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Passion doesn’t run short in the Office of the Auditor General of Alberta...

A deep dedication toward making a difference in the community is a common quality among the individuals who work here.
Now, if you walk into Graeme Arklie’s office, you’ll immediately notice there’s another passion in his life that has a surprising connection to the legislative audit world. Graeme began his career with the OAG as a manager 20 years ago. His primary focus is financial statement audits, with projects that include Government Employee Pension Plans and the Workers’ Compensation Board. It’s a career that Graeme finds exceptionally rewarding, and a professional path that he’d been certain about pursuing since high school. Accounting was a topic that captivated Graeme’s interest at a time in his life when he was also in the high school band playing his choice instrument: the trombone.

The walls in Graeme’s office are decorated with an image of Art Kane’s celebrated jazz group portrait from 1958 in Harlem, and an iconic portrait of Dizzy Gillespie with a puffed-out cheek.

If you talk to Graeme about his love for jazz you’ll be greeted with an instant smile and stories of seeing his favourite trombonist, J. J. Johnson, play live. He may even tell you about one of his proudest moments, when he played alongside the celebrated trumpet player Clark Terry in 1996—a performance that was recorded and later played on CBC radio.

When looking at these iconic jazz images alongside the OAG files, you can’t help but wonder if there’s a correlation between music and accounting. To Graeme, there’s definitely a connection: “There are a lot of numbers in both worlds. You have to be good at counting to read music!” However, there’s also a deeper connection.

Currently, Graeme plays in the Gateway Big Band.Following a schedule much like the school year, a group of 17 musicians gather on Monday nights to create music together. The group includes individuals from diverse backgrounds: police officers, schoolteachers and physicians are just a few of the band mates that Graeme has the opportunity to play alongside. These are the people who share Graeme’s passion for jazz music, and they all come from different walks of life. These are also the people who are touched by the projects he works on at the OAG, and this realization made an impact on Graeme.

In Graeme's words...
“A lot of the people in my band would be affected by changes in pension plans, It shows just how connected my work with the OAG is to the people in my community, and how important our work at the OAG is.”

You can catch Graeme performing with the Gateway Big Band throughout the year.

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