By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday June 9, 2011
Tories brace, rivals mobilize after explosive draft AG report on G8
The opposition calls it explosive: a bombshell draft report by Canada’s auditor general, complete with charges of pork-barrel largesse, dubious government spending and a “misinformed” Parliament.
The Conservatives call it a dud.
Either way, the early draft of Sheila Fraser’s forthcoming report, a chapter of which was shown to The Canadian Press, promises to rattle podiums Tuesday when the televised leaders’ debates get underway.
Fraser’s confidential Jan. 13 draft, a chapter of which was seen by The Canadian Press, says the government misinformed Parliament to win approval for a $50-million G8 fund that lavished money on questionable projects in Industry Minister Tony Clement’s riding.
And it suggests the process by which the funding was approved may have been illegal.
Conservative cabinet minister John Baird insisted Monday that the final report differs from the draft — most notably in that it doesn’t say the government “misinformed” Parliament.
“The report has changed considerably,” said Baird, who as infrastructure minister would have been privy to subsequent drafts of the report, but not the final version.
Fraser analyzed the $1-billion cost of last June’s G8 summit in Ontario cottage country and subsequent gathering of G20 leaders in downtown Toronto and was to have tabled a final report in Parliament on April 5.
The report was put on ice when Conservative leader Stephen Harper’s government was defeated, and now won’t be released until sometime after the May 2 election. (Source: CityNews)