The BCCLA is pleased to note that all of Canada’s major political parties with elected members have agreed to open their Member of Parliament expense accounts to the Auditor General. The BCCLA had written to all parties to ask that they do so, in support of a request by the Auditor General that had been turned down by the all-party Board of Internal Economy.
“MPs have stressed their need to know what the government is doing and has done with, for example, the Afghan mission. But accountability ought not be just by government officials to Parliament. MPs are not above the law. They are all accountable to the public. Each citizen is entitled to have MPs account for what they do with public money, premises and staff,” said Robert Holmes, President of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. “Being transparent about these is essential to ensuring that the media and citizens can engage in informed public discussion and debate and make informed choices at election time.”
The BCCLA has written a letter to all of the party leaders applauding their decision to reverse the ban on the Auditor General’s access to the accounts. The Bloc Quebecois had been the only party in support of opening expense accounts to the Auditor General.
“Given the major concerns that came out of audits of other jurisdictions’ elected official expense accounts, there really is no principled reason to prevent the auditor general from ensuring that protocols are followed by Members of Parliament,” said Holmes. “The public’s confidence is not enhanced by secrecy, but by accountability and transparency.”
The BCCLA will continue to monitor the file to ensure that the Auditor General continues to
have the access she needs to the relevant documents.
Robert Holmes, President, 604-681-1310
David Eby, Executive Director, 778-865-7997