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Notice of Inquiry: Audit of Senate Accounts by Auditor General

Audit of Senate Accounts by Auditor General

Notice of Inquiry

Hon. Anne C. Cools: Honourable senators, pursuant to Senate rules 5-1. and 5-6.(2), I give notice that, two days hence:

I shall call the attention of the Senate to:

a) the Auditor General of Canada, the statutory officer, that parliament did not, and never intended to give a power to audit its houses, the Senate and the House of Commons; and, to the predecessor auditor general who, until 1878, was united and merged in the office of the deputy minister of finance; and, to this parliament's An Act to provide for the better Auditing of the Public Accounts, which statute was adopted here in 1878, to completely divide these two offices and functions, and to absolutely separate the auditor general from the finance department and the government, so as to extract him from all government business forever, all of which were for the purpose of constituting the Auditor General of Canada as an wholly independent officer, freed from, and free of, the control, influence, and politics, of the government of the day; and,

b) to the sad and unfortunate fact, which the government does not seem to note, that the unique independence granted to this officer, the Auditor General of Canada as the auditor of the public accounts, wholly forbids his obedience to the government's wishes in any way, particularly its motions which, when adopted, become house orders, that subject him to the contempt powers of the houses; and, to the auditor general's audit of the Senate, the upper house, which is a hurtful and menacing compromise of this officer's independence, caused by the fact that this overly-publicized Senate audit was not born of senators, but was born of the Senate Government Leader's government business, at the instance of that government leader's government measure, moved here by that government minister, and hastily adopted last June, with little debate, in a government whipped vote; and, to the fact that senators learned of the government's intention, and the auditor general's agreement to audit senators from that day's media reports; and, to the terrible fact that senators were the last to hear of this unilateral development.

The remainder of this day's Senate Debates are available here.