Thank you, Mr. Chair.
It's great to see everyone today.
The first comment I'd like to make is that we have undertaken this study on the motion that was passed. The intent of the motion that was passed was to examine the programs that have been put in place to assist Canadians. We should remind ourselves, during this most extraordinary and unique time in Canada and in the world's history, with a pandemic afoot, to look at programs that have benefited Canadians: the Canada emergency response benefit, which over eight million Canadians have utilized; the Canada emergency business account, which nearly a million businesses have utilized; the Canada emergency wage subsidy, which is helping almost three million Canadian workers maintain attachment and helping their employers build a bridge to a full recovery; and the rent assistance program.
I think that was the intent of the motion and of the report that will be delivered by, I believe, March of next year. We're spending time analyzing an organization, and I don't think that was the intent of the motion that was put in place by the finance committee. I want to put that on record, because I think it's important that we understand why we're here. We are here, but we also need to remind ourselves of what was the original intent of the motion. We get these great biweekly reports—we have the ninth report, which was delivered July 23, 2020—on where the government is spending money to help Canadians. We are spending money so that Canadians don't have to take on debt on a personal basis. I think that's the right thing to do. I'm an economist by training. I think our response has been second to none. It has been top-notch in assisting Canadians. We've seen it in our economic data that's come out. It's been quite constructive.
Moving on to Charity Intelligence, Ms. Bahen, I'm a former sell-side debt analyst. I was a ratings analyst. I worked in corporate finance and investment banking in New York City for a number of years. You were a sell-side equity analyst, I believe. I appreciate the work you are doing at Charity Intelligence. It's important, but it's also a double-edged sword, because when you make a wrong call, you can actually hurt a charity significantly. I don't know who's doing the due diligence on Charity Intelligence on your calls. You have had to apologize in the past when you've made that wrong call and when the damage is, I would say, done.
You indicated that you look at partisanship in a certain manner. I look at partisanship as a debate about ideas. I do want it on record that I believe one of your co-workers, one of the members of your team, is a long-time donor to the Conservative Party of Canada. I do want to put that on record. Substantial sums in donations have been made over the years. That should go on record. There's nothing wrong with that. Canadians have a right to donate to the political parties of their choosing. But we should get that on record, because your work is very important.
One thing that is very concerning to me is a letter by MP McLean. I wanted to get your opinion here. Do you think it's appropriate for political parties and governments to use CRA to audit charities for political purposes? We do know that letter would be...and that mandate to have the minister do that would be in violation of section 241 of the Income Tax Act. Do you think it's right for MPs to say, “We need to audit them”?
We know that under the Conservative government, Prime Minister Harper criticized the Supreme Court of Canada. We know that they muzzled scientists. None of that—