Mr. Speaker, let me begin by thanking my hon. colleague from Ottawa-Vanier for introducing Bill C-207. He explained very well the overall nature of the bill which is aimed at giving the Auditor General of Canada a little more room to manoeuvre so as to allow him to present the information the House truly requires as quickly as possible. The hon. member gave a good account of several great examples of totally outrageous spending. We had heard of these expenditures. He pointed out that the Auditor General's report was enormously useful to members, and I cannot disagree with this statement.
However, I would like to say that this report should also be useful to the people. The public can obtain copies of the report from the Auditor General of Canada. The published report is available free of charge. Many citizens would do well to read it. The Auditor General's Office will be happy to send them a copy if they request one.
To all those who are listening to us at this moment, let me say that the role of the Auditor General of Canada is to act as the government watchdog in matters of national finance. Each year, the Auditor General inspects a portion of the government's books and each year, as my colleague from Ottawa-Vanier said, he releases a report anywhere from 600 to 700 pages long describing some administrative horrors of which the government is guilty.
Very often, and that is something that my colleague also stressed, the media jump on this report and it makes headlines for two or three days, a week at best, and then it is shelved. I believe my colleague was right to mention it.
Naturally, the Bloc Quebecois will support this bill, but I must say that ever since we arrived here, we have asked for something much larger than this. We believe that the role of the Auditor General is not wide enough. We have been asking the government to open its books to the public, so it can review, item by item, all government spending, including fiscal spending. By the way, we know that fiscal spending is beyond the reach of the Auditor General, he is not suppose to review that, it is nor part of his mandate, and I talked about that with Mr. Desautels during a meeting we had with him.
For those who would like to know what fiscal spending is, I recommend a book published in Toronto I believe, a couple of year ago. It is called The Lion's Share , by Linda McQuaig, and it describes how people who control Canadian fiscal policy could grab it for their own profit.
Unfortunately, the way things are now, I believe that government operations are not fully transparent since some elements which should be audited are not accessible to the Auditor General of Canada.
That is the case for tax expenditures; that is also the case for family trusts, which the government does not want to touch. We do not know how much money there is in these at the present time. There were also other examples, such as Ginn Publishing, things that remain secret, but that should be known in the House.
There should not be secret relationships between secret people on secret decisions. What is going on in the government should be known here, in the House, so that we could take good decisions on the matter.
Unfortunately, that is why we got the budget that we did. If we look at that budget, and that was still evident in the media today, the government is directly attacking the unemployed. In that budget, it is the unemployed and the old people who will be hurt.
Unfortunately, in the meantime, the budget does not talk about the billions of dollars in waste noted by the Auditor General of Canada. It does not talk either about solving the issue of program overlappings. It does not talk about eliminating family trusts or at least taking a look at what is going on there. The Auditor General should be the one examining that.
Unfortunately, the budget does not talk about that or about the more than 90,000 profitable companies that presently do not pay any taxes in Canada, while in the United States, which is certainly not a communist country, all profitable companies must pay a minimal tax.
In general, we are not satisfied with the way the current government is fulfilling its task of managing public funds. Canadians will not be either. Let us just think about the kind of reception the Prime Minister got during his recent visit to his riding. The same is true about the welcome they gave the Minister of Transport. I am not talking here about members of Parliament, but about people who experience problems which the government has the power to solve.
Unfortunately, I think this dissatisfaction is bound to increase because the measures implemented by the government affect the poorest among the have-nots while we know that public funds management could improve if they would only follow up on reports like the one by the Auditor General and give him more authority to push his analyses further.
However, I must stress the fact that the present bill does give more authority to the Auditor General. On the whole, this bill provides for better management and that is why the Bloc Quebecois will support it.