Inside Politics

NDP wants House to order Tories to hand over docs on 'missing' public safety billions

Yesterday, Liberal treasury board critic John McCallum challenged the government to back up its claim that nearly $3.1 billion in public safety-related financing was not, as determined by the auditor general, 'missing', but had been duly listed in the public accounts and estimates.

Today, the New Democrats are upping the ante with a motion that, if passed, would force the government to show its work by delivering to the House all related annual reports, internal evaluations, Treasury Board submissions and related material by June 17th, at which point the speaker would make arrangements to post the entire collection online.

The NDP proposal would also provide the AG with "all necessary resources to perform an in-depth forensic audit" of the material, which would continue "until the missing $3.1 billion is found and accounted for."

The full text of the motion, which will be debated on Thursday:

May 7, 2013 -- Mr. Ravignat (Pontiac) -- That, in light of $3.1 billion of missing funds outlined in Chapter Eight of the 2013 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada, an order of the House do issue for the following documents from 2001 to the present, allowing for redaction based on national security: (a) all Public Security and Anti-Terrorism annual reports submitted to the Treasury Board Secretariat; (b) all Treasury Board submissions made as part of the Initiative; (c) all departmental evaluations of the Initiative; (d) the Treasury Board corporate database established to monitor funding; that these records be provided to the House in both official languages by June 17, 2013; that the Speaker make arrangements for these records to be made available online; and that the Auditor-General be given all necessary resources to perform an in-depth forensic audit until the missing $3.1 billion is found and accounted for.

It's worth noting that, while most supply motions are inherently non-binding, if passed, this one would constitute an instruction from the House, which means that the government would be obliged to comply with it or face the prospect of being found in contempt of Parliament.

That is, if it passes, which is, of course, unlikely.

Then again, Treasury Board President Tony Clement has adamantly averred that all funds at issue were, in fact, duly recorded, so perhaps he'd be keen to prove his assertion by handing over every one of the requested documents -- voluntarily, on the spot, and, ideally, accompanied by his trademark 'ta-da!' flourish -- which would nicely moot the need for a formal House order. 

UPDATE: It seems that Clement thinks the matter has been settled
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