As the holiday season draws closer, I’ve decided that we need to anoint some new national heroes in Canada – folks who are worthy of a statue on the Hill. Since people like Sir John A. are now considered ‘incorrect’ and inappropriate by some, why don’t we celebrate people like Max Henderson, J.J. McDonnell and Sheila Fraser. They could be founding members of a brand new heroic group that we might call Whistleblowers Extraordinaire. They all held the job of Auditor General in Ottawa, and they all managed to do what a dwindling number of politicians seem to be capable of, namely telling the truth.
A promising newcomer is the current head of the AG’s department, Michael Ferguson. He has actually been there for seven years, but he made headlines this week with his report on the never-ending fiasco known as the Phoenix Pay System. Most of us are familiar by now with the basic facts. The lives of thousands of federal public servants have been turned into an ongoing nightmare because of a fabulous new computer program that was supposed to solve all the problems of government payrolls, more efficiently and at a lower cost than ever before! And the company that created it was part of the IBM family. What more did we need to know.
It began under the regime of Stephen Harper, and Justin Trudeau and company have used that as a shield to divert most ongoing questions. In his report, Mr. Ferguson is critical of the Liberals for underestimating the cost, as well as the time it might take to finally fix things. He also noted that the Phoenix problem in our country is remarkably similar to what happened in Australia, where the nightmare continues.
Right now, the personal finances of close to 150,000 Canadians are still messed up beyond belief, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.
Before we order more tunnel, we should be doing a lot better, and paying better attention to the Auditor General.
I’m Roger Currie