AG for LG could be WTF, but maybe not

There’s always something going on in politics

There’s always something going on in politics. If you’re lucky, whatever happens to be occupying Stephen Harper or Christy Clark or Adrian Dix — and therefore the news — is at least interesting enough to hold your attention while you finish a coffee. At the local level, we’re usually not so lucky. Our issues tend to be either mercilessly boring or too deeply convoluted — or both — to warrant the attention of any sane, thinking member of the public.

Take the recent proposal by Minister Ida Chong to create a provincial watchdog for lower levels of government — the Auditor General for Local Government (AGLG).  Despite being mercilessly boring, the idea sparked controversy among local politicians, some calling it a much-needed layer of  oversight, others a wasteful, treacherous plot to undermine the authority of local governments. This is where the deeply convoluted part comes in. The position has the potential to be either purely bureaucratic — and possibly redundant — or purely political, a way for the minister in power to cause problems for local politicians who don’t play ball.

You’re probably wondering why I’m wasting your time with boring, complicated provincial bureaucracy. Since this issue is one of those rare gems that causes even hardened politicians to cringe and go for the cliff notes, what better opportunity to put Victoria’s three newest members of city council to the test.

Ben Isitt said: “I don’t think that greater external oversight is a bad thing,” but added that regardless of the outcome of Chong’s proposal, he hopes that municipalities would be able to curb their own spending.

“I believe that the implementation of a Municipal AG will be good for the taxpayer,” agreed Shellie Gudgeon, saying it would result in more local accountability “… and an opportunity for municipalities to share best practices and learn from each others successes and mistakes.”

Lisa Helps was the most critical, saying: “It’s odd to create a layer of bureaucracy to curb the spending of another layer of bureaucracy. And, the AGLG will perform a strict financial audit, won’t use a full cost accounting (economic, social, environmental) approach; this is twentieth-century thinking.”

You’re going to have to decide for yourself which answers are right or wrong, but I’m going to give everyone here a point for not coming back with an, “Uh… what?” M

Just Posted

Still making a good impression: Andre-Philippe Gagnon and his cast of thousands take over Sidney

French-Canadian vocal impressionist first hit it big mimicking every singer from ‘We Are the World’

Powerfully Piaf: Musical tells chanteuse’s life story

Multimedia French cabaret show March 20 at the Royal Theatre part of a worldwide tour

CRAFT BEER COUNTDOWN: Victoria Beer Week 2019 nearly upon us

Monday beer columnist Mathieu Poirier revels in this learning and tasting extravaganza

REVIEW: Trojan Women a brilliant downer at the Phoenix

UVic theatre program does a good job interpreting Greek tragedy, wrtes Sheila Martindale

Emerging Sooke filmmaker takes spotlight with special award

Mary Galloway creates her own opportunities

What is Democracy? takes another crack at Sooke

Awareness Film Night feature set for Feb. 28

Chanel: Iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died

He spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy

Seedy Saturday blossoms at Victoria Conference Centre this weekend

Speakers cover wide range of topics, including how to utilize small spaces for gardening

Port Alberni production tells real stories of casual racism

Divided We Fall coming to ADSS and the Capitol Theatre

Most Read