Thursday 21 March 1991




Chair: Callahan, Robert V. (Brampton South L)

Vice-Chair: Poole, Dianne (Eglinton L)

Bradley, James J. (St. Catharines L)

Charlton, Brian A. (Hamilton Mountain NDP)

Conway, Sean G. (Renfrew North L)

Cooper, Mike (Kitchener-Wilmot NDP)

Cousens, W. Donald (Markham PC)

Hayes, Pat (Essex-Kent NDP)

Johnson, Paul R. (Prince Edward-Lennox-South Hastings NDP)

MacKinnon, Ellen (Lambton NDP)

O'Connor, Larry (Durham-York NDP)

Tilson, David (Dufferin-Peel PC)

Substitution: Haeck, Christel (St. Catharines-Brock NDP) for Mr Charlton

Clerk: Manikel, Tanis

Staff: McLellan, Ray, Research Officer, Legislative Research Service

The committee met at 1012 in room 228.


The Chair: As you know or as you may not know, we need a bit more time for the report, so when we finish today we are going to have our next meeting the first Thursday in April.

We wanted to get together today and get some ideas of what the committee would like to do in terms of future agendas. I think you had the agenda beforehand, and I do not know whether you have given some thought to this, and the Chair is open to entertain any suggestions.


The Chair: The clerk reminds me that perhaps before we do that we could have a motion to have someone replace Mr Charlton on the subcommittee now that he is in cabinet.

Mr O'Connor: We have not actually met to discuss that yet ourselves.

The Chair: Oh, is that right?

Mr O'Connor: Obviously we will do that in a certain time frame, but --

The Chair: All right. Why do we not defer it then to the first meeting in April and you could let us know in the meantime.

Mrs MacKinnon: Is that a 10 am meeting?

The Chair: Yes. We always meet at 10 on Thursday morning, concurrently with the House and private members' business.

Mrs MacKinnon: Usually this room?

The Chair: Well, you have to check the parliamentary channel to know what room we are in. We travel. No, we do not travel, actually. They do not let us travel, but we do travel -- within this building. Within this building we are allowed to travel, but outside this building we are not allowed to travel for some unknown reason. But leave that as it is.

Mr Cousens: Ed Philip spent too much money.

The Chair: Well, I think that is right. He may, he -- well no, I will not even comment. Impartial is the Chair. But do we have any suggestions?

Mr Cousens: Has the staff pursued some of the other subjects? We made a list up originally, if you remember, and I would like to compliment Ray and the Chair and everyone else for it. I think we had very good sessions with regard to the universities and the school system review; why do we not just listen to the advice of Ray or the auditor?

The Chair: Well, the auditor has given me the copy that was submitted to us. Might I make a suggestion, if I could, that we investigate the availability of accommodations or places of treatment of alcoholism in this province.

We are all aware of how much people have to go to the United States, and it seems to me that it is a very significant problem; perhaps we should find out what is there, how effectively it is being used, how much availability there is and perhaps what other methods might be set up so we can submit that in a report to the government. Anybody have any difficulty with that?

Mr Johnson: I think maybe we could even broaden the scope of that investigation and find out what kind of Ontario health dollars are being spent in the United States either for services that we do not have here or for services that are perceived to be better in the United States. Is that too broad a mandate?

The Chair: No, I think that is probably a good idea. We might even consider looking at models that are available not just in this jurisdiction but in other jurisdictions in terms of how they deal with it.

It is my view, and I carry this from my former profession, that probably 80% of the crimes committed in this country, or certainly in this province, are either drug-related or alcohol-related, and the availability of help for people who have alcoholic or drug problems is minute, as near as I can figure on the surface. What we are doing is just housing these people and turning them back out on to the street with maybe a worse habit, and I think we have to perhaps try to find some effective way of treating them.

The Donwood Clinic is an excellent clinic, but you need bucks to get in there, and it has got a waiting list that is significant. I at one time suggested to the Minister of Correctional Services that he might look at incorporating the Donwood Clinic into correctional institutions on a contract basis because they seem to have such great success. Otherwise, all it becomes is political. People think we are putting people away and we are not doing anything for them while they are in there and they just get out in worse shape and we eventually will become like the scenario of the South Bronx Vanity of the Bonfires, that book about the court system in the United States which I think should be required reading for every Attorney General and Minister of Correctional Services.

Is there any discussion about that or any concern of that being an issue?

Mr Archer: Can I just make a comment?

The Chair: Yes.

