Wednesday morning, the Sask. Party members of the Legislative Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee blocked a motion to allow the Provincial Auditor to look into rehabilitating young offenders.
In 2013, the auditor attempted to audit whether the government had good processes for rehabilitating young offenders. Justice Ministry officials cooperated, but Brad Wall’s cabinet stepped in and shut it down, denying the auditor access to young offender files.
“We simply can’t have Mr. Wall and his cabinet actively stepping in to stop transparency and accountability,” said NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon, who tried to move a motion to reverse the denial in Wednesday morning’s all-party committee meeting. Instead, the Sask. Party members of the committee used their majority and moved to adjourn the subject to avoid the vote, and effectively deny the motion.
“This is about accountability and transparency in a big way with more than $52 million of spending being blocked from scrutiny. And we’re also talking about an issue of public safety here. Rehabilitating young offenders before they’re released into the community is critical to the safety of our schools, and to reducing crime in our communities. Whatever it is the Sask. Party doesn’t want the auditor to find, this is disturbing.”
Wotherspoon said it’s appropriate to carefully control access to youth criminal justice files – and that the auditor had taken all the rights steps in order to do her job properly before the premier’s cabinet stepped in to block her efforts.