The article you just read was brought to you by a few thousand dedicated readers. Will you join them?

Thanks for coming by The Tyee and reading one of many original articles we’ll post today. Our team works hard to publish in-depth stories on topics that matter on a daily basis. Our motto is: No junk. Just good journalism.

Just as we care about the quality of our reporting, we care about making our stories accessible to all who want to read them and provide a pleasant reading experience. No intrusive ads to distract you. No paywall locking you out of an article you want to read. No clickbait to trick you into reading a sensational article.

There’s a reason why our site is unique and why we don’t have to rely on those tactics — our Tyee Builders program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip in a bit of money each month (or one-time) to our editorial budget. This amazing program allows us to pay our writers fairly, keep our focus on quality over quantity of articles, and provide a pleasant reading experience for those who visit our site.

In the past year, we’ve been able to double our staff team and boost our reporting. We invest all of the revenue we receive into producing more and better journalism. We want to keep growing, but we need your support to do it.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
Canada needs more independent media. And independent media needs you.

Did you know that most news organizations in Canada are owned by just a handful of companies? And that these companies have been shutting down newsrooms and laying off reporters continually over the past few decades?

Fact-based, credible journalism is essential to our democracy. Unlike many other newsrooms across the country, The Tyee’s independent newsroom is stable and growing.

How are we able to do this? The Tyee Builder program. Tyee Builders are readers who chip into our editorial budget so that we can keep doing what we do best: fact-based, in-depth reporting on issues that matter to our readers. No paywall. No junk. Just good journalism.

Fewer than 1 in 100 of our average monthly readers are signed up to be Tyee Builders. If we reach 1% of our readers signing up to be Tyee Builders, we could continue to grow and do even more.

If you appreciate what The Tyee publishes and want to help us do more, please sign up to be a Tyee Builder today. You pick the amount, and you can cancel any time.

Support our growing independent newsroom and join Tyee Builders today.
We value: Our readers.
Our independence. Our region.
The power of real journalism.
We're reader supported.
Get our newsletter free.
Help pay for our reporting.

Let My Report Go Free: Auditor General

Pacific Carbon Trust part of 'orchestrated campaign' to delay findings on offset issues: AG Doyle.

By Andrew MacLeod 27 Mar 2013 |

Andrew MacLeod is The Tyee's Legislative Bureau Chief in Victoria. Find him on Twitter or reach him here.

image atom
Auditor general John Doyle: Faced 'corporate immune system pushing back.'

The Crown corporation Pacific Carbon Trust was part of an "orchestrated campaign" that has delayed his report on carbon neutral government, said auditor general John Doyle.

"We've had great difficulty getting this report to the publication stage," Doyle told The Tyee in an interview. "I'm talking about the number of letters and what I call the 'corporate immune system' pushing back on the audit team."

While working on the report, which was to examine the carbon offsets the PCT purchases to make the provincial government carbon neutral, Doyle's office received many letters on the subject, he said. The audit team took the letters into consideration and responded to them, but found nothing in them that would change the conclusions of the report, he said.

"We noticed a lot of the letters had similar themes within them," said Doyle. The team asked for certain files as part of the audit and discovered an "orchestrated campaign" to push back against the audit with the apparent strategy of trying to delay its publication, he said. "The longer they delay it, the less likely they have to face the consequences of what may be in the report."

The PCT was party to that campaign, he said, adding he could not share further details as the matter is touched on in the body of his report.

Cariboo North MLA Bob Simpson said during question period on March 7 that he had evidence from a freedom of information response of an "active letter-writing campaign" involving the PCT aimed at undermining Doyle's report.

Calls to the PCT were not returned.

Normal process, says Doyle

Doyle said he delivered An Audit of Carbon Neutral Government on March 22 to Speaker Bill Barisoff who is required by law to release it as soon as possible.

Barisoff today announced he is delaying distribution of the report. "Concerns have been raised in relation to the premature disclosure of the Auditor General's carbon report," Barisoff said in a prepared statement. "Since a breach of Parliament may have occurred the report will not be distributed until the Speaker has concluded his discussions with the Auditor General."

The speaker's statement, which said he wouldn't be responding to questions on the matter, provided no details of the alleged breach.

Doyle responded with a prepared statement of his own clarifying how his office's audits are released. "Under the Auditor General Act, I am required to share my draft reports with the relevant ministries before they are transmitted to the Speaker," he said.

"In addition, my office has a long-standing practice of providing briefings to ministers and deputy ministers, as well as the chair and deputy chair of the Select Standing Committee on Public Accounts and other potentially interested Members of the Legislative Assembly, ahead of the final report's public release," he said.

Doyle's office has followed the same procedure for many years and it's consistent with his role as an independent officer of the legislature, he said. The report was sent to the speaker on March 22 and he's hopeful the speaker will release it to the public as soon as possible, as required by law, he said.

In an interview he said he followed the same procedure with this report that he has with every other report for six years and that his predecessors also followed.

Preemptive attack letters

The breach Barisoff was talking about may, however, have been elsewhere.

The Canadian Press reported yesterday morning that it had obtained three letters from carbon-reduction experts who raised concerns about the report.

Doyle said the letter writers were responding to a report they were yet to see, unless somebody has breached parliamentary privilege and shared it with them. That would be something for the speaker to investigate, but also would be an argument for releasing the report immediately, he said.

The letters leaked to CP included: one from Attorney General Shirley Bond to James Tansey, chief executive officer of Vancouver-based Offsetters Climate Solutions; one from University of Ottawa law Prof. Stewart Elgie to the PCT's Chief Executive Officer Scott MacDonald; and one to Doyle from David Antonioli, the CEO at Verified Carbon Standard in Washington.

The CP story characterized the letters as "undermining the credibility of a report to be released today by British Columbia's auditor general over the provincial government's carbon neutral experiment."

MLA Simpson said these projects needed a "sniff test" from someone independent like Doyle and it's not surprising people involved in the offset market feel threatened.

Barisoff should release the report immediately, he said.

"I don't believe he has discretion and if he does he's stalling a report the substance of which is being challenged in public because of procedural issues," he said. "The procedure issues have nothing to do with the substance of the report."

The PCT takes money from public bodies like schools and hospitals and uses them to buy carbon offsets, usually from businesses, to meet the province's goal of running a carbon neutral public service. Key to the debate is whether or not the carbon emission reductions are additional to what would have happened without the offset money.

Various international bodies have been scrutinizing carbon offsets and forest carbon sinks like the Darkwoods project in B.C. have been particular areas of concern, he said. "The auditor general of B.C. isn't a voice in the wilderness on this issue."  [Tyee]

Share this article

The Tyee is supported by readers like you

Join us and grow independent media in Canada

Facts matter. Get The Tyee's in-depth journalism delivered to your inbox for free.


The Barometer

Do You Think the Injunction at Fairy Creek Will Be Reinstated?

Take this week's poll