AG Report Outlines NDP Waste, Mishandling of Expenses in Advanced Education

EDMONTON, AB (May 3, 2017): Today’s Auditor General (AG) report shows how the NDP used the ministry of Advanced Education to pad caucus-related costs and a repeated failure to protect taxpayers, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today.

The AG found that under the NDP, the Alberta government helped pay for the NDP caucus-related costs and for previous NDP Advanced Education Minister Lori Sigurdson to go on two out-of-province junkets with no sign off for the trips.

The Advanced Education department also has “insufficient documentation of business rationale” for submitting expenses, running up extra meal expenses and fuel charges.

Wildrose Shadow Advanced Education Minister Wayne Anderson said this shows a failure under both current Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt and former Advanced Education Minister Sigurdson to manage tax dollars.

“Advanced Education should not be topping up the budget for the NDP caucus, but that’s exactly what happened under these ministers’ watch,” Anderson said. “The NDP is running a $10 billion deficit but is still letting this type of waste and mismanagement continue. It’s time for this department to get their expenses in line with the rest of government.”

The report also found a failure from Service Alberta to implement recommendations from the Results Based Budget process to do a comprehensive inventory of IT applications, leading to more duplication and waste.

“Albertans are seeing tax hikes and billions of dollars in new debt, and the private sector continues to experience the pain of job loss and a drop in investment, but the government has failed for years to fix this problem,” Wildrose Shadow Service Alberta Minister Scott Cyr said.

Wildrose Shadow Justice Minister Angela Pitt said she’s concerned about funds being devoted to legal aid are not reaching those most in need.

“Legal aid is a critical part of ensuring justice and providing support for vulnerable Albertans,” Pitt said. “This report raises some serious red flags about ensuring legal aid remains sustainable and that funding is making its way to those most in need based on the dollars spent. Furthermore, it is absolutely incomprehensible that legal aid only just added any type of performance measure, and that no performance measures exist to ensure the best legal representation for Albertans.”