Inability to track some $3.1 BILLION dollars of public money earmarked for beefing up anti-terror security, a failure to purchase new aircraft for the search and rescue program, a failure of the government agencies, one a ministry and the other a commission of reconciliation on the Indian Schools debacle, to even agree on what documents are needed to complete the process....these are just some of the more glaring highlights of the Auditor General's most recent report released yesterday.
The Harper government pays dearly for advertising that touts its own competence in providing economic growth, jobs and opportunity for Canadians attempting thereby to corner the political market on fiscal competence, economic management and political "smarts" given the last few years of economic malaise. It has buckets of money for "fighter jets" and new armed and unarmed ships, but seems to have lost track of another $3.1 billion, "because there is not a "whole government" accounting system, in the words of one of their spokepersons, Tony Clement, he of the gazebo boondogle in Muskoka for the G-8 heads of state meetings.
Slipping through the cracks, would therefore seem to be Clement's rationalization, explanation, and obfuscation of the issue. What then, if the government consists only of cracks through which another few billion can and do "escape"....without a process of determining where, when, how, and by whom it is spent?
Canadians are a rather gentle lot except when the public funds are missing and there seems to be no one or no government department, agency, ministry, or even the PMO taking responsibility.
In fact, governments have been defeated for losing much less than $3.1 billion.
There is no indication in the AG's report that anyone absconded with the money, that it was improperly spent, or that it did not go to national security enhancement.
It's just that it cannot be account for.
Fiscal management, for which this government has long held tightly, as one of the cornerstones of its raison d'etre, especially when compared with the Liberal sponsorship scandal, and even Mulroney's relationship with Hans Schreiber after he left office and envelopes of cash....includes appropriate, even anal accounting of the public purse...both on the revenue side and on the spending side.
And the AG was hardly commending the government on the revenue side...given the glaring $29 BILLION that is missing in uncollected taxes and the need for more resources in Revenue Canada to collect those missing revenues to which his report directed both the government's and the public's attention.
(As a footnote, Liberal leader Trudeau chose to look the other way without firing a single question to the government on the AG report, while the NDP and their leader Tom Mulcair pounded the government on the boondogles!)
Seems the NDP has indeed begun to position itself as a government in waiting, being gifted by a tired, complacent and obviously incompetent, by its own standards, government in decline.
2015 cannot come soon enough, when the citizens finally get a chance to weigh in a vote the Harper gang from office.