Mr Archer: I think it relates to one of the points we raised in section 3.13 of our report. We addressed the out-of-province payments that OHIP is making. For general information's sake, in 1990 the total paid out-of-province was $120 million, and of that, $20 million represented payments with respect to drug and alcohol abuse.

The Chair: It is page 165, if you have your reports there, that the auditor is referring to.

Mr Archer: So in our audit report there is sort of a lead-in, if you like, to the subject matter that the Chairman discussed, and of course what he said would involve getting much more involved and much more detailed information than what is in our auditor's report.

Mr Cousens: I think Mr Johnson made a good point, to expand it a little bit, because of the questions that are coming out as to moneys being spent outside the province for services that could be provided here and as it ties in with the introduction we had from the auditors.

The Chair: In recognizing the numbers that are sent over there, I have heard some good reports of success; so they must have scenarios that are working that we are not either privy to or we are not employing or we have not concentrated on, and I think we should.

Mr Johnson: If I may interject, how do you judge a value-for-money audit in a health care service? Is it proportion of healing or absolute healing? I would find that very difficult to determine.

Mr Archer: When we get into the effectiveness, yes. Most of our observations in health and pretty well any social field are with regard to economy and efficiency of running the particular system. The effectiveness area, which is really the key and the core area, is one that we, as auditors, have not gotten into in any great depth. Our position has been that the government or the ministry or the providers of that service should be coming up with their own objectives and measures to see whether they are achieving these objectives and then, once they have done that, we will attempt to audit to see whether or not they are meeting the measures.

Mr Johnson: Sure. The success of any program would be indicated by the amount of "cures" that one might have. If the United States is shown to have more "cures" than a similar program in Canada, then certainly we should maybe observe the differences in programs. Maybe their programs are not as good, maybe they are better, but it is something you might want to look at.

The Chair: Maybe we could have research provide for us a list of facilities in one specific area outside of this jurisdiction, hopefully the best or the most productive -- I do not know how you determine that, Ray -- or maybe a list of them in a number of jurisdictions that we could look at.


Mr O'Connor: One thing too is the way that a lot of those operations across the border work; definitely it is business. They have got people planted here to attract customers and they are not really taking care of the social needs of the person who is going over there seeking treatment. They encourage them to be repeat visitors too.

There are some good programs, no doubt, and there are some that work, but as an MPP and in my constituency I am hearing that there are treatments that work and that are effective which we should try to look at here. But there are also some pretty shoddy-looking outfits out there attracting customers in and telling them: "Don't tell anyone in your family that we are going to send you to Texas. Come here at 10 o'clock and bring one small suitcase." Then they are on a plane and away they go. There is too much of that going on. Once they get them down there, they encourage them to come back for a repeat visit for a month. They are not looking at treatment; they are looking at business.

The Chair: I think that is why it is imperative that we find models that are going to be very effective. Do you think that is possible, Ray?

Mr McLellan: I will look into it.

The Chair: Okay. Maybe you could report back.

Since nobody else is making suggestions, the second one I would suggest would be to look into the question of the justice system and the reproduction of evidence by way of transcription. We are still in the dark ages here in terms of how we do it.

In the United States, they have gotten into the 21st century in that area. I think we should be looking at how we can reproduce the written word in a courtroom quickly and expeditiously, so much so that a judge can look at a page immediately and just pop it out of a word processor. I think to a very large extent, that is creating a backlog in our courts as well and also in the appeals, because these transcripts very often are needed for the appeals.

For US jurisdictions, they are very advanced at this stage, and I think we should be looking at that unless this is something that has already been looked at or is being looked at by the government. I do not think it is. So I suggest that as well.

Mr Tilson: I agree with that, and there is a section on the Ontario Provincial Police. Obviously one of the major concerns that I see the public is interested in is with respect to law and order and its cost and efficiency. I believe that should be added to the list. I think it starts at page 172 of the report.

Mr Johnson: I mentioned to the auditor at a previous meeting, but it may not be on the record, about community living agencies that are being funded by the government through the Ministry of Community and Social Services. I had a number of concerns raised by constituents in my riding that they do not feel the dollars are being wisely used and that they do not feel the proportion of the dollars spent that rolls down to the clients served is adequate. As the government divests some of these services, it is becoming apparent that although these are non-profit agencies, the funds are not being utilized to the best value for the clients being served.

The Chair: Could you give us a couple of examples?

