Mr. François Langlois (Bellechasse)
Mr. Speaker, I wish to inform you that, pursuant to Standing Order 43(2), speeches from the Official Opposition will be limited to ten minutes.
I have the pleasure to rise today to speak to the motion presented by my colleague, the hon. member for St-Albert, which comprises eight different points, and gives us a lot to talk about. I will limit my comments to the Auditor General's role.
His role is painfully obvious, once a year, when he presents his annual report. Instead of focusing on one annual report, Bill C-207, presented by the member for Ottawa-Vanier, offers a very different approach which could be a good starting point for discussions on allowing the Auditor General to present, on a regular basis, periodic reports that would enable the House to regain control of the budget.
Historically, the role of the House of Commons has been mainly to control government expenditures. Take for example the case of the aircraft carrier Bonaventure ; a few years ago, it was one of the first of a long list of white elephants uncovered by the Auditor General every year. Year after year, we have watched this horror show presented by the Auditor General of Canada. From one annual report to the next, time goes by and
very little is done to remedy the deficiencies revealed by the Auditor General.
I wonder if this famous red book we have heard so much about for so long suggests specific ideas to improve the image of parliamentarians, by presenting such reports for example. We will have the opportunity to see what the government's position is in this respect. I was rather surprised when the minister did not squarely state his position regarding Bill C-207.
I wonder whether the government is ready to go as far as amending the Auditor General Act to allow presentation of progress reports. This would make less alarming the problems the Auditor General of Canada could bring to the attention of the House for review, not once a year, but from time to time. It seems to me that such an approach would open up the process. In view of the $28 billion Quebec contributes every year to the federal purse, the Official Opposition, the Bloc Quebecois, would be well advised to take part in this exercise which, far from being futile, is a fundamental aspect of the parliamentary system, even more so if we were able to study more in-depth-