Hon. Walter L. Gordon (Minister of Finance):
Mr. Speaker, by leave of the house I would like to make a statement concerning these estimates. The main estimates being tabled today are those which were prepared last fall and which have been the basis for the
Tabling of Estimates
operations conducted under authority oi special Governor General's warrants during April and May of the current year.
The supplementary estimates (A) are also being tabled today and contain the customary adjustments of the main estimates. Total budgetary expenditures in the main and supplementary estimates for 1963-64, including amounts already authorized by continuing statutes and moneys parliament is being requested to appropriate, amount to $6,545,504,515.
Because of the need for carrying on the financing of government operations by special warrant for the last two months of 1962-63 it will be necessary to await the appearance of the final expenditure figures for that year in order to make detailed comparisons. The government intends to report to parliament the total estimates and supply picture for 1962-63, following a detailed review being made to determine items and amounts which should properly be charged to the accounts of that year.
The royal commission on government organization, the Glassco commission, made suggestions for improving the form in which the estimates are presented to the house. These are at present under review but no change has been made in the form in which the estimates for the current fiscal year are now being presented.
With the permission of the house I now request that there be included in Hansard two tables relating to the estimates. The first table compares the 1963-64 estimates with the total budgetary estimates for several preceding years. The second table indicates the changes in the main estimates for 1962-63 and 1963-64, broken down by administration and operation, capital and other costs.
Mr. Speaker, there are two ways of effecting economies in government expenditures. The first is by a detailed examination of each item of expenditure and the particulars of each establishment. The second is by a realistic reappraisal of policies and programs approved in the past and carried forward from year to year more or less automatically. The purpose of such a reappraisal would be to see if certain programs that may have been quite justified and useful when originally introduced should now be dropped, or reduced in scope, in favour of new programs of greater importance under the economic and social conditions prevailing today. Both these approaches are needed if a thorough control over government expenditures is to be exercised. It may be, however, that the second approach of reappraising existing programs will provide greater opportunities for
eliminating or reducing less necessary government expenditures than a long drawn out examination of details, which sometimes degenerates into mere penny pinching.
Treasury board is now examining the programs of each department with the assistance and co-operation of the ministers concerned. Of necessity this examination will take some months to complete. Any reductions in the 1963-64 estimates which may result from this further examination and review will be reflected in the appropriations the house is asked subsequently to authorize.
The government is also pressing forward with a review of the recommendations made by the Glassco commission. Those recommendations of the commission that may be expected to result in greater efficiency throughout the public service or in useful savings of expenditures will be implemented as quickly as possible.