Finance minister must resign over untrustworthy books: NDP

Saskatchewan’s independent provincial auditor has issued a warning that the government’s central books cannot be trusted – and the NDP is calling for the resignation of the finance minister as a result.

For the first time ever in Canada, the independent provincial auditor filed an adverse audit opinion on the government’s central financial statements. The very serious move from the auditor is unprecedented in Canada. The provincial auditor’s adverse audit opinion states that this government's 2013 general revenue fund statements are "full of errors" and "not reliable."

"It's shocking to have the provincial auditor warn taxpayers that this government's books can't be trusted," said NDP Leader Cam Broten. "If the books can’t be trusted, neither can the finance minister manipulating them. It’s time for the premier to ask for that minister's resignation."

Adverse audit opinions are incredibly rare – this is the first ever issued in Saskatchewan and the first in Canada for a government’s government-wide accounting. Only a handful of adverse-opinion designations have ever been given to specific ministries in other provinces – never as a result of the government’s central bank account, the general revenue fund.

In the private sector, an adverse opinion could force a publicly-traded company to be de-listed from the stock exchange.

"This government reported a surplus of $60 million, but the auditor tells us this government is actually running a massive deficit of nearly $600 million this year," Broten said. "This government is stubbornly refusing to be transparent and accountable to Saskatchewan people. A new finance minister to clean up the mess would be a first step toward clean books.”

Broten added that the financial improprieties are especially concerning in a strong economy.

“It's absolutely mind boggling that this government is struggling to manage our provincial finances when it’s been given such a strong economy and record revenues.

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For more information, contact:
Erin Morrison, NDP caucus