Ontario Auditor General: Wynne Liberals Downplaying Deficits By Billions

Doris Richards
April 26, 2018

According to the report, released Wednesday by the auditor General of the province, the government of Kathleen Wynne underestimates the budget deficit by billions of dollars on the eve of provincial elections.

Ford made the campaign pledge Thursday, one day after Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk reported the government's deficit for 2018-19 should be calculated as $11.7 billion, not the $6.7 billion figure the Liberals tabled in their March budget.

I wonder if we are paying their fees, too?

Lysyk said the government failed to account properly for the financial impact of its Fair Hydro Plan on provincial coffers and improperly treated the revenues and expenses related to two provincial pension plans.

I certainly make neither head nor tail of this shell game, but I think you'd be hard to pressed to find an auditor general in the country that agrees with Wynne.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa acknowledged that the government and the auditor general's office have been at odds over the issue for years, but said the government is not changing its position on the issue.

Many simply can not afford the creative accounting of a Kathleen Wynne government, any longer.

Besides the pension issue, Lysyk also raised concerns about the government's accounting treatment of its plan to reduce electricity prices a year ago.

Ford's independent commission of inquiry will build on the Auditor General's work, as well as on best practices from other jurisdictions including former federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser's probe of the Sponsorship Scandal. "We now know that, in their desperation, Kathleen Wynne and the Liberals cooked the books. We can not trust anything about Liberal estimates or projections and their budget is no longer worth the paper it was printed on", the PC leader said. "They have purposely deceived the people".

"When the government makes a decision ... to spend money it should show up clearly and transparently on the books", he said.

NDP finance critic John Vanthof said the auditor general has pointed out what should be basic accounting principles used by the government. If the province were a publicly-held company, shareholders would "demand clarity and accountability" from the government and its auditors.

"We can not trust anything about Liberal estimates or projections and their budget is no longer worth the paper it was printed on", said Ford. "This disagreement undermines the whole of government".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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