Mr. Speaker, I find the amendment proposed by the Bloc to be extremely inconsistent with the stand that its members are taking on the bill.
Bloc members are erasing the accountability of the minister. They are saying that the minister should have discretion whether he exceeds any limits on overpayment. Yet in a number of their amendments, they say that the minister's discretion should be erased. Here they want to give the minister discretion by amending my amendment but in any other case, they do not want the minister to have discretion. I would ask the Bloc to consider the consistency of this amendment.
If they do not like the minister having absolute discretion in clause 38, why are they saying he should have absolute discretion in clause 23? I do not understand it at all.
Erasing subclauses (7) and (8) of our motion will make the committee's recommendation totally toothless. The Bloc members are the ones who are always hollering and screaming about the need for more fiscal accountability in the way government spends money and to quit adding to the debt.
We have tried to bring forward a very simple motion that would put some limits and some parameters around what a department can spend. The Bloc members do not want that. They want this department to have absolutely unlimited discretion to overspend, to make payments that are not legitimate, necessary or warranted, but there is nothing that Parliament can do to stop this. They do not want Parliament to be able to stop this but they are always complaining that departments are overspending.
I am really sorry but I fail to see the reasoning. The Bloc has not even put anyone up to explain why it is doing this. I see absolutely no reason why the Bloc is doing this. It seems entirely capricious and illogical.
I would ask my colleagues in the Bloc to reconsider the position they have taken which is not consistent, not logical, seems to serve no good purpose and flies in the face of the concerns they have expressed about this bill in their own motions.
It is all very well to say the committee would look at the overspending, but if Parliament has absolutely no ability to place limits on ministerial and departmental discretion what is the good of Parliament? Why are we sitting here? Is not the whole purpose of us being here to manage the affairs of the country in a realistic way?
If this amendment passes we are saying that if departments overpay, make all the mistakes they want, waste all the money they want, send the money here, there and everywhere, wherever they want, we cannot do anything about it nor do we want to do anything about it. God forbid that we should say: "This far and no more can your inefficiencies go".
I appeal to the members of the House to reconsider their position on this. If the minister wants to overspend and feels there are good reasons to do this and has a logical explanation, then he will have to convince a committee of the House, parliamentarians, people who were elected to manage our affairs and our money, that he has a good reason for needing to do this. Is that not the whole purpose of us being here or am I missing something?
I ask my friends in the Bloc for an explanation of why they proposed this amendment. Failing that, I can only urge on the House that it is totally frivolous. It is illogical. It is unnecessary. It flies in the face of what we are here for. I urge that it be voted down and the motion as proposed be accepted.