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House of Commons Hansard #57 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was children.

Topics

Questions on the Order PaperGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Conservative

Andrew Scheer Conservative Regina—Qu'Appelle, SK

Madam Speaker, first, I thank the hon. member for making my point. When we reduce taxes through tax credits, we reduce child poverty. I could not have put it better myself. I think it basically backs up everything I said.

The whole premise of my speech was on choice . When we put the dollars directly into the hands of parents, if they choose an institutional day care with early learning programs, they can do so. They do not need to have all those funds go into one size fits all approaches.

Parents who choose an institutional form of day care will have the funds. Those who choose to stay at home will have the funds. Those who choose to send their children to a neighbourhood babysitter, a mosque, a synagogue or church to provide those forms of day care will have that choice too.

I do not know why the Liberals are anti-choice on this question.

Questions on the Order PaperGovernment Orders

1:40 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Madam Speaker, first of all, I want to point out that I will be sharing my time with the member for Beauport—Limoilou.

It is as critic for families and caregivers, as well as a woman, a mother and also the grandmother of two wonderful grandchildren, Alexy and Tiffany, that I am speaking this afternoon to the Conservative Party motion. The Bloc Québécois categorically opposes this motion because we have established a very good system in Quebec.

It is simple. First, child care is part of family policy and that falls exclusively under Quebec's jurisdiction. In this matter, Quebec and the other provinces should at any time be able to opt out, with full compensation, of the federal program the government is trying to implement.

Second, the money to be used for setting up the child care network should be transferred to Quebec and the provinces, since family policy is a provincial jurisdiction.

Third, by giving money directly to the parents, the federal government would be going against the concept of respecting jurisdictions.

The Conservative motion is totally contradictory. On one hand, they advocate respecting provincial jurisdictions, while on the other hand they want the federal government to intervene directly with the families.

It was already clear in the Liberal Party's election platform that this system would be established with a lot of conditions that would infringe directly on the provinces' areas of jurisdiction. Four standards were established: quality, ensuring that the provinces would regulate the daycares and their staffs; universality, making the daycares available to all children; accessibility, establishing a program that is affordable for all parents; and child development through learning. These are standards that have already all been achieved in Quebec's day care system.

The Bloc Québécois had to ask a number of questions in the House in order to get the government to acknowledge the expertise and effectiveness of the day care services in Quebec and honour its commitment in the Speech from the Throne to fully respect the provincial jurisdictions.

In fact, we asked more than 18 questions in the House to determine the real intentions of the Liberal government, namely whether or not it would respect the jurisdictions of Quebec and the other provinces in this regard. We are still waiting for the answer.

However, several Liberal ministers have expressed their views to the media in this regard. I quote the Minister of Canadian Heritage, who said in Le Soleil of June 4, 2004: “The money will go to Yves Séguin without restrictions and it will be up to Claude Béchard to negotiate with him. ...Mr. Séguin can decide to use this money elsewhere.” In addition, on two occasions when the Prime Minister was being interviewed on Radio-Canada, once on June 3, 2004, and another time last December 14, he said that Quebec would receive its $5 billion share without any conditions. Finally, my honourable colleague from Human Resources and Skill Development said in this House last November 1st:

The Liberal government of Quebec is capable of sharing common objectives with the other provinces and having comparable indicators, as it has shown in the case of health, while having an agreement tailored specifically to Quebec's priorities. This is what we are going to be doing.

Let us hope that they will say the same thing here as well and that they will finally give us a clear, unequivocal answer.

Quebec has had its own plan since 1998. All we want are the funds that the federal government owes us to enable us to develop the 30,000 places that are still missing in order for us to achieve our objective of 200,000 places by 2006.

As Ms. Jocelyne Tougas said so well at the Canadian Council on Social Development's national conference:

—It is in an environment of stress, pollution and conflicts of all sorts that we have to raise our children and provide them with every opportunity to develop and grow, in the full knowledge that development and growth are only possible for those who belong to and identify with the group.

That is why structured childcare is important, so children can succeed at school, grow healthy and strong and become independent.

