Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hey, MPs What Have You Got To Hide?

MPs are reluctant to give the OK to Auditor General, Sheila Fraser who wanted to a year ago after UK MP expense scandal. examine their expenses. So far she hasn't had much luck in getting the MPs to consent.

Apparently there has not been such an audit since 1991. Even then MPs expenses weren't scrutinized very closely. That's almost twenty years ago now. I say it's about time they opened their books for the auditor general to see.

They're using our money so we have a right to know how they're spending it. A year ago a major MP spending scandal in the UK was exposed and it got international press. When that scandal broke, it forced the Speaker of the House, Michael Martin to resign. That hasn't happened in 300yrs. Heck this scandal is still being talked about on the eve of an election campaign.

Are our MPs afraid of something? Are they are afraid they have been spending our money a little to frivolously and don't want to be found out?

The National Post editorial today emphasizes the MPs hesitation.

Shining the bright light of truth may be all the rage in politics, but getting caught in the glare can be very uncomfortable. At least that seems to be the concern of federal Members of Parliament, who are hemming and hawing about a proposal to have Auditor-General Sheila Fraser turn her eagle eyes to the issue of MP spending.
This isn’t just spending by elected members themselves, but “an audit of the administrative systems in the House and Senate, such as procurement, human resource management, and financial management and controls, including systems to manage expenses.” In other words, the whole ball of wax, some of it bound to be very sticky.

As the NP states as long as the MPs are stalling opening their books for Ms. Fraser to see, there will be a suspicion that something is not quite right. So MPs, what's hindering thee? Ms. Fraser's not gonna bite, she just wants to make sure nothing is adrift unless maybe it is.

At this stage, it is impossible to predict what will crawl out from under the rocks of our own Parliament if Ms. Fraser is allowed her audit. One thing is certain; if the audit is not granted, speculation will linger that MPs had something to hide. Ms. Fraser should get the go-ahead to examine these expenses. The public has a right to know how its money is being spent, and elected officials have the obligation to account for it.

It will be interesting to see what becomes of this. We need to watch this closely. Maybe we as voters should use a little encouragement (pressure) on our MPs to comply.

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