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Notice of Inquiry: Statutory Powers of Auditor General


Statutory Powers of 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 statutory officer the Auditor General of Canada, and to the Auditor General Act, in which parliament wilfully granted him no powers to subject or compel senators or members of parliament, to audit examination; and, to this Act's Powers and Duties sections 5-12, and section 5 that commands:

The Auditor General is the auditor of the accounts of Canada, . . .

and,

(b) to the constitutional truth that the Senate is no part of the accounts of Canada, nor of the public administration, nor of the public service; and, to the constitutional fact that this parliament's upper house the Senate, like the Commons House, is not a department of government headed and directed by a government minister of the crown; and, to the Auditor General Act's section 7 that commands the Auditor General to report to the Commons House on his public accounts audits, but which Act has no section that authorizes this auditor to report to the Senate on anything, and most particularly not on an audit examination of senators, largely because this Act grants no power to report on that which it grants no power to do, and in fact forbids; and, to the critical fact that the Auditor General Act is subject to the abiding law of the constitution, known as the "sovereignty of parliament," which he is sworn to uphold; and,

(c) to the constitutional fact that the auditor general's audit of the Senate and senators is no part of the data or information he requires "to the fulfillment of his or her responsibilities" as the auditor of the accounts of Canada, pursuant to the Auditor General Act section 13.(1), 14.(1) and 14.(2); and, to the fact that senators and the Senate are not subject to his Act's section 13. (4) which grants him powers as a commissioner under the Inquiries Act, Part I, because the Senate, is "no part of the accounts of Canada," nor of the public service, nor of the public administration; and,

(d) to the 1987 Federal Court of Appeal ruling, against the Auditor General in his quest for access to cabinet documents in the Petrofina case, wherein Justice Pratte, concurring with the lead Justice Heald, held that the Auditor General is the "auditor of the accounts of Canada" and, "whatever be his rights under ss. 13 and 14, he may only exercise them in fulfilling his responsibility as auditor of the accounts of Canada," and, to the constitutional fact that audit of the senators is no part of the Auditor General's rights, powers, nor "the fulfillment of his or her responsibilities" by the Auditor General Act.

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