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Dix criticizes Clark's municipal auditor general proposal in UBCM speech

Municipal governments likely do not need their own auditor general, British Columbia NDP Leader Adrian Dix told local leaders at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention in Vancouver.

"As you know, the level of scrutiny is the highest faced by any level of government," Dix said. While everyone values accountability, it's a question of priorities for how to spend public money, he said.

Premier Christy Clark promised to create a municipal auditor general's office during her campaign to lead the BC Liberal Party. This week Community, Sport and Cultural Development Minister Ida Chong received a critical reception when she told UBCM delegates the plan would move ahead.

Today delegates are to debate a motion saying the UBCM disagrees with the creation of the office, but will continue negotiating with the government on it.

Dix took aim at several provincial projects, including the $900 million smart meter project, the $600 million BC Place roof and the B.C. Student Information System software. It's unlikely any of them would have happened at the municipal level, he said.

When the legislature returns on October 3 he'll have plenty of opportunities to criticize the government, he said, before shifting to an outline of NDP policies including increased local purchasing, keeping jobs in B.C. towns, investing in education and supporting small business.

He also paid tribute to former NDP Leader Carole James and former Liberal Leader Gordon Campbell, thanking them for their contributions to the province.

Update: Delegates at the UBCM convention passed the motion saying they disagree with the creation of a municipal auditor general, but will continue working with the province on it.

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee’s Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Reach him here.

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