The OECD believes that Quebec has the best child care system in Canada and one of the best in the world. Why? Because Quebec's approach to childcare services is based on the social economy, which means that economic development goes hand in hand with social development. The Minister of Social Development himself has nothing but praise for our system.

Child care has five major functions.

First, it has an educational function by being a place where children acquire the knowledge and skills they need to develop and reach their potential, both physically and intellectually.

Second, it has a practical function, by ensuring that children whose parents work are cared for.

Third, it has a social and cultural function, by continuing to transmit values taught at home. Children develop their vision of the world, learn to socialize and function in a group.

Fourth, it has an economic function, because child care services provide thousands of people with a workplace where skills are recognized and where working conditions improve each year to ensure that job quality is maintained. It allows some parents to remain in the workforce, while others are able to continue their education or improve their job skills before returning to the work force. These measures contribute significantly to fighting poverty.

Fifth, it has a democratic and civic function, because everyone is admitted, without regard for gender, origin, religion or financial situation, which signifies a healthy environment in which children can develop. They benefit from a system where equal opportunity and justice for all is a daily reality. A policy for families including quality child care with a strong focus on all these functions allows many underprivileged children to get a better start in life.

That is why the Bloc Québécois supports the other provinces that want to have a child care system. Nevertheless, the Bloc Québécois cannot support the Conservative Party's motion, because Quebec already has the expertise, the network and the contacts to identify and meet the needs of its citizens. That is why we want a firm guarantee in the budget, which will be tabled on February 23, that Quebec will get its share of the $5 billion, unconditionally, as soon as the funding is in place.

In conclusion, the Bloc Québécois members cannot approve of the Conservative motion, which would give money directly to the parents or of the conditions a national law would impose on us. Finally, we are against anything that could prevent achievement of the objective of receiving full compensation from the federal government for continuing the exceptional development of the network of child care services in Quebec.

Questions on the Order PaperGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

NDP

Tony Martin NDP Sault Ste. Marie, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to commend the member for her presentation, which was well delivered. I also want to let people know that she participated in a conference in Winnipeg a few months ago at which child care was discussed. In fact, the Quebec model was featured, and a previous Parti Québécois minister who was responsible for introducing the program spoke to it.

When Quebec introduced this, a definite decision was made to have a system in place, a national program so to speak. Also a decision was made not to go the route that the Conservatives are suggesting. Could the member elaborate on why that was done?

Also with respect to the Quebec model, for the first few years there was a moratorium on any for profit centres receiving government money. Would the member speak to that point also?

Questions on the Order PaperGovernment Orders

1:50 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank the hon. member for Sault Ste. Marie for his question. Indeed, the child care services in Quebec were established and created a national consensus. We are very much aware that child development—egalitarian and healthy development—requires very consistent policy.

As we heard previously. it is very hard for parents to have to make choices when they do not have the money to buy everything. The rent must be paid, or milk must be bought or things bought for the babies. Therefore, we need consistent policy.

Quebec decided to establish a child care service because we wanted to give our children the best opportunity for a good start in life. We continue to think it is the right way.

We also put a moratorium on child care services that cost, because we thought it was the best way to ensure equal child care services for everyone. Otherwise, many inequalities arise and the children do not receive the same quality of care in child care services. It is important to maintain a standard of quality for development and growth, and for the services provided for our children.

Questions on the Order PaperGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Conservative

Pierre Poilievre Conservative Nepean—Carleton, ON

Madam Speaker, I want to point out that the members from the Bloc Québécois are always interested in provincial jurisdictions, but they do not appear to see any importance in family jurisdictions. I think that is very interesting. They contradict themselves by taking this position.

It is clear that the Bloc would like to speak constantly about the jurisdiction of the provincial government, namely in Quebec, but never about the jurisdiction of families to make their own decisions. It is an enormous contradiction for that party to stand in the House and constantly speak about the need to take power out of this place and give it to another level of government, but never to take the power out of the hands of both governments and give it directly to the parents themselves.

Would the hon. member stand in the House and explain to us from which funding envelope the government is going to find the billions and billions of dollars that this new babysitting bureaucracy will cost?

