OTTAWA— Liberals will seek when the House returns to have the all-party Government Operations committee conduct an immediate probe into the G8 Legacy Fund over whether the government misled Parliament, in authorizing funds for the projects, as well as the Auditor General’s office in conducting its audit of the program, said Liberal Treasury Board Critic John McCallum.
Mr. McCallum today released a letter addressed to the Chair of the Government Operations Committee asking that consideration of this investigation be the top priority when Parliament returns.
“It seems clear from the Auditor General’s report that the government misled Parliament when it scooped $50 million that Parliament had authorized for border infrastructure and instead funnelled it into pork barrel projects like far-flung gazebos and washrooms in Tony Clement’s riding,” said Mr. McCallum. “But now it appears that they went so far as to mislead the Auditor General’s office in its audit of the fund.”
McCallum noted that the Auditor General was told that departmental officials were not involved in application, review or selection of the projects that were funded, but municipal records show that departmental officials did attend local meetings about the fund.
“It appears that the Auditor General misinformed Parliament about the role of departmental officials because the government misinformed him,” said Mr. McCallum. “It seems more and more clear, that this whole scam was designed from start to finish to try to pull the wool over the eyes of both Parliament and the Auditor General.”
Mr. McCallum recalled that the Border Infrastructure Fund was used because the Conservatives knew there would be instant outrage if Minister Clement had sought proper authorization by Parliament for theses dubious pork-barrel projects, especially at a time of huge deficits. The fact that applications were, in an unprecedented way, sent through the Mr. Clement’s constituency office appears to have been a deliberate attempt to leave no paper trail for the Auditor General to find and blow the whistle on the whole scam.
“Canadians know that accountability has become a laugh line for the Conservative government, but they still rely on the integrity of the Auditor General to get straight answers,” concluded McCallum. “The committee must determine, as a top priority why the Auditor General can’t even get honest answers out of this government.”
The text of Mr. McCallum’s motions are available here: http://www.liberal.ca/files/2011/09/110913_McCallum_ENG.pdf