have all the information right now? In the House, the Leader of the Government in the House of Commons said that some documents could not be made public because they constituted a Cabinet confidence. Are there any documents protected by Cabinet confidence, yes or no?

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

Well, my understanding, Mr. Chair, is that there are no cabinet confidences disclosed here. We are not disclosing documents that were submitted to cabinet. This is all material that has been put together by the public officials on information that may well have been put into a cabinet document, which is a different issue. The information here is not a cabinet document.

Perhaps Mr. Baker can explain how in fact this has been done--

10:55 a.m.

An hon. member

On a point of order.

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

Vic Toews Conservative Provencher, MB

--but all I want to reiterate, in answer to the question, is that there are no cabinet confidences in this material.

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Just one second--

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

When there is a point of order--

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

I was just allowing the minister to finish his thought. I won't be rude.

I will move on to the point of order when there's a break. Here we go.

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Marcel Proulx Liberal Hull—Aylmer, QC

The same will apply to a member then.

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

I hope so.

Mr. Brison, do you have a point of order?

10:55 a.m.

Liberal

Scott Brison Liberal Kings—Hants, NS

Mr. Chair, the minister just said there are no cabinet confidences provided here, but on December 1 the Department of Justice said:

The issue of whether there are any costs associated with the implementation of any of the Government's Justice bills is a matter of Cabinet confidence....

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Mr. Brison, that is debate.

Monsieur Godin, we're using your time.

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

No, no, no. Don't try...Mr. Chair.

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

I was suggesting we only have the ministers for a little while longer.

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

Mr. Chair, with all due respect, don't play that game with me.

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

If you want to have debate on your point--

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

We're still going to be here on Monday. Don't play that trick with me.

Mr. Chair, I will keep talking.

10:55 a.m.

Conservative

The Chair Conservative Joe Preston

Let me finish, please. If I am speaking, I do get to finish.

We, today, have taken to accusing each other of things. Let's not do that. This committee tends to work very well together as a matter of course, but when making decisions from the chair, I do get to finish my thoughts, so let's use that out of respect, and I will respect you, sir.

You have a couple of minutes left in your time.

10:55 a.m.

NDP

Yvon Godin NDP Acadie—Bathurst, NB

With all due respect, I don't mind if you finish your thoughts, but not on my time.