Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Provincial budget not doctored: auditor

Deficit figures above board despite allegations

  • Print

Auditor general Carol Bellringer dismisses Tory suggestions the Selinger government doctored its financial books in order to hide a larger deficit.

"The correct deficit figures are all there," Bellringer told the Free Press Wednesday.

She was commenting on a note made on the 2010-11 provincial public accounts books -- the province's annual financial statements -- which were made public last week.

The note, on the bottom of page 114 of Volume I, says certain loans and advances to Crown corporations were reflected as assets in the core government filings, rather than expenditures, which is the public-sector accounting standard.

However, Bellringer said the note refers only to one part of the financial statements known as Core Government. That is the part of the budget that looks only at matters directly under the control of the government. It does not include Crown corporations, school divisions, health authorities or universities. Nor does it include measures such as the rainy day fund or any pension liabilities for money the government is behind on paying into pension plans.

All of those are included in the summary budget, which is the part of the public accounts statements auditors care about. "The summary budget is right," said Bellringer. "Nothing is being hidden anywhere."

That is why she signed off on the public accounts, she said.

Despite Bellringer's comments, Conservative Leader Hugh McFadyen was adamant Wednesday the NDP had "fudged" its numbers to give Manitobans a false picture of the government's financial health.

"There's a cautionary note in there that there are certain aspects that are not in compliance with public-sector accounting standards," he said.

McFadyen also said the government's numbers don't account for what it spent fighting this year's flood.

He claimed the NDP has a habit of increasing spending in the face of shrinking revenue.

"Against that record of providing misleading information to Manitobans, we don't believe they are on track to balance by 2014 without a major tax increase," he said.

An NDP spokesman said the government stands by Bellringer's written opinion on the financial statements that they "present fairly in all material respects." He said the note is being taken out of context.

He also said the note does not pertain to loans and advances to Crown corporations like Manitoba Hydro and Manitoba Public Insurance, but to school divisions, colleges and universities.

"It was to build schools and other infrastructure," he said. "These kinds of assets have a schedule for amortization and repayment. Those payments will be made annually over the life of the asset. It's the same approach we take for roads and other government-owned buildings for capital investments by Crown organizations."

mia.rabson@freepress.mb.ca bruce.owen@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 10, 2011 A7

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Body pulled from river is missing 15-year-old girl

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A goose comes in for a landing Thursday morning through heavy fog on near Hyw 59 just north of Winnipeg - Day 17 Of Joe Bryksa’s 30 day goose challenge - May 24, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A baby Red Panda in her area at the Zoo. International Red Panda Day is Saturday September 15th and the Assiniboine Park Zoo will be celebrating in a big way! The Zoo is home to three red pandas - Rufus, Rouge and their cub who was born on June 30 of this year. The female cub has yet to be named and the Assiniboine Park Zoo is asking the community to help. September 14, 2012  BORIS MINKEVICH / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Did you suffer any damages from Thursday's storm?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google