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daveberta.ca - Alberta politics: Airplane scandal takes off as Tory support, fundraising effort nose dives

TweetYesterday’s Speech from the Throne was old news as scandal erupted today over Premier Alison Redford’s alleged inappropriate use of government-owned airplanes. After facing criticism over her $45,000 trip to South Africa and a $9,200 trip from Palm Springs, Ms. Redford struggled to control the story today by announcing plans to pay $3,100 for costs […]

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: Terry Paddon’s Report #nlpoli

If you want to understand what the provincial government’s audited financial statements really mean, you will have to skip Tom Marshall’s comments last week and look instead at the lengthy set of observations from the Auditor General released on Friday.

Paddon’s comments are especially important for two reasons.

First of all, Paddon is the former deputy minister of finance.  He knows both the current situation and how the government got there.  if he is speaking this plainly now about the government;s financial position, you can imagine what he was saying as the current administration got itself into a mess in the first place.

Second, Paddon explains a great many things in plain enough English so that anyone can understand his points. As you will see, they are not what the government has chosen to talk about.

(Read more…)

Susan on the Soapbox: The Auditor General’s Report: Alberta’s “Enron” Moment

God bless Merwan Saher, Alberta’s Auditor General! He grabbed the government by the scruff of the neck and gave it a shake for dragging us into the abyss of “Enron” accounting. Sadly, the government refuses to budge and opaque financial reporting will continue.

Merwan Saher has been a government auditor for 33 years. He was promoted to Auditor General in 2010. It’s his job to audit every ministry, department, fund and agency in the province. He’s like E. F. Hutton—when he talks; people listen.

The Auditor General took a dim view of the government’s decision (Read more…)

The Canadian Progressive: NDP demands action on missing $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding

By: Obert Madondo | The Canadian Progressive: Last week, the Auditor General reported that the Harper Conservatives can’t account for $3.1 billion of the $12.9 billion allocated to the Public Security and Anti-Terrorism Initiative [PSAT] for the period 2001 to 2010. The New Democrats are demanding action and accountability. Via a motion that was scheduled for [...]

The post NDP demands action on missing $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Search and Rescue personnel deserve applause, says Union

By: Union of Canadian Transportation Employees | Press Release: OTTAWA, May 1, 2013 – The Union that represents Search and Rescue specialists with the Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) is not surprised at the…

The post Search and Rescue personnel deserve applause, says Union appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

Northern Insight: BC Auditor General site down Mar 29-30

Since the website of the British Columbia Auditor General is inaccessible early morning March 30, and was down late March 29, I provide this access to recent reports from the Auditor General.

An Audit of Carbon Neutral Government by NRF_Vancouver

An Audit of Air Ambulance Services in B.C. by NRF_Vancouver

Discussion on qualified audit opinion of British Coumbia financial statements, fiscal 2012 by NRF_Vancouver

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: BC Auditor General site down Mar 29-30

Northern Insight: Pacific Carbon Trust officials must resign

Finance Minister Mike de Jong must demand resignations of the senior executives and directors of Pacific Carbon Trust. They are officials of a publicly owned enterprise but instead dedicated their loyalty to vested interests that do business with PCT.

Additionally, director Mike Watson appears to have a conflict of interest since he is principal of a public relations firm hired by PCT to deride the work and reputation of Auditor General John Doyle.

John Doyle, British Columbia’s Auditor General

“Of all the reports I have issued, never has one been targeted in such an overt manner by vested interests, nor

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Pacific Carbon Trust officials must resign

Northern Insight: From the audit of carbon neutral government

“… [Carbon] offsets can only be credible in B.C. if, among other things, the revenue from their sale is the tipping point in moving forward on a project. It must be an incentive, not a subsidy, for the reduction of GHGs. Yet neither project was able to demonstrate that the potential sales of offsets were needed for the project to be implemented. Encana’s project was projected to be more financially beneficial to the company than its previous practices, regardless of offset revenue, while the Darkwoods property was acquired without offsets being a critical factor in the decision. In industry

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: From the audit of carbon neutral government

The Sir Robert Bond Papers: One Newsroom. Two Stories. @nlpoli

For the English crowed in Newfoundland and Labrador, @cbcnl gave its audience one story from the Auditor General’s report.

They focused on horrendous salary increases in one government agency.

