Govt. out of line

Editorial comment takes federal government to task over spending and taxation

Chapter eight of the 2013 Spring Report of the Auditor General of Canada should ruffle the feathers of every taxpayer in this country.

The title of chapter eight is “Spending on the Public Security and Anti-Terrorism Initiative.”

The word “uncontrolled” should have been at the front of that title. The spring report is the result of a performance audit designed to identify “… how well government is managing its activities, responsibilities, and resources.”

The conclusion of the Attorney General on the massive spending program geared to keep Canadians safe from terror is that, “…departments and agencies reported spending $9.8 billion on PSAT Initiative activities, but information on whether departments used $3.1 billion in Initiative funding was not available.”

Information on where $3.1 billion went is just not available? Why?

It’s tax time and Canadians are being asked to provide proof of income and expenses to ensure we’re following rules to keep our economy humming along.

Why is the federal government playing under a different set of rules?

The Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat mandate is to provide advice and support to Treasury Board ministers and provide oversight of the financial management of government. Given that they have identified three possible scenarios that might account for what happened to the money (they are at least good at that) it shouldn’t be a big leap to drill down a little further.

Money should be something easy to track. This department received X amount, then X gave it Y who spent it on Z. Here’s the paperwork about what Z is. According to the report, weaknesses in the way the government assesses proposals for funding and their reporting processes, were identified as far back as 2004.

This isn’t pocket change, so the question needs to be asked: How well is the government managing activities, responsibilities and resources in this case?  In a word: badly.

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