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MP’s starting to feel the public heat

I’m not sure why MP’s couldn’t figure it out that if they opposed the Auditor-General looking into how MP’s receive and spend money, the public was going to develop a backlash against them:

Cracks are beginning to show in the wall of solidarity from Canada’s MPs, who have blocked Auditor-General Sheila Fraser from probing their spending.. MPs can’t defend the indefensible, Winnipeg Centre New Democrat Pat Martin says. He said the public has every right to be outraged over the House of Commons’ refusal to let Auditor General Sheila Fraser audit the tens of millions MPs spend every year.

… The board of internal economy, a secretive, all-party committee of MPs that controls Commons spending, refused Fraser’s request to vet the $503.5 million annual budget, which includes $235 million for administrative expenses and $248 million for MPs and officers of the Commons. Liberal MP Martha Hall-Findlay (Willowdale) says she can’t square asking everyone else to be accountable and then not do it herself. “Canadians rightly believe that MPs should be held to no less of a standard,” she said.

I find it ironic that the party and party leader which wants to split up Canada – Gilles Duceppe and the BQ – are the only ones in favor of the AG being able to scrutinize MP spending.. but I suspect that eventually, at least on the opposition party’s side, pressure will develop to reverse that stance; whether the Conservative government would go along with it is another matter of course. The public optics of not allowing this was silly however. The opposition parties had a good issue to use, and they’ve initially blown it by agreeing with the Conservative government on this secrecy.

I’ll repeat what I said last week.. I’ve seen no real good rationale why this audit shouldn’t be allowed to happen.


4 comments to MP’s starting to feel the public heat

  • The Board of Internal Economy has nine members.
    The Bloc favours the audit and the chair doesn’t normally vote so that leaves 7 members, four of whom are Cons.
    If the Cons wanted to pass this, they could.

    • @creekside1, While a handful of Grits and Dippers have broken ranks, the current count shows fewer than 5% of MPs and zero senators have publicly disagreed with BOIE. This isn’t just the Cons. It’s the LPC, NDP and CPC… and it’s disgusting.

      If the Liberals want the A-G to see the books, all they have to do is commit to unilaterally open their own books. The other parties would have no choice but to follow suit or look like they’ve really got something to hide. Ditto the NDP. Also noteworthy is the fact that while Duceppe and one other BQ MP (Demers) have come out for allowing the A-G to audit, the entire BQ caucus has not done so. That said, Duceppe is the only party leader to support the A-G.

      It’s time for our leaders to show some leadership.

  • xtremeleafan

    “The public has every right to be outraged over the House of Commons’ refusal to let Auditor General Sheila Fraser audit the tens of millions MPs spend every year.”
    Imagine the outrage if the Public actually sees the audit!

  • On the Facebook group, I gave some kudos to Ignatieff for blinking. However, he didn’t go nearly far enough. By asking the A-G to appear before BOIE and explain what she wants, he gives the distinct impression that there should be some sort of negotiation and/or watering down of the scope of the audits. Fraser has already told them what she wants to do and they’ve already said no. It shouldn’t be open to negotiation and Ignatieff’s stance plays right into the notion that he can’t make a definitive stand on anything. Except maybe support for the tar sands and nuclear energy.

    The Liberals had a perfect chance to pull away from the pack and demonstrate true transparency and accountability. Ignatieff’s weak, wishy-washy statement is better than nothing, I suppose, but barely. It’s not going to win any votes. None.

    I have three words of advice to the Liberal Party: Martha Hall Findlay.

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