The $3.1-billion question - Macleans.ca

The $3.1-billion question

Can the Harper government say where that money went?

by

Scott Clark and Peter DeVries explain the problem with the $3.1 billion in unaccounted-for anti-terrorism funding.

Given the sensitivity of this issue and the size of the amount missing, it is surprising that Treasury Board did not undertake a detailed analysis of what happened to this $3.1 billion, prior to the release of the Auditor General’s report.  There was certainly sufficient time to do so. This would have saved the Government considerable embarrassment. Instead, it is viewed as a major blow to their credibility as sound managers of the public purse…

Once again the ability of Parliament to oversee government spending has been eroded. Parliament should ask the Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) to undertake a review of the missing $3.1 billion. It simply cannot be shrugged off as “lacking clarity” and “bureaucratic error” and a claim that better controls will be put in place so that it won’t happen again.

The Prime Minister’s assertion yesterday was that “all spending has been reported and accounted for,” but no detailed accounting of the $3.1 billion has yet been released.