Thank you, Mr. Chair.
With regard to the motion, I'm taking a little detour to comment on what our colleague Mr. Chong told us. We talked about ethics. He talked about concerns about ethics, conflicts of interest, finances, public funds, and so on. I have no objection to discussing these things in a context other than the Standing Committee on Official Languages, which does not have the mandate to do so. There are committees that do have those mandates and they do it very skilfully and very well. They have done so particularly in recent weeks with regard to the WE affair. We all know that here.
The mandate of the Standing Committee on Official Languages addresses the application of and respect for language rights in Canada. The amendment proposed by my colleague is along those lines. We can start from the premise that WE Charity has caused some concerns about its capacity to be bilingual and to provide services, good, weak or average. In any case, a contract no longer exists. It would be pointless to stop at this study because there is no longer a contract. What would be the purpose of this study?
If we start from the premise that the WE episode has cast doubt in our minds about third parties who are contracted to provide services on behalf of the Government of Canada, if we start from that premise, there is doubt. How do we ensure that this is respected across the country and not just for one event or one organization? That is reflected in the proposed amendment. That is within the mandate of this committee. It does not preclude any colleague around the table from asking the ministers questions about WE or about other contracts. In fact, we are running with the ball; we are starting from a doubt that has been sown by one event and extending it to a topic that is fully within the mandate of this committee.
Mr. Chong, I would like to correct what you said earlier, with no ill intention: very few motions are perfectly worded. I have been a member of this committee for five years. Mr. Généreux may be able to correct me, but to my knowledge, all of the motions that have come through in the last five years have been tabled with amendments from all parties on both sides of the table, and always unanimously. Virtually every report that has been written in the last five years of the committee has been unanimous. So we make great motions in our committee; we make wonderful motions.
In fact, we are not in the process of doing something partisan. Our concern is that we want to know what we need to do to ensure that, under the umbrella of official languages, third-party organizations that get service contracts from the Government of Canada and that have to speak as if they were the Government of Canada, comply with the linguistic obligations of this great country.
That is the amendment on the table, as proposed by my colleague. Then, in subcommittee, we can decide whether we want to call other witnesses or whether we will stick with those already proposed. We had already decided to create a subcommittee to deal specifically with the witness list. We can do that later. We can limit ourselves to those, but one does not preclude the other. I am wondering, on behalf of Canadians and taxpayers, what would be the point of the motion as put forward by the opposition, by the Conservatives. How would we be serving Canadians by focusing on a contract that no longer exists?
Why do we not seize the opportunity to address the doubt that has been cast on the linguistic capacity of third-party organizations by this event? Why not conduct a study that is consistent with the mandate of this committee, which has been a superb committee, Mr. Chong, for at least five years?