Mr. Wrzesnewskyj says that we're only studying today—the here and now—and that we ought never to look into the history of what public office holders in the previous Liberal governments have done, because that's history, and history should simply be forgotten. While I remark upon the convenient nature of that argument from a Liberal standpoint, I'll assume that it is made dispassionately and therefore will proceed to dismantle it in an equally dispassionate manner.
If we are speaking only about the here and now, then the discussions around the Conservative Party are also history. They are more recent, but they are also history. I believe the most prominent example that has been put in the newspapers was from this summer or earlier, so it's in the past as well. We're not going to be debating what somebody is going to do with their cheque this afternoon; we're discussing what has been done and what we can learn from what has been done.
If the nature of this study is really to analyze the ethics of the way public office holders make announcements, then we ought not to be simply pointing the finger at one party but ought to examine how public office holders have done it throughout time. We study things that have gone back into history for years. Mr. Wrzesnewskyj was instrumental in the public accounts committee in igniting a study on the RCMP and its activities. Almost everything that we studied was from history, from the past. Thank goodness we did that. To credit Mr. Wrzesnewskyj for his work on that, we learned a lot of valuable things. We looked back over the Mounties' activities under two successive governments, not just under one.
To suggest that we can't do that in this situation is erroneous. I would encourage all members.... Some might argue that none of the other parties has ever done anything improper in the way they have presented cheques and that therefore a study of their activities would be futile. I would suggest that if that is the case, then my amendment is like a belt and suspenders, and that it's better for the motion to be a little wider, to capture any potential information that is relevant to the debate, than too constrictive, so that it becomes nothing more than a narrowly targeted partisan tool.
In the interest of having a broad and an open study on the subject, I would ask that members vote to make this motion non-partisan, so that all public office holders, regardless of their political stripe, be subjected to the same committee scrutiny.