Statement made on 27 March 2012 by Senator Joseph Day
Hon. Joseph A. Day:
Honourable senators, I am pleased to join Senator Neufeld, Deputy Chair of the National Finance Committee, in debate on Bill C-34.
Although Senator Neufeld described statutory expenditures, statutory expenditures do not appear in Bill C-34. This bill is only asking you to consider Schedules 1 and 2 to it, which are voted appropriations. Those are items for which this chamber and the other place must authorize the executive before any expenditures can be made out of the Consolidated Revenue Fund of Canada.
Honourable senators, the first step in this process is to look at the supplementary estimates we have been studying in the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance. The supplementary estimates are outlined in some detail, the various votes that must take place with it as well as each department. It also outlines for information purposes the statutory expenditure anticipated, the estimated expenditures in statutory expenditures, in this instance, for Supplementary Estimates (C), for the balance of this particular fiscal year.
As a result of that study, the Standing Senate Committee on National Finance prepared a report. That report on Supplementary Estimates (C) and the report that follows that, honourable senators, is the report that we debated at the last sitting of this chamber. I commend you this report. It outlines in some detail the work of the committee in relation to the various witnesses that we had before us.
As Senator Neufeld has indicated, the voted appropriation portion for Supplementary Estimates (C) and the supply bill that flows from that is $1.2 billion.
Honourable senators, that is the report that has been voted on in this chamber and adopted. What I typically do to assist you is to check the two schedules that are attached to this particular supply bill, Appropriation Bill C-34, and I confirm that I have found that the schedules appear to be identical to those we studied in our Finance Committee when we studied the supplementary estimates.
That being said, honourable senators, we have, in effect, done what might be compared to a pre-study of this particular supply bill. I would suggest to you that it would not be inappropriate for us, once second reading is concluded, to not follow our procedure that we follow with respect to other bills where we send the bill after second reading to committee for consideration; rather, we could follow the procedure that we have adopted in this chamber of proceeding to third reading, provided that the committee has had an opportunity to look at the supplementary estimates and to report to you so that you have some knowledge, some background upon which to base your movement to deal with the bill at third reading.
Honourable senators, I commend the report to you, and I find the schedules to be reflective of that which we have studied. Again, honourable senators, we are being asked to approve final expenditures for this fiscal year of $1.2 billion.