ACCESS DENIED: Trudeau Government Blocking Auditor General From Getting Key Documents

What happened to being “the most transparent and accountable” government?

Auditor General Michael Ferguson says he has been unable to get access to important documents from the Finance Department, forcing him to take the unusual measure of appealing directly to MP’s for the info.

According to a recent report, Ferguson’s auditors were blocked by the Finance Department when trying to get key documents to evaluate the effectiveness of Finance Department programs.

Because of the information denial, Ferguson and his team could not give a report to Parliamentarians on how some specific programs were working (or not working).

Message to MP’s

After being denied the information, Ferguson wrote a message to Members of Parliament, explaining to them that he was not able to access the information he needed to finish certain audits.

One of the audits pertains to Justin Trudeau’s plan to “phase out” fossil fuel subsidies.

The second audit pertained to an analysis of the current threshold for customs duties on mailed parcels. The government claimed this was a “cabinet confidence.”

Morneau’s deceptive response

In response to Ferguson’s letter, Bill Morneau issued a very deceptive response, designed to make it look like he was being transparent, without actually doing anything.

Morneau signed an Order in Council, supposedly granting Ferguson access to the information. But that’s not actually what it does.

Here’s the text of the Order:

His Excellency the Governor General in Council, on the recommendation of the Prime Minister, directs that the Auditor General of Canada be granted access to the following information that constitutes a confidence of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada, as defined in subsection 39(2) of the Canada Evidence Act, that comes into existence on or after November 4, 2015, all of which information remains a confidence of the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada for the purposes of any Act of Parliament:

1. explanations, analyses of problems or policy options contained in or prepared by officials in relation to a record the purpose of which is to brief a Minister of the Crown on budgetary matters that are, or proposed to be, the subject of communications or discussions between Ministers of the Crown relating to the making of government decisions or the formulation of government policy, but not information revealing views, opinions, advice, recommendations or proposals of, or presented to, a Minister.

Notice that last part?

“but not information revealing views, opinions, advice, recommendations or proposals of, or presented to, a Minister.”

That’s the exact loophole the government used to deny Ferguson the information in the first place, which Ferguson pointed out himself. Said Ferguson, “The problem with it is it’s built like other orders-in-council that we have had in the past that list certain types of documents that we will get access to in the future, and then what happens is somewhere in the future another type of document that comes along that departments tell us is a cabinet confidence and we have that same battle all over again.”

Additionally, audits are by their nature very time-sensitive. A program must be evaluated within a certain period of time. By denying Ferguson the info and then giving it to him after the audit is over, the info becomes almost worthless.

What else is being hidden?

The secrecy and deception of the Trudeau government continues sinking to further and further depths.

If they were willing to block info about the duty free threshold and fossil fuel subsidies, we can only imagine what else they are hiding.

With the Auditor General now having to fight to get the information he is legally entitled to, it’s yet further proof that Trudeau’s promise of “openness” and “transparency” was one of the biggest lies in Canadian political history.

Spencer Fernando

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