Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

Will the Premier Commit to Retabling Audited Public Accounts for the Province of Ontario?

Published on October 4, 2016

Ms. Catherine Fife: My question is to the Premier. This government has refused to give information to the Financial Accountability Officer. They have attacked and they have undermined the Auditor General for this province repeatedly over the years. And now they have tabled the public accounts without the Auditor General’s opinion for the first time ever. There is a pattern here, Speaker. This government is making the kind of history that leaves people deeply disappointed.

Will the Premier admit that this was a mistake and work with the auditor to retable audited public accounts for the province of Ontario?

Hon. Kathleen O. Wynne: President of the Treasury Board.

Hon. Liz Sandals: I would be absolutely delighted to table the public accounts, but I cannot do that until we have an audit opinion from the auditor. That is why yesterday we released the consolidated financial statements in our annual report, which is the same financial information. It is because we are awaiting an opinion from the auditor.

I would point out that we in fact passed the deadline for the tabling of the public accounts on the 27th, and I am not able to table the public accounts until we have an opinion from the auditor. When we get the opinion from the auditor, I will indeed table the public accounts.

The Speaker (Hon. Dave Levac): Supplementary?

Ms. Catherine Fife: Mr. Speaker, they have an opinion. They just don’t like that opinion.

This Premier promised to have the most transparent and open government in Canada, but that’s not what people are seeing. The government is trying to avoid accountability very clearly. By tabling financials without an audit, the Liberal government is releasing numbers that suit them, not the people of this province. We believe that the government should be about serving the people, not the interests of the Liberal Party.

Will the Premier commit to retabling the public accounts, with the agreement of Ontario’s non-partisan Auditor General?

Hon. Liz Sandals: Just let me restate: I do not have a written opinion from the Auditor General. Once we have a written opinion from the Auditor General, I will be very happy to retable the accounts and they will say what the consolidated financial statements said, which we released yesterday, which is that the province has beaten its deficit target for the seventh year in a row. We had projected an $8.5-billion deficit. In fact, we achieved a $5-billion deficit, and that is in fact the number that the Auditor General requested that we use: $5 billion. So by the auditor’s accounting, we achieved a $5-billion deficit, which is $3.5 billion better than what we had projected in last year’s budget.