Motion No. 5
That Bill C-11 be amended by adding after line 29, on page 10, the following new Clause:
"32.1 The Minister shall cause to be laid before each House of Parliament, not later than the fifth sitting day of that House after January 31 next following the end of each fiscal year, a report showing the operations of the Department of Human Resources Development for that fiscal year."
Madam Speaker, this amendment would require the Minister of Human Resources Development to table an annual report in the House.
Bill C-11 as s presented does not require an annual report to be made from the department. I am concerned that this may be just another way for the government to withhold information from the House of Commons and the people of Canada.
I believe it should be mandatory for all government departments to publish annual reports, and for the purpose of accountability they should be placed before Parliament.
As part of the new program review the federal government is changing the production of the estimates. It suggests that in a few years it will make the estimates more user friendly and that more useful and practical information will be included in the estimates. The government suggests that annual reports are so general that they border on being useless.
Every bill which has been introduced to create a new department has been deleted. The government has deleted the requirement for the production of departmental annual reports. Our amendment would require the government to continue producing annual reports for that department.
We are sceptical of the process for improving the estimates. At minimum, until such improvements have been made, annual reports should be continued. Until the estimates are improved, the lack of annual reports will cause the Canadian public to be in a position to receive less information from government.
We all know about the red book promises which said there would be more open government. This is open government? No more annual reports is open government? I do not think so.
Reform exists to change the government. Liberals have an opportunity to demonstrate to Canadians they are willing to open up government to allow Canadians greater access to all information about how it operates. It should not be a secret. What is the government trying to hide?
It is taxpayer money that the Liberals are spending. Canadians should know how and where their money is going. The government, by opposing our amendment, will prove to Canadians that it does not care about accountability or openness. What is it trying to hide? Again there seems to be something fishy here.
Is this just another way for the Liberals to hide their dismal failure on the deficit fight? They will not make public or even produce an annual report for this department.
This department is huge. Canadians, thanks to the Liberals, will not be able to keep track of the developments. Sure, the government says the estimates will be improved, but it said it would scrap the GST, so why should we believe it now?
Is this a case of what we do not know will not hurt us? Maybe that is why the government did not mention the debt in the budget speech. Ignore it and it will go away. The Liberals should talk about it. They should admit that they have been responsible for the growth in the debt since 1968 and honestly attack the debt problem. We are seeing nothing.
I insist we need an annual account of this department. I believe with the inclusion of the amendments the Reform Party suggested Bill C-11 will be a much better bill. The amendments will make the department more forward in its approach to problems and more accountable to Parliament.