EDMONTON, AB (July 9, 2013): The July 2013 Auditor General’s report is a detailed roadmap of PC mismanagement outlining ongoing waste of taxpayer money and the underperformance of several government programs, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.
The report includes 15 new recommendations for government departments after identifying a lack of proper performance measures in several departments. “The latest Auditor General’s report shows what many Albertans have known for a long time, that the PC government, their ministers and the departments that operate underneath them are simply not doing their jobs properly,” Wildrose Official Opposition Leader Danielle Smith said.
“This PC government seems incapable of such basic activities as producing accurate financial reports, managing the taxpayers’ money, or providing government services competently.” FINANCE The Auditor General in his media availability outlined how the new financial presentation of Budget 2013 is “exponentially more complicated,” than the previous system and in the report said that a comparison to the old budget system is “difficult to explain and understand.”
The report also noted that the budget did not properly account for certain capital expenses. “This government’s waste and mismanagement has vapourized Alberta’s savings and resulted in six consecutive deficits. Now, Albertans have final confirmation from the Auditor General that the government refuses to reveal the province’s full and accurate fiscal picture,” Wildrose Finance and Treasury Board Critic Rob Anderson said. “This confirms what the Wildrose has said since the budget: this government’s first instinct is to hide the facts and evade accountability.” Anderson, Chair of the provincial Public Accounts Committee, which reviews Auditor General’s Reports and oversees Departmental progress on key findings and recommendations throughout the year, said, “The Public Accounts Committee plays a critical role in identifying whether Departments are implementing improvements recommended by the Auditor General. Historically, Alberta’s Public Accounts process has lagged behind in effectiveness and transparency when compared with other jurisdictions. I have been working with the all-party committee members and the office of the Auditor General to implement several measures to advance the oversight and openness of PAC in order to help get the government get on track and to be more upfront with Albertans about the performance of their government. The PAC will continue to move forward with these efforts.”
ENERGY The Auditor General revealed that the Department of Energy has no means to estimate if recipients of the bioenergy grant program are reducing greenhouse gas emissions and said that, “the environmental costs of some projects may exceed their benefits.” “With absolutely no measurable ways to measure whether or not it is reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the bioenergy grant program is nothing but a boondoggle for taxpayers and another example of corporate welfare,” Wildrose Energy Critic Jason Hale said. “The Wildrose Financial Recovery Plan shows how we would scrap these wasteful programs and divert resources to ensure Albertans can enjoy world class standards for clean air, clean land and clean water.” “The Auditor General has shown that this government has no credible plan for quantifiably reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” Wildrose Environment Critic Joe Anglin said. “Failing to do so impacts not only Alberta’s environment but also Alberta’s long term economic interests. The Wildrose has long called for the government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by pursuing a natural gas and hydro strategy.”
ADVANCED EDUCATION The Auditor General confirmed that the government’s Campus Alberta project has so far been a failure, with universities, colleges and the government itself all unable to clearly define it. “Every time this government centralizes services and programs, they create an utter mess. Now we’re beginning to see the chaos their central planning reflex is causing in our post-secondary system, just like in AHS,” Anderson said. “Lukaszuk needs to scrap his centralization plan, start paying closer attention to the waste of tax dollars in his department and let the exceptional post secondary institutions in Alberta do what they do best, while working with them to ensure accountability and transparency.”
MUNICIPAL AFFAIRS The Auditor General revealed that Municipal Affairs has failed to properly evaluate housing grants and has not properly monitored recipients to see if they are complying with their obligations. “Not only were the original decisions that were made by this PC government arrived at with no detailed rationale, the system is setup so poorly that the department is currently incapable of doing a proper evaluation. Even more disappointing, yet not surprising given the results of this audit, is there are cases of individuals receiving supports where they shouldn’t be,” Wildrose MLA Jeff Wilson said. “The Wildrose believes we need to reassess these programs so funding can reach families in need and implement stronger accountability so we can maximize the value of taxpayer dollars being invested.”