Stand up for Accountability
Strengthen the power of the Auditor General
• Increase funding for the Office of the Auditor General to ensure she has the necessary resources to conduct a complete audit of grant and contribution programs and of any such departments, agencies, and Crown corporations as she deems necessary.
Do you remember this section from the 2006 Conservative Election Platform?
While not a perfect fit with the Auditor General’s wish to examine the books of MPs and Senators, it certainly implies an openness to cooperate with her. If some provincial jurisdictions and some other countries such as the UK open the books of their elected officials to an audit, why won’t our MPs open theirs?
Could it be because they know that the improper spending habits of elected officials in those other jurisdictions were exposed to public view and legal consequences?
In one media report Shawn Murphy, the Liberal Chair of the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee is quoted as follows:
“Still, Murphy fears it would be folly to subject the expenses of 308 federal politicians to a uniform accounting standard. The way a politician conducts his parliamentary business is, by definition, political and “murky,” he said.” (Toronto Star, May 1, 2010)
“There has to be the leeway because every riding is different. Members come to the Parliament with different backgrounds, different interests, which is a good thing. They approach it in 308 different ways.” (Toronto Star, May 1, 2010)
“Political and murky” is exactly why the AG needs to look at the spending of our MPs and yes, our senators too.
Having MPs approach spending in 308 different ways, each thinking their riding is special and different, is a receipt for disaster. This is exactly the reason we need a uniform accounting code. This is why taxpayers need an independent audit and full public disclosure, on a yearly basis of each MP and senators spending.
Murphy feels elections give Canadians a chance to pass judgement on MPs spending habits. That would be true if we actually knew what they were spending our taxpayer’s dollars on. As they keep their spending secret, we can’t pass judgement which is probably the point in the first place.
If the House of Commons Board of Internal Economy won’t cooperate with the Auditor General, then individual MPs, who actually believe in accountability, should take the initiative and post on their web sites a list of their expenses. Maybe they can shame their colleagues into doing the same thing. As taxpayers, we should make this a condition for each candidate wishing our support in the next election.
Perhaps a media outlet will poll each and every one of our 308 MPs and ask if they support a full audit of their books by the Auditor General. A simple yes or no answer is all that is needed. Then the results can be published for all Canadians to see how their elected representative feels about accountability.
MPs of all parties demand the government of the day be open and transparent. So tell us how each representative of each party on the Board of Internal Economy voted on this request by the Auditor General? Come clean and tell us which party or parties are blocking this request. Time for MPs to practice what they preach or do they have something to hide?
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