Mr Johnson: The community living association in the Belleville area. There have been some constituents who have come to me and said they are not happy. The way things were and the way things are seems to be regressive, as opposed to being progressive, and the value for dollar, in their opinion, was better before than it is now. If we are going backwards, I think this is something we would like to identify and investigate further. Maybe as a result of an audit, we could identify the shortcomings and change that.

The Chair: Do they receive government funding?

Mr Archer: I am not sure what type of people they look after. Would they be ex-psychiatric patients or something of that nature?

Mr Johnson: I am not sure what the term is we are using today, but developmentally handicapped individuals.

Mr Archer: That is the subject of this year's auditor's report. We did look at some of those agencies, both the government-run and the so-called not-for-profit; so there are two sections in our current audit report.

Mr Johnson: I will scrutinize that more closely and see if maybe there is a need to look more closely at some of this.

The Chair: Why do you not do that, Mr Johnson? Maybe when we come back on the next occasion, that could be added to the list as well.

Mr Cousens: I support the idea of the police thing, but on the home care assistance, there is quite a section on that which the auditor did some work on. It has come up in the House quite a number of times regarding the problems associated with trying to find people to do home care, the delegation through to nurses and the professional protection that goes on between one nursing profession and those who are not nurses who are doing those services. I am beginning to think it would be good value for ourselves to have a look at that one. I know in my own area it is hard to find people to fill the jobs, and we see the point that the auditors raise --

The Chair: What page is that you are at, Mr Cousens?

Mr Cousens: It is on page 154.

The whole subject of the auditor came up, and I think we could spend a couple of days looking at the home support system.

Mr Tilson: I would concur. There seems to be a trend that is being recommended by the current Minister of Health and the former Minister of Health as to what direction we should be going in health. I know I have had a lot of people ask me, "Well, tell us more about it; what is it going to cost?" and that sort of thing. There have been a lot of big statements made and I think we should do it.

The Chair: It might be worthwhile as well, if we get into that and do that, to try to get a handle on what the cost of those services would be if they were provided in an institutional setting.

Mr Tilson: That was the purpose of my comment, verging a little bit from what Mr Cousens said.

Mr O'Connor: Another area that has been touched on in the report is the homes for the aged, which Community and Social Services funds, and nursing homes, which the Ministry of Health funds. There is a large discrepancy in the dollar funding going to them and, of course, the service that can be provided because of the difference in dollar figures. I have to admit that I have not completely gone right through this, but I know there is a big difference in the dollar funding; maybe that area could be focused on too because, as we know, health care funding is extremely high. I think in the case of nursing home care, which Health funds, they fund less money to nursing home care as opposed to the homes for the aged. So that might be a worthwhile area. I mean, just for the sake of comparison, we could perhaps find out where the dollar is best spent.


The Chair: On that particular issue, there is a very excellent representation in three buildings out in my riding. At Holland Christian Homes, they have independent living in an apartment; then if the person requires perhaps a meal a day to be prepared, he or she moves into the middle building, which provides the meal, and eventually, when the person becomes totally disabled, he or she moves into the third building, which is a chronic care facility. It is particularly excellent for the Dutch community, because many of these people are from Holland and do not speak a word of English. I would think it is a traumatic experience, particularly for people of another culture, to maybe start out in an apartment, then to have to receive some services across town, and then to be moved completely out of their environment for the final stage. I would think that is really a traumatic experience, and very costly.

Mr O'Connor: I would think too, with something like that, the established ethnic community in an area such as that would be behind and support it.

The Chair: That is precisely how the Holland Christian Homes got going. They got some financial support by the region forgiving levies, but basically they put it together themselves. It may be a good one to look at in terms of something that might be looked at in other areas of Ontario.

Any other suggestions?

Mr Johnson: Government schedule 1 facilities. I can speak specifically about Prince Edward Heights in Picton; it's in my constituency. I was an employee there for a number of years and I was always concerned about the appropriate spending, the accountability of spending of government funds as an employee, and certainly now as a legislator I am even more curious. Is this something that would be within the mandate of the auditor to do an audit?

Mr Archer: We audited schedule 1 and --

The Chair: Where is that?

Mr Archer: Page 77. We do not audit all the agencies. We just take two or three, and I do not believe Prince Edward was one of them.

Mr Johnson: No, it was not. I do remember reading through this particular audit.

Mr Archer: It is a schedule 1 facility for developmentally handicapped.

Mr Johnson: When the auditor does an audit, do you break down and identify money spent on salaries to the different management and staffing levels? I guess I will be specific about one of my concerns. It seems to me that past governments and administrators admit this and yet seem unable to do anything about it, but the fact is that there are more middle management people than are necessary. It would seem to me that if everybody can identify that as a problem, it would appear that it is something that could be gradually changed or improved upon.

