Mr. Speaker, I would like to revisit a question I asked on November 28, 2012, on the mismanagement of infrastructure on military bases, since this was also raised in chapter five of the Auditor General's fall 2012 report.
The concerns related primarily to the maintenance of sites and buildings that belong to the Canadian Forces, as well as the safety of some buildings, since some do not meet safety standards and pose a danger to the personnel working in them.
The Auditor General recommended developing a real property management framework and a national strategy for managing real property, which did not exist when the report came out. Such a framework was apparently prepared in November 2010, but it remains on stand-by.
Indeed, according to the Auditor General, until such a framework is in place, the department cannot know if it has the required real property assets at the right place, and in good repair, to meet the operational requirements of the Canadian Forces.
There are gaps in National Defence’s management practices for acquiring, maintaining, and repairing capital assets. The overall performance management framework for real property is incomplete. Maintenance work tends to be reactive, rather than proactive, for instance, in response to breakdown. This can result in a premature failure of real property assets.
I would like to know the status of this management framework. Have any measures been taken to create a national strategy for real property?
Furthermore, there were also problems regarding the funding cycles for maintenance and repairs. Funds intended for maintenance are available too late in the fiscal year to pay for plans and projects based on the normal construction cycle, which operates seasonally.
I would also like to know if this problem has been addressed through any changes or adjustments to make it easier to coordinate financial resources and capital projects.
The supplementary estimates indicate that $649 million were transferred out of real property, which means that the $649 million originally allocated for National Defence real property was not spent and was reallocated elsewhere.
What projects were supposed to be funded by that $649 million? Why was that money not invested in real property, when immediate funds are clearly needed to pay for upgrades to buildings on bases? What projects are being ignored or delayed when it comes to real property?
Real property assets are certainly less glamourous than ships and planes when it comes to photo ops, but I think they are the foundation of Canadian Forces operations.
The answer will no doubt be that the funds have been put in place. However, the reality is that these transfers mark a low point in the real property budget of the past five years, just a few months after the alarm was sounded by the Auditor General because the real property assets are falling apart.
I would like to know what the department is doing with these real property assets. What is under way? What does the government have planned? What strategy has been put in place? What is the plan?
I would simply like the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence to provide the House with more information about where we are on this matter.