Prentice refuses to answer questions on defying independent committee

Alberta Premier Jim Prentice is refusing to say why he publicly defied an independent legislature committee over the issue funding for the auditor general.

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Jim Prentice is refusing to say why he publicly defied an independent legislature committee over the issue funding for the auditor general.

Prentice sparred with reporters at a legislature news conference, saying the issue is not about his actions but rather the budget of the auditor general.

Last week Prentice announced he would not implement the decision of an independent all-party committee that returned more than half a million dollars in funding to the auditor general’s office.

He said that with low oil prices, he would not make room in the budget for the extra cash, and Finance Minister Robin Campbell said the committee would have to meet again to reverse its vote.

On Tuesday, the committee, which is dominated by government Progressive Conservatives, met and rescinded the money.

Opposition politicians say the move sets a dangerous precedent on legislative checks and balances.