Yawn! Stretch! This is going to be a long day.
I spent the entire evening, night and early morning perusing the latest report of the auditor general. This report is manna from heaven for the opposition and the media. A virtual pinata, full of stories of bureaucratic and political incompetence.
I have been on three sides of the A.G's report. That is to say that I have been in departments and agencies that have been found lacking; I have been a reporter looking for juicy stories, and worked in the opposition mining the document for potentially embarrassing revelations to hold the government accountable.
So, reading over the AG's report has become a nerdy labor of love for me. This year's report is chalked full of tidbits that should stoke the fires for the media, opposition parties and pundits for weeks.
CBC Radio provided some good coverage this morning of various aspects of the report including the infrastructure program, Western District School Board, Provincial Commodity Boards and the growing white elephant - Marble Mountain!
No doubt the best, in-depth coverage will be found inside the pages of The Telegram, which has something like seven stories today on various aspects of the report.
For those of you that are interested in the financial state of the province and enjoy lists, check out Chapter Three, The Audit of the Province's Financial Statements. It includes the AG's reflections, insightful graphics that illustrate how dependent we have become on one source of revenue - oil, and some alarming statistics on how much government spending has increased and the ballooning unfunded pension liability. The liability has decreased for a number of years due to one time payment by the province to the teachers fund, but it is rising again.
For those of you that like lists, you might find the list of entities that received in excess of $1 million and $600,000 really, really interesting. Here you will see how much of your tax dollar is going to marketing companies, polling companies, surgeons, law firms, specialists and the like. Prepared to be shocked! The list of expenditures to specialists is staggering! I am also trying to figure out how so much money was expended to an entity called Station Stakehouse which made the in excess of $1 million list?
It should be noted that the provincial economy and the governments financial picture has improved greatly over the past five years, however the spending patterns speak to the unsustainable of current levels of spending.