B.C.’s Opposition NDP is calling on Premier Christy Clark and her Liberal government to reconsider the “bad decision” not to reappoint Auditor General John Doyle to a second term.
NDP leader Adrian Dix said a Liberal-dominated committee of MLAs made the wrong move when it chose to seek a new financial watchdog rather than keep Doyle in the job.
“It makes no sense for the public to remove an auditor general who’s done an outstanding job,” Dix told reporters today.
He said Clark should join him in encouraging the legislative committee to retain Doyle.
But Clark’s office said today she wouldn’t interfere in the process.
It would be inappropriate for the premier to direct a legislative committee to reconsider a decision, said spokesman Ben Chin.
Doyle was first appointed in 2007.
His audits have been frequently critical of government accounting and policy, including financial mismanagement at the B.C. legislature, the controversial use of deferral accounts at B.C. Hydro, environmental assessment concerns, and an ongoing court challenge for government records related to the B.C. Rail corruption scandal.
He’s also been locked in a multi-year battle with the Liberal government over budget accounting methods and has recently accused the government of understating its deficits.
NDP caucus chairman Shane Simpson said the Liberals are trying to silence one of the government’s most vocal critics.
“It is my view that this is a government with a pretty thin skin when it comes to the question of how it responds to a very effective watchdog and they are lashing out,” said Simpson.
The premier did not direct her Liberal MLAs to vote a specific way on Doyle’s future, said Chin. Several other auditors general have only held the job for one term and the committee has, in the past, not unanimously approved to keep people in the job, said Chin.
Doyle’s term was set to expire later this year but he had formally applied to continue in the job.
The five-person Special Committee to Appoint an Auditor General was required by law to agree unanimously to reappoint him. The unanimous vote failed. A record of the vote is secret.
The committee chose to run newspaper advertisements on the weekend, seeking new applicants for the job.
The NDP, which has two members on the committee, is pointing the finger at one or more Liberal MLAs who voted not to keep Doyle.
Committee chairman Eric Foster, the Liberal MLA for Vernon-Monashee, said discussion related to the Doyle vote is in-camera and cannot be publicly disclosed for personnel reasons.
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