(Victoria, 7 January 2013) – IntegrityBC is calling for changes to how the appointments and re-appointments of Legislature Officers are handled, in the wake of the B.C. legislature special committee’s decision not to reappoint Auditor General John Doyle.
Saturday’s news that Auditor General John Doyle would not be reappointed is bad for B.C. in the organization’s view not only because John Doyle was more than effective in his job, but also because it points to flaws in the process of how these nominations are handled.
“Government watchdogs are supposed to have teeth, not wear muzzles,” said IntegrityBC executive director Dermod Travis. “It’s difficult to imagine that any successor to John Doyle will not read the writing that was written on the wall with this decision: if you want to be reappointed don’t do the job of Auditor General too well.”
Auditor General Doyle worried BC Liberals because he was investigating numerous issues likely to expose wrongful acts.
Doyle had drawn public attention to inept financial management at the Legislature and suggested a likelihood that public funds would be misappropriated by senior officers or others.
But, there was a cozy circle at the Legislature and BC Liberals did not want it disturbed. They were assisted by wilfully blind Press Gallery veterans.
Nor did Liberals want an unmanageable Auditor scrutinizing the $6 million payout to defendants in the BC Rail trial and about $5 million more in additional legal cost indemnifications.
When dumped by Liberals in early 2013, John Doyle had been working on the BC Rail file since 2010. Government resisted almost every important move by the Auditor General. He was forced into the Supreme Court to gain access to government documentation. He was also trying to review detailed legal billings worth millions of dollars that had been paid by government.
Removal of Doyle allowed the BC Rail issues to fade away. So did other questions he raised. But arrogant politicians are not easily satisfied so Liberals took actions to punish Doyle and ensure future Auditors Generals would be reluctant to offend the Big Business Coalition Party.
Doyle was concerned about adequate controls over the spending of public funds and about the lack of transparency around the approvals of those payments.
Six years later, we have the Plecas Report. Its content proves John Doyle was correct.
Categories: Auditor General