Good morning, Mr. Chair and committee members.
Associate Minister Fantino and I appreciate the invitation to appear on the topic of the supplementary estimates (B).
As you know, we both appeared before the Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates last June to discuss the main estimates.
Since becoming a cabinet minister in 2006, I have appreciated opportunities such as this to meet with parliamentary committees and discuss the business of defence.
Mr. Chair and members of the committee, this is my ninth appearance before this committee and my 23rd appearance before a parliamentary committee, so I'm familiar with the process.
You have already indicated, Mr. Chair, a number of the senior officials from the Department of National Defence, leaders within the department and the Canadian Forces, who are joining us here this morning. So I won't introduce them again, but they will also be available to answer your questions here this morning.
Together, these individuals and the associate minister and I represent the military and civilian professionals who manage our defence resources on a daily basis. With their support, Minister Fantino and I look forward to providing your committee with the information it needs with regard to supplementary estimates (B).
Mr. Chair, the defence team remains acutely aware of the global economic realities faced by the Government of Canada, by Canadians everywhere, and by our partners and allies around the world.
In this context, we have sought to carefully manage our resources so that we can both deliver on the operational needs of today while maintaining flexibility for the needs of tomorrow.
The supplementary estimates (B) are therefore quite modest relative to the overall size of our mandate and budget, and they do not identify any additional net funding requirements for this year. Let me repeat that: these supplementary estimates do not identify any additional net funding requirements for this year.
Nevertheless, we have identified a few areas where some incremental funding is needed so that we can deliver on important initiatives, such as exercising sound environmental stewardship by addressing past environmental problems on National Defence land--in other words, remediation and cleanup of certain environmental sites that are in the possession of the National Defence department--and providing long-term accommodations for the Communication Security Establishment Canada, CSE, suited to its expanded size and mandate in a post-9/11 world, and also providing CSE with the resources it needs to help the government combat illegal migration and human smuggling.
In addition to those new appropriations, Mr. Chair and committee, we're also seeking to reprofile or transfer existing funds so that we can move forward on projects such as reinforcing the Canadian Forces' presence in the Arctic by establishing a new training centre in Resolute Bay; supporting important health research related to blood loss, a leading cause of preventable death among battle casualties; and also ensuring that the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency has the necessary funds to organize and deliver the Halifax International Security Forum in the years to come.
Finally, Mr. Chair, for all these initiatives, any new funding identified in supplementary estimates (B) has been more than offset by decreases in other areas of defence spending, resulting in an overall decrease of $323,000 in appropriations and spending authorities for the year 2011-12.
Now, I understand that the committee no doubt has questions about some of the items and mechanics of the supplementary estimates (B). With the help of my colleagues here today, I would be more than happy to provide you with whatever clarification or information you might require.
Mr. Chair, I thank you again for this opportunity, and I look forward to the questions from your committee.