Members of parliament seem adamant about not allowing Auditor General of Canada Sheila Fraser to get a peak at individual MPs’ expenses, and shame on them for their unprincipled stand. The degree of arrogance and blatant hypocrisy displayed by three of the four parties in the House is appalling. The Bloc’s leader is the only one to say Ms. Fraser can see the books.
This issue has been in the news long enough for MPs across the land to have sensed the significant distrust Canadian have for the motives of those who refuse the Auditor General’s request to perform a value-for-money audit of the use of taxpayer money by individual MPs. And even so, parliament’s Board of Internal Economy has denied the Auditor General permission to do the audit.
Recent examinations of politicians’ personal spending of taxpayers’ money in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Britain have exposed shocking examples of inappropriate expense claims, many of which included waste and greed.
The board, however, which includes MPs from all four parties declined Sheila Fraser’s request. The board, which deliberates in secret, stated there are already sufficient “control mechanisms” in place.
Really? How so when access-to-information laws do not apply to MPs’ budgets and their expenses are only subject to financial audits that do not show the details of where their money is spent?
A financial audit is done of the financial statements of the House of Commons by KPMG, one of the country’s major accounting firms. But this is quite different from the sort of audit proposed by Ms. Fraser. As she says:
“I have absolutely no concerns about that [KPMG’s] audit and the quality of that audit. It's done by a very reputable firm.
“But a performance audit, like the audits we’re tabling today, is very different from a financial audit. And we’ll go in and look at the systems and practices much more than a financial audit would.”
Sounds like a damn good idea to me. Over to you, Prime Minister.