Kevin Soren­son Re­ports

The Drumheller Mail - - CLASSIFIEDS - Kevin Soren­son M.P. Bat­tle River-Crow­foot Con­stituency

Work­ing on Canada’s Pub­lic Ac­counts

It has been great trav­el­ling around our rid­ing of Bat­tle River-Crow­foot this sum­mer at­tend­ing func­tions and meet­ing with many con­stituents. As your voice in Par­lia­ment, I look for­ward to hear­ing more from you in the few weeks re­main­ing be­fore the House of Com­mons re­con­venes in Ot­tawa on Septem­ber 19.

The work of a Mem­ber of Par­lia­ment some­times re­quires an MP to ful­fill du­ties out­side of the Par­lia­men­tary precinct in Ot­tawa and out­side of the rid­ing. This past week, from Au­gust 21 to 23, I at­tended the Con­fer­ence of the Cana­dian Coun­cil of Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tees in Yel­lowknife, NWT. This con­fer­ence takes place once a year and in­vites rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Pub­lic Ac­counts com­mit­tees in all of Canada’s prov­inces and ter­ri­to­ries. The Con­fer­ence is hosted by a dif­fer­ent city each year.

The rea­son I am at­tend­ing this Con­fer­ence is be­cause rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the House of Com­mons Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee also par­tic­i­pate. As a mem­ber of the Of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion party in Par­lia­ment, I was elected by fel­low MPs from all par­ties to Chair the House of Com­mons Stand­ing Com­mit­tee on Pub­lic Ac­counts. This com­mit­tee is one of the very few in our Par­lia­ment that is re­quired to be chaired by a mem­ber of the Of­fi­cial Op­po­si­tion in the House.

The goal of our Con­fer­ence is to share best prac­tices. We hear in­for­ma­tion and learn about the ex­pe­ri­ences and progress of Pub­lic Ac­counts com­mit­tees from all across the Com­mon­wealth na­tions and our own pro­vin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial leg­is­la­tures. Not all Pub­lic Ac­counts com­mit­tees are alike. There are dif­fer­ent pro­ce­dures and meth­ods that gov­ern­ments have in place for au­dits to be con­ducted on the ac­tiv­i­ties of the de­part­ments that im­ple­ment their poli­cies. The goal of Pub­lic Ac­counts com­mit­tees is al­ways to try and as­sist gov­ern­ments in the ex­pen­di­ture of tax­pay­ers’ money and make rec­om­men­da­tions on im­prove­ments. We also wield a mea­sure of ac­count­abil­ity and bring trans­parency to the work of the fed­eral govern­ment. This is one com­mit­tee that best per­forms its du­ties when act­ing in a non-par­ti­san man­ner.

As Chair of the Pub­lic Ac­counts com­mit­tee, my duty is to over­see the com­mit­tee’s de­lib­er­a­tion on the Pub­lic Ac­counts of Canada and the Re­ports of the Au­di­tor Gen­eral of Canada. The Pub­lic Ac­counts of Canada is a three vol­ume doc­u­ment that pub­lishes an­nu­ally the fed­eral govern­ment’s rev­enues, ex­pen­di­tures, bud­getary bal­ance, li­a­bil­i­ties, as­sets and ac­cu­mu­lated deficit. The Au­di­tor Gen­eral for­mally re­ports to Par­lia­ment four times a year and in each re­port there are sep­a­rate chap­ters that au­dit the per­for­mance of spe­cific ac­tiv­i­ties of the fed­eral govern­ment.

The ma­jor­ity of our com­mit­tee’s meet­ings deal with these in­di­vid­ual chap­ters. We hold hear­ings and in­vite the Au­di­tor Gen­eral and fed­eral de­part­men­tal of­fi­cials to dis­cuss the find­ings of the au­dit. Our com­mit­tee then pre­pares a Re­port that the Chair ta­bles in Par­lia­ment. This Re­port makes rec­om­men­da­tions to the govern­ment based on our find­ings, hav­ing heard tes­ti­mony from wit­nesses on a par­tic­u­lar chap­ter (au­dit) in the Au­di­tor Gen­eral’s Re­port.

I am pleased to re­port that at the Con­fer­ence, we heard that Canada’s Pub­lic Ac­counts com­mit­tee has earned a rep­u­ta­tion of lead­er­ship when it comes to strength­en­ing and de­vel­op­ing the work of these com­mit­tees. Over the past sev­eral years, Canada has made a sub­stan­tial con­tri­bu­tion to im­prov­ing the pro­ce­dures and meth­ods uti­lized by Pub­lic Ac­counts com­mit­tees through­out the Com­mon­wealth and even here at home by shar­ing our in­for­ma­tion with our pro­vin­cial and ter­ri­to­rial gov­ern­ments.

If you have any ques­tions or con­cerns re­gard­ing this or pre­vi­ous col­umns you may write me at 4945-50th Street, Cam­rose, Al­berta, T4V 1P9, call 780-608-4600, toll-free 1-800-665-4358, fax 780-6084603 or e-mail Kevin.Soren­

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