Graham will press ahead with sale
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.”