Auditor General Calgary-Egmont Fred Dunn Jennifer Pollock Jonathan Denis Lewis Cardinal Mary MacDonald Mel Knight Peter Lougheed Ray Martin Richard Nixon Rick Szostak

dunn’s done. now… more than ever.

Dunn’s done. Auditor General Fred Dunn has announced that he will be stepping down in February 2010.

In 2007, Dunn singled out Energy Minister Mel Knight and the Department of Energy for failing to collect billions of dollars in resource revenues over the past 15 years. In 2009, Dunn’s office announced the delay or cancellation of 27 out of 80 planned system and financial audits due to lack of financial resources. At the time, Calgary-Egmont MLA Jonathan Denis was quoted as justifing the lack of funding to the Auditor General by defending the one-year MLA pay freeze:

“Realistically everybody would like more money, I would like more money, but the reality is we froze our pay cheques this year. This is the first time in 15 years we froze our pay cheques. And similarly we don’t want to be giving extra money to departments where that’s not required.”

Now… more than ever. His ideas may now be marginalized within the party he led to office 38 years ago, but the now Stelmach-led PC Party is seeking to revive fond memories of Peter Lougheed‘s victory over Harry Strom‘s Social Credit Party. The slogan for the November 6-7, 2009 PC leadership review, ‘Now… more than ever,’ appears to be an attempt to remind older supporters of their party’s exciting 1971 slogan: ‘Now!‘ Or maybe I’m wrong and the PCs are actually trying to channel Richard Nixon….

Who’s ready for a federal election? With the exception voters in a couple of ridings, Albertans are going to be far off the political radar in any upcoming federal election. While the Conservatives have already nominated candidates in all 28 ridings, the Liberals and NDP have only officially nominated a couple candidates each (Liberals: Jennifer Pollock in Calgary-West, Mary MacDonald in Edmonton-Centre, Rick Szostak in Edmonton-Sherwood Park. NDP: Lewis Cardinal in Edmonton-Centre and Ray Martin in Edmonton-East). With an election seemingly imminent, expect to hear a lot from the New Obama Party when they hold their caucus retreat in Edmonton in a couple of weeks.

Audi Canadian Taxpayers' Federation Fred Dunn

canadian taxpayers’ federation silent on the auditor general’s lack of funding.

Usually not shy to criticize government spending, the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation has remained noticeably silent following the news that Alberta’s Auditor General Fred Dunn has delayed or cancelled 27 of 80 planned financial or systematic audits because of financial constraints.

As an articulate commenter on a previous post wrote, the Office of the Auditor General exists to provide “clear, nonpartisan feedback on the finances of the various functions of government. Their job is to provide what amounts to constructive financial criticism to governments about the way programs, departments and ministries spend money. The better the auditor general, the tighter the financial ship.

The Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation lists dedication to less waste and accountable government as two of its main goals, so it seems to me that if there were one area of spending that the CTF would publicly support, it would be for the people who are in charge of the audits that create less waste and more accountable government.

Auditor General Fred Dunn Jeff Johnson Jonathan Denis

bullshit detector reaches critical levels [re: auditor general].

Alberta’s Auditor General Fred Dunn recently announced the delay or cancellation of 27 out of 80 planned system and financial audits due to budget constraints and yesterday, after opposition MLAs once again attempted (and failed) to increase funding for the Auditor General, the remarks of two backbench PC MLAs really caught my attention:

Calgary-Egmont MLA Jonathan Denis:

“Realistically everybody would like more money, I would like more money, but the reality is we froze our paycheques this year. This is the first time in 15 years we froze our paycheques. And similarly we don’t want to ge giving extra money to departments where that’s not required.”

Athabasca-Redwater MLA Jeff Johnson:

“We’re in a time of great financial restraint,” Johnson said. “I don’t know how we (justify) going from $21.5 million to $25 million in one year….” “Nobody has enough money to do the job they’d like to do.”

The mandate of the Auditor General of Alberta is to ‘identify opportunities and propose solutions for the improved use of public resources, and to improve and add credibility to performance reporting, including financial reporting, to Albertans.‘ Ensuring financial and systematic efficiency through these audits is one of our government’s most important responsibilities to the hardworking citizens and taxpayers of this province. Albertans should not have to wait until good economic times for the Auditor General to have the resources to do the most effective job possible.

Auditor General Fred Dunn Highwood Communications Public Affairs Bureau

auditor general delays audit into highwood communications.

Alberta Auditor General Fred Dunn has delayed or canceled 27 of the planned 80 systematic audits because of budget constraints (apparently, in Alberta, our politicians underfunds two of a government’s most important responsibilities, Audits and elections).

Among the delayed includes a recently announced audit into the now defunct Highwood Communications that has been postponed until October 2009 (for more on Highwood Communications…).

Other important audits that have been delayed or canceled include investigations into the collection process of Alberta natural resource royalties (delayed indefinitely), post-secondary education facility capacity and utilization (canceled), post-secondary program planning (canceled), Sustainable Resource Environmental Management (delayed until 2010), and measuring the effectiveness of the fiscal regime of the Department of Finance and Enterprise (delayed until 2011). A full list can be found here.

(h/t Trish Audette)

Barry Styles Ed Stelmach Fred Dunn Highwood Communications

auditor general needs resources to investigate highwood communications.

Alberta’s Auditor General is considering an investigation into the highly PC-connected ad firm Highwood Communications. After leaving $5.3 million in unpaid bills, Highwood applied for bankruptcy protection after receiving $41.3 million in exclusive government contracts over the past 10 years.

Auditor General Fred Dunn would like to conduct an audit of the company, but is waiting on sufficient resources.

“We’re considering how and when we could conduct a systems audit,” said Lori Trudgeon, a spokeswoman for Dunn’s office.

Ed Stelmach has refused to ask the Auditor General to investigate and has said he believes that taxpayers got “their moneys worth” from Highwood, even though many unanswered questions still remain about what happened with taxpayers money and why the bills went unpaid.

Giving the Auditor General the resources to investigate what happened to the millions of taxpayers’ dollars entrusted to Highwood Communications through their exclusive government contracts is a plain and simple issue of giving Albertans the accountability, transparency, and integrity they deserve in their government. The integrity that Ed Stelmach promised Albertans.

Related posts:
September 23, 2008
September 24, 2008