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Government Operations committee  Mr. Chair, I feel like I'm in the House of Commons. Thank you for the invitation to appear before you today. I'm pleased to be here for the first time before a House committee since being appointed Parliamentary Budget Officer, thank you, upon resolution of the Senate and the House of Commons.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  I'm happy to comment on that, Madam. I heard part of Mr. Robson's presentation about the health of the MPs' pension fund, and it seemed rather alarmist to me. I do not share his point of view.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  In my opinion, the actuarial obligations are accounted for in Canada's public debt and provisions have been made and recognized as part of the government's future obligations to MPs and senators. It is already part of the liability. It is true that no funds have been set aside to grow in an account, but that is known and is already part of the Government of Canada's debt.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  Yes. When they say the government's debt is $650 billion or that its debt-to-GDP ratio is 30%, that includes the government's liability to its pensioners, including current and former MPs and senators.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  I'll try to keep this as brief as possible considering how much we're doing to prepare. First of all, my predecessor asked the Speakers of the Senate and the House of Commons to increase the OPBO's budget by an amount believed sufficient at the time to handle the expanded mandate.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  At the federal level, I don't think the Auditor General is in the best position to do that. It's more a job for my office. In fact, I do plan to do something similar. Traditionally, my office—or my predecessor—released reports in April and October detailing the economic and fiscal outlook.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  It's something that has to be looked at very regularly for the unfunded liability or the liability to be as closely matched as possible to reality. However, I would be curious to see Mr. Robson's opinion if interest rates were, as Mr. Deltell mentioned, 23%. Maybe he'd have a different opinion of the appropriate discount rate.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  The real return bond rates don't necessarily move up and down with the nominal interest rate. That's why it's attractive, because it tends to be much smoother and lower than nominal interest rates because it removes the inflation component, so it would not necessarily move up and down with the swinging nominal interest rates.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  The rate of return traditionally tends to be higher if you have an active management strategy because of risk taking. However, for a pension plan that's as big and that has such a long-term perspective, personally I believe it's appropriate to be a bit more aggressive than passive to ensure that it has as high a rate of return as possible while maintaining an acceptable level of risk.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  That's a very specific question. I'm not sure I'm the best person to answer that question at this stage in my mandate.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  I'm not aware of a significant improvement. There might have been some anecdotal improvements for some specific proposals.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  I think the best way to speed up the approval process and to improve the oversight would be to have a budget that is, to be honest, much earlier in the process. It's very difficult to do anything that's meaningful and significant when you have a budget that can be tabled at virtually any time of the year.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  That's an interesting question. I asked my predecessor that question about the role of the PBO. I asked him how parliamentarians felt when he, Jean-Denis, appeared in the media. Did they dislike that? He told me spontaneously that parliamentarians tend to like it, because it gives credibility to an institution.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux

Government Operations committee  Yes, that is true both at the aggregate government level and at the federal-only level. Both are sustainable over the 75-year period that we looked at.

October 2nd, 2018Committee meeting

Yves Giroux