Nunavut to scrutinize public spending
Nunavut MLAs have passed two motions aimed at scrutinizing government spending, including an opportunity to grill cabinet members about specific contracts handed out by their departments.
The motion by Quttiktuq MLA Ron Elliott, to have the government's reports on contracts, leases and procurement brought to a committee of the whole in June, passed unanimously in the legislature on Monday.
Elliott said there have been questions about how government contracts have been given out, and whether departments are following the rules when it comes to contracts.
"For example, you know, there's some contracts that are going out for assistance and feedback to deputy ministers and assistant deputy ministers," he told CBC News outside the legislative assembly on Monday.
"You just wonder [about] the money that's going out, could that be put into a full-time position?"
The Nunavut government awarded more than $46 million in sole-source contracts in the 2008-09 fiscal year, including a $116,000 contract awarded by the Health and Social Services Department for consulting services, and a $186,000 contract awarded by the Finance Department to one consultant.
When the committee of the whole meets in June, MLAs will be able to ask questions about specific contracts to the ministers responsible.
Qulliq Energy audit
On Monday, MLAs also unanimously passed a motion by Iqaluit West MLA Paul Okalik to ask federal Auditor General Sheila Fraser to audit the Qulliq Energy Corp.
Okalik said the utility has not reported its contract or procurement activity on time, nor has it published its business plan for the last three fiscal years.
"We have no idea how much they have been spending or what they have been spending it on," Okalik said in the legislature Monday.
Although the motion passed with no opposition, Hunter Tootoo, the minister responsible for Qulliq Energy, said an identical motion he had made when Okalik was premier was defeated.
"It's deja vu day today," Tootoo remarked to the assembly.