From the Radio Canada desk in the same newsroom comes a completely different story that fits exactly with the Big Story that has been dominating headlines since the Premier warned of layoffs and spending cuts late last year.  The Radio Canada headline translates roughly to “Alarming increase in public spending in NL”.

. . . → Read More: The Sir Robert Bond Papers: One Newsroom. Two Stories. @nlpoli

Politics, Re-Spun: Who’s Running BC?

It has been a month of amateurish politics starting with the government posting the auditor-general’s job. Then this week the government backed down several steps to keep from ejecting the well-respected A-G John Doyle from his chair with an attempt at saving face by changing the legislation surrounding his appointment. As if they meant to do that anyway.

But there’s something fishing about how the premier backed down this week. Take a look:

In a move described by critics as a massive flip-flop and policy making on the fly, Clark on Wednesday proposed legislative changes to the Auditor General’s Act

. . . → Read More: Politics, Re-Spun: Who’s Running BC?

Northern Insight: Deception and financial fakery for friends

A few days ago, I wrote Cronies, henchmen and the future and noted the loss of revenue government derives from natural resources, even though prices have risen dramatically in the past decade. BC Government revenue from natural resources, taken from annual public accounts, were these:

2001 = $3,975,000,000 2012 = $2,699,000,000

I also pointed out that, under HST, resource companies no longer pay provincial sales tax, a savings of hundreds of millions annually. Meanwhile, commodity prices have changed significantly. These changes are taken from the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas.

It turns out that British Columbia’s current revenues

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: Deception and financial fakery for friends

Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Don Lenihan responds to Allan Gregg’s recent critique of Canadian politics, featuring this on the connection that ought to exist between ideology and policy: First, the fact that a policy is based on ideological conviction does not mean it is opposed to reason. According to Gregg, “to follow a course based on dogma or ideology, it becomes necessary to remove science and reason.” I disagree. As I wrote a few weeks ago, each of us has only a limited knowledge of the society around us. An ideology is a system

. . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Tuesday Morning Links

Northern Insight: What’s hidden from the Auditor General ?

Vancouver Sun’s excellent business writer David Baines considers tax implications of government paying $6 million in legal fees for convicted criminals Basi & Virk.

$6-million question: Should corrupt aides pay tax for defence? David Baines, Vancouver Sun, June 23, 2012

“Is the $6 million in legal fees that taxpayers paid for the defence of provincial ministerial assistants David Basi and Bob Virk — who pleaded guilty to political corruption in the BC Rail case — a taxable benefit?

“Due to confidentiality rules, Canada Revenue Agency isn’t saying, but case law strongly suggests that it is.

“If it is, then Basi

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: What’s hidden from the Auditor General ?

Impolitical: Today in secret deliberations

Something to watch for today as the Conservatives keep digging their democratic deficit, the Commons public accounts committee meets to decide the future of the F-35 hearings. Not in public, mind you! Where do you think you are? The committee is scheduled to meet again Thursday behind closed doors. The effort to shut down the hearings, led by Conservative MP Andrew Saxton, comes after about seven hours of testimony from witnesses.

Liberal and NDP members of Parliament had expected the hearings to continue this week, but Saxton introduced a motion during the committee’s May 17 meeting to stop calling witnesses

. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Today in secret deliberations

Impolitical: Languages shmanguages

Today in Harper government infractions: “Ottawa blâmé par le commissaire aux langues officielles.” Le gouvernement Harper n’a pas respecté la Loi sur les langues officielles en nommant l’anglophone unilingue Michael Ferguson au poste névralgique de vérificateur général, révèle un rapport du commissaire aux langues officielles obtenu en exclusivité par La Presse.

«Le Bureau du Conseil privé du Canada [qui a recommandé le candidat] n’a pas respecté ses obligations en vertu de la Loi», écrit le commissaire dans un rapport préliminaire d’enquête sévère, daté du 30 avril.

Meaning, really, that this one is placed at the doorstep of Mr. Harper.

. . . → Read More: Impolitical: Languages shmanguages

Polygonic: MacKay: We’re just as dodgy with our accounting as Sponsorship-era Liberals

Duhhhhr! Ooonnggg… errrrggg….

Out of the mouths of babes.

It’s been an awkward delight watching Conservative spinmeisters trot out Plan A through Plan W in their Catalogue of Flimsy Excuses over the F-35 affair. Blaming bureaucrats didn’t cut it, even blaming the other parties hasn’t cut it. One waits with bated breath for Harper to find a new Guergis-figure he can throw under a bus and hope to be done with it.

