Bill Kelly: Why did Ontario’s chief accountant refuse to validate Doug Ford’s budget numbers?
The Ontario government’s chief accountant resigned a few weeks ago because she refused to sign off on Finance Minister Vic Fedeli‘s inflated $15-billion deficit.
Her name is Cindy Veinot, and she stated that she does not agree with the government’s bookkeeping, suggesting that the Ford government’s financial statements materially overstate the Ontario deficit.
Veinot is a long time civil servant, who is a leading expert on pension accounting, finishing first among 63,000 candidates in the 1998 CPA exam in the United States, so she knows what of she speaks.
This all has to do with the Ford government’s assertion that the pension benefits of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and the Ontario Public Service Employees’ Union Pension Plan should not be counted as government assets, based on a ruling from the provincial auditor general.
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But many observers felt that the AG’s reversal on this long-standing policy had more to do with a political payback against the government of former premier Kathleen Wynne than it did with proper bookkeeping and Veinot’s refusal to validate the arithmetic seems to give credence to that theory.
It’s sad that a highly skilled and objective professional such as Veinot had to resign because she placed integrity ahead of politics, but it’s even more troubling that, as he has done with other key appointments, Ontario Premier Doug Ford will likely replace her with another partisan sycophant, further eroding the checks and balances that are so necessary in a democratic system of government.
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