Gra­ham will press ahead with sale

Cape Breton Post - - NEWS -

FREDERICTON (CP) — De­spite sus­tained pub­lic op­po­si­tion and the res­ig­na­tion of a cab­i­net min­is­ter, New Brunswick Premier Shawn Gra­ham says he’s push­ing ahead with the sale of parts of NB Power be­cause he be­lieves it’s in the best in­ter­est of the prov­ince.

The re­newed com­mit­ment came a day af­ter Gra­ham asked Stu­art Jamieson to quit as tourism and parks min­is­ter, say­ing Jamieson broke cab­i­net sol­i­dar­ity over the pend­ing sale.

“As a premier to­day I am more con­fi­dent than ever, even with th­ese chal­lenges be­fore us, we have to do what we were elected to do,” Gra­ham said Satur­day. “ That’s to pro­vide lead­er­ship and do what’s right for the fu­ture of our prov­ince.”

Jamieson, who has reser­va­tions about the $3.2bil­lion agree­ment to sell 10 power plants to Hy­droQue­bec, ar­gued it should be put to a pub­lic ref­er­en­dum.

The pro­posal was wa­tered down from a $4.75-bil­lion agree­ment an­nounced last fall, which in­cluded trans­mis­sion and dis­tri­bu­tion sys­tems.

The gov­ern­ment made the changes fol­low­ing a pub­lic out­cry and open dis­sent within the Lib­eral cau­cus.

A num­ber of cau­cus mem­bers, in­clud­ing So­cial De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Kelly Lam­rock and Saint John-Lan­caster mem­ber Abel LeBlanc, said they could not vote in favour of the orig­i­nal deal.

“ We lis­tened to what the MLAs were say­ing, and they made the er­ror of talk­ing pub­licly about what we were dis­cussing be­hind closed doors, but the dif­fer­ence here to­day is that Stu­art Jamieson — a cab­i­net min­is­ter — has made a de­ci­sion that he can­not sup­port the re­vised deal,” Gra­ham said. ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — A $59-mil­lion fed­eral pro­gram to train na­tive fisheries man­agers lacked key re­port­ing con­trols to track spending and re­sults, says an in­ter­nal au­dit.

The Abo­rig­i­nal Aquatic Re­source and Oceans Man­age­ment pro­gram was launched in 2004.

Its goals in­clude train­ing abo­rig­i­nal groups in coastal and wa­ter­shed ar­eas to help man­age pre­cious re­sources and pro­tect species at risk.

An in­ter­nal au­dit re­leased un­der the Ac­cess to In­for­ma­tion Act found sev­eral flaws in the way re­port­ing re­quire­ments were struc­tured.

It as­sessed 12 fis­cal re­ports. They ac­counted for al­most $13 mil­lion of the $59 mil­lion in fed­eral funds the pro­gram re­ceived over five years end­ing in 2009.

Of those 12 state­ments, the au­dit found “only five (42 per cent of the sam­ple) in­cluded all the fi­nan­cial in­for­ma­tion — the au­di­tor’s re­port, bal­ance sheet, in­come state­ment” and other doc­u­ments needed to an­a­lyze how money was spent.

“ This lack of com­plete fi­nan­cial state­ments makes it more dif­fi­cult for em­ploy­ees re­spon­si­ble for mon­i­tor­ing (pro­gram) funds to iden­tify fi­nan­cial risks re­lated to the fi­nan­cial po­si­tion of the or­ga­ni­za­tion ad­min­is­ter­ing” that money, says the au­dit.

“Sev­eral pay­ment re­quests were cer­ti­fied ... by pro­gram em­ploy­ees who do not have sign­ing au­thor­ity as re­quired in the pro­gram terms and con­di­tions,” the au­dit found.

It also says that con­tri­bu­tions of $250,000 or more were not scru­ti­nized us­ing com­pli­ance au­dits as re­quired un­der re­sults-based au­dit guide­lines.

“More­over, doc­u­men­ta­tion kept in re­cip­i­ent files per­tain­ing to au­dited fi­nan­cial state­ments is not al­ways com­plete.”

Mon­i­tor­ing of fund­ing agree­ments was not for­mally doc­u­mented, and risk man­age­ment wasn’t con­sis­tently in place “to en­sure that the funds al­lo­cated to re­cip­i­ents are used for the stated pur­pose.”

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