EDITORIAL: Foster should provide details
MLA Eric Foster and other members of a legislative committee are unwilling to comment on why auditor general John Doyle has not been signed to a second term as financial watchdog.
“It’s in-camera because it’s a personnel issue so I can’t discuss the matter,” said Foster, committee chairperson.
But, quite frankly, that response isn’t good enough.
Doyle received unanimous support when he was first hired in 2005 and he has been diligent in promoting best practises when taxpayers’ dollars are spent.
All MLAs must remember that the auditor general is there to represent the financial interests of rank-and-file British Columbians and not to represent a particular political philosophy. If there is to be a change, such as not renewing a contract, the public deserves an explanation.
Without details being provided, speculation takes root.
In this case, opposition parties claim the Liberals are trying to silence Doyle, who has frequently criticized government actions.
Among his issues of focus were B.C. Hydro debt and the impact of pine beetle on forestry. Doyle has also pursued defence lawyer billings for two former ministerial aides whose $6 million legal costs were covered by taxpayers in a breach of trust case. With the committee refusing to be accountable, the only explanation left for the public to consider is politics motivated Doyle being shown the door.
Foster says there is no precedent for the committee to reconsider its decision, but nothing in the rule book says it can’t occur.
There is nothing wrong with admitting a mistake may have been made, and ultimately, reconvening the committee for sober second-thought would clearly demonstrate the public’s business is being served.