Questions on the Order PaperGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Madam Speaker, I would like to thank my colleague for the question. I think that, basically, everyone in this House wants the best for our children and grandchildren. There may be some conjecture, of course, that we prefer to support the provincial policies. It is true, no one will take offence at that. We are known to be sovereignists. However, we pay taxes and are entitled to get the best in exchange for the taxes that we pay. We will therefore defend the citizens of Quebec, who have already established a system.

As I said a while ago, there is an MNA who wanted to be Premier of Quebec and tried to institute a system like the one that the Conservative Party would like to have now. The result was that he lost the elections and lost four seats. Quebec families do not want this, and I do not think that families in Canada want it either. There is a minority that can pay for services if it wants. But the others do not want it.

Questions on the Order PaperGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Christiane Gagnon Bloc Québec, QC

Madam Speaker, I feel summoned to speak by the question from the hon. member of the Conservative Party. I would like to ask my colleague if she feels the same frustration as I do. I see how the government wants to make us suspect for wanting to have a daycare service, in Canada or Quebec, suspect in terms of the value judgment that is made, for example, on the quality of education that our mothers and our immediate families have provided and continue to provide for children.

I think they are putting their heads in the sand. It is not a value judgment on the perceived quality of education that is provided by parents. It is the choice that may be given to parents of having a real daycare system where children can be given equitable supervision and not of not offering a choice. Not offering a choice is what the motion of the Conservative Party is proposing to us today. I am outraged.

Questions on the Order PaperGovernment Orders

1:55 p.m.

Bloc

Nicole Demers Bloc Laval, QC

Madam Speaker, I am glad my colleague is outraged because I am as well.

I know that my mother got up very early every morning to raise her six children. She would go to work and come home at noon to make lunch because there were no child care services. Now she is 76 and she wishes she could have had such services. She knows full well that just because you have a good mother, a good grandmother or good neighbours does not mean your child will be well looked after.

Black History MonthStatements By Members

February 15th, 2005 / 1:55 p.m.

Liberal

Raymonde Folco Liberal Laval—Les Îles, QC

Mr. Speaker, Black History Month is a time of celebration for Canadians of African descent and it is a time to reflect on the significance of their history in Canada and the substantial economic and social contribution they continue to make to this day.

2005 will mark 50 years since Canada signed the first formal labour market agreement with the Caribbean. This marked the beginning of controlled immigration from non-white countries. This was a domestic scheme now known as the live-in caregiver program. Since then we have depended on teachers and other professionals to fill our labour needs.

Seventy per cent of our total labour force growth is now made up of immigrants. They come from the Caribbean and other parts of the African diaspora.

I congratulate therefore the 2,000 or so constituents of Laval—Les Îles of Black African descent as they celebrate their history. I also want to thank them for continuing to contribute to improving their adopted land, Canada.

John Robert McCaigStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Jim Prentice Conservative Calgary North Centre, AB

Mr. Speaker, on this the 40th anniversary of the Canadian flag, it is fitting that the House pay tribute to a distinguished Canadian.

John Robert “Bud” McCaig passed away on January 11. He will be sorely missed by his family, by fellow Calgarians and by his countrymen.

Bud McCaig was a member of the Order of Canada and was one of Calgary's most respected business leaders, philanthropists and citizens.

Over the course of his life, Bud McCaig built Trimac Corporation from a small regional trucking company into one of North America's largest transportation conglomerates.

Bud was a great family man and a great friend to many causes. He was a member of the board of governors at the University of Calgary. He was chairman emeritus at the Calgary Health Trust. He founded the Alberta Bone and Joint Institute with an extraordinarily generous donation. There are many other causes too numerous to mention.

Most important, Bud McCaig brought kindness, humility and compassion to everything and everyone he touched. Today we pay tribute to the flag and to one of our finest citizens who served it so well.

National Flag of Canada DayStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Yasmin Ratansi Liberal Don Valley East, ON

Mr. Speaker, today marks the 40th anniversary of the Canadian flag. It was first raised on Parliament Hill on February 15, 1965.

