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BC Auditor General laps Liberals (for third time)

The BC Auditor General thinks the provincial government needs to break its addiction to budget fudge.

In a letter to the Speaker of the House, Auditor General John Doyle writes:

“My Office’s two previous reports, issued in 2003 and 2006, conclude that British Columbia's share of the full costs of the Games is considerably higher than the $600 million figure that has often been quoted.

“Further, in the absence of full disclosure by the Province, each report highlights significant risks that could result in even higher costs to the Province by the time the Games are finished.

“...fundamental differences of opinion between government and my Office remain unresolved. While the details of specific issues may have shifted to some extent since the Office’s last report -- cost estimates remain, to a great extent, a moving target -- the underlying fundamental differences of opinion between government and my Office have not.

“Specifically, I share my predecessors’ view that the full cost of staging the Games should include a number of items that are not included in the official budget. ... the risks associated with some costs and revenues have been adequately disclosed. Should these risks come to pass, the cost of staging the Games could escalate considerably.

“...I have but one recommendation -- that government expand its definition of Games-related costs to include all items that are reasonably attributable to hosting the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Games, and report publicly on these costs and the risks associated with them.”

For finance minister Colin Hansen’s response, see this story in the Globe and Mail.

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