Thank you very much, Mr. Chair.
Certainly this committee plays an integral role in the work throughout the House of Commons. I have the privilege of also being a member of the government operations committee, so I can definitely appreciate the historic nature of this and the importance of this particular proceeding.
Given the nature and context of this proceeding, Mr. Chair, my statements will probably be longer than my questions. In that regard, I'd like to begin by thanking our past interim Auditor General, Sylvain Ricard, for all of his work and for stepping into the role after the loss of Mr. Ferguson.
I certainly look forward to working with Ms. Hogan here in the months and years to come on our public accounts committee. As noted, her CV and work have already been well established in this committee for her significant contribution to our public service and future vision for the role of the office of the Auditor General.
Members of this committee may know that earlier this month in the media I called on the government to make sure that her office had all the resources it needed to do its job to help keep the government accountable to Canadians. Whether it was the former AG Michael Ferguson or Mr. Ricard, the AG has spoken very publicly for years that this office did not have the adequate resources it needed to do its work properly. The OAG has warned that this funding shortfall would leave it without the capacity, the personnel and the technology to maintain its level of performance audits and that it had already begun to cut back on the number of audits it conducted.
Now, as has been noted, on top of what they have been mandated to do, we have also added responsibilities such as oversight for projects like Trans Mountain and the Canada Infrastructure Bank without increasing its resources.
I know this was referenced earlier by Mr. Blois, but I'm going to continue down this line. Parliament once again has thrown more work at the OAG by asking it to examine the federal government's $187-billion infrastructure plan, the audit on COVID-19 and warrants issued under the Financial Administration Act, which is an audit on Ottawa's pandemic emergency response. These are massive audits and they're going to take tremendous amounts of staffing to go through with all these details.
Mr. Chair, the House passed a motion on April 11 that called on the government to take such measures as necessary to ensure that the Auditor General has sufficient resources to conduct their work.
My predecessor, Mr. David Christopherson, as you know, was very vocal about the need to ensure proper funding for the Auditor General. We believe the AG should have the additional $10.8 million in funding requested provided to their office immediately. This was last year, before the pandemic.
What would you consider are needs to be assured that your office has the sufficient resources it needs to do all its work?