British Columbians deserve to know the state of their public finances say B.C. Liberal Finance critics Shirley Bond and Tracey Redies. They are asking why the NDP government is stalling the release of the Auditor General’s annual report for 2016-2017.
“The Auditor General has done her work and the results have been in the hands of Finance Minister Carole James for quite some time,” said Bond. “I was in cabinet for 16 years and we never once released public accounts as late as August 1st. The NDP have said they intend to present an updated financial plan to British Columbians so the first step should be releasing the audited public accounts immediately. It is critical that the public understands the current fiscal situation before the new government outlines its spending plan.”
“I suspect that there is no other reason to delay the release of the audited results other than to avoid revealing the success of the fifth balanced budget in a row,” said Redies, who spent 25 years in the financial services sector before being elected to the Legislature last May. “I can understand why the NDP would like to downplay the solid fiscal record of the previous Liberal government, but the new government does have an obligation to release this information to the public. There is also a sizable budget surplus left by the Liberals that also needs to be accounted for.”
Since 2001, public accounts have never been released as late as August. The BC Liberal government consistently published in late June or early July. As per legislation, the report must be released by August 31st.