Hon. C. M. Drury (President of the Treasury Board):
Mr. Speaker, it may be of assistance to the house to have a brief statement on the revised estimates for 1968-69 which have just been placed on the table. The original estimates for the fiscal year ending March 31, 1969 were tabled during the last session of parliament. However, their consideration was not completed during that session, so that estimates for the current year must be introduced during this session.
Last March the then minister of finance gave an undertaking to the house to reduce expenditures for 1968-69 by $75 million and to table a revised schedule of estimates. The revised estimates just tabled reflect reductions of some $80 million in controllable programs for which funds have to be voted annually by parliament. These reductions are shown by department and agency on columns 2 of pages 6A and 6C of the revised blue book.
Certain other developments which have occurred since March have made it necessary and desirable to amend further the original estimates. On July 12 last the Prime Minister (Mr. Trudeau) announced certain transfers of functions among ministers. These changes are also reflected in the revised estimates; and departments and agencies have been grouped under the minister responsible for them.
The passage of time since last winter, when the original estimates for 1968-69 were prepared, has made it possible to up-date and refine expenditure forecasts for statutory programs which are traditionally shown in the
blue book, but for which funds do not have to be voted annually. In addition, we have included in the revision expenditure estimates for two statutory items which do not appear in the original estimates. I should like to emphasize that, with respect to all these statutory items, parliament has already appropriated the necessary funds in the substantive legislation which authorized these expenditures.
For most of these statutory programs, payments by the federal government are determined by a number of factors defined in the legislation itself and the government has no choice but to make the payments called for, unless parliament decides to modify the legislation. For instance, payments to provinces under the Hospital Insurance and Diagnostic Services Act, under the Canada Assistance Plan and for post secondary education depend upon the level of expenditures incurred by the provinces which the federal government must then match.
In order to present to parliament up to date estimates of total budgetary expenditures for 1968-69, a number of statutory items-identified on page 6C of the blue book-have been revised upwards by $433 million in total. I should add that the increases in the three programs I have just mentioned account for some $229 million of the total. Another $67 million of the total increase is attributable to additional public debt charges, and the inclusion-for the first time this year-of statutory expenditures for medicare and last June's general election account for a further $49 million.
Finally, we have included in the revision the following essential requirements, totalling $33 million, for which parliament will be asked to appropriate funds. An additional amount to cover the anticipated operating loss of the Farm Credit Corporation during 196869 of $1,400,000; payments to the United States mint for coin production to meet the high demand for coinage, $210,000; additional provision for the Treasury Board contingencies vote for anticipated public service salary adjustments arising out of collective bargaining, $25 million; an addition to the original provision for the government's share of the premiums for the group surgical-medical
Financial Administration Act insurance plan required as a result of the participation in medicare of fewer provinces than expected, $6,218,000. In total, these changes bring budgetary expenditures for 1968-69 to a figure of $10,671 billion.
The house will be aware that the estimates blue book contains not only the anticipated expenditures of a budgetary nature but also lists those loans, investments and advances which parliament is asked to vote. Since the original main estimates were prepared, several essential requirements have arisen. A list of these, which total $200,026,812, will be found on page 6D of the revised blue book. The bulk of this requirement is accounted for by two large items, neither of which appeared in the original estimates. They are: additional contributions to the International Development Association, $81,081,000; and deposits in the Bank for International Settlements in Basle in support of sterling, $107,343,750. These additional requirements bring the loans total for 1968-69 to $684 million.
I trust that hon. members will find useful the statement on pages 6A, 6B, 6C and 6D of the revised estimates which shows for each department and agency the relationship of original estimates to the revised estimates for 1968-69.
That the message of His Excellency, together with the estimates presented this day, be referred to the committee of supply.
Hon. Robert L. Stanfield, Leader of the Opposition): Mr. Speaker, would the minister permit a question for clarification purposes. Am I correct in assuming that the estimates that are being tabled today are in fact some $400 million higher than the estimates tabled last spring?