It's not often opposing political parties in B.C. can both agree and get chastised at the same time.
But the recent damning auditor general's report, which found the books of the province's legislature were a mess, has done just that.
Both Liberal and NDP MLAs in the Tri-Cities say they support more transparency when it comes to the legislature's finances and the changes proposed by a committee tasked with fixing the problem are a good start.
"I think these are good steps forward," said Coquitlam-Burke Mountain Liberal MLA Doug Horne.
His counterpart, Coquitlam-Maillardville NDP MLA Diane Thorne, echoed that sentiment a day after the MLA management committee accepted all of the recommendations in the auditor general's report.
"What they've done - I think it sounds like they're going in the right direction," she said.
What the all-party Legislative Assembly Management Committee (LAMC) decided was to post detailed accounts of MLA expenses every four months, and open up the committee's meetings to the public.
Prior to the announcement, LAMC met behind closed doors.
Thorne called the entire situation a "public spanking" of MLAs, and sees no problem with posting her expenses on a regular basis, rather than once a year.
"It actually gives people a chance to make things better, and that's always a good thing," she said.
Horne agreed, suggesting his surprise over the auditor general's report that found receipts weren't being included with some expenses.
He said he's always included receipts with his expenses, adding it seemed the system was much stronger than the report suggested.
"I think that how MLAs are spending the money is something the public should be aware of," Horne said.
However, he noted the report didn't say there was any wrongdoing on the part of MLAs, but rather the controls and transparency in the legislature were the issue.
Auditor General John Doyle released a scathing audit last week that pointed to a host of financial irregularities and failures at the legislative assembly, which has a budget of almost $70 million for staff, MLA salaries and expenses, security, a library, dining room and gift shop.
Legislature financial staff had not reconciled their records with their bank accounts in years, resulting, in one case, of records showing the legislature $133 million in overdraft while the actual bank account sat at $0.
The audit also found taxpayers have been paying off MLA credit cards, used for travel expenses, without proper documentation - likely totalling hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.
Doyle was cautious when asked how fairly MLAs have spent public money on expenses, noting he wasn't given full access to such things as the $119,000 annual allowance MLAs spend on their constituencies.
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