Duceppe odd man out on auditing MPs’ costs

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OTTAWA -- Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe found himself isolated Monday as he offered to support a request from the auditor general to investigate the parliamentary budgets of all elected members of Parliament and senators.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/05/2010 (4479 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

OTTAWA — Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe found himself isolated Monday as he offered to support a request from the auditor general to investigate the parliamentary budgets of all elected members of Parliament and senators.

“I said I didn’t have problems (with allowing the auditor general to investigate), the Liberals and the NDP apparently did (have reservations), so that’s where we’re at,” Duceppe said after the daily question period in the House of Commons.

Although there are already independent auditors that examine spending by federal politicians, Auditor General Sheila Fraser has said her team should go beyond those investigations to ensure that the politicians are getting good value for more than $500 million in public money that is spent annually in their offices.

“A performance audit (is) very different from financial audits and we’ll go in to actually look at the systems and practices much more than a financial audit would,” Fraser said last month. “My mandate ends next May so it’s very unlikely we would be able to do an audit like that within a year. So hopefully the next auditor general will be delivering a report.” She said it is important for accountability purposes to proceed.

But politicians from the Conservative, Liberal and New Democratic parties were reluctant to comment after their representatives met for a closed-door discussion about Fraser’s request and had failed to make a decision.

The prime minister’s office said it would be inappropriate to comment on the matter before a decision is made.

Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff said a few months ago that an audit by Fraser’s office would be welcome, but told the Halifax Chronicle-Herald last week that allowing the auditor general to look at the books might raise constitutional issues.

A Liberal spokesman said his party was in favour of more transparency, but also said it would be up to the four parties to make a collective decision.

— Canwest News Service

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