DUniv. 2001

Honorary Doctorate Recipient


Denis Desautels' approach to problem-solving has marked him as one of the great auditors general in Canada's history. He took the government to task over its methods of managing the national debt, hectored the minister of finance about being more transparent and forced many government departments to be more accountable. Known as a man who gets right to the root of the problem, Desautels has been nicknamed "super cop of the deficit" and "the most feared man in Ottawa."

As well as his extensive involvement with a variety of government committees, Desautels has ventured far afield to investigate what the public service is doing abroad, visiting a Zimbabwe centre for terminal AIDS patients, a literacy class for mothers in Pakistan. He has also looked at Canada's federal penitentiaries, asking inmates what they think of reintegration programs. Desautels has achieved what many considered impossible: he has made the machinery of government run more smoothly.

Born in Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville, he graduated with a commerce degree from McGill University and worked at Clarkson Gordon (now Caron Bélanger Ernst & Young). Before assuming the post of auditor general of Canada, he served as a consultant to Quebec's auditor general, the Parizeau Commission on the future of Quebec municipalities and the Lortie Commission on Electoral Reform and Party Financing.

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