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Evidence of meeting #33 for Public Accounts in the 41st Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament’s site, as are the minutes.) The winning word was projects.

A recording is available from Parliament.

On the agenda

MPs speaking

Also speaking

Ronnie Campbell  Assistant Auditor General, Office of the Auditor General of Canada
David Enns  Deputy Assistant Secretary, Expenditure Management, Treasury Board Secretariat
Rick Stewart  Assistant Secretary to the Cabinet, Liaison Secretariat for Macroeconomic Policy, Privy Council Office
Taki Sarantakis  Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy and Communications Branch, Infrastructure Canada
Natasha Rascanin  Assistant Deputy Minister, Program Operations Branch, Infrastructure Canada
Robert Dunlop  Assistant Deputy Minister, Science and Innovation Sector, Department of Industry
Douglas Nevison  General Director, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance
Elisha Ram  Director, Microeconomic Policy Analysis, Department of Finance
John Affleck  Principal, Office of the Auditor General of Canada
Clerk of the Committee  Ms. Joann Garbig

10:25 a.m.

General Director, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Douglas Nevison

Mr. Chair, I'll take that one.

In general, as I mentioned, the government has released seven reports to Canadians on the effectiveness of the economic action plan. They generally attempt to address the issues raised by the Office of the Auditor General, whether the impact of the various measures have been successful in achieving the results. Again, the main objective was to maintain and create jobs. I suspect that the final report will follow a similar approach.

10:25 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

But will you be able to provide a detailed analysis with methodology based on the expectations? Your existing conversations with the Office of the Auditor General have provided you some insight on what exactly they are looking for. Do you anticipate there may be some gaps or holes, that you may not be able to fulfill those expectations?

10:25 a.m.

General Director, Economic and Fiscal Policy Branch, Department of Finance

Douglas Nevison

I think we'll be able to fulfill the expectations. I think both the first audit and the second audit have been very helpful, in terms of reporting and what is required. As I said, I think it's consistent with the methodology we have adopted.

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP David Christopherson

Okay.

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Is that all the time?

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP David Christopherson

No, you've got another minute.

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Concerning the follow-up audit itself, Mr. Campbell, you said to us that you haven't determined whether you're going to conduct a follow-up audit. But on a program of $47 billion, once the final or completed documentation is provided in a report to Parliament, do you anticipate it's likely that you would? Or would you still hold out that you will wait and see?

10:30 a.m.

Assistant Auditor General, Office of the Auditor General of Canada

Ronnie Campbell

Yes, we'd wait and see. I think we have a lot of other things we need to turn our attention to. I'm not diminishing this in any way, but we've done two audits. Quite honestly, the big mistakes in a program or an initiative like this would have been made in the design at the beginning, and I think that's why we were so keen to get in there at the beginning. The second audit has been consistent with the first audit, but that's not to say we won't do it. We'll give it consideration at that time.

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP David Christopherson

Very good. That does expire the time.

Thank you to all our witnesses.

I just have a special word for Mr. Campbell and for the Auditor General's department. I was around when all this was launched back in the day, and there were commitments looked for by members, especially opposition members, about the involvement of the Auditor General's office. There were great assurances given that you would be on top of it, that your shop would cover this no matter what.

I want to say, from my point of view, you have absolutely done that. Everyone will appreciate the political tensions at the time and your willingness to step in and say “We will be there at these junctures”, and then honour that, provide the reports. I just want to give you some feedback, as someone who was there from the beginning to the end. Once again, the Auditor General's office has risen to the occasion, made very broad, sweeping commitments at the time, and then followed up and honoured them. And today is the second part of that.

So thank you again to the Office of the Auditor General for your professionalism and your assistance to all of us as we grapple with these issues.

If there's no further intervention, I will also extend a thank you to all of the staff who attended today. It was an excellent meeting. We appreciate your participation and look forward to your being here next time, probably much more than you look forward to it.

With that, we will excuse our witnesses and thank them again for their testimony today.

Members, we are ready to move into business. I will give a quick 15 seconds for our guests to vacate and allow us to begin our deliberations.

Mr. Saxton.

10:30 a.m.

Conservative

Andrew Saxton Conservative North Vancouver, BC

Mr. Chair, since we're going to be discussing committee business, I'd like to move that we go in camera.

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP David Christopherson

Thank you.

The motion to go in camera is in order. There's no debate.

All in favour of going in camera?

10:30 a.m.

Liberal

Gerry Byrne Liberal Humber—St. Barbe—Baie Verte, NL

Can I ask for a recorded vote on this, Mr. Chair?

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP David Christopherson

Yes, you may.

A recorded vote has been requested. I'll ask the clerk for a roll call.

March 13th, 2012 / 10:30 a.m.

The Clerk of the Committee Ms. Joann Garbig

The question is on the motion of Mr. Saxton.

(Motion agreed to: yeas, 7; nays 4)

10:30 a.m.

NDP

The Chair NDP David Christopherson

We are moving in camera.

[Proceedings continue in camera]