Wednesday, May 1, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Canada can’t account for $3.1B in anti-terror funding, AG finds

The federal government needs to do better at tracking and evaluating some of its program spending to ensure taxpayer dollars are being well-spent, Auditor General Michael Ferguson found in his spring report released today, and one of the most striking examples is that it can’t account for $3.1 billion in anti-terrorism funding.

The lack of information on spending and on results achieved for money spent is a common theme throughout Ferguson’s report, which includes 11 chapters in total.

In his audit of the Public Security and Anti-Terrorism (PSAT) Initiative, Ferguson suggested there should have been a government-wide review of spending by 35 departments and of the results for the program that was funded between 2001 and 2009.

He found that departments reported spending $9.8 billion of the $12.9 billion allocated for security and anti-terrorism measures under the program but he couldn’t determine where the other $3.1 billion went. The Treasury Board had no clear answers for him.

Ferguson said he’s not concerned the money is missing, it’s the information about it that can’t be nailed down.

“It’s a matter of missing that last link in putting that information together,” he said at a news conference in Ottawa Tuesday morning. If the money was reallocated from the anti-terrorism program to another program, there should have been approval for that, he added.

“We don’t have enough information to say whether that happened,” he said.

The NDP jumped on the accounting gap as a sign the Conservatives can’t manage the public purse. (Source: CBC NEWS)