I agree to Idea Accountability in Government
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I disagree to Idea Accountability in Government

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Open Government »

Accountability in Government

Annual Government Budgets and updates as well as bills with spending implications are often slanted and/or biased to put the governing Party in the best possible light. There should be a Legislative Budget Officer (similar to the Federal Parliamentary Budget Officer), non-partisan and independent of the Legislature, to analyze and comment on the accuracy and implications of Legislative Financial Releases.

Submitted by Gord Drimmie 9 months ago

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(latest 20 votes)

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  1. The idea was posted
    9 months ago

Comments (32)

  1. Pinned Moderator

    Hi Gord: Thanks for the idea and the replies to several questions. I believe that much of what you have proposed is being done right now. Legislation has been introduced to establish a Financial Accountability Office: http://www.ipolitics.ca/2013/09/09/ontario-introduces-legislation-to-create-first-provincial-financial-accountability-officer/

    9 months ago
    2 Agreed
    1 Disagreed
  2. This is very important. Spotchecks on ministries and what the administrators and middle managers is doing are important. Public service workers at the top sometimes think they can do whatever they want, because they will outlast the government that is in power. Ministry workers need to keep the Minister in charge informed as problems progress, so they aren't attacked unnecessarily in question period. Keep the minister, especially in health, in the loop.

    9 months ago
    4 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  3. I would also add that MPP's be required to publicly list all of their expense claims, just as Elizabeth May is doing at the federal level on her web site.

    9 months ago
    6 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. I'd happily vote this up if you submit it as a new idea.

      9 months ago
      4 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
    2. They already do. http://www.gov.on.ca/en/expense_claim/index.htm

      Every minister, every staffer, every parliamentary assistant, everyone everywhere in the government reports their expenses and the government publishes it all online.

      Everything the provincial government spends money on is public.

      http://www.fin.gov.on.ca/en/budget/paccts/2011/

      9 months ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  4. The federal office is virtually powerless. Accountability is a great idea, but this proposal would not bring us much of it unfortunately.

    9 months ago
    2 Agreed
    1 Disagreed
    1. Gord Drimmie Idea Submitter

      Teddy - I wanted to be sure that you understand that the PBO (Parliamentary Budget office) has no power....intentionally. It is simply an impartial analytical office that carefully reviews and analyzes all the numbers and makes comments as to accuracy, realism, and/or baloney! Kind of like an Auditor-General.....

      9 months ago
      2 Agreed
      1 Disagreed
    2. The power of the Independent Budget Office is in the votes. If people paid enough attention to issues like this instead of listening to claims of lower taxes then we would have a more open and honest government.

      9 months ago
      3 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  5. I would like to see open data on the Ontario budget. There are dedicated people out there who will analyses the budget down to the penny, but we first need open data.

    There maynot be good reason to start a whole new department and overhead to keep the government accountable.

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  6. I would like to see the name of MMP who passes or create any bill explaining the benefits for the community and consulting with the public for approval

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  7. It would be nice if the only way they can say budget numbers was through a provincial budget officer.

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. Actually the Liberals in Ontario already passed a law that stipulates that the provinces finances have to be audited before an election and the Auditor General has to issue a Pre-Election Report on Ontario's Finances. This was done prior to the 2011 election.

      The Budget isn't a reflection of the provinces finances, it simply lays out in general terms how spending will be allocated. A few months later the expenses come out and projections are updated. A budget is simply a projection of how and where spending will take place, you don't know the actual costs until AFTER the fiscal year is over.

      9 months ago
      1 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  8. Great idea Gord!!! You should be the leader of a political party that focuses ONLY on getting a Legislative Budget Officer!

    Check out this idea to help make the LBO Party of Ontario have a chance at sending you, Gord, to the Legislature to make it happen:

    http://commonground.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Give-Voters-a-Reason-to-Vote/14492-25935

    Sincerely, Mark Andrew Brown, @SaultCabbie

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. Gord Drimmie Idea Submitter

      Unfortunately, Kathleen will never allow this to happen. Nor will she allow any of several other brilliant and forward-looking ideas to happen. It's not in her nature. Sadly, she's a Dalton McGuinty disciple...and we'll just have to roll with the implications of that. But this forum is certainly a useful sounding board and perhaps the other political parties - if they are on their toes! - will pick up on afew good ideas.

      Frankly, I could care less who proposes and incorporates a good idea....as long as it happens!

