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Terry Mercer

The Hon. Terry M. Mercer, D.C.L, B.A., C.F.R.E. Appointed to the Senate by the Right Honourable Jean Chrétien in November 2003, Senator Terry M. Mercer represents the province of Nova Scotia and the Senatorial Division of Northend Halifax.

Statements & Hansard

Appropriation Bill No. 1, 2012-13

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Statement made on 27 March 2012 by Senator Joseph Day

Hon. Joseph A. Day:

Honourable senators, you have before you Bill C-35. We are now at second reading of this bill, and it does indeed request that at this stage we vote appropriation in the amount of $26.5 billion. That is to carry the government through to the end of June. The reason for that, honourable senators, is that it is appropriate for Parliament to have oversight of government's requests and proposals for expenditure. As we just received the estimates some time ago, it is important for us to have an opportunity to study them. We have, in fact, begun our study of these particular estimates and earlier today I filed the eighth report of our committee — with which I hope to deal later this day, honourable senators — which will help to explain what is in these estimates. That is the reason that we had an opportunity to study these estimates, so that we can report back to honourable senators with a report, table the report and give an opportunity to understand what is in here.

This is an interim report that we will be providing at this stage. We will continue our study of the Main Estimates throughout the year, and we anticipate that we will be filing another report before the end of June so that honourable senators will have an opportunity to understand what is in these Main Estimates before we vote on full supply for the rest of the year.

However, it is also anticipated, honourable senators, that Supplementary Estimates (A), Supplementary Estimates (B) and Supplementary Estimates (C) will be filed. The three of those, together with the Main Estimates, will give an appreciation of what the government estimates it needs to run the government and the country for the coming fiscal year. We anticipate that we will receive Supplementary Estimates (A) sometime in June.

It is important for honourable senators to understand that the estimates that we are dealing with in this supply bill and the interim supply that we are voting on do not reflect the budget that honourable senators will become more familiar with as of Thursday of this week. The budget is not reflected, because these estimates were prepared before the government's intention with respect to the budget had been made known. That is why we need the supplementary estimates. Supplementary estimates will begin to reflect the government policy that is in the budget.

In these Main Estimates, we find some of the initiatives announced in last year's budget, and we were able to look at those with Treasury Board and the other departments so that we had an understanding of what was happening and why expenditures were increasing.

It is important to take these two documents together, honourable senators. You have already indicated that we can do so, and it is on the Order Paper. In anticipation of dealing with the report of our committee, I believe it would be appropriate for us to allow this bill, like the previous bill, to go to third reading rather than to be sent to committee for study because the study has been done. Honourable senators just have not yet had an opportunity to hear about the report.

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