Friday, May 2, 2008

Toews letter fails to allay auditor's concerns

OTTAWA–The Conservative government released a letter today it hoped would put to rest allegations that it's trying to muzzle independent officers of Parliament.

The damage-control exercise comes as Auditor General Sheila Fraser is sounding off over a proposal that her public communications be cleared through the bureaucratic wing of Prime Minister Stephen Harper's office.

In response, Treasury Board President Vic Toews released a seven-week-old letter Thursday that states his desire to "preserve and strengthen the independence needed by agents of Parliament. ..."

Toews defended the general application of new Treasury Board rules to all government institutions, but conceded that not all rules can be applied "in exactly the same manner" to everyone.

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