      9 months ago
      0 Agreed
      5 Disagreed
  9. Can you do me a favour Gord? Can you please vote for my idea if you think it is "brilliant and forward-looking"... If you do then maybe someone will start the LBOPO and have a chance at lobbying every day for a Legislature Budget Officer from a seat in the Legislature!

    http://commonground.ideascale.com/a/dtd/Give-Voters-a-Reason-to-Vote/14492-25935

    Sincerely, Mark Andrew Brown, @SaultCabbie

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. Gord Drimmie Idea Submitter

      I'll have to look at it a little more closely!

      9 months ago
      2 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  10. It is not possible for the legislative budget officer to be independent, as the legislative branch provides a term of reference in selecting who the individual is, and sets the budget. I would prefer a larger provincial legislature to increase accountability.

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    5 Disagreed
    1. How does a larger provincial legislature increase accountability? Doesn't greater size usually mean that something is less wieldly.

      9 months ago
      3 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  11. Moderator

    Hi Gord: what do you mean by "independent of the legislature?" I would think you would want the role to report to the legislature, but that doesn't seem to be what you are advocating.

    9 months ago
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    0 Disagreed
    1. I think that providing reports to the legislature is the intent of this idea, rather than being a tool of the legislature where the legislators can dictate the scope and tone of any investigation.

      9 months ago
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      0 Disagreed
  12. Gord Drimmie Idea Submitter

    To clarify, the LBO would report to the legislature; but would not take instruction from the Government. I view the Office operating as it does Federally......the Office does its own projections of any and all financial and budget estimates and projections; and/or reviews and critiques Government-issued budgets and financial estimates. The Office is to be non-partisan which I considered to be "independent"...although I may have stretched the point.

    9 months ago
    2 Agreed
    1 Disagreed
    1. The PBO at the federal level was working fine, until the federal government harrassed the officer so much that he ended up quitting. The prime minister appointed another budget officer, who strangely enough declared that "all is financially well". A budget officer will always be pushed around by any government in place to reflect the brightest financial picture.

      9 months ago
      3 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
    2. How's that different than the Auditor General? The Libs in Ontario already mandated that a review of the governments finances prior to each election and mandated a pre-election report from the auditor general.

      9 months ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  13. This is all very nice, but the Pan Am Games silly expense claims go back to eHealth when people claim expenses for coffee and 91¢ worth of parking. The lessons have not been learned and people are tired of the pat excuse that the expenses were within the rules. There should be one clear and definitive set of rules put out for all government employees, appointees, etc. No claim less than $5.00 is to be submitted. No aggregated amounts to hide such claims should be banned. Receipts for everything. This type of behavior is pushing voters away.

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. I think the real issue is perhaps that many feel that too many in the government make too much money. If someone's making $40k a year, why aren't they allowed to submit a $5 parking expense? or a $5 meal? that's weird. There are rules for how much you can expense, plus each expense is reviewed. If I'm allowed $20 for lunch but decide to have a coffee and a donut instead then you're just penalizing me and incentivizing expensive meals aren't you? Or are you simply concerned with the optics?

      9 months ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  14. They need to take accountablity for there actions. They as in police and cas and those who are in power dont have to account for there actions.

    People should be able to complain qnd someone truely look into it

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. If you think someone in the Ontario Legislature has done something wrong, immoral or unethical you can report it to the integrity commissioner: http://www.oico.on.ca

      9 months ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  15. They can get away with anything

    Taking children from good homes and police brutalty.

    Come on someone has to protect us.

    MAKE THEM ALL ACCOUNTABLE FOR THERE ACTIONS.

    HQVE SOMEONE LOOK INTO WHAT THERE SAYING AND DOING.

    9 months ago
    1 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
  16. Financial accountability / openness / transparency / monitoring / auditing etc is needed for sure. But this is only one aspect of the complete overall accountability about conduct that is needed in government and public agencies.

    9 months ago
    2 Agreed
    0 Disagreed
    1. True. Good people are important. But I think accountability, openness, transparency, monitoring and auditing are the only things you can manage. Politicians need to create good systems, they don't have the capacity to chat with every single public sector employee, or even every public sector manager. Government's too big.

      9 months ago
      0 Agreed
      0 Disagreed
  17. I am going to agree with this suggestion. Premier Kathleen Wynne just dropped a BOMBshell. She claims that Ontario is losing $600 million a year because the Tories leased Hwy. 407. The numbers that Jodie Parmar gave me are as follows: $3.1B proceeds =>$1.6B gain + $1.2B in CAPEX from 1999-2012 while #407ETR 's total net income =$153.4M . I am from Missouri on this one. I want to see her numbers. After the number embarrassment re: the Gas Plants, can we trust these consultants numbers?

    9 months ago
    0 Agreed
    0 Disagreed