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

Abbamania, Night Fever in spotlight at McPherson in Victoria

ABBA, Bee Gees songs will fill the Mac Feb. 7, along with Lady Gaga tribute

Vic High alumni named Victoria’s new Youth Poet Laureate

Neko Smart, the founder and coach of the Vic High slam poetry team, will serve a one-year term

Dance Victoria: The Trocks are in town!

Dance Days 2020 performance roster includes two powerhouse presentations

Pacific Opera Victoria exec member earns major honour

Yvette Guigueno to attend prestigious OPERA America leadership program this month in New York

ALLAN REID: Like fresh food? Find it in Cook Street Village

Hawaiian-inspired Poke Fresh offers right raw food combination for Monday reviewer’s liking

Winners announced for inaugural Victoria Arts Council/Monday poetry contest

More than 100 entries received in five categories

Canadian polar bears’ ‘ingenious’ survival seen in BBC Earth series

Film crews also go to Tofino to watch black bears snap up crabs under massive boulders

Spring author’s reading series kicks off early in Sidney

Sidney and Peninsula Literary Society hosting Yasuko Thanh and Carla Funk for Feb. 7 event

The winners of London Drugs’ 2019 Amateur Photographer of the Year contest are…

After more than 26,000 entries, the winners have been selected across Western Canada.

‘How to Train Your Dragon’ filmmaker Dean DeBlois among Canadian Oscar nominees

Multiple Oscar-nominated Canadian talents on Academy Award hopefuls list

Most Read