27 February 2008

His reach exceeds his grasp

"...Why would they not want me to come in?”

Auditor General John Noseworthy, quoted in The Telegram and The Western Star

Auditor General John Noseworthy could find an answer by looking at his sorry record over the past two years.  it is littered with far too many examples of serious factual errors, misleading statements, unsubstantiated claims and a general disregard for the fundamental principles of natural justice.

Search Noseworthy on this site and one can find evidence of them all.

In the case of his recent bizarre effort to dig into the operations of the board regulating the province's offshore industry, Noseworthy offers an eloquent case against his ever being allowed to enter the building housing the board's offices let alone have him run amok in the filing system. Let us forget for a moment that Noseworthy himself does not consider the board to be an entity subject to his audits.

The province's auditor general, you see, is not interested in the board's financial state or its overall operations, areas he might be entitled to review. That is,  he is not interested in any of the usual functions of an auditor general.

Noseworthy wishes to appoint himself to govern the offshore:

“CNLOPB has some significant responsibilities, including safety, environmental, industrial benefits, resource management,” Noseworthy said in an interview.

“So I wanted to look at those areas — for example, are the companies providing a safe environment for workers offshore? Have they identified all hazards and implemented appropriate measures to reduce risk? Those sorts of things.”

If the Government of Canada and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador had thought that an accountant was the right person to ensure public safety, enforce environmental regulations and industrial benefits and to manage the exploitation of oil and gas reservoirs, then they would have assigned those responsibilities to the auditor general.

They did not.

They did not do so in the original memorandum of understanding on joint management of the offshore.

They did not do so in either the federal statute giving legal force to the agreement nor in the provincial one doing likewise.

The democratically elected representatives of the people of Canada decided to establish a regulatory agency comprising experts in each of these fields and others to determine whether or not "the companies are providing a safe environment for workers offshore", for example.

The men and women of the offshore board have done a thorough and professional job of safeguarding the public interest since 1985.  They have done so recently despite the unwarranted and unsubstantiated attacks upon their professionalism and competence by the Premier and most recently by the slimy innuendo of the Auditor General. 

In his most recent, and perhaps most bizarre public comments, John Noseworthy wants to overrule Parliament and the House of Assembly.  The will of parliament be damned, it seems. Noseworthy wishes to appoint himself the sole arbiter of issues not only that proper authorities have already assigned legally and properly to people properly qualified to do them but also issues that Noseworthy demonstrably knows absolutely nothing about.

Such a flagrant disregard for the laws passed legitimately by the elected representatives of the people is sufficient cause to stop Noseworthy in his tracks in this instance.

Coupled with a number of other incidents over the past two years, the House of Assembly would also be justified in ordering a thorough investigation into the operations of Noseworthy's office.

Noseworthy's reach has long exceeded his grasp of the law, the constitution or due process.  As an ordinary citizen,His wild claims would be entertaining and entitle him to a seat on city council.    

In an Auditor General, this failing strikes at the core of Noseworthy's ability to perform the duties of the office he holds.  His antics threaten the legitimacy of an extremely important public office. 

in the public interest and for the public good, it is time to send the auditors into the Auditor General's office.