Auditor General Michael Pickup. Photo: Jessica Flower / UNews

In November, Auditor General Michael Pickup was accused of overstepping his authority.  His report chastised the province for doing a “poor” job of communicating its strategies on doctor recruitment and primary health care. In turn, the premier chastised  the auditor general, saying Pickup should run for elected office if he wanted to criticize policy matters.

It did raise questions about the role of the auditor general. Did the premier have a point?

This week, Tim sat down with Pickup to talk about it.

Nowhere will you find when I write these reports to the legislature do I say ‘debt bad, debt good’ … That is for others to judge.

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Plus, we talk about the case of Abdoul Abdi, the 23-year-old man who spent most of his childhood as a ward of the province and now faces deportation to Somalia, a country he fled when he was only six years old. Abdi was convicted of a violent crime in Canada and served his time. He doesn’t have Canadian citizenship because the people who were responsible for him — the province — never filed for it. He’s currently in an immigration detention centre in Toronto.

Check out this piece by El Jones to learn about others facing this very same situation.

Also, Tim and I talk about what he found when he searched for Nova Scotia connections in the Paradise Papers.

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  1. “He’s from Regina and obviously a big fan of the CFL,” LeBlanc said. “We thought, ‘Where do we start?’ I called Bobby Smith, he owns the (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Halifax) Mooseheads and is a former GM of the Coyotes. We got together. I wanted to make sure he was cool with it. I didn’t want to do anything that was offensive to the Mooseheads operation. He said, ‘No, this would be great for the region.’

    “I asked if he’d be interested, he said, ‘Probably not, but you should talk to my cousin.’ It turns out his cousin, Richard Butts, was the city manager for Halifax. Richard put together a bunch of meetings for me to fly into Halifax. I met with the chamber of commerce, the local economic development group and the mayor (Mike Savage). The mayor said, ‘We’ve had a lot of people come through our doors over the years and they just don’t seem to understand that we can’t just go out and build a stadium. We want to be part of it, but we can’t lead it.’ ”

    The mayor hooked LeBlanc up with another businessman, AMJ Campbell Van Lines CEO Bruce Bowser, who had also shown interest in a CFL team in Atlantic Canada.

    “We met with the mayor, we met with the premier,” LeBlanc said. “We were pretty successful with keeping it quiet for four months or so. In that period of time, we probably met with the Halifax regional municipality 10 times, the province a handful of times. We met with a bunch of local organizations, we met with the league multiple times, presented to the board of governors. We did a lot of legwork before it became public. It’s just kind of developed its own inertia. There’s still a lot of work to do. The elephant in the room is the stadium. But we seem to have everything coming together.”

    I especially like the 4th last sentence.