What good are the public accounts? - Macleans.ca

What good are the public accounts?

A $3.1 billion question


Of the $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding this was identified yesterday as a source of some concern by the Auditor General, Tony Clement has pointed to the public accounts.

“The fact is it all is accounted for, but through a different methodology and that methodology is the traditional way that governments — both the Liberal government before us and the current government on its anti-terrorism measures — reported to Parliament, through something called the public accounts,” Clement told CTV’s Canada AM on Wednesday.

I asked the Auditor General’s office earlier: “In regards to the $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding that are in question, could the auditor general have tracked that funding by reviewing the department by department spending reports in the Public Accounts?” Here was the response from the auditor general’s spokesman.

The information reported annually in the public accounts was at an aggregate level and most of the PSAT spending was not separately reported as a distinct (or separate) line item. Furthermore, with over 10 years elapsing since the beginning of the PSAT program, much of that information is now archived and unavailable.

I put that to Mr. Clement’s office and wondered if that undermined Mr. Clement’s suggestion to Canada AM. Mr. Clement’s office responded as follows.

We agree with the AG that the information is in the Public Accounts but was categorized and reported differently.


What good are the public accounts?

  1. This is Tony’s ‘belts and suspenders’ failsafe accounting system? And what is in the bankers boxes, given what the AG has said?

  2. “The fact is it all is accounted for, but through a different methodology and that methodology is the traditional way that governments …. ”

    Thomas Sowell – You will never understand bureaucracies until you understand that for bureaucrats procedure is everything and outcomes are nothing

  3. Here are some memorable Stephen Harper quotes regarding the missing millions related to Ad Scam. What would that Stephen Harper say about his own government missing BILLIONS?

    “Canadians are counting on you to give them a clean, honest government. We need an accountable government.”

    “Why, when the auditor-general condemned this practice in the sponsorship scandal, does this government still award contracts with no proper audit paper trail?”

    “Why is the government not suing the Liberal party to recover the money that was lost or stolen?”

    “Restoring accountability will be one of the major priorities of our new government.”

    “It’s all part of the pattern. This is a story of scandal and corruption, investigations, refusals to take responsibility. If this government continues in office, this will continue.”

    “This culture of waste, management and corruption … needs to end, … I don’t think it’s going to end with a few firings. I think it’s only going to end when we fire the government.”

    • Are you aware what the sponsorship scandal was about?

      • Yes. Are you aware that each of these statements applies (albeit in a different context, and as long as you ignore the words “in the sponsorship scandal” in the second quote) exceedingly well to the current ruling party?

        • YOu are trying to project your own wishful thinking onto things which cannot be wished into existence. Why delude yourself? What’s the use?

          • I can give you chapter and verse on how each and every one of those quotes suits the current government to a T. But given your rabid loyalty to Party Over Country, why should I waste my time?

          • Of course you could give me more evidence but just as you are about to do so, you feel you no longer want to waste your time.

            I’m used to this sort of debating! Nothing changes here, even when EmilyOne has gone underground!

    • The sponsorship scandal, “AdScam”, “Sponsorship” or Sponsorgate, is a scandal that came as a result of a Canadian federal government “sponsorship program” in the province of Quebec and involving the Liberal Party of Canada, which was in power from 1993 to 2006. The program was originally established as an effort to raise awareness of the Government of Canada’s contributions to Quebec industries and other activities in order to counter the actions of the Parti Québécois government of the province that worked to promote Quebec independence.
      The program ran from 1996 until 2004, when broad corruption
      was discovered in its operations and the program was discontinued.
      Illicit and even illegal activities within the administration of the
      program were revealed, involving misuse and misdirection of public funds
      intended for government advertising in Quebec. Such misdirections
      included sponsorship money awarded to ad firms in return for little or
      no work, which firms maintained Liberal organizers or fundraisers on
      their payrolls or donated back part of the money to the Liberal Party.

      • …and the total never came near the $3.1 billion mark.

        • 380 million a year is not a real big amount of money per year!

          But accounting aside, the adscam was about theft and money being shuffled back into Liberal party coffers. The AG has said that this AG report is not about money gone missing. The problem is about what the money has been allocated under, and if it was indeed really used for security reasons.