Mr Archer: We tried to get at that on page 79. We got into staffing and questioned the staffing levels and showed by comparisons of 1979 to 1989 that staff had gone up or at least stayed the same, whereas the residents had dropped by 50% and that type of thing. We tried to get into some of the questions you have raised, although maybe not always with the same angle that you have on them; but I think if you read that, there will be some information that will be relevant to your concern.

Mr Johnson: The practice of ministries, when they are dealing with their budget year, is that there is a time, some time late in the budget year when the message seems to be sent -- and I use the facility as an example -- that if you do not spend the allotted money of your budget this year, then you will receive less money for your budget or you will not be able to arrange the same amount of budget money next year. Is that a practice that is widespread in the government? I wonder what the auditor thinks of that, that messages are sent out saying: "Hey, we have got a few million extra dollars here that have been budgeted for and we had best spend them, because we do not want it to be perceived that we are not looking after our budget properly."

Mr Archer: I think that is a problem that is chronic to government, not just to agencies that are funded by government, but to government ministries as well. The whole budgeting practice in government is that at the end of the year the money lapses if you have not spent it. If you have any left over, that is nice, I guess, but you do not get to carry that forward; you start from zero again. I guess there is a natural tendency on the part of people who approve budgets to look to see how much you spent last year, and they are a little reluctant to accept explanations: "Well, you were particularly efficient or had due regard for economy last year and therefore you have a little extra to carry over to this year." They tend to look at it from the standpoint of saying, "Well, we must have given you too much money last year."

To avoid that type of reaction, there is this tendency: "Well, let's spend everything we have got so they will think that we at least need as much as we got last year."

Mr Johnson: Is this not a practice that we would all like to see changed?

Mr Archer: Yes, it is.

Mr Johnson: I have always wanted to see it changed, and my opinion has not changed. I think that, given the number of ministries of the government and given the number of offices of ministries, which all have their budgets, if you multiply the number of dollars that they probably spend frivolously at the end of their budget year, I would think that it would be substantial. In fact, I would think that it would be millions of dollars.

Mr Archer: It certainly will be millions; no doubt about that. In the provincial government we are talking billions these days.

It is interesting that you should raise this again. This has been a concern of the standing committee on public accounts since the mid-1970s or the late 1970s, and they requested that we analyse this in detail. For about three or four years running we did an analysis of spending by ministries -- just ministries, not agencies -- in the month of March as compared to the average throughout the rest of the year, and certainly what they spent in March was far greater than in any other month. Then we would try to get to see why, and some of it, strangely enough, was justified; payments came due or grants had to be made in February or March and that type of thing.

I think that review, at that time anyway, tended to moderate -- not cut out, but moderate -- this tendency of spending just for the sake of getting rid of the money. After about four or five years of doing this, the public accounts committee felt that we have done about all we can in that area.

We have not done that type of analysis, I would say, in the last 10 years now. It may well be time to try it again.

Mr Johnson: Those individuals who approve budgets, when they look at a budget and if they see that it is increased or reduced from the previous year -- I guess reductions would get approval rather quickly; increases would be scrutinized a little more closely --

Mr Archer: A reduced budget? I do not know; I have never heard of that term before.

Mr Johnson: What is that?

Mr Archer: A reduced budget from the previous year.

Mr Johnson: Why would they not exist? I can see that if people were trying to streamline their ministry, or if they were trying to be a little more frugal in times of constraint, maybe they could slash their budget somewhat. But the people who approve these, if they see that, then the expectation is that the following year they would have a like budget, I guess, and so one would have to plan their budgets more than within a particular fiscal year, I would think.

Mr Archer: Yes, you are looking at the long term. In other words, if you slash the 10% next year and did without a lot of things next year, then the expectation of the people approving budgets would be for the following year that you should not ask for much more than you had last year, forgetting that last year you had a 10% cut.

Mr Johnson: It just strikes me that maybe the culprits here are not so much the people managing the budgets and spending the money, but the people who are approving them or the process that approves them and the fear of not being given the same amount or more the following year, that not being able to get the budget moneys that they think will be necessary next year as opposed to this year would leed people to spend more.

Mr Archer: Yes, there is no doubt about it. I am just sceptical as to whether that can be changed; it is so ingrained in government.


