Mr. Speaker, I would like to start my speech by recognizing that tomorrow is the 74th anniversary of the storming of Juno on D-Day. On behalf of the Conservative caucus and the people of Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte, to those who sacrificed their lives, who fought for freedom, who went through pain and danger that we cannot even imagine today, I say thanks so very much. Without them, we would not be working in the best Parliament in the best country in the world. We thank our veterans so very much.
This is my second opportunity to speak on the budget. When I had an opportunity to speak last week, we were talking about a number of items. We talked about Kinder Morgan, the many issues in this budget relating to youth, including the amount of debt we are leaving them with. After I spoke, the Auditor General's report was released. He had an incredibly scathing report in his spring audits, and there were two that really stuck out. In fact, the first line of the Auditor General's report refers to “incomprehensible failures”, not just one but many, with the Phoenix pay system. I acknowledge that the system was developed over two governments and implemented by the current one, but certainly the failure of government, the culture of government, and the failing culture of government was at the centre of the Auditor General's report.
One of the audits was on indigenous affairs. When I was knocking on doors, every single day I would hear people say they just do not get it. They would say they live in the best country in the world, in a country that has one of the best qualities of life, but there are Canadians who do not have clean drinking water and do not have the same opportunities. They said they just do not get it. They said they would hear all the announcements from government after government of all stripes, indicating that so much money is going to indigenous affairs, for a certain program or for the education of aboriginal young people, and yet it feels like it never changes, that this is a perennial issue that constantly has to be dealt with.
The Auditor General, in his opening remarks to his 12 audits, said:
The ministerial focus on the short term explains why the Indigenous file has been so intractable. A long-term view has to dominate that file, but because it usually only brings political problems in the short term, government tries to stay in the safe space of administering payments instead of being an active partner with Indigenous people to improve outcomes.
This next line is the crux of the issue. It states, “The measure of success has become the amount of money spent, rather than improved outcomes for Indigenous people.” I feel like we can apply that across government as a whole. How many programs do we fund and tell people how much money we are going to spend on said program, but we never tell them what the effects will be of the money being spent?
It is deplorable. People in the private sector are measured by their results. Yes, the effort put in counts. Yes, research and data count. However, the real data that counts is the data that comes out the back end that says x number of dollars have been spent and x has been achieved. The Auditor General recognizes this, but, unfortunately, the government culture does not.
From what I have seen, it certainly extends into the current Liberal government. I was at the industry committee about a year and a half ago when Minister Bains came and the government had funded—