Premier takes Telegram to task on editorial

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Objects to portrayal of spending as unaccounted

Premier Kathy Dunderdale voices her displeasure to reporters at the Confederation Building media centre Friday over an editorial that appeared in Friday's edition of The Telegram about the Auditor General's Report. - Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Premier Kathy Dunderdale began a news conference at the House of Assembly late Friday morning by voicing her objections to the editorial in that day's edition of The Telegram.

"We've had quite a lot of commentary in the last couple of days with regard to the Auditor General's Report. However, I feel this morning that in the opinion piece in The Telegram that lines were crossed," the premier said.

Specifically, Dunderdale charged that the editorial's author did not understand and convey the true meaning of what was stated in the report issued by acting auditor general Wayne Loveys.

The premier said the editorial was incorrect in suggesting there was no accounting for how $5 billion in infrastructure spending was parceled out.

"What the (acting) auditor general said was that he didn't feel he had access to documents that allow him to determine how decisions were made on how we were going to spend money," she said.

"Nowhere in his report does he talk about not knowing where money was spent. Nowhere. The auditor general is informed on a daily basis where every cent in the government is spent. It's all uploaded to a website that he has access to. On a monthly basis, he is given a roll-up of the month's spending - down to the last nickel. When projects are approved at cabinet, the auditor general is informed of what projects are approved, before a nickel is spent."

The acting auditor general explained he sought access to documents on how the government departments identify, evaluate and rank potential infrastructure projects.

"What we pointed out in the editorial was that the (acting) auditor general was seeking information on how projects were being approved, and that the auditor general was rebuffed by the Department of Justice. The auditor himself pointed out that the government's actions were 'precedent-setting,'" said editorial page editor Russell Wangersky.

"The purpose of the editorial was to point out that when a government chooses to withhold information from its own auditor, that action has the potential to raise questions in people's minds, questions that tend to be unpleasant."

The news conference went on to ultimately address the Lower Churchill project and an update from Nalcor and Emera made earlier in the day.


Organizations: The Telegram, Department of Justice

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Recent comments

  • Gord Pike
    January 29, 2012 - 21:59

    Kicking the Auditor General out? Kathy Dunderdale is turning into Brian Tobin.

  • Corey
    January 28, 2012 - 18:51

    Is this bantering on between the media & the government going to keep continuing?? Not to mention the constant backlash & wave after wave of hollering at Premier Dunerdale to "Open the House" going to keep up until they actually do open the House in March. Can't wait until March can't we?? If people are so angry about it then pitch a tent in front of the Confederation Bldg & stay there night & day until they DO open the House. Obviously, people are going to keep up the bantering & criticism & bashing of the government until they listen to you, right? The Dunderdale government can't do ANYTHING right, judging by the constant wave of angry callers, angry letters, & angry comments posted everywhere. And it's only January. Are we in for another 4 more years of "War on the PC government"?

  • leah
    January 28, 2012 - 15:05

    DONII i agree with you 100%

  • Don II
    January 28, 2012 - 11:08

    The Telegram is right and Dunderdale is wrong, period. The Auditor General may think that he knows where tax payer money was spent and why because the Government told him so. However, the Auditor General should never take the Government at its word. The Government says: "Take our word for it." The Auditor General requires the production of documentation from Government departments to confirm what he thinks he knows. That is the function of the Auditor General. All expenditures in Government must be accounted for and confirmed by way of a paper trail that can be audited for accuracy and compliance with the Financial Administration Act. Otherwise, if the Auditor General is not permitted to review the documents and the circumstances under which the expenditure of money was approved and carried out, there may be mistakes, fraud or misappropriation going on inside Government which the Auditor General cannot detect. That situation is not acceptable. Open all of the books including Cabinet documents, Premier. Let's make sure there is nothing illegal, improper, unethical or incompetent going on. I smell something burning here, I hope it is not because someone in Government is burning the documents or cooking the books! Never trust a "Take our word for it." Government! Keep up the good work Mr. Lovey's and continue to speak truth to power and demand that changes be made that allows the Auditor General complete access to all Government documents and departments.

    • Jordan
      January 28, 2012 - 20:58

      you don't sound to intelligent.

    • jerry
      January 29, 2012 - 13:44

      Jordan I believe it is too, not to, I believe you are intelligent also.

  • sealcove
    January 28, 2012 - 09:23

    Danny , good job she catches on quick

  • W Bagg
    January 28, 2012 - 08:21

    I would say, the Telegram is printing what alot of people are wondering or thinking. If you want info to get to the people, have the house opened, then you don't have to worry any lines being crossed as journalists can then quote politicians and report on our progress. The other choice is keep the house closed and have Paul Lane call into Open Line regularly to lead the cheer and encourage the kool aid beverage, whcih seems to be status quo.