Call in the auditor

Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

Auditor general Jane MacAdam

Prince Edward Island’s auditor general should be called in to investigate the books of the Opposition and government backbenchers’ offices, says the Atlantic director for the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.

Kevin Lacey says revelations about spending from the operating grants of these offices published over the last week in The Guardian show an inquiry into these expenses is necessary.

“At the very least, the auditor general should be allowed to look into the books of all these funds to determine two things,” Lacey said Monday.

“First, if there’s anything untoward that is going on with the use of taxpayer money and, second, to recommend policy procedures to ensure that misuse of public money never happens again.”

A Guardian investigation revealed P.E.I. taxpayers paid former Opposition chief of staff Kent Avery a total of $18,463.50 seven months after he had been laid off from the Opposition office in 2013 and after he had collected four months of severance pay.

Details of this transaction were published in Saturday’s edition of the paper.

Avery’s money came from the Opposition office’s operating grant a fund not intended for long-term employee salaries.

Former Progressive Conservative party leader Olive Crane and then-Conservative MLA Hal Perry authorized the contract.

RELATED: P.E.I. MLAs have expense funds not open to public scrutiny






The cheques to Avery came from a so-called “slush fund” money granted to the Liberal, Tory and Green party backbench offices to help run their daily affairs.

Money from this fund is also used by MLAs for expenses, such as mileage, donations to charities and fundraising tickets.

“At the very least, the auditor general should be allowed to look into the books of all these funds to determine two things.“First, if there’s anything untoward that is going on with the use of taxpayer money and, second, to recommend policy procedures to ensure that misuse of public money never happens again.” Kevin Lacey, Atlantic director for the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation.

The Guardian revealed last week receipts are not required for these expenses and PC MLAs can access up to $200 a month while Liberal backbenchers get up to $300 per month.

This spending is out of reach from the public eye. Records from all offices of the legislative assembly are exempt from release under the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

An accounting of this money must be presented to the province’s legislative management committee annually. But the caucus operating grants are not audited.

Lacey says it’s time for Auditor General Jane MacAdam to step in.

“The auditor general is the perfect person because (she) is non-partisan and arms-length and is an officer of the legislature,” Lacey said.

“All three political parties should be willing to open up their books to the auditor general and show them everything that they’ve done to ensure that taxpayers’ money is being protected.”

Changes should also be made to ensure all MLA spending is released to the public, especially in light of the payments to Avery from the Opposition office’s operating grant which, until now, were kept secret, Lacey said.

“These cases are poster childs of why transparency is important and why the government should act immediately to put in a fully transparent process for expenses to ensure the taxpayer can judge for themselves whether or not these expenses are right or wrong and also have the right to view these expenses, since they’re the ones who pay for them.”

Premier Wade MacLauchlan was not made available for an interview, but a statement from his office said his caucus is “planning topostadditional expenses in the new year and anticipates having something in place before the legislature opens.”

Geographic location: Prince Edward Island

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page



Recent comments

  • kp
    January 13, 2016 - 02:10

    And, re the e-gaming, did I not read somewhere that there were significant legal expenses billed long after the Confederacy was told that there were too many technical and legal problems (ha) to continue to the on-line gambling project? At their meeting at the Holman. I know MC can accommodate nine in their boardroom. They are trying to wear everyone down. The money is still outstanding. And there other government paid and professional individuals who need to step down from their posts. kp

  • no thanks
    January 12, 2016 - 13:35

    what a useless request -- what a useless position !!! total waste of money !!!!! The AG is a position that should be eliminated !!! Nevr accomplishes anything just suggests if the guilty wish to listen !!!

  • Seasonal Worker
    January 12, 2016 - 12:56

    How many party hacks are secretly on staff in those back room offices anyway? Name them all. I bet it's more than meets the eye. How many fundraising tickets to MLAs buy with these public funds? I see my MLA attending events but never knew he had a slush fund to pay for his meals and donations. They secretly spend our money to make themselves look good. Why are they allowed to campaign on public money?

  • david
    January 12, 2016 - 09:55

    Good idea would be interesting to see just what they do with over $100,000 in taxpayers dollars and why this money needs to be handled by the office staff. This is like having a $100,000 petty cash fund with no accountability attached. That being said I would be more interested to know just what someone is doing to collect the over $18,000 that was wrongly paid too and accepted by Mr. Avery.

    • I AGREE
      January 12, 2016 - 12:11

      If the opposition office received more funds from government ( tax payers ) because of their foolish spending who okayed this ??? Was this an advance on the next years funding ? Little wonder we are so far in debt , a look at the Tory spending habits while they were in power may be interesting , God help us .

  • SlyFox
    January 12, 2016 - 09:07

    It seems the A.G here on the Island is a very busy job. It seems every week there is something that makes it to the media that should be sent to this department for investigation. Maybe we should have more people hire in this department and fewer MLA's .LOL

  • Karl Proude
    January 12, 2016 - 07:50

    So this tells us that when we see our local MLA coming to our local fund raiser for anything or anyone , it is not their own monies that they spend to get to the function ( fuel nor vehicle ) nor their monies to get into the event ,nor is it their own monies that they give for a donation, nor is it their own to buy 50/50 tickets. ( which in most cases , if they win will return winnings to the cause. ) SO WHAT IS WRONG YOU ASK???????? Now you and I on the other hand will drive our vehicle ,use our own fuel ,pay with our own monies for all other tickets etc, we use our own monies which we have payed some of the highest Taxes in the country on. I do believe, and have for sometime, that the participation in these events become merely for political gain and recognition and look at what a great person I am. So remember me at least for 2 terms so I can enjoy my slush fund ,my perks and freebies, and God yes please don,t forget me untill I get my pension. I am very sorry that this is how I have come to feel about our MLAs and our Government, but in the last number of years they have not given Islanders any good reasons to think differently. Scandal after Scandal,scam and corruption. And in closing, yes Red and Blue do use the same paint brush.

    • spud
      January 12, 2016 - 10:14

      Well said Karl.

    • To Karl Proude
      January 12, 2016 - 13:43

      “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. Matthew 7:1-2

    • To the Preacher from Karl proude
      January 13, 2016 - 11:01

      At least I am not hiding behind a faith nor a false name.

  • Islander
    January 12, 2016 - 07:24

    Kevin Lacey, you are right on. Yhe way this Government is managing is disgraceful. Premier Wade knows all to well what is going on. He was told over and over to clean up the past mess before moving on. Look where this is leading, first,egaming , where him and Roche have memory loss while being questioned in the house, now this slush fund, now a contract signed by Crane and Perry to pay Avery over $18000 dollars after his work ended. The Premier rights this off with some big fancy word, which really means we will shove this under the carpet and just tell taxpayers the situation has been corrected. Thie Premier is supposed to be educated. His smiling photo opps will be short lived. Our oly hope now is that the AG does her duty as she is sworn to do