Hon. Joseph A. Day:
Mr. Minister, thank you very much for being here.
Yesterday, during the appearance before the Standing Senate Committee on National Security and Defence, Commissioner Bob Paulson said that the RCMP is currently reviewing the resources of one of his departments or sections to see what extra funds they need in order to perform the functions that are being asked of them.
We have also learned that the RCMP will be investigating the Panama Papers. You’ve just heard about the tremendous number of documents that the RCMP and Canada will be receiving, and they intend to review those documents once they have been received.
It’s pretty clear, Mr. Minister, that the RCMP, through its work, plays a key role in not only the security but the prosperity of the Canadian economy.
Minister, are you aware of the review the RCMP is currently conducting in relation to the resources it has available to perform the tasks that are being asked of them, and can you assure us that you’re working with the Minister of Public Works to ensure that our Royal Canadian Mounted Police are properly funded to do that work?
Hon. William Morneau, P.C., M.P., Minister of Finance: I’d like to start by thanking the senator for the question.
I can tell you that during the budget process we did have the Minister for Public Safety come forward with a plan for the RCMP. I know that he will be continuing to look at the adequate resources or to make sure that he has the adequate resources to perform the functions that the RCMP is expected to perform.
I don’t have any insights into the particular initiative you’re referring to at this time, but I would be happy to get back to you with further information on that.
Part of our initiative in putting $444 million to the Canada Revenue Agency was specifically around ensuring that we do have Canadians comply with our tax rules. To the extent that part of this initiative is part of the CRA’s necessary function, we believe that we’ve put the adequate resources there.
I will get back to you, though, with respect to further information on the RCMP.
Senator Day: Before your appearance today, I had a chance to review the budget. There’s very little in the budget with respect to the RCMP or indeed with respect to CSIS. I do appreciate the Canada Revenue Agency funding. I then went to the Main Estimates, which show that for operations the RCMP have less funds by a significant number of millions of dollars than in previous Main Estimates. Both of these sources indicate that there is not the government’s attention to the role of the RCMP in this group of agencies and departments of the federal government in providing security and prosperity for Canada.
I wanted to make that point, Mr. Minister. Hopefully when you do get back to us, you will let the RCMP know that we have raised this issue because they continually say, “We will do the best job that we can with the resources that are made available.” It’s now clear that the resources being made available are not adequate.
Mr. Morneau: Well, in the case of the RCMP, we did review the spending requests that came from Public Safety. In a number of cases, we did look at how we could augment services of the RCMP. If you look deeply into the budget, you will see a number of initiatives that we have taken on behalf of the RCMP, looking at some spending pressures that they do have.
In the case of CSIS, we did make some significant investments around CSIS that were important from the standpoint of the Minister of Public Safety.
We have, in fact, made some investments in the budget. However, as I said, I will come back to you with further specifics.
Senator Day: Thank you.