This is the first
in a series of articles intended to raise public awareness about tire work of
Public Accounts Committees and other post expenditure review committees. Future
items will consist of summaries of important reports by public accounts
committees across Canada; the follow-up to their reports, contentious
procedural points and profiles of committee chairman. This series is in keeping
with a recommendation of the Canadian Council of Public Accounts Committees at
its 1985 meeting in Whitehorse. The first article is a brief history of tire
Council. Anyone associated with public accounts committees is invited to
contact the author with suggestions for future issues.
Council of Public Accounts Committees (CCPAC) was organized in 1979 on the
initiative of Patrick Reid, chairman of the Ontario Legislative Assembly's
Standing Committee on Public Accounts at that time. He seized the opportunity
at a time when Public Accounts Committees were becoming more curious about the
role played by their legislative auditors and as a result felt the need to form
a closer relationship with the Conference of Legislative Auditors. In 1978, Mr.
Reid attended their annual meeting in Edmonton and the Canadian Council of
Public Accounts Committees was born. Mr. Reid was president until 1983 when he
resigned from the Assembly and accepted a position with the Ontario Mining
Association. He was succeeded by Mr. Tony Penikett (MLA, Whitehorse West,
Yukon), 1984-85, and Mr. E.B. Shillington (MLA, Regina Centre, Saskatchewan),
The seven annual
meetings of the Council have continued to be held at the same time and in the
same city as the Conference of Canadian Legislative Auditors. In 1979 the
Council met in St. John's, in 1980 Winnipeg, in 1981 St. Andrews, in 1982
Victoria, in 1983 Toronto, in 1984 Charlottetown and in 1985 Whitehorse. The
locations of future meetings are Regina (1986), Quebec City (1987) and Halifax
At the meeting in
Whitehorse a first and second vice president were elected: Mr. Claude Lachance
(MLA, Bellechasse, Quebec) and Dr. Colin Stewart (MLA, Colchester South, Nova
Scotia). This formalized board of directors appealed to the Council in terms of
future conference planning and organizational objectives.
In view of the
demands of time upon the executive in their various parliamentary capacities it
was agreed, in 1984, to have the Public Accounts Committee clerk in the
jurisdiction hosting the Council's annual meeting as secretary. Missy Follwell,
Clerk Assistant, Yukon, became the first such appointee whose term was for
1984-85. I was appointed at the Whitehorse meeting in 1984 to serve for
1985-86. As one would expect, the position of secretary is that of co-ordinator
and facilitator throughout their term of office, Conference planning is a major
responsibility of the Secretary's function.
In March 1986 the
current executive will be meeting in Quebec City to review, among other things,
the CCPAC constitution with any alterations to be submitted to the Council at
its annual meeting in Regina (July 6-9, 1986) for a final decision. A review of
the Council's 1986 meeting agenda will also be considered.
Typically, the annual
meeting brings together public accounts committee delegations who present case
studies of investigations they have undertaken in the previous year, the debate
of which is published and made public for future reference. Indeed,
Blackwell's, a large bookstore and publisher in Oxford, England, and elsewhere,
have placed their own standing order with the CCPAC to fill requests that
Blackwell's have received from around the world for CCPAC proceedings.
Comprehensive auditing, accountability in government, Estimates and long-term
budgeting the value of public accounts committees are but a few non case
studies which have been debated at meetings since 1979.
Unique to the
CCPAC annual meeting is the joint session with legislative auditors held
originally at the suggestion of Mr. Willard Lutz, Provincial Auditor for the
province of Saskatchewan. The joint sessions have come to signify mutual
respect and common interest between politicians and auditors.
The CCPAC approved
and adopted its Constitution on July 6, 1982. Mr. Patrick Reid figured
prominently as an author of this Constitution.