Myers accuses Sheridan of lying about provincial finances

Teresa Wright
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Opposition Leader Steven Myers is accusing Finance Minister Wes Sheridan of lying to Islanders about the way he’s managing the provincial deficit, but Sheridan says he is simply following the advice of the auditor general.

It all centres around a $25-million payment the province received from the federal government in the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

This payment was the first installment of a total $39 million in transitional funding to help the province roll out the HST.

Although the province received $25 million of that HST transitional money in 2012-13, Sheridan says the auditor general advised him all $39 million should be accounted for in the year the HST was implemented — the current fiscal year.

In a news conference Thursday, Myers said he believes Sheridan is trying to use the money in both fiscal years to try to make his deficit look better.

“I think that Wes Sheridan is lying to Islanders,” Myers said. “I think that this $25-million that he’s trying to spend twice, he’s trying to use it to make Islanders think he’s doing a better job than he is.”

But Sheridan firmly denied Myers’ accusations.

He says he did originally plan to use the $25 million in last year’s budget, and would have preferred to do so. But three weeks ago, as final work was being done on the 2012-13 books, the auditor general advised him he should account for the money in this year’s budget.

“There’s no question why we did it. We were asked to by the auditor general, we changed our books to reflect that,” Sheridan said.

Since P.E.I. received several million more in revenues than expected through corporate and personal taxes last year, leaving things as they were would have meant a much improved deficit for 2012-13, he added.

“Who would ever want to put a $78 million (deficit) finish out in the books when I could have had a $58 million (deficit) finish and come in better than expected on our budget?” Sheridan said.

“I would have loved to have shown the public that we came in and overachieved… but the auditor general gives an opinion and that’s what we have to follow.”

But Myers still questions this. During his news conference Thursday, he called for Sheridan to produce all correspondence between his department and the auditor regarding this transaction.

“It raises concerns about whether or not the books of this province of Prince Edward Island are even accurate in the least bit,” he said.

“The treasurer says that he has double booked this on the orders of the auditor general, so we need to get to the bottom of that statement and that’s the purpose of the steps we have taken today.”

Auditor General Jane MacAdam told The Guardian she did not order Sheridan to change his accounting of the $25-million, but did advise him it would fall more in line with proper accounting standards.

“We sat down and had a discussion and brought it to their attention that there is a standard that governs how this revenue gets recognized, and after that discussion they realized that an adjustment was required,” MacAdam said.

“But it’s their decision whether or not to make that adjustment. I can’t force them to make an adjustment. If they did not make the adjustment, I may have qualified my audit opinion.”

She added that discussions like these are a normal part of the auditing process, even into the last weeks before the blue books are released by the province.

twright@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/GuardianTeresa

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

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Recent comments

  • voter
    February 09, 2014 - 08:18

    i do not have any trust in politicians - they are all tainted badly and should be thrown out in the garbage in this article - the pot calls the kettle "black"

  • No more liberals here
    February 07, 2014 - 19:10

    If the auditor general is calling the shots on how our money is and where it's spend,why are we paying Wes Sheridan as treasury...do we really need him if auditer general is calling the shots, we can save money by giving Wes the boot.

  • scott
    February 07, 2014 - 16:11

    Myers is Just puting off as usual to get his 5 seconds of fame and time in the limelight. He is nothing but a classless wannabe. Typically he spouts off first, and aways did. He always wanted to be the center of attention. He showed his lack of class and his true style with the Crane affair, so why is anyone shocked at anything that flaps from his gums? It will be a banne day in Island politics when he steps down or is defeated.

  • scott
    February 07, 2014 - 15:28

    Myers is Just puting off as usual to get his 5 seconds of fame and time in the limelight. He is nothing but a classless wannabe. Typically he spouts off first, and aways did. He always wanted to be the center of attention. He showed his lack of class and his true style with the Crane affair, so why is anyone shocked at anything that flaps from his gums? It will be a banne day in Island politics when he steps down or is defeated.

  • Huh
    February 07, 2014 - 13:06

    Myers raises legittimate questions. It wouldn't be the first time Wes lied to Islanders - think about how the HST got here in the first place...

  • Bill M
    February 07, 2014 - 13:03

    Myers is nothing but a clown. When will his 15 minutes be up so he can fade into the obscurity he so richly deserves?

  • JR
    February 07, 2014 - 12:25

    When the auditor says "I may have qualified my audit opinion.” if the government did not make this adjustment, this should be enough info for people to realize this is an accounting adjustment that should be made, as opposed to some sort of smoke and mirrors trickery. A qualified opinion on an audit is not a good thing. The revenue was booked improperly last year and an adjustment was made to move it to the proper year. Not the most exciting new story...

  • Jon
    February 07, 2014 - 12:12

    Really? Myers is PEI"s own Rob Ford! Why wouldn't Myers at least check with an accountant in the PC Party before accusing another MLA of lying. This is a basic recognition principle - funds are tied to program that begins on April 1 so it should be declared in that fiscal year not the previous one when it was received. I'd call for his resignation but the stupidity is kind of funny and am interested in other buffoonery from this guy.

    • SlyFox
      February 07, 2014 - 16:59

      Well Jon it sounds like Myer's did check or we would not be hearing of this.My question is why didn't Wes?

