Mr. Speaker, the member has worked very hard in developing whistleblower protection in this country and I look forward to continuing to work with him on this.
He first asked what powers the Auditor General currently did not have that we would like to extend her way. To begin with, she may not audit foundations. Billions of dollars of public money flowed from the previous government into public foundations which are dedicated to obscure causes. She does not have the legal authority to conduct audits of them. Nor does she have the ability to follow the money. We promised during the last election that the Auditor General would be allowed to carry out audits of grant recipients, those who receive public dollars in order to ascertain whether or not those public dollars are being put to wise use. Those are just two examples of how we will empower the Auditor General to go further in her hunt for waste and corruption.
Second, he spoke of the issue of rewards. He is correct in pointing out that the previous committee rejected rewards for public servants. I am talking about an entirely separate notion that would empower private citizens, deputize private citizens to bring legal actions in civil courts the same way as exists in the United States against companies which are defrauding the government.
For example, just last month two whistleblowers at a military contracting firm caught serious defraud of the American government where $3 million was stolen. They spoke up and were fired. They then took their action to court under the informers act. They were able to recover $3 million for the American treasury. The justice department in the United States would not participate in the action because it did not want to embarrass the administration and its goals in Iraq. Without giving private citizens the ability to take forward these actions, that $3 million would never have been recovered and in fact the American government would still be paying it out.
We have seen far greater and more spectacular examples of fraud in this country under that member's government. We saw it with the ad scam where his government did not bring forward legal action against the firms that defrauded the Canadian government until well after it was in the public eye and until it was far too late. To date, the Canadian government has not recovered one nickel of the money that was stolen during the Liberal ad scam.
We look at the gun registry. How many contractors have benefited from this massive overspending? How many of them have failed to repay the money that they spent without any result for the Canadian taxpayer? The billion dollar boondoggle at HRDC? The previous government proved it was totally incapable of recovering stolen--