Description: The auditor general (AG) of New Brunswick, Paul Martin, has been asked via a unanimous vote of the Legislative Assembly to examine the government’s response to the SARS-CoV-2 epidemic. NB’s Premier, Blaine Higgs, feels the time is right for the review now, given that the public health restrictions have been lifted. David Coon, the Green Party leader, would like the AG to look “all dimensions of the pandemic response to see what things could have been improved, what things worked, and what things maybe we shouldn’t do again.” Nowhere in the story did any of those involved question the AG’s appearance of independence to carry out the assignment, even though he had been a senior officer inside the government up until 2022.
Date: April 1, 2022
1) Has the auditor general in your province carried out any review of the government’s covid response? If so, what were some of the key findings?
2) Why do you think the Office of the Auditor General, where most staff are accountants with financial training, be given this assignment? What other alternative review mechanisms might there be?
3) Section 2.3.1, beginning on page 2-10 in Wiley’s Auditing: A Practical Approach, provides a clear picture of the Five Threats to Independence. Since Mr. Martin was a senior government official, the provincial comptroller, throughout the pandemic, which of the Five Threats do you think will be the most difficult for him to mitigate?