  • Quiet Observer
    February 07, 2014 - 08:33

    What a bozo. I don't like or trust Wes, but Myers is out to lunch. Bring back Olive please.

  • Captain Morgan
    February 07, 2014 - 08:23

    "Who would ever want to put a $78 million (deficit) finish out in the books when I could have had a $58 million (deficit)...." ............. “I would have loved to have shown the public that we came in and overachieved…" LOL a $58 million deficit is an overachievement ??? You can't make this stuff up.

  • Hear That
    February 07, 2014 - 08:09

    And that is why I dislike Steven Myers and wonder who in their right mind would ever vote in this "JUNIOR HIGH BULLY" to represent them. He really needs to grow up. Must fill his ego to slander and push people just like he did to Olive. The PC party needs to make him step down if they ever plan to win votes again. Totally disgusted with this party now.

  • candrayo
    February 07, 2014 - 07:02

    I am no fan of Wes's…..but can we really find a Politician who doesn't lie? This is not news…..

  • Never again
    February 07, 2014 - 06:45

    I hope this kettle of fish don't get stirred up to much because there may be a fishy oder to Linger in the gov house for a long time even when the liberals are long gone and will be high and dry,I don't hear anymore about PNP did that issue ever get resolved,Mmm...scratching my head.

  • access to information
    February 07, 2014 - 06:14

    If Sheridan was asked by the AG, show us the letters and emails with this correspondence. There should be a proper paper trail documenting this. Otherwise, Sheridan is lying.

  • wake up ??
    February 06, 2014 - 22:17

    It is unfortunate that Mr. Myers clearly doesn't understand accounting. Maybe he should get his facts straight prior to making such strong accusations. The $39 million will be recorded as revenue in 2013-2014 and it is not recorded in 2012-2013, so how is this double booked???

  • Joe Blow
    February 06, 2014 - 21:58

    So if Sheridan just does what the auditor general says....then how come he hasn't listen before now? What happened to all that PNP money? I'm sure the auditor general told them all to use that money correctly, but we all know that didn't happen....how come the Ghiz government decided to listen now? Everything that comes out of Sheridan's mouth is a flat out lie!! He needs to be fired...ASAP.

  • Joe Blow
    February 06, 2014 - 21:49

    Myers is right....Sheridan has been lying about the provinces finances since he became minister of finance. How many times has he said he'd have the budget balanced and then had to change his story? How many times has he said the debt is X amount of dollars and we find out that its actually much much more? Its happened a lot over the past 5 years or so. Sheridan in fact is lying about the debt, budget and finances of PEI....but yet he still has his job!! Go figure

  • Den
    February 06, 2014 - 21:30

    When you're on the Opposition, you have a conscience and ethics. Wait unti Myers (God help us) gets his chance to go over to the other side, it'll be the same performance with a different coat of paint. Not much of a choice to vote for.

    • bob ingerson
      bob ingerson
      February 07, 2014 - 07:58

      no, no, no, don't you remember myers is just holding the party together till the next guy comes along. he don't want the job, he said so.

  • We the people
    February 06, 2014 - 20:37

    Slander and character assassination - the PC party continues to stoop to new lows with Mr Myers as their leader.

    • don
      February 07, 2014 - 00:06

      We the people. i agree with you up to a point. but ghiz and his right hand money boy wes have screwed islanders to long and the FAKE leader of the pc's the backroom babies tell myers what to say and do just like ghiz tells his kids. but as one person said police needs to be brought in but NOT island police. as it seems the liberals never gets into trouble look at the PNP. we need police from way off island.

  • Done
    February 06, 2014 - 19:57

    Wes I hope you get what's coming to you. What a mess you have pei in with all your party's corruption. Islanders need to demand proper governance. Liberals and Tories are crooks and I've voted for both parties but I think this next time ndp for me

  • AMAZED
    February 06, 2014 - 19:43

    Strong words , if I was Sheridan I would speak to a good lawyer .

    • shaker
      February 07, 2014 - 09:53

      Dear Amazed:You know why he won't speak to a good lawyer.

  • Wes the cat
    February 06, 2014 - 19:42

    Wes should have been a magician with his smoke and mirrors act .. Adding to the total dept to hide the liberal over spending .. He's a tyrant along with ghiz and the other liberal sheep will follow them because of what they give them in return.. That's it in a nutshell... I know contractors that have become millionaires with bs work and hand outs because they support the crooked liberal party!!!!

  • No more Liberals here.
    February 06, 2014 - 18:47

    Yeah for Steven Myers to keep the pressure on Wes to clarifying this mess,I'm thinking more bad deficit dealing will be coming up soon,maybe a police investigation would be in order.

  • don
    February 06, 2014 - 18:02

    Myers you must be wrong no one in the pc party nor the liberals would ever lie. they are all as honest as God. what i would like to have happen is give every person that is in the house right now a dose of "truth serum" and have a list of questions and hear the answers i bet we would be really shocked. at least we the tax payers would know who is really honest. but wes is now passing the buck but what else is new. next i'm sure he will tell us if it was not for sir john a mac donald we would not be in he trouble we are in now. tell the truth wes for once in your life.