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'Bitterly disappointed': Sask. political coalition responds to auditor's decision not to investigate funding

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The provincial auditor has announced it will not perform an audit on the public-private Communities of Tomorrow partnership, after a coalition of Saskatchewan politicians requested an investigation into what happened to $34 million in funding.

Communities of Tomorrow was a research group formed in 2003 to provide leading edge research into community infrastructure needs. It produced several papers before disbanding in 2013.

The coalition of several Saskatchewan political entities, including the Green Party and Progress Party, were calling on the provincial auditor to investigate what happened to the funding, which was granted to the group more than two decades ago.

In a news release, the auditor’s office said their mandate “does not include assessing the appropriateness of government’s policy decisions, rather we focus on the government’s administration of public policy.”

“We do not see significant risks around public money being provided by the provincial government as a portion of the partnership back in 2003 and not being used for the purposes intended,” the news release read.

In response to the auditor’s announcement, the coalition said they were “bitterly disappointed” by the decision not to investigate.

The decision not to look into Communities of Tomorrow “means Saskatchewan taxpayers may never know how $34-million in public money was spent, and why nothing was ever done about old asbestos cement water pipes.”

“What could possibly be more important than reports saying the water pipes that people are using might cause cancer,” asked Saskatchewan Green Party Leader, Naomi Hunter.

Rose Buscholl, with the Progressive Conservative Party of Saskatchewan, said this is “an issue of transparency and accountability.”

“Taxpayers shelled out at least $34 million to find solutions, and all we got was a word salad,” she said.

- With files from Wayne Mantyka

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