Thank you very much, Mr. Chair, and thank you, Mr. Head, for being here today.
I have to say, when I read the report, both initially and then in more detail, my past came back to haunt me, given that in another life I used to be responsible for the Ontario prison system. I don't know about now, but at that time the Ontario system alone was equal to the entire federal system. It's probably relatively the same.
Two things struck me. One was, I have to admit, a great deal of sympathy because of the challenges faced by that ministry. It's different from any other part of government, and the pressures are enormous. When the money is not there to meet the challenges, those are hellish decisions to make.
I'm not going to be as over the top as I normally am, because that is going to constrain me. It's my experience; you can't go against that. It's a tough ministry to run.
However, I do want to bring forward that in paragraph 7.77 of the Auditor General's report, the first sentence says:
We found that CSC focuses much of its effort on safety and security. It does not pay sufficient attention to economy and efficiency.
You know what? If we have to have a problem, I'm glad it's that way. I am glad this audit didn't show that you're really good at buying the clothes and really good at buying the food and lousy at security and lousy at safety.
I say that with great experience, because I remember that Mike Harris' government privatized one of the youth detention centres and turned it into a boot camp. The night before the grand opening, with the ribbon ready to cut, there was a breakout. The first thing they had to do was call in the public sector correctional workers to secure the place and go and find the prisoners who had escaped.
I say that because we know this government has an interest and is salivating a bit at the system and would love to privatize it.
The biggest growth industry in the United States is building prisons....