The debate in Parliament prior to the adoption of the maple leaf as our official national symbol is recorded as one of the most controversial of its time.

Much more than a symbol, the Canadian flag is now recognized worldwide and represents our values as a peaceful and generous country. National Flag of Canada Day is a day for us to reflect on our history, our identity and what unites all Canadians from coast to coast to coast.

The first National Flag of Canada Day was established in 1996 largely due to the efforts of a former member of the House. Jesse Flis represented the constituency of Parkdale--High Park for many years, and through his efforts we now celebrate National Flag of Canada Day every February 15.

Université de SherbrookeStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Bloc

France Bonsant Bloc Compton—Stanstead, QC

Mr. Speaker, 2004 marked the 50th anniversary of the Université de Sherbrooke. The closing event in its year of celebration was a video presentation on the role of women at this institution.

The 30-minute video was prepared by the affirmative action program in order to leave for posterity a valuable account of the significant contribution made by women to this institution.

In the video, 20 women describe the role they and other women have played in the development of the Université de Sherbrooke. In the past 50 years, these women have served as professors, directors, deans, union presidents, counsellors and assistants of numerous kinds.

The Université de Sherbrooke and the entire Eastern Townships owe these women a debt of gratitude for making this a top-ranking institution and an economic driver for the region.

Brampton Call CentreStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Liberal

Gurbax Malhi Liberal Bramalea—Gore—Malton, ON

Mr. Speaker, earlier this month Brampton City Council announced the creation of an after hours customer service call centre.

This new centre will lead to improved customer service by enhancing the city's handling of bylaw and other complaints after hours.

Concerned about long constituent wait times on the phone, councillors found a way to rectify the situation. They will invest $1.5 million and hire seven additional employees to staff the centre to be located on the third floor of the Civic Centre in Brampton.

Once again councillors in Bramalea, Gore and Castlemore have found an innovative proactive solution to a difficult problem. I proudly salute Brampton City Council on its efforts to improve after hours customer service in that rapidly expanding municipality.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of CanadaStatements By Members

2 p.m.

Conservative

Joe Preston Conservative Elgin—Middlesex—London, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to bring to the attention of the House the great work done by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada. Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is a leading child and youth mentoring organization.

In St. Thomas and surrounding Elgin County the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, in operation for over 35 years, has expanded beyond the traditional matching to include couples matching, singles matching, and my favourite program, the Cops for Kids initiative. These unique programs have led to over 60 matches this year, nearly doubling last year's numbers.

I look forward to continuing to work with Big Brothers Big Sisters in my riding to ensure that every child in St. Thomas and surrounding Elgin County who needs a mentor has a mentor. I encourage Canadians from coast to coast to do the same. Canadians can make a difference.

Skills for ChangeStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Navdeep Bains Liberal Mississauga—Brampton South, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate an outstanding young man from my riding.

Eric Acuna, who works for Newark Paperboard Products, has been selected to receive the 2005 New Pioneers Graduate Award from the Skills for Change organization.

Skills for Change is a non-profit charitable organization that raises public awareness of the work of immigrants and refugees across Canada. It provides them with the employment focused programs that they need.

The Skills for Change organization was given recognition for its work in 2003 when it received the Citation for Citizenship Award from Citizenship and Immigration Canada.

The award that Eric will receive honours new Canadians for their hard work, determination and contribution to our communities. The award also celebrates Canada's diversity and the continuing multicultural growth of our country.

In recognition of Eric's work, I would like to once again take this opportunity to congratulate him on receiving this award.

Inter-University Trade Exchange Simulation CompetitionStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Bloc

Roger Clavet Bloc Louis-Hébert, QC

Mr. Speaker, on January 21 and 22, Laval University held the 17th Quebec and Ontario inter-university trade exchange simulation competition. This year, the organizers from Laval 's finance and insurance student association innovated by adding a college category to the competition.

The students from the faculty of business administration at Laval University were the winners in the university category, while those from Collège François Xavier Garneau were the winners in the college category.