          You fully know that, but still, you have to try and mislead people. You cannot stop yourself from doing that.

          • It seems like you are the one trying to mislead and misdirect with the usual Con cries of “Adscam! Adscam!” as if that’s the magic eraser for all Con sins.
            Here’s the thing: Adscam is the past. The people responsible for it are gone. It is history. Unpleasant history, yes, but history.
            Here, however, we have a huge chunk of missing money and a government that doesn’t seem concerned. That’s the here and now. With the same person in charge who siphoned off border security money to build gazebos in the Muskokas.
            You’d think they would at least put on a show about looking into where that money went, if only for the sake of seeming concerned. “Whoops!” is an incredibly underwhelming answer…

          • It was NOT me who brought up the Adscam first; it was Ron Waller. I responded to his post on Adscam!

            Please stop misleading people with comments you make about my postings!

          • Did you tell Ron Waller not to bring up history when he began his post on Adscam (look up).?

    • These are just the major scandals, in all to date since 1993,
      there have been or
      are still active, over thirty six RCMP
      investigations of criminality.

      Chretien’s Shawinigate, fired the president of BDBC for refusing
      loan to friend.
      Chretien still owned shares in golf course, lied
      to Parliament and Canadian’s.
      Pettigrew’s HRDC Job Training
      Grants Scandal, over $1 billion missing, Auditor
      General blocked
      from investigating, dumped in the lap of Jane Stewart who took all
      heat and eventually resigned.

      Alan Rock’s Gun Registry Fiasco, over $2 billion wasted,
      questionable contracts
      blocked from investigation by Auditor

      Paul Martin’s CSL received over $162 million from taxpayer’s
      pockets, Auditor
      General blocked from examining contracts and
      loans. Curiously that is almost the exact
      ammount that Paul Martin
      owed the loan syndicate for his purchase of CSL from Paul
      of Power Corporation.

      Sponsorship Scandal, Gomery Inquiry, total whitewash, Gomery not
      allowed to look
      at Earnscliffe contracts.
      Earnscliffe Contracts
      Scandal, contracts let by Paul Martin while Finance
      Minister in
      response to Sponsorship, because his friends weren’t getting in on
      the pork

      Technology Partnerships Scandal, Auditor General blocked from
      investigating by
      Martin and Emerson.

      The Dingwall Scandal, Liberal’s paid him severence when

      Dingwall implicated in the Technology Partnerships for illegal
      lobbying and
      receiving illegal fees.

      Private Foundations Scandal, $9 billion disappeared, no
      accounting, Auditor
      General blocked from investigating.

      Income Trust Scandal, destroyed $22 billion in retirement savings
      value of
      Canadian’s, well connected Liberal’s profit from
      insider trading. He who had a meeting with
      Bay Street insiders,
      one of them a best friend, just hours before he made the
      that the government wouldn’t be taxing Income Trusts.

      Auditor General blocked from investigating several crown
      corporations and
      agencies,among those are Canada Post, Via Rail,
      Export Development Corporation, Canada
      Wheat Board, Canada
      Investment Development Corporation, etc.

      Going back to Trudeau, the Auditor General has never been allowed
      to investigate
      the creation, acquisitions and operations of Petro
      Canada while a Crown Corporation.
      Maurice Strong, who has been
      named in the UN Oil for Food Scandal and is of
      interest to the
      FBI, was Trudeau’s appointee who was responsible for PetroCan’s
      creation and
      operation. When PetroCan bought Petrofina, that
      companies book value was $562
      million, yet Maurice Strong paid
      $2.5 billion taxpayer dollars for it. Mr. Strong is also
      Martin’s mentor and is responsible for bringing us the Kyoto
      Accord, which is
      nothing, but a socialist vehicle for wealth
      redistribution, good thing Climategate happened when it did.

      Remember these are just the highlights, there are so many
      instances of
      misappropriations of under $50,000 it boggles the

      • Sorry kids, but the focus is on the current government – you need to deal with this reality.

        • ” the focus is on the current government” Actually, Ron was bringing attention to the previous government, but thanks for trying.

