Hon. Joseph A. Day:
Honourable senators, at the risk of wearing out your patience, this is getting awfully close to what went on in the House of Commons, when we start looking at second reading and then moving right along to third reading.
Normally, after second reading, we would expect the matter to be referred to committee but we don’t do that with these matters because it’s like a pre-study that we do. We started with the estimates. We’ve looked at the report, then first and second reading. That’s what we’ve been doing here over the last half an hour or so. It’s important that we recognize that third reading and the bill is tied in with the Main Estimates.
This is a supply bill. It’s not even a page long, but all the attachments to the supply bill are attachments that were in the estimates. So we studied the estimates; we had it for a day. I hope someone will continue to compare the schedules to the supply bill and make sure that they’re the same as that which we studied. Because I can tell you, there was a time, more than once but one time, when there weren’t any schedules attached to the bill and we would just breeze it on through. In fact, the House of Commons did pass a supply bill without any indication at all as to where the money was going, because you find that out in the schedules.
It’s important that we recognize that there is a process that we’ve adopted here and it’s worth being vigilant as we go through these steps.
I’m not going to resist third reading but, in concluding, I’d like to thank all members of the committee. Senator Marshall and I have worked on the committee for a good number of years. As I was listening to your report, I was reminded how important it is to have continuity. You can go back a couple of years. We were actually the committee that advocated for this change so we could know that the Main Estimates, which had come up for the year, were reflective of what was in the budget and what the government intended to do for the next year, as opposed to us picking that up through the year.
For a good number of years, Senator Smith did a fine job of making sure that we in the Senate did our part to follow the procedure and make sure that we were not spending billions of dollars without even talking about it.
Thank you all very much and I hope you continue.