(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
Isn’t it amazing that there’s such a lack of courage and conviction to maintain the moral compass in the legislature and politics in general. Thankyou to the rare courageous one’s like John Doyle and especially to the Super Hero Daryl Plecus for exposing all those PIGS AT THE TROUGH that took and took and took when a slight bit of morality and common sense should have stopped them from over indulging. I thank them for giving us a glimpse into the community of cowards and hypocrites that didn’t want to upset the apple cart or derail the gravy train. Now all of a sudden the cowards come out of the woodwork like cockroaches in the legislature to tell us their on it for British Columbian’s. Where were they all in the past 16 or so years in opposition or even from the former government The money that has been stolen from the public purse could have been used for the betterment of society. Helping kids and families in poverty, the handicapped, Children’s Hospital, the elderly, the medical community in general, mental illness. Oh god i could go on. But the pigs took all the extra money that could have been used for these good things. I hate them badly. Strong words but i can’t put it any other way because i see it as the raw truth the greedy entitled.
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Ask the vetran press gallery?
If you want to find the Veteran Press gallery one need go no further than a private club, a boozy walk from the Leg…. with rich lobbyists and important govt officials wining and dining the reporters that sold their souls decades ago to the almighty $$$$.
The Fifth Estate no longer exists.
The veteran press gallery you say? to busy getting lucrative speaking engagements.
Maybe someone should ask Ms. Bellringer directly how she got her postion? Was she not to dig too deeply into Government spending? Why should we trust her just because she was appointed by the Liberals? Why should she be doing the audit now instead of an independent? Maybe we should have an independent auditor to an audit on her and her office?
Yes and much of that old gallery.
At about the time Dermod Travis warned us, former Solicitor General John van Dongen also provided us a warning. It was by way of an affidavit filed in BC Supreme Court in support of his application for intervener status in Auditor General Doyle’s lawsuit against the Attorney General for access to documents regarding the Basi-Virk BC Rail trial legal fee waivers. He swore in part:
19. Over time, I formed the view that the Ministry of the Attorney General has tended to foster a closed culture which has resulted in diminished public accountability and transparency as compared to many other ministries.
20. …I do not consider its current level of accountability and transparency to be healthy or acceptable in a mature democracy.
26. Although as Solicitor General my responsibilities focussed primarily on the policing component of the justice system, I must admit that my bigger interest was with the work of the Ministry of the Attorney General. I came to realize that the real power resided in that Ministry, in part because of its key involvement in drafting legislation, in part because of its role in charge approval and prosecution, but also in large measure because of the influence it generally enjoyed with other ministries which necessarily looked to it for legal advice. I therefore became and remain very interested in the operation and accountability of the Ministry of Justice and the Attorney GeneraI.
33(j)iii …I did not have any confidence I would receive factual information from the Attorney General.
39. …The comments of the Ministry of the Attorney General will be incorporated in the final report of the Auditor General which is submitted to the Legislature.
40. Based on my pre-existing perception that the Ministry of the Attorney General tends to resist public transparency and accountability, I consider the conduct described in the affidavits which motivated the Auditor General to undertake these legal proceedings is symptomatic of a systemic problem in that Ministry.
This warning by a former Solicitor General is a very serious matter that should concern every law abiding citizen of British Columbia. Especially since a former Attorney General by the name of Geoff Plant has publicly written that if the deal Auditor General Doyle wanted to investigate tied the waiver to the guilty pleas it would be illegal. It did exactly that, and we only found that out by way of leaked documents that Auditor General Doyle couldn’t obtain in court.
Note the statement in paragraph #39 above. Remember that the Acting Auditor General told the Vancouver Sun in May 2013 that his report into special indemnities would be completed a few weeks later and it would probably not include the Basi-Virk indemnities. But it wasn’t released until six months later and those indemnities formed the whitewashed centrepiece. I recognized verbiage in that whitewash I’d seen before in correspondence to me and the Information Commissioner. It was generated by key individuals in the Attorney General’s ministry and appeared in the audit report findings, not the government response to the report. I very much doubt that would have happened had Auditor General John Doyle been allowed to continue his work.
Attorney General David Eby has done no housecleaning in the ministry and continues to accept its guidance. Does that make you comfortable that Mr. Eby is not being influenced by individuals who might have reason to fear a public corruption inquiry?
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It is absolutely revolting that the entire BC Rail sale has been ignored.
The ILLEGAL $6 million dollar payout/plea bargain/non disclosure agreement that BC TAXPAYERS funded!
Nothing has happened. Gordon Campbell, Christy Clark , etc etc etc all walked without making ANY statements under oath…
Can anyone imagine getting away with using $6 million dollars of someone else’s money to quash a criminal investigation?
You’d be in jail.
The RCMP investigation was headed by an officer who’s wife worked fro Christy Clark.
The RCMP were in the middle of renegotiating a 20 contract with the BC Govt and Rich Coleman publicly mused about a BC Provincial Police Force……
Disgusting doesnt even begin to describe the machinations of the BC Rail file.
Perhaps all information, public and private should be handed to the US Dept of Justice.
The competing purchaser for BC Rail was a US owned company and if any back room deals to thwart an honest bid process can be proven …..oh baby…….look out.
Time for the US govt to question the US Bidder, the people involved?.
Some one will talk..
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“25 May 2015
FBI Denver Field Office
8000 East 36th Avenue
Denver, CO 80238
This is to inquire whether there has been any investigation by law enforcement in the United States under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act concerning the role played by Omnitrax, headquartered in Denver Colorado, in a criminal case involving bribery in Canada.
The inquiry went on to provide details.
It was never answered.
Did you send it “Registered Mail”? One of the reasons I’m still alive today is that after some 15 odd years, I’m still waiting for some sort of justice on this account, or getting MY railroad back!
Were we in fact ever paid for it?
Tracking number says it was delivered. So do numbers for multiple letters sent to the Chief Federal Prosecutor for the Public Prosecution Service in Vancouver and Premier John Horgan.
I understand that the FBI is not in the habit of responding to the general public about whether or not it is investigating, and especially to the foreign public. But I did expect a response from our own public servants, if only a receipt acknowledgement. Silly me.
As to the question of payment, see page 66 here:
I think our railroad has left the station, never to return. What I want to see is the people responsible for the way that was done, including their corruption of our justice system to cover it up held to public account.
I have learned that our current Premier lacks the moral compass to share that desire.
Yep and we could ask de Jong about it all. But the problem there is he’s always in the spin cycle
I WANT MY RAIL WAY BACK! Yes, its mine because it belonged to all people in B.C.
Hacking is a crime and not to be engaged in, but there are times I really do wish I had the skills to have a look at all those politicians’ bank accounts and some of those off shore places where people have squirrelled away money. If there was corruption involved, I do hope that is what we find, because if they did it for free, omg, how stupid could anyone be. Well I’ve always been of the opinion, if you’re going to be a crook, do it for a great deal of money. certainly don’t do it for free.