09/28/2011 02:29 EDT | Updated 11/28/2011 05:12 EST

Michael Ferguson Named Auditor-General Of Canada, Replaces Sheila Fraser: Report


OTTAWA - Like his predecessor Sheila Fraser, the man apparently tapped to be Canada's next auditor general has a reputation as a no-nonsense guardian of the public purse.

Mike Ferguson did not mince words during his tenure as New Brunswick's auditor general. Now the question is, will he be as blunt with Stephen Harper's Conservative government?

His track record suggests so.

As the maritime province's financial watchdog, Ferguson took the government to task over everything from the mismanagement and shabby accounting at a credit union, to fudged books at the province's electrical utility.

He has also raised questions about the bonus payment structure of provincial pension managers, and warned that New Brunswick's finances were not sustainable after racking up a series of massive deficits.

For now, Ferguson is keeping quiet.

On Wednesday, CBC reported that Ferguson has been named Canada's next auditor general.

The network reported he'll replace John Wiersema, who has been acting auditor general since Fraser's politically charged, 10-year term ended last spring.

Ferguson did not immediately return a call or an email. A spokesman for the province's finance department told The Canadian Press that Ferguson has no comment at this time.

The Prime Minister's Office is also refusing to confirm the appointment.

"An announcement will be made in due course," spokesman Andrew MacDougall said in an email.

Ferguson comes to the $322,900-a-year auditor general's job after a long career in the New Brunswick civil service.

He joined the provincial government in 1985 and was named the province's deputy finance minister last year. He has also served as the provincial comptroller and auditor general.

Like Fraser, Ferguson is a chartered accountant.

He received his bachelor of business administration from the University of New Brunswick in 1980 and earned his chartered accountant designation in 1984.

Ferguson was later president of New Brunswick Institute of Chartered Accountants.

He has big shoes to fill.

The bespectacled, blunt-speaking Fraser is legendary for blowing the lid off the sponsorship scandal under the Chretien Liberals, famously stating in 2002 that civil servants "broke just about every rule in the book."