June 9, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CCLA Applauds Auditor General’s Call For Transparency
TORONTO, June 9, 2011 – The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is pleased that the Auditor General has called on government to amend its practices in seeking Parliament’s approval of funds. The Auditor General has recommended that the Treasury Board of Canada amend its processes so that Parliament is presented with clear and accurate information about funding approvals and provide better information when funding is requested for projects and programs with multiple components. The CCLA agrees that Parliament is entitled to complete and accurate information in matters related to expenditures, and notes that such information is vital in aiding Parliament in performing its function of holding government to account.
The Auditor General’s report on the G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund and Expenditures for the 2010 G8 and G20 Summits was released today. In it, the Auditor General finds that the request to approve funding for a variety of G8 projects was “not made in a transparent manner”. The Auditor General also expressed concern about the way in which G8 projects were selected, finding a lack of supporting documentation. The Auditor General noted that such documentation is important to show that the selection process was transparent and included accountability mechanisms. In the absence of this documentation, the Auditor General could not come to a conclusion on the process of selection for G8 projects. With respect to G8 and G20 expenditures more generally, the Auditor General found that costs were overestimated due in part to the uncertainty surrounding a number of factors, and the large number or departments involved in various aspects of the events. Moreover, Parliament was never provided with consolidated funding or cost information and, as a result, there was no complete picture of the funding that was requested and approved for the Summits.
Nathalie Des Rosiers, CCLA’s General Counsel, noted that “The Auditor General’s report highlights that access to information, transparency and accountability are all vital to a properly functioning democracy, and notes the room for significant improvements to our current system.” She added that “The G8 and G20 were costly endeavours and all Canadians – including our elected representatives – had a right to full and accurate information about the financial costs. The CCLA is pleased to see that the Treasury Board has agreed with the Auditor General’s recommendations to improve transparency and look forward to seeing those recommendations implemented in a timely way.”