Friday, May 09, 2008

The Harper Government wishes to silence the Auditor General

by Ron Gray May 06, 2008

Sample ImageThe Harper Government wishes to silence the Auditor General! Let’s see. Isn’t that the very department whose mandate is to keep the government accountable?

On 6 May, 2008 it was reported by the Canadian Press that there has been growing tension between the Harper Government and the Auditor General of Canada, Sheila Fraser. Fraser said she received a notice that the government wanted to vet her public communications. Should the Conservative government be successful in this venture, we Canadians would then only have access to information which the government approves. How convenient for them!

The Office of the Auditor General of Canada audits federal government operations and provides Parliament with independent information, advice, and assurance regarding the federal government’s stewardship of public funds. Because the position of the Auditor General of Canada is committed to transparency, and the highest, ethical standards in financial administration, Parliament must use Fraser’s reports to improve government management and accountability. It is the auditor’s role to examine the government’s performance and report to the Canadian public via Parliament. How can the Conservative Government even suggest such an action? It was their campaign speeches after all, which loudly proclaimed that they were going to make parliament more ‘accountable’—and now they want to conceal her findings? Muzzle the watch dog? Suppress the truth? What do they want to hide?

The CHP insists that as an officer of Parliament, the Auditor General must be able to maintain her independent status, or her role becomes meaningless.

For what scandal should we be bracing ourselves next? Makes us wonder.