Mr. Speaker, I am glad my colleague has raised that point. As a member of the committee, I can tell everyone that the very first time the Auditor General appeared before us the Liberal members began by browbeating her, criticizing her methodology, questioning her findings and implying that she was given to hyperbole and overstatement.
We have seen a string of senior Liberals, from Alfonso Gagliano to Liberal appointees at crown corporations to the heads of Liberal ad agencies, attacking the Auditor General and making allegations. One Liberal referred to her, off the record because the person did not have the guts to say it on the record, as a drama queen.
I think there is a good reason why Sheila Fraser is the most popular woman in Canada today. It is because she is one of the very few people in public life who Canadians trust implicitly. They know she is a woman of precision, moderation and thoughtfulness, and they trust that her sober-minded findings are completely verifiable. I commend the Auditor General for having gone before the public accounts committee, last week I believe, to defend herself and the integrity of her office.
When asked by one of my Liberal colleagues whether she thought the opposition had misquoted or mischaracterized her findings and that this had led to unfair attacks on her integrity, she said, “No, not at all. I think the people who have been attacking our office have been doing so because they want to deflect from their own wrongdoing”. I am paraphrasing.
I think she deserves great commendation from Canadians, and not the kind of condemnation that she has received from members opposite, including the infamous $13 million man, the windbag from Winnipeg South, the President of the Treasury Board, who alleged that the whole program may have only had about $13 million, the whereabouts of which we do not know. He was forced to apologize in humiliation.
It was not the Auditor General who misled Canadians. It was the President of the Treasury Board who ought to have known better in his crude effort to cover up this Liberal scandal.