Mr. Speaker, again I rise on this question to try to persuade the government to make the right decision. Since the calls are made by the Liberals, with their majority whatever they decide will be, so I am going to try hard to persuade them in the correct way.
There has been considerable inconsistency from Bloc members, in the sense that with this amendment they are asking that we take away from the minister the discretion not to pay.
In other words, if the minister decides that somebody should not be entitled to some of these programs that are being dealt with in Bill C-54 and some administrative bureaucrat in the
system decides a person should not be receiving a benefit because the rules say he should no longer be receiving it, according to this amendment the minister would no longer have the right to stop the payments.
To me, this is ludicrous. On the one hand they move a subamendment to our motion, which would have the effect of not giving the minister the right to make payments when they are required, and here they are saying they do not want to have the minister have the right to not make payments when they are not required. That does not make sense to me.
As members opposite are thinking about this amendment, and I presume they will be opposed to it, I want to strongly urge them to be opposed to it. If the payments are not justifiable they are in breach of the rules, and the minister should be able to stop those payments.
Let us look at the scenario this sets up. A person receives money and the department says no more money. Then the person who is receiving appeals. During that appeal process, in which the wheels of government can take quite some time, these payments must be kept coming. If the person receiving them really wants to take the system for a ride, they will make sure that all of that money they receive is totally spent, so that if the appeal goes against them they will be able to say they cannot pay it back because they have no money. Then, on a compassionate ground or whatever, according to the previous rules that money would not be repayable.
It really means that the taxpayers are being totally dumped on in terms of accountability if this amendment is accepted. As I said, I urge the members opposite to pass the information on to their leadership so that the leadership gives the direction to them so they know how to vote and they will vote correctly in opposing this amendment.