Monday, January 19, 2009

Yet another implosion for Harper's new Senator

The governance woes at CAP come back to bite once again: "Aboriginal group led by Brazeau must return funding." Harper's brand spanking new Conservative Senator leaves yet another mess in his wake:
Health Canada is demanding the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples return up to $260,000 in ineligible expenses after an audit found directors of the native advocacy group divvied up thousands of dollars in federal cash with insufficient evidence of where the money went.

The federal department has suspended all funding to the organization, led until recently by new Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau, until the group comes up with a plan to pay back the money and respond to the government's concerns.
And of course, the kicker is the hypocrisy of the former leader:
Mr. Brazeau, 34, was vice-chief of the organization in 2005 and rose to president and national chief in February of 2006. During his nearly three years in charge of the advocacy group for off-reserve aboriginals, he attracted attention with his blunt calls for native leaders to be more transparent and accountable with taxpayers' money.
Here's Brazeau quoted in a January 2008 report:
"I am tired of the same rhetoric from some leaders saying they need more money, the leadership has to be accountable for what they receive," said Mr. Brazeau.
Yes, remarkable, isn't it.

Led by Mr. Accountability, the website of CAP displays no evidence of an audit committee or any standard governance disclosure that one would expect to see of an organization that is well-run and publicly accountable to the taxpayer for its millions in funding.  Where are the board and committee mandates and responsibilities? Meetings? Memberships? Committee chairships (if they have committees)? Position descriptions for the Chief and Vice Chief?  For individual directors? Beyond perfunctory by-laws, which they do disclose.  Where's the CAP code of conduct with that sexual harassment policy? These are all basic governance disclosure requirements, including for crown organizations/corporations.

Leading to today's Globe report and its details of cash being disbursed at meetings and lack of controls over where money went.  Our government should be insisting on basic controls and governance standards for all entities for which it provides substantial funding.  And those runnning such organizations should gladly do so and not just give lip service to the principle.

Once again we're left amazed that Brazeau is still going to be a Senator...what else do we need to learn before this guy gets yanked?