Editor’s note: This letter is addressed to the premier.
Sir: Further to our ever-so-brief discussions to financial matters, in 2016 our office prepared a 46-page overview report describing the annual operational costs of our 444 provincial jurisdictions (about $55 billion) and presented the same to the house finance committee.
We showed a potential of up to $20 billion in annual savings without laying off people or cutting services. Such savings would be initiated through amendments to some current legislation that would allow our provincial Auditor General, based on responsible criteria, to perform a Level Lne, Level Two and Level Three audit review of local governments.
You are aware our constitution gives exclusive jurisdiction to Queen’s Park to oversee municipal management. The essence of “people behavior” is to get as much as possible and in a number of cases to unnecessarily create a financial atmosphere by local governments that would portray to the province the need for more and more cash is unequivocally imperative, when it is not.
Our office has been and will continue to provide you with salient managerial issues involving local governments that such issues continue to unnecessarily contribute to ongoing deficits and to our overall debt.
One of our proposed amendments focuses on the office of our Information and Privacy Commissioner, process, procedure and compliance legislation that currently allows escape hatches by local government institutions and that which unnecessarily exhaust time and unnecessarily increase workloads of our IPC analysts and adjudicators ultimately vacuuming IPC budget money in a manner that cannot allow the IPC to fulfill the full scope of the mandate and role of the IPC office as legislated resulting in shortchanging the taxpayers in effective services from the IPC and jeopardizing much-needed investigative services personnel at the IPC.
The Information and Privacy Commissioner’s office and the Ombudsman office are the only two entities taxpayers and the public at large have and must rely upon for government openness, transparency and subsequent accountability. The Ombudsman office does not yet possess enforcement power but none the less is a valuable taxpayer asset; the IPC has the enforcement backing but is being made a mockery of by local governments, which has to be addressed.
Our office is compiling an agenda of imperative issues and will request a sit down to discuss same.