Thanks very much, Mr. Chair.
Monsieur Ricard and Mr. Hayes, thank you very much for being here today. We hope that your families as well as the entire team at the Auditor General's Office are safe and healthy.
I must say that what I think is very clear to the Canadian public and what I'm seeing is a lot of finger-pointing, the Conservatives pointing a finger at the Liberals and the Liberals pointing a finger at the Conservatives, for what has been dramatic underfinancing of the functions of the Auditor General. These are extremely important, and the fact that you've actually had to cut your performance audits in half is indicative of a real problem. Both governments, the previous Conservative government and the current Liberal government, share the blame on this. Instead of finger-pointing, they should just be acknowledging the errors that have been made in not providing the supports that are so important for your office. Canadians are definitely on your side. You perform an extremely important function, and you need to be financed adequately in order to do that. That's in the interests of all Canadians.
My first question will be around the issue of bailouts. We went through the economic crisis in 2008. Money was being given out. We've seen, subsequent to that, that a lot of loans were basically written off. At the beginning of this year, we had $200 million that was written off, a loan to a Canadian company that the government refused to disclose. The Liberals said that in the interests of commercial confidentiality they couldn't disclose it, but that all decisions made by cabinet are in the best interests of Canada. So $200 million just disappeared in a moment. We saw previously under the Conservative government similar monies just disappearing.
How do we make sure that we are not seeing corporate bailouts, corporate gifts, just disappearing when that happening is not in the public interest? When your office flags these very legitimate concerns about bailouts that are loans that become gifts, how do we ensure that we simply don't see this abuse of the Canadian taxpayer and that every dollar that's invested is actually used for its intended purposes, and that loans given to Canada's most profitable corporations are actually paid back?