Mr. Speaker, I would like to thank the member for raising that point of order. As the Speaker has ruled, in the absence of unanimous consent it cannot be tabled. I note that the refusal to give unanimous consent came from the other side. This is a report of an officer of the House, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, whose job it is to assist parliamentarians find out the costs of government programs.
To table a report of that nature in the House would add to the debate, as the member said, but it has been refused. I do not really understand why. Is it that the Conservatives do not like the figures, that they do not like the truth, that they do not like the evidence? Do they not want to hear what the Parliamentary Budget Officer has to say?
One of the outcomes of the Parliamentary Budget Officer's exercise was to discover that the government did not have any figures. The only figures produced by the government when it was asked about the costs of the bill was that there was no federal cost and that it did not know what the provincial costs would be. Therefore, the Parliamentary Budget Officer asked recently if the government had any figures now. It said it did not.
We are imposing measures that will have consequences for provincial governments and the Government of Canada. They are measurable. The increased cost as a result of the bill, only for conditional sentences, would come from the larger number of hearings the parole board would have to hold. The government knew the number of hearings and the average cost per hearing. If we multiply one by the other we come up with $8 million. It is not rocket science, but based on actual projections of the number of cases for each of these different offences.
It was a bit tedious, but for the last year in which reports were available, that is, 2008, Statistics Canada could find the exact number of people convicted of these particular offences during that year. The numbers were there, and the number of people who would actually be convicted and go to jail was extrapolated from that. All of these figures came out. However, we had someone on the other side saying that the Parliamentary Budget Officer had not been right yet. I guess there is a big difference between the $750 million the Parliamentary Budget Officer came up with as the five-year cost of this provision and the government's figure, which is, “We do not know”. The government's figure was, “We do not know” and the Parliamentary Budget Officer's figure was $750 million over five years. That is the nature of this debate about the costs to Canadians of just one measure in the entire Bill C-10.
The government members do not want the Parliamentary Budget Officer's information and report to be tabled before the House, I guess because it is a bit of an embarrassment. It is not as if the amount of money over five years, the $750 million, is going to break Canada. I am not suggesting that. However, if it is a difference between $750 million and “We do not know”, then that tells us something about what goes on over there when they are deciding to bring forward legislation.
They do not even bother to figure it out themselves, and they are the ones who seem to be interested in talking about parties' fitness to govern. Is that something we should be wondering about in terms of their fitness to govern here? Are these the fiscal managers, the people who tout themselves as the great fiscal managers of Canada, the ones whom Canadians should have faith in to run the country because they are so good at fiscal management?
We have a contrast here. The Parliamentary Budget Officer, who was appointed by the Prime Minister to advise parliamentarians on these issues, did a report at the request of a member of Parliament and said it was going to cost $750 million over five years. That is just one measure in this huge bill.
The government says “We do not know.” It has never bothered to try to find out, although it did claim it was going to cost the federal government nothing. The Parliamentary Budget Officer says it is going to cost the federal government $40 million over five years in additional expenses and it is going to cost the provinces another $710 million, or something in that range. The government is saying that it is going to cost it nothing, and it does not know what it is going to cost the provinces. It did not even try to figure it out.
This is what we are faced with in dealing with a government that is arrogant and out of touch with the realities of Canadian life.