Ms Poole: I was looking at the page on developmentally handicapped facilities. I do not believe you have discussed this yet. I was a bit late coming in, so I just wanted to check that. It seems to me that the auditor is finding here that there needs to be a definite improvement in the whole area of facilities for the developmentally handicapped.

Mr Johnson: The first comment is at the bottom of page 77: "The ministry did not ensure the funds were well spent by the facilities." It is an indication there are some shortcomings.

Ms Poole: That is just the start. The auditor went into it quite extensively and questioned not only staff levels but the fact that the facilities were not well utilized, that there were empty buildings that could have been directed to other purposes, the fact that there does not appear to be an ongoing monitoring process, that up until in the mid 1980s, I believe it said, they had a peer review but it appears that they are no longer doing that on a regular basis. It might be one area we would like to explore a little more fully.

Mr O'Connor: We did not go through it quite as much, but we had mentioned this earlier.

The Chair: Ms Poole, your serve.

Ms Poole: Since I was not here, I did not know whether you had discussed it and reached any decision whether you wanted to look at it. It is certainly something we can put on the list for consideration, at any rate, and think about what our priorities will be.

The Chair: Just for the benefit of the members who had other activities and were not here when we raised them, we have suggested a couple of topics. One of them was an investigation of the extent and quality of facilities that we have available in this province for treatment of alcoholics and probably drug addicts as well, and maybe looking at the reason there is an attraction to go across the border, what degree of success they have and what programs they have there that might be brought back here.

The second one was to look at the question of bringing our court systems and transmission of evidence into the 21st century, as opposed to where it is now -- in the dark ages -- by using electronic equipment.

What was the third one?

Mr Cousens: Police.

The Chair: Police, yes. I have forgotten what we were going to do there.

Mr Tilson: Just a general look at the inefficiency.

The Chair: Yes, all right. Then there is home care assistance. And you have just raised the one of developmentally handicapped; is that right?

Ms Poole: Yes.

The Chair: That was actually raised by Mr Johnson. We have also got nursing home services, which we want to look at; that was also mentioned in the auditor's report. Also, ministry facilities for developmentally handicapped are one of the topics we have suggested.

If there are any more topics that members have either now or if they think about them between now and our next meeting the first Thursday in April, by all means let us know. We would like to get to a stage at the next meeting where we can actually set an agenda as to prioritizing these items, so we can then get on with meetings, setting up whatever people we want to interview and so on.

I am told by our research officer that the report dealing with the three school boards that were audited is written, and Mr McLellan is going to confer with the auditor between now and our next meeting.


The Chair: The one on the universities is still under way, and we have a legal opinion with reference to the matter of the jurisdiction of the auditor. Hopefully at our meeting in April we will be able to start writing or at least looking at the report in terms of preparing it. Okay? You look quizzical, Sean.

Mr Conway: I was actually struck on that subject. Has the auditor been following the Stanford case in the United States? There is a rather fascinating case in the United States that has attracted very considerable prominence where Stanford University has been singled out by the equivalent of the audit office in Washington, the GAO, as having perpetrated a grand gilt-edged scam against the federal Treasury. It has to do with overhead costs for research. The president of Stanford was before the congressional committee last week being absolutely humiliated and undressed for all kinds of high crimes and misdemeanours on a scope that is just breathtaking.

Mr Archer: We have not been following that but we certainly will now.

Mr Conway: I have looked at the testimony, and he was being very professional. He was admitting to any number of really quite colourful schemes and scams for diverting federal research dollars.


Mr Conway: It has been a very prominent case before the congressional committee. I have rarely seen a situation where a high official of an institution so illustrious as Stanford University was so abject in his admission of what had been going on. Clearly it is the indication from the congressional hearings that Stanford is not an isolated incident, that this is going on system-wide.

Interjection: It is the American way.

Mr Conway: I wondered. That would be the typical Canadian attitude, I suspect. I just wondered whether our purity would be as proven if we were to --

Interjection: Yes.

The Chair: How long did those last?

Ms Haeck: Just as a point of information, I happened to read an article about this very same issue in the New York Times of last Thursday. I think the scam is something like $200 million of research that was channelled through the navy. They were doing naval research. It goes into, maybe not as much detail as Mr Conway was alluding to -- it is a couple of columns -- but it definitely gives you the meat, that there is an awful lot there. It is definitely interesting to conjecture to what degree possibly some of that might be happening here.

Mr Conway: I just thought, in light of the hearings here a couple of weeks ago, it was an interesting case. I did not read the piece in the Times, although I have asked the library research to gather the material together. I understood the CBS News report, it had to do with the very-much-talked-of subject of indirect research overhead costs.

