PEI

E-gaming: Name names, MLAs tell auditor general

Island MLAs had their first opportunity Wednesday to question the auditor general about her critical review of the province's e-gaming initiative, but spent most of their time mired in squabbles and debates over rules and procedures.

Auditor general's presentation to committee sidetracked by squabbles, debates

Auditor General Jane MacAdam addresses P.E.I.'s Public Accounts Committee on Wednesday regarding the failed e-gaming inititaive. (Kerry Campbell/CBC)

Island MLAs had their first opportunity Wednesday to question the auditor general about her critical review of the province's e-gaming initiative, but spent most of their time mired in squabbles and debates over rules and procedures.

Members of the province's Public Accounts Committee did vote in favour of having Jane MacAdam provide the names of the people referenced in her review, something she did not do in the report itself.

But the AG didn't get far enough into her presentation to provide many names, including those of senior government staff who she said in her report were involved in "apparent conflict of interest situations" with regards to the e-gaming proposal.

MLAs on the committee and some attending the meeting as guests argued over which MLAs could ask questions, who could ask MacAdam to provide access to documents, whether to ask for all 10,000 documents she says she obtained at once or seek the documents one at a time, and over when would be the appropriate time to request the documents.

Could have used documents earlier, says AG

At one point the auditor general was asked whether she will re-visit her e-gaming review in light of new documents which law firm McInnes Cooper said Tuesday it would provide to MacAdam, after the Mi'kmaq Confederacy said it would waive its client-solicitor privilege with the firm.

"I'm not sure what [information] I'm even going to get," MacAdam responded. "We've fulfilled our statutory obligation .... We did the work and reported. In some respects that assignment is over. But if there's new information forthcoming, certainly I feel like I need to look at it."

Afterwards MacAdam told reporters she would have to weigh the benefit of delving back into e-gaming against the need to work on other investigations currently underway.

"It would have been very helpful if this information had have been available earlier, while we were doing the assignment," she said.

Switched topics

After the meeting had gone on more than an hour with little progress, the committee agreed to ask MacAdam to switch to a review of her 2016 annual report, which was delivered last spring. The committee hasn't yet had a chance to review that report with the AG.

Only Green Party Leader Peter Bevan-Baker voted in favour of using the remainder of the meeting to allow the auditor general to continue to deliver her report on e-gaming.

The auditor general is expected to appear before the Public Accounts Committee again next week, however at that time she's expected to provide findings from a joint audit of Atlantic Lotto conducted by the region's four auditors general.

now