Mike Wallace Maverick Watch

by Aaron Wherry

The Conservative backbencher says the House needs to better scrutinize government spending.

Conservative MP Mike Wallace (Burlington, Ont.), vice-chair of the House Government Operations Committee, told The Hill Times on Monday that MPs should do a better job of scrutinizing government spending, but also they don’t have the time, expertise or resources to do an adequate job … 

“I’ve been on a number of committees now and I’ve sat in on others and not just for mains, but for supplementary As, Bs, Cs, [they] would get to the House of Commons without ever being reviewed by a committee. I think that committees should be more proactive on making sure that it’s a priority agenda item,” he said, explaining that it’s difficult also to keep track of everything and compare them to previous years to make an informed decision about passing them,” Mr. Wallace said.




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Mike Wallace Maverick Watch

  1. How I wish I could find the tape from a televised committee of the House where Sheila Fraser explained that when addressing HoC committees she spent most of her time explaining to MPs the process by which the AG reports are prepared.  She said that it’s only when she addressed the committees of the Senate that in-depth questions are asked.  Senators who are on that job for many years, if not one or two decades, know the process and go straight to the findings, she explained.

    I have sat on boards of small, community organizations.  I have worked closely with persons who sit on boards that employ 50,000 persons, but even then nothing compares to the complexity of government operations.  It’s not only about being proactive but about in-depth knowledge that come with yearssss of experience…

  2. Most MPs don’t have expertise or knowledge to go through 600 page budget and make sensible suggestions. Most MPs won’t even understand what they are looking at. Making budget is one of the few functions that bureaucracy is somewhat trusted to do. Problem is that bureaucracy has not proved itself particularly trustworthy. 

    Why don’t Federal MPs make their personal spending habits more transparent? 

    Maybe if MPs cleaned up their own habits first, they would have more creditability when it comes to budgets.

    While this new method of reporting MPs expenses gives Canadians greater insight into how tax dollars are spent, it does not give the level of detail that lead to scandals in Britain and Nova Scotia.

    In Nova Scotia, one MLA was found to have bought the video game Dance Dance Revolution while in Britain, MPs were found to have used their expense account for everything from purchasing porn to having their moats cleaned.

    The Canadian expense method gives the public a summary of expenses.

    http://www.torontosun.com/news/canada/2010/10/28/15867971.html

    Ottawa Citizen, July 2011

    “Nearly 600 pages of numbers, dollar signs and bureaucratic language were dumped onto one 12-member committee …. Canadian MPs lost a significant amount of power to make changes to spending plans in the late 1960s, when the House introduced the “deemed” rule.

    Under this rule, Parliament can’t delay approval of the estimates as a means to try to force the government to reconsider spending plans beyond May 31. If the spending plans haven’t been passed by that date, they’re “deemed” to have passed.”

    The deemed rule really had the effect of really reducing the role of committees to do line-by-line review of the expenditures,” said Conservative Senator Hugh Segal, who was an aide to Robert Stanfield, the Progressive Conservative leader of the Opposition, when that rule was brought in.”

    http://www.ottawacitizen.com/Archaic+system+handicaps+financial+oversight+critics/5072734/story.html

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