Join the nation-wide call to stop fraud politician and government spending by sending your letter to key politicians across the country calling for stronger spending laws, stronger spending watchdogs, and higher penalties for fraud spenders.
The federal Conservatives are moving to weaken the truth-in-spending watchdog Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO), no province or territory even has a PBO, and across the country the Auditor General spending watchdogs are mostly toothless lapdogs.
Dozens of politician and government spending scandals have been in the news across Canada recently -- federal Cabinet ministers and government officials, senators, the provincial premiers in B.C., Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador and other provinces, city councillors in Montreal, Toronto and other cities – all of have been caught lying about spending billions of dollars, hiding spending, misspending or just plain wasting your money, including spending your money on themselves, their family and friends, or to help their political party.
The key problems that the AGs across Canada, and the federal PBO, cannot currently prevent because of lack of independence, weak mandates, or lack of resources or powers, are as follows:
- government spending can violate rules for years before an AG finds out;
- spending by most politicians on their office budgets can break every rule because such spending is not fully audited by an AG or anyone else (except in Nova Scotia, and in Newfoundland and Labrador, where AG audits led to criminal charges against some politicians);
- government advertising can often be propaganda for the ruling party (as it has been federally since 2008 as it has increased at an alarming rate – although Ontario at least gives the AG the power to reject government ads leading up to an election);
- the federal government can easily thwart attempts by the PBO to produce an accurate report on the actual cost of any government initiative, simply by refusing to provide, or delaying release of, key information;
The need for effective enforcement by AGs of government spending rules has been shown by every AG report ever issued, and the need in the politician spending area has been shown through the recent Senate spending scandal that includes up to 22 Senators who have refused to answer questions about where they live and whether they are illegally collecting tens of thousands of dollars a year in residence allowances. As well, ample evidence is provided by the spending scandals involving politicians from various parties and levels of government including federal Conservative Cabinet ministers Bev Oda and Jason Kenney, former Bloc Québécois leader Gilles Duceppe, former Conservative (now Independent) Senator Patrick Brazeau, Liberal MPs Judy Sgro, Wayne Easter, John Cannis and Andrew Telegdi, and former Liberal Cabinet minister Joe Fontana.
As the only organization that has defended the federal PBO and called for key changes to make the PBO more effective since the office was created in 2007, including during 2009 when all federal parties were attacking the PBO, Democracy Watch has documented again and again how the PBO’s lack of independence and effective powers has allowed the federal government to escape accountability for dishonest budgeting. When Kevin Page's term as the PBO came to an end in 2013 the federal government was negligent in not ensuring a new PBO was brought in to replace him and instead appointed the Parliamentary Librarian as the interim PBO, a move Democracy Watch is planning a court challenge over.
The spending scandals involving federal politicians have revealed loopholes and shown clearly that the current system is not preventing misspending, and past audits of politicians in some provinces have shown clearly that audits catch wrongdoers.
The enforcement of spending rules is also far from transparent in some jurisdictions, such as federally where cases are examined in secret, behind closed doors, by the Board of Internal Economy which is made up of politicians from all parties who protect themselves and their party members instead of enforcing the rules and ensuring that taxpayer money is not spent inappropriately.
The spending loopholes must be closed, and auditor generals across Canada required to audit all politician spending regularly and penalize violators, to prevent politicians from using taxpayers’ money to pay their personal or political party costs.
Please send your letter now calling on key politicians across Canada to stop fraud politician and government spending with stronger spending laws, stronger spending watchdogs, and higher penalties for fraud spenders.
Let’s stop them from lying to you about how they are spending your money, and stop them from using your money to pay their personal or political party costs!
And please help Democracy Watch keep this campaign alive until the loopholes are closed, and regular audits and high penalties required, to stop fraud spending by politicians across Canada – please donate now here.
Thank you very much!
See what Rick Mercer thinks about the Parliamentary Budget Officer:
Please send your letter now