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Auditor General’s Report Showcases Premier Higgs’ mismanagement and wrong priorities

June 4, 2024News

Fredericton (June 4, 2024) – Today, the Auditor General (AG) released the 2024 Volume I report which includes the performance audit on the Travel Nurse Contracts, Pupil Transportation, the New Brunswick Housing Strategy: Housing for All and the Mental Health Trust Fund No.9.


“Today’s Auditor General Report confirms what we have been saying for months: the Premier’s mismanagement and micromanagement is hurting New Brunswickers,” says Susan Holt, Leader of the Official Opposition. “The Higgs government may tout its fiscal management track record, but today’s report tells the real tale: under the Premier’s leadership, corners were cut and millions of dollars have gone unaccounted for.”


As it pertained to the Travel Nurse Contract, the AG’s report revealed a lack of clearly defined vendor selection processes, poor contract oversight, and deficiencies in payment review processes that resulted in undue risk to the province.


“The pandemic was a difficult time for so many and healthcare workers were rightly celebrated for helping us weather the storm. This report is a slap in the face to the hardworking professionals who helped to keep New Brunswickers safe and healthy,” said Rob McKee, Liberal Health critic. “Higgs fired the health boards and micromanaged the health care systems, all while wasting millions of taxpayer dollars.”


In the AG’s review of Pupil Transportation, the report declares that despite previous audits, an absence of monitoring and oversight of Districts by the Department of Early Education and Childhood Development as well as instances of non-compliance with legislation and policies relating to pupil transportation remain.


“The Higgs government has clearly been distracted with the wrong priorities when it comes to the education and safety of students. Once again it is putting kids at unnecessary risk,” declared Education critic Francine Landry.


Despite the New Brunswick Housing Corporation celebrating the province’s new housing strategy, the AG noted a lack of clear targets, reporting, and overall transparency.


“On the housing file, the Higgs government is falling short every step of the way,” said Housing critic Richard Losier. “Their plan lacks targets, measures and follow through and it’s affecting some of the most vulnerable people in our province.”


The performance audit of Mental Health Trust Fund No.9 revealed that the Department of Health has no understanding of the trust fund or the infrastructure to use it, effectively leaving the resource unused for more than 46 years.


“New Brunswick is severely lacking mental health supports, now is not the time to be leaving resources on the table,” said Rob McKee. “It’s clear the Minister is focused on the wrong priorities like forced treatment legislation when she should be focused on deploying all the resources at her fingertips to get New Brunswickers real support.”


Liberal Leader Susan Holt wrapped up the findings and said, “Premier Higgs will try to blame everyone around him, including those working for the health authorities that he hand-picked, and the various departments audited in this report for this mismanagement, but New Brunswickers shouldn’t be fooled. The responsibility for this mess lies at the Premier’s own feet.”