My congratulations to them, as well as to the participants from the other universities and colleges and the organizers, who did a huge job in carrying out an instructional activity on one of the most visible feature of our financial system.

They have given us more reasons to be proud of the students from Louis-Hébert and the Quebec City area, who outdo themselves with every new opportunity.

National Flag of Canada DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Sarmite Bulte Liberal Parkdale—High Park, ON

Mr. Speaker, today is National Flag of Canada Day.

Forty years ago many of us were gathered in schoolyards around this time, proud witnesses to one of the great events in Canadian history. It was a cool day in many parts of the land and downright freezing cold in others. Yet there was a warmth in our hearts as we listened to a story unfold about a distinctive symbol, one that would soon become recognized and revered the world over.

In 1964 a Senate and House of Commons committee was formed. It called for submissions and received hundreds of designs and patterns. Hundreds of speeches were made in Parliament. Parliamentarians and other eminent Canadians had but one shared goal, to find a family symbol for the people of Canada that painted a portrait of justice, peace and equality for all humankind.

That goal has been reached. Whether we work to build our nation here at home or reach out to help a foreign nation in need, the flag of Canada waves a signal that harmony will prevail.

Let us look up to our flag with affection and pride. Its threads are woven tightly to create one seamless community from sea to sea to sea.

National Flag of Canada DayStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Conservative

Gord Brown Conservative Leeds—Grenville, ON

Mr. Speaker, 40 years ago today the maple leaf flag was raised for the first time here on Parliament Hill and all across Canada. It is a cherished and welcome symbol for all Canadians and is a familiar and welcome sight around the world.

Today I recognize one of my predecessors, a former member of Parliament for Leeds, who was one of the strongest supporters of the flag. He played a key advisory role in its choice and recommendation by the flag committee.

John Ross Matheson wanted all Canadians to become consciously Canadian. The flag he helped create supports that wish, probably far beyond his imagination. In his book, Canada's Flag , he wrote:

May the maple leaf, our emblem dear, continue to fly for so long as the wind shall blow.

I join all Canadians in acknowledging Mr. Matheson's contribution to Canada.

Beslan SchoolchildrenStatements By Members

2:05 p.m.

Liberal

Susan Kadis Liberal Thornhill, ON

Mr. Speaker, I would like to draw the attention of the House to a special delegation that is visiting Parliament today.

Eighteen children held hostage in Beslan on that fateful first day of school are in Ottawa today seeing democracy firsthand and exploring our scenic capital. I am proud to host their visit to Parliament.

As innocent victims of terror, their plight touched the hearts of all Canadians. Today I would like to convey a message of solidarity with them, for Canada was aghast at the brutal targeting of kids in their school. While nothing can dispel the trauma of that terrible ordeal, I hope that this two week vacation in Canada will give back a dose of innocence and a carefree childhood to these remarkable kids.

I wish them all the very best in the future. I want to assure them that Canada stands strong with them in the fight against terrorism.

National DefenceStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

NDP

Libby Davies NDP Vancouver East, BC

Mr. Speaker, four times as many Canadians strongly oppose Canada's participation in the U.S. missile defence program as those who strongly support it. It is alarming to know that the Liberal government was poised to sign on to Bush's missile defence that would inevitably weaponize space and launch a new and dangerous global arms race.

While the Prime Minister is being coy with his position as he tries to avoid the scrutiny of the Canadian public and his own caucus, New Democrats are clear on where they stand. We want Canada to stay out of it. We want no part of G.W. Bush's ill thought out and unilateral policy agenda. We will continue to press this demand in Parliament and work with anti-war and peace groups to ensure Canada is an advocate for peace and human security.

The NDP has consistently supported and pressed for Canada to meet its international commitment that 0.7% of gross domestic product be dedicated to international development assistance. We call on the government to heed the priorities of Canadians: no to star wars and yes to human dignity.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of CanadaStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

David Tilson Conservative Dufferin—Caledon, ON

Mr. Speaker, in 1972 I was a co-founder of the Big Brothers of Dufferin, along with Bill Bissel, Bill Parke, Spencer Finch, Wes Prosser, Bill Roberts and Vera Rogers. Big Sisters was started in 1977 by Jim McCloskey and Dave Ferrier, along with board members Penny Smith and Mary Wells. Then in 1996 the two agencies were merged to form Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Dufferin & District.

