EDITORIAL: Auditor general’s process bungled

Flip-flops aren’t unusual in politics but the back-and-forth over B.C.’s auditor general takes the cake

Flip-flops aren’t unusual in politics but the back-and-forth over B.C.’s auditor general takes the cake.

On Wednesday, the five members of a legislative committee voted to renew John Doyle’s contract for two years. That wouldn’t generally be significant except the same MLAs had only decided a week-and-a-half earlier that they didn’t want him at all and weren’t willing to grant him a second, six-year term in office.

It would be interesting to know what occurred over the last  few days to change the committee’s collective mind. Are any initial reservations over Doyle’s activities now irrelevant? Or was the reversal a direct result of the furor that erupted over Doyle being handed his walking papers?

Of course the actual reason for canning Doyle and then welcoming him back will never be known because the committee hides behind confidentiality rules. And  that is unfortunate as the Liberals and the NDP — both represented on the committee — have always presented themselves as the defenders of openness and transparency.

The residents of B.C. have a right to know what has been going on behind the scenes as the auditor general represents their interests when it comes to the spending of taxpayers’ dollars. They must have confidence that the process that appoints an auditor general is thorough and not at the mercy of political games.

But with no firm details being released, there is only one explanation for the public to consider — Doyle’s contract originally didn’t get renewed because he has been critical of the Liberal government and now he’s been endorsed because Premier Christy Clark told the committee to bring the controversy to a close.

The entire mess just shows it’s business as usual in Victoria.