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Notice of Inquiry: Proper Role of the Auditor General

Proper Role of the 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 his powers and duties granted by the current Auditor General Act; and, to our 1878 statute, An Act to provide for the better Auditing of the Public Accounts, which Act created the new auditor general as an independent officer, absolutely and completely separate from government, to be beyond and outside government influence, favour, and disfavour; and,

(b) to the powers of the auditor general, by the Auditor General Act section 13.(4), by which section he is a commissioner under the Inquiries Act, Part I; and, to his powers to compel and obtain information that he needs for his audit, and to the fact that these powers have no application to senators; and, to section 13.(4) that states:

The Auditor General may examine any person on oath on any matter pertaining to any account subject to audit by him and for the purposes of any such examination the Auditor General may exercise all the powers of a commissioner under Part I of the Inquiries Act.

(c) to the February 16, 2011, 9 page paper, The Accountability of Agents of Parliament, and its accompanying 5-line letter, signed by seven office holders, who describe themselves as "agents of parliament," in preference to the term "officers of parliament," when in fact these office holders are neither; and,

(d) to the 1988 Senate National Finance Committee's Eighteenth Report on its consideration of the Main Estimates, and also on its study on the role of the auditor general pursuant to the then still new 1977 Auditor General Act; and, to this Report, which concluded that the auditor general's role is not to judge the merits of public policy; and,

(e) to Carleton University Professor Sharon Sutherland's article, The Office of the Auditor General of Canada: Watching the Watchdog, which examined the auditor general's value-for-money audit, which article is chapter 6 in the 1981 book, How Ottawa Spends Your Tax Dollars edited by Bruce Doern.

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