Mr Archer: Oh yes.

Mr Conway: If you have ever heard university presidents or university administrators, it is a standard complaint. Much of the discussion at the congressional hearings focused in on that. I should not use such colourful language as I did in talking about high crimes and misdemeanours. What really struck me was the admission by the president of Stanford that the violations had been as serious and as widespread, and the dollars. According to the CBS News report -- and as I say, the congressional hearings were as brutal as anything I have ever seen -- the administration was extremely candid about where the money was intended to have gone and where it actually went. I think the average taxpayer watching that would assume Stanford was clearly not an isolated case.


The Chair: Did they actually conduct the full congressional hearings?

Mr Conway: The GAO went in and did an audit of it. I do not know whether it was a spot audit -- that is why I want to know more about what happened -- but they seem to have hit a motherlode.

Mr Archer: Most of their audits are generated by requests from members.

Mr Conway: At any rate, the congressional committee undertook the matter. I just thought, given that this committee was dealing with it and knowing a little bit about the Ministry of University Affairs, I thought to myself --

The Chair: Perhaps we can get something on that and at least bring everybody up to speed. Okay. The auditor said they will pursue and make it available to us.

Mr Conway: As a matter of fact, it might be very interesting if through the auditor's office, we could get from the GAO some kind of executive summary as to what they found and what their hearings produced, because again the news clip I saw last week may have misrepresented what actually happened, although the president of Stanford was given a fair bit of time to speak and it was a mea culpa such as I have not heard before.

The Chair: Okay. Anything further? Mr O'Connor.

Mr O'Connor: In regard to Hansard from this committee, I have received one day's Hansard from our audit of the universities. For myself, I would like to have a full set of them so that when our research comes up with their first draft of a report, they would have something to gauge some of that by.

Another thing too was a question that I had asked, directed to I believe it was Mr Prichard, in regard to the formula used for tuition grants. He was supposed to get back to us on that, I believe, and I have not received anything. Whether someone else has here, I do not know. But for myself, I would like to see a reply to that before we come up with a summary. I think it would be useful.

Mr McClelland: I have received documentation from the University of Toronto through the clerk's office.

Clerk of the Committee: That was distributed to members yesterday.

The Chair: Yes, that is what I thought.

Clerk of the Committee: Maybe you have not seen it or maybe it did not reach your office.

Mr McClelland: Okay. Well, I am up at the MOE.


Clerk of the Committee: It may take a little bit longer.

The Chair: You will have to move back here. It is really a delightful building.

Clerk of the Committee: As far as Hansard goes, I will be checking with the Hansard office on why it did not go out to you.

Mr O'Connor: Okay, thank you.

The Chair: Any other comments, as they say in the service clubs, for the good of the club -- no, I should not say that -- before we adjourn?

The clerk has suggested that maybe we should have the subcommittee meet to go through the things we have just put on the list and prioritize them and so on, but we have a problem in that Mr Charlton is still on the subcommittee. Even though I know we are going to wait until the next meeting, I wonder if we could have perhaps somebody from the government sub in just on a temporary basis. Mrs Haeck.

Mrs Haeck: I am just subbing in over here. I cannot do that.

The Chair: Sub in for the subcommittee.

Mr O'Connor: Why do we not get back to you on that and let you know.

The Chair: Maybe you could get back to the clerk.

Clerk of the Committee: Or if you can leave it until after our next meeting, whatever.

The Chair: Or we can leave it until after the April meeting. But why not see what you can do, and if you can get back to the clerk, maybe something could be set up for the subcommittee to review it so we will at least be able to get on with the agenda in April.

I also want to report, although everybody probably already knows, that the invitation we received from the public accounts authorities in Australia had to be turned down in that the Board of Internal Economy indicated we could not go.

Having said that, there was a koala bear just waiting in a tree there.

In any event, anything further?

Mr Cousens: Is there finance to go to the national?

The Chair: Oh yes, that was the other thing I should indicate. The public accounts meeting is 11 to 14 August in Winnipeg.

Mr Bradley: Why did I get back on the committee again anyway?

The Chair: Well.

Interjection: Nova Scotia is the year after.

Mr Bradley: Great. I love Winnipeg.

The Chair: Maybe you would like to make a note of those dates. Hopefully, the Board of Internal Economy will allow us to at least go to our annual convention. I should not have said that. Probably someone will look at that in Hansard.

The committee adjourned at 1056.