Mr. Speaker, we have not discussed the role of the bureaucracy in what is happening in Parliament. We tend to look at bills and we tend to see that the backbenchers do not have power and so on.
My colleague is absolutely right. As I mentioned, I am getting so frustrated with the bureaucracy and with the disrespect the bureaucracy has for members of Parliament that I am becoming an ineffective representative of the people who I was sent here to represent. The bureaucrats think they run the show.
Yes, all of us who have been on committees know that parliamentary secretaries who come to committee have been briefed by the bureaucrats and are told what to say. We all know that after parliamentarians from all sides of the House have reached an agreement on how something should go because of what we have heard, the bureaucrats suddenly interfere.
I want to explain to everyone how the bureaucrats interfere. There is a system in the committee. The government always says that it listens to the committee. What we have now are parliamentary secretaries who are running the agenda after they have come from the bureaucrats. The bureaucrats will indirectly go through them in the committee and suddenly the whip will crack the whip, and boom, whatever is on the agenda is gone.
I do not wish to give the name, but sometime back in the House we moved a motion concerning Taiwan. However the views of the members of Parliament, on both sides of the House, on the motion were contrary to what the bureaucrats, the mandarins, in foreign affairs wanted. What did the mandarins in foreign affairs do? Parliament passed this resolution and boom, they put it off. They had the nerve and the gall to call the representative of Taiwan into their office and try to give him a hard time by asking him why he had lobbied for this when the views of Parliament were contrary to the views of the officials in the Department of Foreign Affairs. This is how deep the interference of the bureaucracy is in trying to pass its own agenda by bypassing Parliament.
The essence of democracy is that this is Parliament and this is where we talk and make our points of view. This is where we agree and the bureaucrats are supposed to do what? They are supposed to implement what we say, not just from their side but from our side as well. That is the way it is supposed to be in a democracy.
However that has all changed. Now it is from the other side coming down to this side. As we sit here I have been frustrated on many occasions, as have all the members of Parliament on this side and, surprisingly, on the government side. Many of the members of the government used to be on this side too. They know how the bureaucracy works but what do they do? They pander to the bureaucracy. Why do we have to pander to the bureaucracy?
To whom is the bureaucracy accountable? The way it is supposed to work is through a narrow window, which would be the deputy minister to a minister, and that is it. There is no other kind of distinction. When bureaucrats come in front of committees, I agree with my friend, we are nuisances and not many members of Parliament to do their job.
I am a critic for the Canadian International Development Agency, CIDA, and I do not even know the name of the new president or where he is. When I meet with the bureaucrats of CIDA they do not even know who I am. They do not even bother watching what we are doing or listening to what we are saying. It is as though I am irrelevant. The opposition is irrelevant. We do not have points of view. They know what is good. They know how to spend the money.
I am proposing that CIDA be accountable to the Parliament of Canada and be legislated. It is not legislated now but it keeps on running, and it will keep running with $3 million more.
Canadians and NGOs are frustrated. They cannot make CIDA listen because the bureaucrats do not have to listen to anyone now. Yes, somewhere, some time we will have to address the issue of the bureaucracy.