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Wildrose asks Auditor General to investigate $104M 'March Madness' shopping bill

EDMONTON, AB (Mach 25, 2015): The Wildrose Official Opposition is asking the Auditor General to investigate, after releasing information showing the PC government spent an extra $104 million last March on top of its average monthly spending on everything from napkins and linen to fine china and glassware for the Premier.

Across government, spending increased by over 100 per cent last March in an annual government spending frenzy commonly known as ‘March Madness’ where government departments use up their remaining budgets before they lose them at the start of the next fiscal year. Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw called the wasteful practice inexcusable given the tough economic circumstances Alberta faces and the potential of record tax increases in this week’s budget.

“This is an enormous example of government waste, and we think the Auditor General needs to step in to see how much of this $104 million was spent frivolously and without credibility,” Saskiw said. “Albertans are facing job losses and they’re bracing for tough economic challenges and the Premier’s new job-killing taxes. They’re sick and tired of seeing this kind of waste and excess in this government. We need to account for this money and get to the bottom of this immediately.”

Saskiw said the government’s excuses on the matter don’t hold any water. He said some of the worst examples of ‘March Madness’ waste came from the Ministry of Infrastructure where Minister Manmeet Bhullar responded by saying new china was purchased for the Premier’s office at the very end of the fiscal year because the old china wore out.

“They’ve been caught with their hand in the cookie jar and they’re providing some pretty weak answers,” Saskiw said. “This government cannot bring in record tax increases while ‘March Madness’ is still allowed to happen. We can’t trust the PCs to do the right thing here. The Auditor needs to step in.”

You can read Saskiw’s letter to the Auditor General here.