Thank you, Chair. I have only five minutes, so I'll try to keep it tight.
The first thing I want to do is underscore Mr. Chen's excellent question on the moratorium. The AG identified that it was the moratorium that seemed to be the key to CRA's success in this regard. He asked for some comments back. They weren't all straightforward, and I get that—a moratorium's not always the complete answer—but the AG is suggesting it made a big difference.
I'm just asking colleagues that I think we should ask all the entities here to provide a more comprehensive answer, in writing, to us about the issue of the moratorium, as well as Treasury Board, because, again, CRA is outside their plans. If we're going to make some changes based on what CRA did, the way for them to be most effective is to do it at the Treasury Board level, which then applies across the board to all the ministries.
It was an excellent question, Mr. Chen, and I'm really glad you brought that out.
Second, Chair, at the risk of getting close to the line and hearing you say that I'm out of order, I'm going to skate up against it. There's a current article out on the National Post website about the fact that there were 631 new cars bought for the G7 conference at a price of $23 million, and that most of them have very low kilometres—around 1,000 kilometres or less for some—and they're all put on sale at major discounts. It's an active file right now.
I don't have the time to hear the answer and then respond, but I would ask if the RCMP has anything to say about why we would go out and buy so many brand new cars, only to turn around and sell them all right afterwards. Was there no other way to do this? It's just a clear waste of millions of dollars.
To the AG, is there maybe something to look at going forward, Jerome? Motorcades are going to be needed in the future. I've been in them. We've all been in them when we travel. They're going to come up again. We belong to a lot of international organizations, to our credit and to our health—G7, G20, the Commonwealth, OSCE, and on and on. These are going to happen over and over. Surely to goodness we don't go out and buy hundreds of vehicles all over again every time we do this. We shouldn't have to start from square one.
Is there maybe something there that we can look at to avoid this situation? I understand more than most people that there are security issues, but still there's kind of a common sense issue here. As my friend Jack Layton used to say, this just doesn't pass the smell test.
Third, to the Auditor General, you didn't mention this, so I'm assuming it's not a problem. One of our witnesses did comment that you didn't find any backroom cahoots going on. I mean, when there's value to be had and money to be made, there's always the risk that people are making deals on the inside. You didn't mention it, so if you get a chance when you respond, you could just say no, that you had none of those concerns. I did hear some good answers, but I'd like to hear it from you that you were satisfied that there's no “silly bugger” stuff going on here.
Last, I believe there was a reference in the Auditor General's report, Madam Lemay, to GCSurplus and their inability to do long-term investments because of the way they're structured. If you get a chance, could you comment on that and give any suggestions for improvement you might have? That would be appreciated.