Good afternoon Regina!!
Taking a bit of a holiday break from the "Dirty Little Secrets" series, but still on the same general topic: How does Canada compare to the rest of the developed world when it comes to Corruption? If you read this media report, it sounds as though we aren't all that bad. However, if you dig deeper into things, and start to actually investigate matters, you will quickly find that our elected officials are not necessarily as clean as the mainstream media would lead you to believe.
I submit to you the following excerpt from this very same media report:
the City of Regina does not currently employ an independent City Auditor. In fact, it doesn't even appear that this is a legislated requirement of Saskatchewan Municipalities, as in other provinces. Please note there is a significant difference between "Audited Financial Statements", and an "Independent Auditor/Audit Committee". Audited Financial Statements are just that, Financial Statements that materially reflect the financial position of a City. An Independent Auditor would be more of a government watchdog supervising the day-to-day activities of City Council and City Administration, to ensure there is no fraudulent activity happening. I can assure you - If we did have an Independent Auditor, similar to how the provincial government does, then you might see things reported in the media in a very different light.
The unfortunate thing is that mainstream media outlets in Regina typically only investigate issues that get ratings, and what brings in advertising revenue. And, when you have an organization, such as the City of Regina, that is probably one of the largest contributors to local media advertising revenues, you quickly realize why those same outlets will be sensitive to investigating and reporting on any issues that may paint the City in a negative light. This concern has been brought up by many reputable journalists, all of whom have since moved on to other cities or organizations, out of frustration of the way the Regina media handles these kinds of issues. And, until there is an independent authority legislated to report these kinds of issues to the media, sadly these issues will continue to be swept under the rug.
What can you do, as a taxpaying citizen of Regina? Contact the Provincial Government, Municipal Reltations Department, and explain to them that you want your elected City officials (and non-elected senior management) to be held accountable for how they spend your hard earned tax dollars. Demand that they review the Cities Act in order to modernize it, so that an Independent Authority is required by law for Municipal Governments. As it sits right now, the only way to hold your elected City Officials accountable is to vote every four years, or get a "sufficient petition" to force an audit or inquiry. I don't know about you, but to me, this is a very dangerous situation that allows Corruption and Collusion to go largely unchecked. At no other level of government, do you have such total authority provided to such a small group of people. What's worse, is there is currently no way for you and I, the taxpaying citizens, to ensure our tax dollars are being spent wisely and ethically, without going through many, many hoops.