A point of clarification

In response to Monday’s sketch, Tony Clement’s office sends along the following note of clarification, which I reprint here in its entirety.

“To avoid misinterpretation: when Minister Clement referred to this “perhaps anachronistic process,” he was in fact agreeing with and echoing the Auditor General’s recommendation that the mechanism by which government reports to Parliament should be updated.

“In no manner whatsoever was he suggesting that the idea itself, that of reporting the financial dealings of government to parliament was out-of-date.  As he mentioned, the current process that has been used for nearly 100 years and absolutely should be looked at with an eye to improving. That is why he has instructed TBS officials to review the process by which this information is presented to Parliament, seeking ways to make it as transparent as possible.”

For the sake of the record, here’s the comment, also reprinted here in its entirety, in which Mr. Clement employed the adjective in question.

Merci Denis.  Bonjour tout le monde.  Let me first of all thank everyone for being here and what I’d like to do is offer a little bit more comment on the Chapter that my colleagues the Ministers have highlighted.  Before I begin of course let me also as President of the Treasury Board and as a Member of Parliament as well say how much I welcome the Auditor General’s excellent work.  You know, the Office of the Auditor General is a fundamental institution of our democracy.  I would like to take this opportunity publicly to congratulate Sheila Fraser for ten years of service to Members of Parliament and indeed to Canadians.

Comme l’a dit le Ministre Baird le rapport rév le des lacunes administratives dans le processus utilisé pour les fonds d’infrastructure du G8.  J’accepte sans réserve sa recommandation et en tant que Président du Conseil du Trésor je m’engage   apporter les améliorations nécessaires qui rendront le processus plus clair dans l’avenir.

If you can believe it, the current process that was used to present these funds to Parliament have been in the books for close to 100 years.  But I also agree it is perfectly reasonable to look at updating this process for the 21st century.  As a government that is committed to openness and transparency, we want to ensure that Parliamentarians receive the information that they need.

As such I have already directed Treasury Board Secretariat officials to look at how this perhaps anachronistic process can be improved.  Now I know we’re going to take a few questions here but let me close by again thanking the outgoing Auditor General Sheila Fraser for her outstanding work which earned the respect of Parliamentarians of all political stripes during her tenure.  Of course we look forward to just as productive a relationship with her successor whenever he or she is named.  Thank you.  We’ll take some questions.

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