Set out below is a letter-to-the-editor by Democracy Watch Board member Duff Conacher which was published in the Globe and Mail on January 25, 2012 and in the Hill Times on January 30, 2012
The question of whether former Bloc Québecois leader Gilles Duceppe paid a parliamentary staff person with the public's money to do Bloc political party work would have been fully investigated and cleared up years ago if former Auditor General Sheila Fraser had used her powers and fully audited MP spending when she was first appointed, and every few years after.
MPs had not been audited for 10 years, and senators for even longer when Fraser was appointed a decade ago.
The Auditor General Act requires audits of all spending and gives the Auditor General the right to any information needed to do audits. While the Auditor General does not have the resources to audit the entire federal government every year, most of the main federal government institutions are audited every few years.
So Fraser should not have waited so long to initiate an audit of spending by MPs, and in June 2010 she should not have compromised nor agreed to do less-than-full audit of all MP spending.
To ensure an impartial investigation of the Duceppe situation, and to ensure that there is no improper spending by any MP (or senator, or the House or the Senate overall), the new Auditor General Michael Ferguson must immediately undertake a full audit of all spending by everyone in Parliament.
P.S. See set out below quoted sections from Auditor General Act.
Auditor General Act (R.S., 1985, c. A-17)
POWERS AND DUTIES
5. The Auditor General is the auditor of the accounts of Canada, including those relating to the Consolidated Revenue Fund and as such shall make such examinations and inquiries as he considers necessary to enable him to report as required by this Act.
1976-77, c. 34, s. 5.
ACCESS TO INFORMATION
Access to information
13. (1) Except as provided by any other Act of Parliament that expressly refers to this subsection, the Auditor General is entitled to free access at all convenient times to information that relates to the fulfilment of his or her responsibilities and he or she is also entitled to require and receive from members of the federal public administration any information, reports and explanations that he or she considers necessary for that purpose.
(4) The Auditor General may examine any person on oath on any matter pertaining to any account subject to audit by him and for the purposes of any such examination the Auditor General may exercise all the powers of a commissioner under Part I of the Inquiries Act.
R.S., 1985, c. A-17, s. 13; 2003, c. 22, s. 90(E).