Vindictive Liberals show cowardly side

Vindictive and cowardly are two words that begin to describe the Liberals’ decision to deep six Auditor General John Doyle.

Vindictive and cowardly are two words that begin to describe the Liberals’ decision to deep six Auditor General John Doyle.

Doyle’s first term is expiring and he should have been re-appointed for a second term as our fiscal watchdog in Victoria.

There is a reason we have auditors general. There is a reason they answer not to the party in power, but to the whole legislature, to all the people. That reason is simple: ruling parties generally deplore transparency and accountability. They celebrate openness when they are seeking power, but quickly degenerate once they begin to enjoy the solitude of the cabinet chamber and the silence of the committee room.

In the case of the Liberals, they fear transparency beyond all other governmental virtues and so they feared John Doyle. For the Liberals, an hour of Doyle’s forensic attention was like an overdue visit to the dentist. When it came to drilling down into the decay of this government’s wilful neglect, studied indifference and plausible deniability there was none better than Doyle.

So, last weekend, the Liberal-controlled legislative committee charged with Doyle’s fate decided to run newspaper advertisements seeking his replacement. To do this less than five months ahead of a general election, at a time when stability and continuity are vital, is unconscionable.

Everyone agrees, Doyle was one tough bastard. Hell, he had to be tough to take the flak when he started probing the dark recesses of the $6 million legal fee waiver for the government aides guilty of breach of trust in the B.C. Rail case.

The NDP caucus strongly supported Doyle’s reappointment. Caucus chair Shane Simpson touched on the bipartisan nature of Doyle’s mandate: “I think he’s been a staunch critic of problems in the government and quite honestly had he been reappointed and should we win the election in May, I would expect him to be just as staunch a critic of the NDP.”

I believe two specific reports issued by Doyle at year’s end sealed his fate. The first was a report on whistleblowers in which he made it painfully clear that public servants shouldn’t have to put their jobs on the line to protect the public interest.

“Whistleblowers need an element of protection in regard to the fact that they are coming forward with … information and at the moment there is very, very limited protection that’s afforded,” Doyle said. “There has been some draft legislation put forward to the Legislative Assembly in the past, but none of it got through.”

The second report aimed right at the heart of this government’s refusal to be held accountable. Titled “Summary Report: Results of Completed Projects and Other Matters,” the report reviews the government’s progress toward implementing “Reporting Principles” adopted in 2003.

The goal in 2003 was to get “agreement on the fundamentals of meaningful performance reporting to support an open and accountable government, one that clearly communicates to the public what government strives to achieve and what it actually achieves.”

However, a decade down the road, Doyle reports that “government-wide adoption of the Reporting Principles is still stalled. As a result, the full potential of these reports to enhance government’s transparency and accountability to its stakeholders is not being achieved.”

Doyle said he planned to mark this dubious 10-year anniversary “by undertaking a more in-depth review of government accountability reporting.”

Clearly, the Liberals had no stomach for that. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Scaredy Cats television series has turned Empress Avenue in Fernwood into a Halloween themed neighbourhood. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)
PHOTOS: Trick or treat! Halloween comes to Fernwood in January

New television series Scaredy Cats filming in Victoria

Cindy Foggit plays the lead role of Eliza in Passion and Performance’s film production Eliza: An Adaption of a Christmas Carol. (Courtesy of Rachel Paish)
Victoria adult dance studio releases modern adaption of A Christmas Carol

Instead of usual stage performance, dance studio turns to film

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Ty Wesley, Nicole Darlington and Cameron Macaulay (from left) performed in the Beholder Entertainment production <em>Gender Sucks!</em> in the 2020 Nanaimo Fringe Festival. (Video still courtesy Sam Wharram)
Nanaimo Fringe Festival artist lottery open to local and B.C. playwrights

Organizers hope to stage plays in-person at indoor and outdoor venues this summer

Canadian singer-songwriter-actor Joëlle Rabu will join her son, Nico Rhoades, for a livestream performance courtesy the Tidemark Theatre Jan. 29. Photo submitted
Mother/son powerhouses Joelle Rabu and Nico Rhodes join forces for Island livestream

Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre hosts online music revue

Dr. John Hooper is the new conductor of Island Voices. Photo supplied
Island Voices welcomes new conductor

Dr. John Hooper to lead mid-Island based choir

Jorie Benjamin does a modern dance performance to ‘La Vie en rose’ by Édith Piaf, Louis Gugliemi and Marguerite Monnot, choreographed by Elise Sampson during the Cowichan Music Festival’s Highlights Concert at the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre on March 1, 2020. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Cowichan Music Festival cancelled for 2021

The festival had already been limited to solo performances only for 2021

<em>Chinook Salmon: Breaking Through</em> by B.C.’s Mark Hobson was selected among 13 entries as the winner of the Pacific Salmon Foundation’s Salmon Stamp Competition.
Stained-glass lighting casts a win to B.C. salmon artist

Painting of chinook is Mark Hobson’s third win in annual contest

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”. The natural photo art for the album includes Vancouver Island mountains, rivers and beaches. Scenes from the Cowichan River, Witchcraft Lake, Pipers Lagoon, Wall Beach and other popular Island recreation destinations accentuate the album. (RICHIErichieRichie Music Publishing photo)
Serenity Now! Richie Valley debuts third LP dubbed Apollonian

Apollonian means “serene, calm, or well-balanced; poised & disciplined”

Victoria artist Noah Layne is conducting online workshops on portrait drawing as part of the Metchosin ArtPod’s About Face portrait show. (Photo courtesy of Noah Layne)
Metchosin Art Pod doing an about-face

Renowned artist Noah Layne hosting online classes in portrait drawing

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

Most Read