Thursday, May 9, 2013

The $3.1 Billion Question

How would you feel if you lost $100.00?  You had it in your wallet when you left the house today but now you can’t find it.  I’ll bet you’d be a bit annoyed if not out and out pissed.

Well, this week the Auditor General Michael Ferguson told the government just that.  But it wasn’t $100.00 he was talking about. It was $3.1 Billion.

You see the government, between 2001 and 2009 gave various departments $12.9 Billion for security and anti-terrorism measures but they can only account for $9.8 Billion of it.  That leaves $3.1 Billion unaccounted for… that’s about $100.00 for every man, woman, and child in Canada.

Does this bother you?  I’m a little pissed.

So Michael Ferguson did his research and produced a report which he delivered to Stephen Harper and the Harper government telling them of the missing money.  And what was the Harper Party’s response? 

Sheer and utter indifference.

Seriously, they really don’t seem to give a rat’s patoot about the fact that there is $3.1 Billion missing.

Tony Clement made a statement.  First he noted that some of the money given to these departments was during the Liberals’ time in office.  Secondly he noted that the Auditor General can’t show that the money wasn’t misappropriated or misspent.

Now don’t forget that Tony is the guy who took money earmarked for border improvements to build a gazebo in his home riding. 

I wouldn’t leave Tony in charge of a Lemonade stand.

Seriously, how can you stand in front of Canada and say that you don’t know where it went, but you know that it wasn’t misspent and it wasn’t stolen? That everything is just hunky dory?

In the real world, you have to account for your spending.  When I was managing a business, when one of my guys went to the store to get a light bulb, the receipt went into petty cash and it was reported weekly.  My boss and his boss (the owner) knew down to the penny how much was coming into the business and how much was being spent.  If the numbers didn’t make sense, I would have heard about it.  My numbers always made sense.

My boss loved clichés.  One of his favourites was “What are the first three rules of management?”

Give up?

1)    Follow up
2)    Follow up
3)    Follow up

What are Tony’s and Stephen’s first three rules for government?

1)    Pass the buck
2)    Pass the buck
3)    Pass the buck

Now in a way Tony is right, there is no proof that any money was misspent or misappropriated, but there is nothing to show how it was spent.  But we don’t have it either.  So if no one stole it, and no one misspent it, then we can only assume that they guys who cut the cheques are incompetent.  That would be you, Tony.  You and your cohorts in the Harper Party.

You guys have been in charge of the store for seven years and counting, and no one noticed the missing money.  No one said, hey Department X, your books don’t balance.  Does anyone on the government side of the House look at the accounts?

Apparently not.  That could explain why current budgets handed down by Jim Flaherty are devoid of numbers.

Math is hard.

Actually Math is not all that hard.  It has rules and follows logic… but then again, these are foreign concepts to the Harper Party from what I can see.

Back in the real world, I wonder what would happen if the Chief Financial Officer of a Corporation was told that over the last few years $3.1 Billion evaporated?  Would he stand in front of the shareholders and say “Oops”?  Would the shareholders start chanting “Four more years”?

No, I think the CEO would be dialling 911 on his cell phone while the shareholders started to look for a rope and a tree.

But this isn’t the real world is it?  It’s Ottawa.  Steve backs his gang and says they’re doing a fine job. 

I’d say otherwise.

Cheers! BC

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