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More politcal scandal - this time it's Newfoundland

Lurker

TRIBE Member
http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1151099410514&call_pageid=968332188774&col=968350116467

Scandal rocks Newfoundland
Spending allowances by MHAs abused
Auditor general cites lack of openness
Jun. 24, 2006. 01:00 AM
RYAN CLEARY AND STEPHANIE PORTER
SPECIAL TO THE STAR

St. John's—Police have launched an investigation in a growing scandal that has already cost one Newfoundland cabinet minister his job and threatens to engulf other members of the provincial House of Assembly.

Auditor General John Noseworthy, who began his review of spending by provincial politicians last winter, met with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary in St. John's yesterday as its probe got under way.

The first casualty in the scandal was Natural Resources Minister Ed Byrne, who abruptly resigned from the Conservative cabinet earlier this week.

Byrne, who has represented the St. John's-area riding of Kilbride since 1993, is alleged to have overspent his constituency allowance by more than $325,000 for the fiscal years 2003 and 2004. The allowance — which is to pay for expenses including office rental, equipment, supplies and secretarial services —had been capped at just over $30,000 over the two-year period.

Three other MHAs, including a sitting Liberal, a retired Liberal and a current NDP member, are also being investigated by Noseworthy's office. He is expected to report on those files next week.

The office of Randy Collins, New Democrat MHA for Labrador West, issued a news release yesterday saying he has retained a lawyer to represent him.

The total amount overspent on the constituency allowances may hit the $1 million mark, Noseworthy said. Further, problems with the allowances, from what Noseworthy has seen, extend further back than the time frame he investigated.

It is only in the last two years the auditor general has been permitted access to constituency spending information.

Premier Danny Williams changed the rules in March 2004, six months after taking office, allowing the auditor general access to the files.

Noseworthy said he's never seen anything like what he recently uncovered.

"You would never see this in any government department," he said. "It wouldn't happen because of the checks and balances, segregation of duties, controls and processes that are in place.

"The assembly, it was ripe for this sort of activity. .. . There was no accountability, openness or transparency. It was just awful."

In the case of Byrne, Noseworthy said there's no way an MHA could spend 10 times the approved constituency limit without collusion in the system.

"You couldn't submit invoices and have somebody keep issuing cheques without realizing that this person is receiving too much money," he said.

"That's a matter that the (police) will have to investigate and they will have to make that determination."

Williams said Byrne will be invited back into cabinet, should he be cleared of all charges.

"This has surfaced as a result of the initiative that my government took in basically having the auditor general go in and look at this matter," he said.

"I have a responsibility as premier and leader of the province to put these things on the table, to put them out before the people and they'll pass judgment at the end of the day. ... But I think they need to know that as their leader I will certainly be decisive and I'll act on it very quickly."

The apparent impact of the growing scandal won't just be on the provincial treasury — political veteran John Crosbie says the news will confirm for many that politicians in general are "a bunch of sleeveens out for themselves."

"That's the biggest danger of all of this," Crosbie said. "It hurts the province in the sense of distrust of politicians ... this just fuels that suspicion. It's quite a blow.

"Obviously everybody is innocent until proven guilty, but it's got to be a major destroyer of credibility of politicians."

As for shaking people's faith in government, Noseworthy said, "My response to all of that is it is what it is.
"

(bold added by me)

I think the comments that I bolded are the underlying issue here. It's the general acceptance that SOME people in public office choose to put themselves ahead of the people who pay their wages that's ultimately worse than the actual abuses themselves.

Boss Hog, can you shed any light on this in terms of what the local scope of this issue is? I would be very interested to see how it would relate to other issues (City of Toronto computer scam for example).
 

man_slut

TRIBE Member
LOL... an NDPer is included on this list! I thought they were supposed to me all self-righteous and stuff?
 

Lurker

TRIBE Member
man_slut said:
LOL... an NDPer is included on this list! I thought they were supposed to me all self-righteous and stuff?
Exactly!!! That's what makes it even funnier (even though it's not funny at all I guess).
 

416

TRIBE Member
Lurker said:
Exactly!!! That's what makes it even funnier (even though it's not funny at all I guess).
What I find pretty funny is that it's so normal to hear something about the Liberals and Conservatives being corrupt that the NDP's inclusion in the scandal is the only real notable item in the story.

I'd be interested in hearing what Diamond Jack has to say about this.
 

Boo

TRIBE Member
Newfies wasting public money? Who'd a thunk it?

This is the same place where a fire cheif resigned for not being allowed to drink on the job.
 
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Lurker

TRIBE Member
^^^ that's why I posted the article and asked the question.

