money and safety issues in his report
Bad note for Harper
Auditor General Michael Ferguson clobbered the Harper government in his annual report released this week.
The government gets slapped around on several counts.
It reminds us of back in the days of Auditor General Sheila Fraser who used to nail the Liberals year after year to delight of millions.
Ferguson did not spare the rod. His report makes it clear criminals keep hopping across the border and coming into Canada. This has to stop. So much for Stephen Harper’s tough on crime approach.
The government gets blamed for gaps in railway safety. It was happening even before the Lac-Mégantic tragedy that killed 47 people in July.
Transport Canada had only completed 26 percent of the security audits of the 36 railway companies under federal jurisdiction before the tragedy hit.
Harper’s explanation in the Commons was not reassuring. "We have a system that works for the vast majority of the time," said Harper. "Accidents are declining."
Yes, Mr. Harper, great solace for the families of the Lac-Mégantic victims.
The Mayor of Lac- Mégantic, Colette Roy-Laroche was more reflective: "We may be paying the price for the lack of vigilance."
There was nothing this year like the XL Foods crisis of 2012, but there were other problems.
Ferguson said the Canadian Food Inspection Agency people is doing a good job getting tainted, contaminated or dated food off the shelves quickly enough, but there is another problem.
We don’t know where the food removed from the shelves ends up.
It’s what the inspectors call the «post- recall" issues. Is the bad food dumped, buried, burned or what? Or is it repackaged and passed off elsewhere to unsuspecting customers.
For example, would a store manager be telling an employee: "Hey Joe, this here meat is looking a bit old. So why not take it home to your dogs?" Hardly a food safety attitude.
Ferguson’s report says there must be assurances that food removed from stores does not end up back on the market, or the dinner table. Inspectors must also locate the sources of contamination back at the factory.
Ferguson discovered something that could save us billions of dollars in the coming years, knowing how much Harper loves to spend on his military.
Harper is building up a huge fleet of warships for the Canadian Navy. It’s going to be the largest and most expensive fleet in Canadian history. Harper must be getting ready for another war.
He wants 23 new warships and five more Coast Guard vessels.
Harper says it’s only going to cost us $ 26 billion.
Ferguson examined the contracts and believes that Harper is out to lunch with these figures. Ferguson does not want another contract like the F -35 attack jets that were supposed to cost $ 9 billion but are already up to $ 49 billion.
He writes about “the growing divergence” between the ambitions of our defense strategy and available budgets.
A nice way of telling Harper he shouldn’t be throwing any more money out the window. It’s nice to have an auditor general with a sense of humor.