These comments are direct quotations from the Hansard documents.

New Computer System

Mr. Philip Mayfield (Cariboo—Chilcotin, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, according to the latest spending estimates, the Canadian firearms program will be spending yet another $21.5 million to develop a new computer system. This is in addition to a $35 million contract with CGI Group Inc. for a new off-the-shelf system. The justice department had already paid $400 million to EDS. It modified that some 12,000 times before deciding to ditch it.

Did EDS compete with CGI in a public tendering for this new off-the-shelf system?

Hon. Martin Cauchon (Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, I just do not know why they keeping asking questions on that notion of gun control. First, they should listen to the Canadian people. The polls that we have seen lately tell us exactly where they are, and they strongly support the gun control program that we put in place back in 1995.

As well, they should start to look at the statistics. They should listen to what stakeholders have said over the past few days. However, when they have a colleague such as the member for Yorkton—Melville saying that gun control will result in more crime, more injuries and more death of course we cannot support--

The Deputy Speaker: The hon. member for Verchères—Les-Patriotes.

Hon. Don Boudria (Minister of State and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, Lib.): Mr. Speaker, this is in fact not a new question of privilege. It refers to something that was raised in the House yesterday. I committed yesterday to return to the House on the question of privilege at the earliest opportunity, which of course is today.

Yesterday the hon. member for St. Albert asked about details on the firearms funding in the supplementary estimates by way of a question of privilege.

A total of $77.5 million was requested for Justice in the supplementary estimates. Of this amount, $59.4 million was requested in support of the Canadian firearms program, of which $50.5 million is in Justice vote 1, operating, and $8.8 is in vote 5, contributions. The remaining $18 million is to cover four additional items, namely: incremental funding--which has an asterisk beside it and I will get back to that in a moment--to address core operational requirements, $16.4 million; public security and anti-terrorism initiatives, $.4 million; additional operating costs, $1 million; and partnering with the voluntary sector, $.2 million.

On the use of Treasury Board vote 5 for Justice, as it was alleged yesterday, in the 2002-03 supplementary estimates part B, the member for St. Albert also asked whether Treasury Board vote 5 was used for firearms funding. As I answered yesterday, and I am willing to provide more detail now, the answer is no.

As I indicated yesterday, $14 million was provided from Treasury Board vote 5 specifically for prosecution and legal costs associated with an increased workload in drug prosecution. When the minister appears before committee he can give details of that. That is the custom. The remainder is for aboriginal litigation cases.

The asterisk in the supplementary estimates denotes the fact that the request was made by the Minister of Justice for access to vote 5 for this specific item only. The department will use this temporary allocation only for this purpose.

It should be noted that all departmental expenditures in either the main or supplementary estimates are approved by Parliament and reported in the public accounts, which of course ultimately is the verification method. They are subsequently reviewed, as we know, and verified by the Office of the Auditor General.

I am pleased to inform the House on this. I hope it will assist the Chair in making its decision as to whether or not the privileges have been breached, which of course we maintain they have not.

Mr. John Williams (St. Albert, Canadian Alliance): Mr. Speaker, I think the government House leader is just trying to deflect the whole issue.

The point of my question of privilege was that he gave information, and he repeated some of that information today, that is not in the main estimates for 2003-04 that was supplied by the spokesperson for the Department of Justice outside this chamber to the general public, referring to the fact that the House would be advised of this information later when the plans and priorities, the part IIIs, were tabled in the House later this month.

This is information that first belongs here before it goes out there, not the other way around. That was my question of privilege.

The Deputy Speaker: Of course, this original question of privilege was heard yesterday by our hon. Speaker himself. He has undertaken to review the matter so I am sure that today's information will again give him more subject matter for reflection. His decision will be brought to the House at the appropriate time.