Auditor General Finds Billion Dollar Gaps

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House of Commons Parliament OttawaOTTAWA – Politics – The Auditor General has found $3.5 billion not properly accounted for in the public safety sector.

Treasury Board President, Minister Tony Clement states, “Our Government is committed to providing effective and efficient programs and services to Canadians. We share the Auditor General’s commitment to sound, accountable management of tax dollars and we will continue to take action to improve services and the quality of life for all Canadians.”

Billion dollar gaps 

“The Auditor General’s Report points to numerous improvements and good practices across federal departments and agencies,” adds Minister Clement.

“The Government of Canada takes the Auditor General’s recommendations seriously,” continued Minister Clement. “In fact, many organizations are already acting on the recommendations.”

Every year, the Auditor General finds serious issues inside the Canadian Government. 

Every year the government of the day issues a statement after the Auditor General has uncovered the problems. 

The question should be why are governments only agreeing AFTER the fact that there are problems. Taxpayers are paying millions of dollars in salaries and benefits for politicians, and for bureaucrats. It must be asked how come the level of oversight is so poor as to find holes that are billions of dollars deep?

The New Democrats are on the offensive. The New Democrats state, “In his report published today, the auditor general revealed that many departments lack proper documentation when awarding contracts as well as information on program spending in the public safety sector. We also learned that the government has misplaced some 3.1 billion dollars for public safety and antiterrorism initiatives”.     

“It’s disturbing to see that nearly a third of documented contracts containing security requirements were either incomplete or missing,” comments Nycole Turmel (Hull-Aylmer). “Canadians deserve a government that ensures, for example, that airplanes used by the Royal Canadian Air Force are safe. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.”

So are the Liberals. 

“This report validates what Liberals have been saying all along: under this government, our air and marine SAR system is in crisis and requires ‘significant improvements’ if we’re going to keep Canadians safe,” said Liberal Defence critic John McKay. “The AG shows that not only should we be concerned about the sustainability of SAR over the coming years, but that that our Air Force and Coast Guard do not have the staff and equipment needed to do their jobs effectively.”

Chapter 7 of the AG’s report details the significant challenges facing SAR operations due to personnel shortages, an aging fleet of SAR vessels, airplanes and helicopters, and an information management system that is “nearing its breaking point.” Furthermore, the AG finds that there is no overarching federal policy or governance framework for the national SAR program.

“Canadians will not soon forget the death of 14-year-old Burton Winters of Makkovik, Labrador and this Conservative government’s failure to call a public inquiry into how Canada’s SAR system failed the teenager who succumbed to hypothermia waiting to be rescued,” said Liberal Fisheries and Oceans critic Lawrence MacAulay. “Instead of irresponsibly using SAR helicopters to be picked up from vacation, Defence Minister MacKay and this Conservative government need to re-adjust their dangerously misplaced priorities, and take the substantive action required to safeguard Canadians living and working in our coastal communities.”

The Conservatives came to office on a promise to manage Canada’s finances. It is apparent that Prime Minister Harper must be making some adjustments in his cabinet assignments. The government’s reputation and future may well depend on the results of Mr. Harper’s next decisions.

The Conservatives are insisting that Justin Trudeau is in “Over his head”. It also appears there are Conservative cabinet ministers fitting that same pair of shoes the Conservatives say should belong to the Liberals.

James Murray