Thanks, Mr. Chair, and thanks, Mr. Thomson and Ms. Bahen, for being here today. We hope that in the midst of this pandemic you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
I want to start by thanking Charity Intelligence Canada for the good work you do in shedding light on charities. I come from the charitable sector myself. I ran a social enterprise and a charitable organization in British Columbia, so I know the importance of accountability. This is why this inquiry by the finance committee is so important. In the charitable sector, I was used to making sure that when I applied for government grants, every single box was checked, that there were full financial statements and information about board movements.
Often in the charitable sector about a quarter of a charity's work is just making sure that the due diligence is performed and provided to funders, including the federal government. This is why it is so inconceivable to the finance committee, and why the committee is continuing this important study, that first off WE seemed to have an inside track and could file a submission for a program the same day it was announced, and secondly that it sailed through with absolutely no due diligence that has been identified with regard to all of the myriad problems, things that should have been a red flag and that for any other charity in the country would have meant there would be absolutely no possibility of their being considered for funding. It just continues to surprise me, the extent to which this was pushed through. Our work at the finance committee is to find out how and why this happened. We haven't been getting answers so far.
I want to start by asking a very simple question. Many people have described the atmosphere inside WE as a climate of fear. We did question the Kielburgers on whether or not they had hired private detectives to intimidate journalists, and they evaded answering that question. Are you aware of any legal pressure or private detectives, anything like that, between you and WE? At any point in your honest reporting of what's going on at WE have you felt some kind of pressure coming back?