It's more surprising that this thing would happen in NFLD because of the generous spirit and reputation that Newfoundlanders have. I'm very surprised to see that some of their own would hoard public money like this, but again, I have no idea what the normal way things operate is.
 

Ditto Much

TRIBE Member
making fun of newfoundland is one of the few perks we get in Ontario. Its part of the agreement of 1951, it also gives alberta the right to blame everything on Ontario and BC the right to pretend the rest of Canada doesn't exist outside of 9-5 EST.
 

Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Lurker said:
^^^ that's why I posted the article and asked the question.

It's more surprising that this thing would happen in NFLD because of the generous spirit and reputation that Newfoundlanders have. I'm very surprised to see that some of their own would hoard public money like this, but again, I have no idea what the normal way things operate is.
I was referring to that serial retard boo.
 
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Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Lurker said:
I'm not that shocked really. Idiotic politicians are everywhere. And this really doesn't have anything to do with the highly capable person (who is incidently a Conservative) actually leading the province.

But nevertheless it's funny how quickly people jump off topic and into characatured rhetoric when they have nothing of value to add.
 
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praktik

TRIBE Member
Oh shit! What is this gonna do to people's impressions of politicians??

I know I used to have em up on a pedestal til I read this article!!

:rolleyes:
 

Lurker

TRIBE Member
Boss Hog said:
I'm not that shocked really. Idiotic politicians are everywhere. And this really doesn't have anything to do with the highly capable person (who is incidently a Conservative) actually leading the province.

But nevertheless it's funny how quickly people jump off topic and into characatured rhetoric when they have nothing of value to add.
That was my take on it when I read some articles about it. This whole issue came to light because of some of Williams' changes in policies to allow for more transparency. Good for him.

Praktik: I don't really think this surprises anyone that politicians in general pull this shit, but in a low income yet very commmunity oriented and generous area it stands out as being quite surprising.

This might not even make the papers had it happenned in Toronto given the relatively small amount of money involved.
 

416

TRIBE Member
Ditto Much said:
making fun of newfoundland is one of the few perks we get in Ontario. Its part of the agreement of 1951, it also gives alberta the right to blame everything on Ontario and BC the right to pretend the rest of Canada doesn't exist outside of 9-5 EST.
LOL
 
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Boss Hog

TRIBE Member
Most of the girls here are not obsessed with being 90 lbs first of all... so you have women who look more like women than having the frame of a 17 year old boy... then you have the whole irish white skin / dark hair thing, then you have the fact that apparently St. John's is the easiest place in Canada to pick up / get laid (seemed pretty obvious from what I saw in the bar I was in last weekend) and then of course there's the whole winter for ten months of the year so what better reason to be between the sheets.
 

starr

TRIBE Member
What the hell is going on in Newfoundland?

I pulled this from the G&M, but it's a CP story so it'll likely be the same in all the papers.

Scandal embroils three more Nfld. politicians

Canadian Press

MOUNT PEARL, Nfld. — A political scandal over alleged overspending of constituency allowances in Newfoundland and Labrador has widened to include two more sitting members of the House of Assembly and a former member.

Auditor-General John Noseworthy alleges that the trio overspent their stipends by a combined total of $766,000.

Former Liberal cabinet minister Jim Walsh is said to have spent $228,169 more than his approved limit during his term as transportation minister in fiscal 2003-2004.

Wally Andersen, a current Liberal MHA who represents a Labrador district, is alleged to have overspent his allowance by $243,244 over four years.

New Democrat Randy Collins, another member from Labrador, is also said to have exceeded his constituency stipend by $295,418 within a four-year time frame.

Police are investigating how up to $4-million in government money was spent after Mr. Noseworthy delivered two previous reports alleging misappropriation of funds, breach of trust and conflict of interest.

Mr. Noseworthy's probe, which examines government spending from 1998 to 2005, shows that $2.8-million may have been misappropriated to pay for various keepsakes including gold rings, fridge magnets and key chains.

The Auditor-General has said the province's legislature was plagued by “basically non-existent” financial controls and there was no way to determine if the province actually received all of the items it paid for.

His findings follow a decision by Premier Danny Williams to reverse an order that prevented the Auditor-General from examining the House of Assembly's finances between 2000 and 2004.

The emerging scandal has shaken Newfoundland's political circles. Members from every party have been implicated in the spending probe and the legislature's director of financial operations, Bill Murray, has been suspended.

Conservative Ed Byrne resigned from his post as natural resources minister two weeks ago after Mr. Noseworthy alleged that he spent $326,642 from his tax-free, constituency allowance – more than 10 times the approved limit – between 2002 and 2004.

Constituency allowances are normally used to pay for certain expenses such as office rent, equipment, supplies, secretarial services, newspapers, advertising, flags and pins.
 
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