Mr. Speaker, as I said, it is not so much that we are totally opposed to grants and contributions in principle provided they are an investment in Canada and an investment in Canadians, rather than just spreading the largesse around the country where it can buy the most political votes. We have heard that. We heard about it in question period today.
I get back to my private member's bill which says that it does not matter if it is the grants and contributions program or any other program the federal government is involved in, we must ask four simple but fundamental questions. First we ask what is the program designed to do? Once we know that and the program is running, then we ask how well are we achieving what we want to do? Then we can ask if we are doing it efficiently. We should always be asking the question of whether we can achieve the same or better results in a better and different way.
When we have asked these four fundamental questions and we find out that a grants and contributions program is beneficial to Canadians, then perhaps we should support it. That applies to any program. But this pouring money down the proverbial drain with no thought whatsoever to the fact that the taxpayers have to sweat to make that kind of money and with no thought to the benefits that we are getting for that kind of money, that is the problem with the management of the grants and contributions program.
We found that with the HRDC billion dollar boondoggle. There was no grant application on file. We do not even know why they wanted the money, but we gave them the cheque. We did not know what they were going to do with the money when they got it, but they got the cheque anyway. And the list went on. It was absolutely deplorable that the government would spend taxpayers' money without the proper criteria being in the file to justify that it was value for money.
That is why I say to the hon. member that we want value for money in the spending of taxpayers' money.