Elizabeth May: Mr. Speaker, there are areas of waste that continue to plague the spending of the current administration, and many of them have to do with outside contractors. We know from the report of retired Lieutenant-General Andrew Leslie that something around $2 billion in the Department of National Defence goes to outside contractors every year. Recently it was revealed that this administration has used about $482 million for legal advice, rather than relying on the existing Department of Justice, which is fully staffed with competent lawyers who are already being paid.
Does the hon. member not agree with me that spending and outsourcing should end when we reach balanced budgets, and that we should rely on people within the civil service who are there to provide professional advice?
Rick Dykstra: Mr. Speaker, it is an interesting question. This government has always believed that when the government has the ability within its particular ministries to deliver services, it does so without having to reach to outside sources.
However, the member has been around this place a long time, both as an elected member and as a senior adviser to former ministers, and she realizes that there are incidents, examples, and circumstances that require the government to use external sources, especially when it comes to legal services and expertise, to defend the government’s interests and the civil servants who represent this government in terms of defending their service and the delivery of that service as well.