Is municipal spending out of control?
That’s a rhetorical question—I don’t have an answer.
However, there is one particular person who was hoping to explore that particular line of inquiry, and that person is B.C. Premier Christy Clark.
Clark promised to install a municipal auditor in 2013 after the B.C. election to examine the financial state of cities across the province.
Seen as a provincial intrusion into civic affairs, municipalities objected to the move, but the office of Municipal Auditor was created anyway.
Now, two years later, the government announced the firing of the Basia Ruta, the municipal auditor, after reports surfaced that she was refusing to participate in a review of her office.
And why, oh why, was a review necessary in the first place?
Well, after two years on the job, it turns out that only three audits were completed that cost taxpayers in excess of $5 million.
I’m no financial guru—heck, I can barely do my taxes—but three audits in two years?
I can somewhat empathize that doing an audit of municipal finances can be a daunting task, especially if you start with municipalities like Surrey or Richmond.
Not to mention, there are things I’d much rather do than examine municipal financial statements, like skydive without a parachute or sit front row at a Justin Bieber concert.
But this effort by the province to intimidate municipal governments by pursuing these audits has completely backfired.
And it’s going to get more interesting, as Ruta has responded through her lawyer that she plans to initiate a judicial review of her firing.
While one government employee is getting fired, another government figure is hoping to get hired, as U.S. Senator Ted Cruz has officially announced he is running for the White House in the 2016 presidential election.
As an interested observer of the political affairs across the 49th parallel, my first thought would be for Republicans to check out his birth certificate.
That’s right, he may not be from Kenya, but he was born in a foreign place—and that place is Alberta.
This is a huge controversy and I am already anticipating the self-righteous anger and indignation coming from the political talk shows when that story breaks.
What’s that? He’s previously renounced his Canadian citizenship?
So he says, but I still think it needs to be established that his birth certificate is authentic and not just a copy of the original.
I mean, this is the President of the United States of America we’re talking about and he or she must be starry-eyed and bleed red, white and blue if they’re allowed to sit in the Oval Office, drive executive legislation and have access to nuclear weapons.
And what if Cruz is still secretly a Canadian citizen? And if a miracle occurs and he gets elected, what will this mean for the Canada-U.S. relationship?
Think of the perks of having a Canadian in the White House.
We could probably acquire an aircraft carrier or two on the cheap.
We could politely ask American companies to maintain American pricing in Canadian markets, and then apologize when they refuse.
We could encourage the Cruz administration to throw out the NFL as America’s favourite pastime and replace it with hockey.
And what about the possibility of unification?
With a Canadian president, will it be the catalyst for Canada becoming the 51st state? Or will Ottawa float the possibility of the U.S. joining Confederation with the addition of 50 more provinces and/or territories?
These are questions that need answers.
However, one explanation I won’t hold my breath for is why it took the B.C. municipal auditor two years to complete three financial reports.
That is truly a mystery.