Until then, Peter MacKay’s latest delicious position is that the $10 billion difference in Tory cost estimates and actual cost comes down to a simple “difference in accounting”

. . . → Read More: Polygonic: MacKay: We’re just as dodgy with our accounting as Sponsorship-era Liberals

Leftist Jab: Take The "Guess The Auditor General Report" Quiz: Chinook Helicopter or F-35?

Peter MacKay: Why does Rona get everything? Rona, Rona, Rona! Between the complete ignorance of the desolate living conditions found in the First Nation reserve of Attawapiskat, the suspected widespread election fraud and the misleading of Canadians of the estimated costs of the F-35 fighter jets to the tune of $10 billion, Canadian politics have certainly seemed rather dour these last few

Northern Insight: See what happens when you split the vote

On today’s Trailing Edge from the Ledge, BC Liberal press officer Sean Leslie disclosed strategy to be followed after the party’s candidate, federal Conservative wonk Laurie Throness, fails to win the once friendly riding of Chilliwack-Hope.

“If the NDP actually pulls a win out there because the Conservatives and the Liberals are split, then I think the Liberals can salvage something…”

On the same show, Keith Baldrey continued providing misinformation on BC Rail, an issue that has dogged the government for years:

“… It [payments of Basi/Virk legal fees] is stuck in a process. In court, the

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: See what happens when you split the vote

Trashy's World: Friday miscellany…

Jason Kenney edition. Is Jason Kenney Canada’s Joseph McCarthy? I think so… OTTAWA — New Democratic Party MP Don Davies says it never occurred to him when he innocuously snapped a photo at an anti-racism march in Vancouver last month that he would suddenly become the latest target in an increasingly vicious Canadian political culture. [...]

Impolitical: Auditor General #F35 fallout

Terry Milewski’s report on yesterday’s remarks by the Auditor General and the reactions those remarks set off, above. It is helpful to see whose eyes are grave, whose eyes are dead and whose eyes are lit up.

More on the AG’s remarks and DND apparently getting restless at holding the bag.

Red Tory v.3.0.3: The F-35 Boondoggle

I know we’ve been over this ground before, but remind me again… why does Canada even need this heinously expensive new class of fighter jet at all? What possible military threat are we defending ourselves from? Seriously. What is the point?

Aside from the absurdity of ploughing something like $30 billion into a high-tech gizmo that serves no useful purpose whatsoever (it’s worth noting that Lockheed Martin’s last iteration of this plane, the F-22 “stealth raptor” fighter, has never actually been deployed in combat), there is the matter of the Harper government having egregiously misled Canadians about the cost of

. . . → Read More: Red Tory v.3.0.3: The F-35 Boondoggle

Scott's DiaTribes: A wistful we-told-you-so on the F-35 debacle

A lot of ink and writing has been spilled elsewhere over this scandal – one where the Conservative government of Canada and its Cabinet Ministers, and it’s Prime Minister has been found severely wanting by the Auditor-General on the true costs of the planes, the deliberate attempt to prevent multiple tenders, etc. The way the government presented these figures to the public is also under attack. Opposition to this project a year or 2 ago was branded just short of treason, and the government refused to provide true costing to the Parliament.

Indeed, this refusal was the primary reason the

From Orangutan: Dear Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper,

Why have you systematically misled the Canadian people about the costs of purchasing flying machines?

Northern Insight: One publication raising the bar

I am a frequent critic of corporate media but wish I could be an enthusiast rather than a detractor. When ink stained wretches — perhaps today that should be digital savvy geeks — provide incisive commentary valuing common citizens ahead of magnates and moguls, I’m keen to applaud.

Good people at the Globe and Mail BC Bureau have deserved plaudits recently. We’ve seen fine work from Rod Mickleburgh, Justine Hunter and Mark Hume. A few days ago, Gary Mason wrote B.C., Alberta in need of a cure for political heartburn. This is a piece that, without rhetoric, invites

. . . → Read More: Northern Insight: One publication raising the bar

Northern Insight: Solution for the Auditor General

A person commenting on Jonathan Fowlie’s puffery in the Vancouver Sun proposes a way Premier Photo-Op can resolve her government’s dispute with Auditor General John Doyle over documents in the Basi Virk payoff:

“…the Auditor General will be given a “mediator” with a zero document mandate.”