IWK audit reminiscent of N.S. MLA expense scandal of 2010
The decision to have the auditor general review spending and expenses at the IWK Health Centre strikes a familiar chord for some in Nova Scotia.
It was an auditor general who discovered and exposed an expense scandal that eventually led to charges against Nova Scotia MLAs and changes in expense reporting. What came after was strict regulations to hold government officials accountable for the money they're spending.
“Today in Nova Scotia, despite the MLA expense scandal, we have one of the most rigorous public accounting of public expenses of anywhere in Canada. That would not have happened had we not had the scandal before,” says Kevin Lacey, director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Seven years ago, former auditor general Jacques Lapointe exposed five MLAs with expense claim irregularities. A generator installed in an MLA's home, as well as a $3,000 television. Police were called to investigate and four were charged.
We're once again seeing a public official's expenses handed over to police, and current Auditor General Michael Pickup will be auditing the IWK's books because of irregularities in former CEO Tracy Kitch's expense claims.
Flight passes and iTunes charges just some of what was found.
Kevin Lacey says one of the reasons Kitch's expenses were caught was because of the changes made as a result of the MLA expense scandal in 2010.
Nova Scotia Health Minister Randy Delorey agrees, saying expense-filing today is transparent.
"A lot of oversight from the speaker’s office, staff to assess and review, and make sure all of the I’s are dotted and T's are crossed. So I think the process is there," Delorey says.
Pickup is hopeful that perhaps the IWK will become a “teachable moment.”
“To say, ‘Yeah, you know what? Here's some practices we should look at these. Maybe we have some weaknesses here,’” says Pickup.
Police say they haven't received any paperwork or files from the IWK, but are certainly expecting them.
Tracy Kitch was told to repay the personal expenses she owed by the end of this month. The IWK tells CTV News there's still $10,000 outstanding.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Laura Brown.