Thursday, May 9, 2013

By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, May 9, 2013

Horwath calls for financial accountability watchdog

Ontario NDP Leader Andrea Horwath is proposing that a financial accountability office be created to track government spending. Horwath’s proposal comes as the Liberals need NDP support to pass their budget and avoid a spring election.

The creation of a spending and revenue watchdog would help prevent wasting billions at eHealth, Ornge and the cancelled gas plants, Horwath said. The office would also provide analysis on government estimates.

Horwath said it would operate much like the federal parliamentary budget office once run by Kevin Page.
“People are upset that their hard-earned dollars have been wasted in the past by the Liberals,” said Horwath.

Creating an accountability office would cost roughly $2.5 million as a high estimate, said Horwath.
“No reasonable person would think this is out of the question,” Horwath said at a news conference Wednesday.

When questioned, Horwath said the proposal is not a final offer for the Liberals.

The idea isn’t a new one. Finance Minister Charles Sousa was asked about it on CBC’s Ontario Today call-in show, and didn’t dismiss it.

“It’s something that should be of consideration,” said Sousa. “We want to be open and transparent.”
Speaking Wednesday in Kitchener-Waterloo, Premier Kathleen Wynne called the idea interesting but said she wants a face-to-face discussion with Horwath. (Source: CBC News)