[Democracy Watch Logo] [Op-ed]

Auditor General should not have compromised -- is legally required to audit expenses of MPs (and Senators)

Set out below is a letter to the editor by Democracy Watch Coordinator Duff Conacher which was published in the June 21, 2010 issue of the Hill Times, and in the June 23, 2010 issue of the New Brunswick Telegraph Journal

Dear Editor:

Federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser should not have agreed to a less-than-full audit of all MP spending by MPs (and she should also audit all spending by the Senate and senators).

The Auditor General Act states that the Auditor General "shall make such examinations and inquiries" needed "to report as required by this Act" (section 5), and requires audits of all spending and gives the right to any information needed to do audits.

While the Auditor General does not have the resources to audit the entire federal government every year, most of the main institutions are audited every few years.

Given that it has been almost 20 years since MPs were audited (and longer since senators were audited), the Auditor General will essentially be failing to fulfill her legal duties if she waits any longer to audit fully the spending of MPs and senators.

P.S. See set out below quoted sections from Auditor General Act

Duff Conacher, Coordinator
Democracy Watch


Auditor General Act (R.S., 1985, c. A-17)

5. The Auditor General is the auditor of the accounts of Canada, including those relating to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and as such shall make such examinations and inquiries as he considers necessary to enable him to report as required by this Act.
1976-77, c. 34, s. 5.

Access to information
13. (1) Except as provided by any other Act of Parliament that expressly refers to this subsection, the Auditor General is entitled to free access at all convenient times to information that relates to the fulfilment of his or her responsibilities and he or she is also entitled to require and receive from members of the federal public administration any information, reports and explanations that he or she considers necessary for that purpose.

(4) The Auditor General may examine any person on oath on any matter pertaining to any account subject to audit by him and for the purposes of any such examination the Auditor General may exercise all the powers of a commissioner under Part I of the Inquiries Act.
R.S., 1985, c. A-17, s. 13; 2003, c. 22, s. 90(E).

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