As the leading youth mentoring organization in Canada, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada is committed to the healthy development of youth in our community by providing them with quality relationships and adult mentors. Those who volunteer their time as a big brother or sister are to be commended for the time they take from their personal lives.

This Saturday, February 19, I will be attending the 26th Annual Bowl for Kids in Orangeville. Last year $37,000 was raised. This year over 100 participants have signed up so far and over 50 volunteers.

Sponsors for this year's Bowl for Kids are Kelsey's, Subway, the Banner, K&G Trophy, Mono Arts & Graphics, J.S.T. Printing and The New VR. Bowl for Kids is certain to be a big success.

Nicole LerouxStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Bloc

André Bellavance Bloc Richmond—Arthabaska, QC

Mr. Speaker, I take this opportunity to congratulate Nicole Leroux on winning the Governor General's Literary award in the youth category with her book entitled, L'hiver de Léo Polatouche .

It is with pride that I point out that Ms. Leroux was born in Saint-Georges-de-Windsor and raised in Danville, in my riding of Richmond—Arthabaska. For the past 25 years, she has been working as a psychoeducator with children in difficulty, while continuing to practise as a psychotherapist. L'hiver de Léo Polatouche is her first novel for young people. The jury described her novel as a charming and poignant tale for readers of all ages, adding that the story accurately illustrates the value of each individual, regardless of their limitations.

Nicole Leroux does not plan to stop there. Having now been bitten by the bug, she is working on her first adult novel. I wish her the very best.

National Flag of Canada DayStatements By Members

2:10 p.m.

Conservative

Guy Lauzon Conservative Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry, ON

Mr. Speaker, there are times in one's life or in the life of a nation when it seems like everything comes full circle. That is how I felt this morning during a flag day ceremony in my riding of Stormont—Dundas—South Glengarry.

Forty years after the maple leaf flag came into being, I was honoured to watch Cornwall's own Gaetan Secours, the former RCMP officer who raised the first ceremonial maple leaf flag on Parliament Hill, repeat that ritual for a local audience.

The first maple leaf flag to fly over the Peace Tower is being returned to Ottawa by the family of the late Lucien Lamoureux, the member for Stormont—Dundas and deputy speaker during the flag debate. Just like 40 years ago, Canada now has a minority government, which means vigorous debate and real compromise, just as we saw in the debate over the new flag. Canada was built on that kind of debate and compromise.

As we recall the birth of our nation's most important symbol, I urge all Canadians to recall and relive the spirit of rejuvenation that gripped this nation 40 years ago. Together we can forge our own destiny.

MarriageStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

Liberal

Jean-Claude D'Amours Liberal Madawaska—Restigouche, NB

Mr. Speaker, I rise today to offer some advice on the Conservatives' new gag law, their policy of vetting same sex marriage speeches through their leader's office.

So here, Mr. Speaker, are the top five lines—actual quotes from his recent interview with ethnic media—that should be deleted from the member for Calgary Southeast's forthcoming speech on same sex marriage.

Number 5: “Look, equality does not mean treating everybody exactly the same”.

Number 4: “We are against unjust discrimination. But there are forms of just discrimination”.

Number 3: “Marriage is open to everybody as long as they are a man and a woman”.

Number 2: “Personally, I am not against a referendum... Most democracies in the world, when they seek to amend their constitution, do so through a referendum process”.

And the Number 1 line to eliminate from a member's same sex speech: “I am a bachelor, so I do not know anything about marriage anyway either way”.

Well, at least that last quote by the member for Calgary Southeast is something that everyone in this House can agree on!

Auditor General's ReportStatements By Members

2:15 p.m.

The Speaker

I have the honour to lay upon the table the first report of the Auditor General of Canada for the year 2005.

Pursuant to Standing Order 108(3)(g), this document is deemed to have been permanently referred to the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.