          • Actually, Ron was bringing attention to the previous opposition, who are now today’s government.

            But thanks for trying.

      • And they got what they deserved – voted out of office.
        Why is this government different?

        • Because there hasn’t been a shred of evidence of theft or any wrong doing.

          • What “evidence”, real, solid, provable, verifiable evidence, is there for most of the drive by smear allegations on Billy boy’s list?

          • Funny, how for the second day in a row, Justin, the lead Liberal, has not brought up the AG’s report during QP. That tells me a lot!

          • Nice attempt to deflect from the real issue,there, FV. It’s like you have some form of Tourettes, the way you just can’t keep from using Justin’s name…

          • Actually, my Justin’s remark was and is in relation to the AG report. Since the report covers 2001-2009, it involves the Liberal government. Is Justin not the Liberal leader?

          • There isn’t a shred YET. What we do know:

            -$12.9 billion was allocated for PSAT activities

            -$9.8 billion was confirmed as spent

            -$3.1 billion is unaccounted for

            Regarding this $3.1 billion, Treasury Board was asked and cannot even tell us which of the following possibly happened:

            -the $3.1 billion wasn’t spent

            -the $3.1 billion was spent on PSAT activities, but accidentally allocated as other program spending

            -the $3.1 billion was spent on other programs

            If this were a murder investigation, this would be the equivalent of finding a dead body. We don’t know if it’s a murder, we don’t know if it was a suspicious death or if it were natural causes. But we definitely have to ask the questions. We can’t just say “I don’t see a murderer nearby” and dismiss it outright. There is $3.1 billion the government cannot account for. They must answer for that. Your blase attitude towards this disturbs me given your zeal for the sponsorship scandal.

          • I generally agree with you. However, you don’t get to a murder investigation without first finding a body, and in this case I’d say we haven’t found the body yet, but we do have a missing person.

            I’ve just become apprehensive about every so-called “scandal” promoted by the opposition (more the Liberals than the Dippers) due to their tendency to cry wolf any time they think they can get a headline.

            I was actually equally sceptical about the Sponsorship scandal until witnesses started coming forward. Until that point, I hadn’t thought any of Chretien’s “crimes” were much to worry about. But when you start hearing stories about Liberal Party employees delivering bags full of cash, suddenly things seem real ugly.

          • Sure, call it a missing person. I think we’re on the same page.

            Just remember this – just like it’s a big problem if two years later the police haven’t done anything about looking for said missing person, it is also a BIG problem if by the next election we don’t know the answer to where that $3.1 billion went. And in the mean time, it’s a perfectly legitimate question to ask. This is our tax dollars – we have a right to know what it was or wasn’t spent on.

          • Well, for one they have been convicted for election spending fraud…

          • And what has the NDP been found guilty of?

      • “Going back to Trudeau …!”

        I notice you didn’t list any scandals or criminal investigations between Trudeau and Martin. Why is that?

        There were plenty to list including Airbus which even resurfaced recently. A cabinet minister per year had to resign during Mulroney’s two mandates.

        Do you have a special filter on your glasses that screens out all Conservative wrongdoing? A memory that self-erases anything that contradicts your prejudice?

        • Les Amis de Brian. Who could forget?

        • My father-in-law tried that ‘filter’. Now he has glaucoma and, well, probably dementia too. Oh, and loads and loads of prejudice. Still votes Conservative, though.

      • And remember: this AG report covers 5 years of the Liberal government expenditures too!

  4. Shorter AG: “Sure, but that would be hard”.

    • Shorter TC: It’s not my fault if you weren’t actually there.

    • I was kind of surprised that the AG said that the older ” information is now archived and unavailable”. If it is in the Archives, then it SHOULD be available. If it is not, then the AG needs to add another topic to his next audit plan, namely, the effectiveness of the national archives.

      • That’s what I thought too — why is it unavailable?

        • It’s probably beyond the AG’s mandate to dig in to archived materials. Certainly not absolutely unavailable, but unavailable for this particular audit mandate (my guess, anyway).

          • Wouldn’t everything be archived digitally now? I used to work in an archives: it’s all stored in a highly organized way so that even physical documents are easily found.

    • You understand what the word “aggregate” means, right?