Thursday, November 24, 2011
Tony Clement And The G8 Boondoggle. November 24. But BC Mary asks: how do we understand BC Rail by these rules?
By Robin Mathews
November 24, 2011.
Treasury Board president Tony Clement stands by the answers he gave to a parliamentary committee about the $50 million G8 slush fund apparently concocted by himself and (then) minister of transportation and infrastructure John Baird. The money was spent in Clement’s Muskoka-Parry Sound constituency at the time of the G8/G20 meetings (June 2010).
The role of Stephen Harper in what many believe was the misallocation of funds and the attempt to disguise the misallocation is by no means clear. What did he know of the undertaking?
Called the G8 legacy fund, the $50 million was used to make signs, to erect public washrooms, for sidewalks and prettyfied streets, for a gazebo, and for the expansion of an existing community centre that cost $16.7 million. Some of the gingerbreading happened miles from any G8 activity.
NDP critics Charlie Angus and Alexandre Boulerice make claims that, if true, should blow a hole in the Stephen Harper cabinet.
The critics say Clement misled the parliamentary committee on several points.
The first: Clement told the committee that proposals for (242) projects were whittled down by the municipalities themselves and that he had no role. The NDP critics allege that documents reveal Clement’s office was involved.
The second: The critics allege Clement reported that 33 projects were suggested and one was withdrawn by the municipality independently. They claim to have an e-mail showing Clement’s office advised the municipality not to submit the suggestion.
The third: Clement, minister for the regional economic development agency FedNor, stated that his officials were not involved, but his critics allege Clement’s office was involved in sending documents to FedNor.
In essence, Tony Clement argues that he made no decisions and that he didn’t influence decisions. How that could be? He was the incumbent MP for the riding and admits that he “had a recommendation role as a local member of parliament”.
The critics have asked Tony Clement to table documents the NDP is seeking that relate to the transactions involved in the $50 million slush fund. Clement avoids the question. So far he has not released the documents.
Strangely, Tony Clement argues that he had no “determinative” role in the decisions to spend in his constituency, but that the minister of transportation and infrastructure, John Baird, made all the decisions about how the slush fund would be spent.
Tony Clement admitted that the auditor general (then Sheila Fraser) found the $50 million was ear-marked for use related to Customs and border infrastructure, and that it was removed from that allocation without informing Parliament. The auditor general also stated that the awarding of the 32 projects in Tony Clement’s riding were made without adequate reporting.
MPs Charlie Angus and Alexandre Boulerice also allege the possibility of tampering with the integrity of Hansard, the parliamentary textual reproduction of words spoken in parliament and parliamentary committee. They want to know if Tony Clement deleted (or had others delete) from that record the fact (they claim) that he agreed to produce documents he will not produce.
In response to the allegations by the two NDP MPs, John Baird – minister of foreign affairs – made his, by now, stock kind of denial.
He spoke through his press secretary Joseph Lavoie. Lavoie said that “the NDP have not provided any new facts to prove their misleading attacks.” If what the NDP alleges most recently are “old facts”, they nonetheless suggest Tony Clement, president of the treasury board, misled a parliamentary committee, and – apparently – did so on purpose. The language used is careful. Critics in Parliament don’t say ‘X lied outright to save his skin’. They say ‘X misled ….’
Baird’s spokesperson also said that the “matter has been thoroughly aired by the [auditor general] and the RCMP”. The auditor general, we remember, at first made some very strong allegations of what may fairly be called wrong-doing in a leaked draft of her Report. The subsequent announcement that the allegations of wrong-doing were being trimmed back was not made by Sheila Fraser but by John Baird.
That was a very strange sequence of events.
The statement by Baird’s spokesperson that the RCMP “thoroughly aired” the matter is almost meaningless. Unfortunately, Canadians cannot place faith in the work of the RCMP. The nearest three RCMP Commissioners have emptied the Force of credibility. Guiliano Zaccardelli was removed in disgrace over his answers dealing with Maher Arar. Then (political appointee) William Elliott was removed for what was, apparently, boorish, insulting inability to administer and enormous “goofs”, such as phoning the B.C. RCMP officers involved in the death of Robert Dziekanski and “sympathizing” with them hours after the event.
Finally, the present RCMP Commissioner, Bob Paulson, was promoted to Deputy Commissioner by Commissioner William Elliott (just removed from the position for being administratively inept). Paulson was not among the officers who complained of Elliott’s unsuitability as Commissioner. And he was found pleasing enough to Stephen Harper to be appointed by him.
Has the present RCMP investigated the G8 Scandal to the satisfaction of Canadians? We have no reason to believe that it has.
The response from John Baird’s office only raises the level of stench in the matter.
Two M.P's in England were imprisoned for theft and corruption.
Two Lords from the House of Lords are doing time for corruption and thieving. Politicians in Britain are not permitted to thieve from, and lie to the people.
In Canada, Harper rewards corrupt, thieving, lying and cheating politicians. His own tough on crime, does not apply to him and his stealing, corrupt Conservatives, nor to Gordon Campbell's theft and corrupt sale of our BCR. What a stupid farce his trial was. Harper and Campbell forcing the HST onto the citizens, with no representation, fits their corrupt souls, to a T.
I know England has been apprised of, Harper having a many times convicted American felon working for him. He and Campbell's dirty, shady political records, are sent everyday.
We have to remember Harper saying, "I am the government". "I make the rules". "I am the law". A fascist dictatorship anyone? Harper has a damned, bad shady political past.
I read auditors, have very little power. Politicians thumb their noses at the auditors, and keep ona lying, stealing and a cheatin.
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