On June 28th, Finance Minister, Michael de Jong, delivered the 2016-17 fiscal update.
He started by waxing nolstalgic, saying this would likely be his last full day spent as finance minister.
With the confidence vote scheduled for Thursday, de Jong acknowledged that change was just around the corner and that it would likely be a different party delivering the actual audited fiscal report.
“I thought it would be appropriate to provide an update of where we think we ended up in ’16/’17 and what’s been taking through the first part of the ’17/’18 fiscal year,” said De Jong.
“Yes I had hoped that I would have for you the audited public accounts and could release that material with you as part of this exercise. I do not. I am advised that that work will not be complete – I’m told that July 10th.”
Andrew Weaver leader of the B.C. Green caucus was quick to respond to the fact that the finance minister was delivering the fiscal report without waiting for it to be audited.
“The timing of this update so close to an expected non-confidence vote is unusual,” Weaver said. “Normally, the government would not provide information related to the public accounts until they have been independently audited by the auditor general. They can only be viewed as draft at this stage; we must wait to see if they hold up to scrutiny.
“It is encouraging to hear that B.C’s economy is doing well. However, releasing this information out of political calculation is inappropriate,” stated Weaver on Wednesday.