Government ministers,certain employees,and subcontractors, are given purchase cards to make “authorized purchases”: purchases made on behalf of the province, for the benefit of the province. These aren’t my words, but ones from their own policy.
The rules are quite clear- no personal purchases allowed – and recipients must sign an agreement stating they understand and agree to the terms and conditions of the policy manual.
However, while finance minister Kevin Falcon claims fiscal discipline, the public accounts of purchase card spending by the government, shows anything but discipline.
In fact, in the 726 pages of accounting for the various government offices and ministries, there are so many examples of what I would consider questionable purchases, that I have to ask, who actually checks to see if cardholders are adhering to the rules?
Total purchase card spending for the year ended March 31st 2011 ? A whopping $47,353,802.86 * click to see full size image
First, it is worthwhile to see which offices and ministries have incurred the greatest value of purchases.The biggest spender, shockingly, is Children and Family Development, followed by Forests, Land and Natural Resources, then Transportation and Infrastructure.
While it is clear that a majority of the purchases would clearly be justified to even the outside observer – again,made on behalf of the province, for the benefit of the province, there are plenty of examples of purchases that I think require further examination, and explanation.
Here are just a few small examples of what I am talking about:
Lululemon: $1900.12 total purchases over all departments, comprised of many smaller purchases. Please explain how Lululemon benefits the province. Please.
The Body Shop: $256.24
The Wine Barrel: $199.02 – yes, this is a wine shop.
BC Liquor store: $3,039.42 – made up in many smaller purchases all over this fine province and across all ministries and offices…
Edgemont Liquor Shoppe: $242.45
Cascadia Liquor: $90.50
Bear Paw Den Quilting: $300.00 – remember, for the benefit of the province…lol
Estate Wine Shop: $7,029.44 ( I didn’t get a bottle, did you?)
Marquis Wine Cellers: $ 1590.00
I could go on… there are spa visits, barbershop visits, golf equipment, books, clothing purchases….. But you can look for yourself, here, at this link. http://www.llbc.leg.bc.ca/public/pubdocs/bcdocs/348389/2010_11/purchcard.pdf
Remember, PDF documents have a search function so you can even search for specific items.
There is no money, they tell us, we must make hard choices, they moan.
Fiscal discipline, indeed.