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‘The funding request was not made in a transparent manner’

The Auditor General’s Spring and June status reports have now been released


 

The Auditor General’s Spring and June status reports have now been released. The G8 Legacy Fund is covered in chapter two of the former.

In our view, the manner in which the G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund was presented did not make clear to Parliament the full nature of the request. By including the request under the item “Funding for the Border Infrastructure Fund relating to investments in infrastructure to reduce border congestion,” the government did not clearly or transparently identify the nature of the request for funding—that is, G8 infrastructure project spending.

We could not conclude on project selection because documentation was not available to show how projects were chosen.

Early reviews are in from the Canadian Press, Globe, Star, Postmedia and CBC.


 

‘The funding request was not made in a transparent manner’

  1. Pork barrelling extraordinaire!

  2. Time will tell if this is an issue.

    • Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but it sounds like you’re saying, “So long as nobody gets upset about this, we can sweep it under the carpet..”

      • You are not being cynical – I am being cynical. After the last 20 years, it isn’t surprising – almost the norm now.  I am just saying that it will fade, and that will be that.

        The only upside was the money wasn’t stolen – just spent in a pork-barreling manner. I would be a bit more upset about theft.

        • I applaud your forgiving nature.

          • More cynical and realistic than forgiving.

        • So we’re sure we’ve got value for money?

          • I would imagine that we got the same value that we get for any public work project.

          • Really? It seems that some public works projects have pretty clear value, say repairs to crumbling bridges, water systems for northern towns… heck, I’ll even credit some merit to Stephen Harper’s national rink-building.

            How do you lump those projects in with Tony Clement’s pork-barreling? Does a $100,000 gazebo in the middle of nowhere offer the same benefit as repairing a heavily-trafficked bridge in the middle of Montreal?

          • TJ, I can’t reply to your comment – no button.

            First of all, by value I meant value for the dollar. I am sure the projects got the same value for the dollar that any other gov’t bid gets. Probably a little inflated.

            Second, I will be the first to say that the gov’t should not be spending on things like gazebos. Are you sure it was in the middle of nowhere, or are you exaggerating? The fact is, though, that gov’t has, and will continue (sadly) to fund projects like this. I would even go so far as to ask why gov’t buildings, schools, courthouses, etc. have to have such expensive architectural designs to them. Make them ugly and cheap. There are others, though, who think that ‘beautifying’ the country is a part of a gov’ts job. Spending on arts, museums, and all these things add almost no value. WE should stick to bridges and the like. Take your bridge for instance. That could be built for X dollars, or for X+Y dollars if you want it to look good. I won’t win this debate, though, because too many people live off this type of gov’t largess.

            I am a little concerned, though, about your comment regarding the middle of nowhere, vs Montreal with lots of people. Forget the gazebo aspect for a moment. Are you trying to allude that the money should only be spent where many people can benefit? money to the cities and screw the rest of the country kind of thing? I might be off here, so forgive me if I am, but that is kind of how it comes across. I am sure there is a gov’t funded ‘gazebo’ type of thing in Montreal. Is that a waste?

    • It’s not so much an ‘issue’ as it is a direction. Downhill.

      • I agree, and it has been going on for many, many years. We just have better communication now.

        To be blunt, though, pork-barreling has been going on in Federal and Provincial politics forever. The one who ‘brings home the bacon’ always seems to get re-elected.

        • Yes, and we need to stop doing this vote-buying…it skews the whole economy.

          • I agree, and would love to know how.

            I was actually just thinking that the opposite happens as well. As much as Harper wants to make inroads into Quebec, spending in a specific riding, who didn’t vote CPC, would be counter productive. It would make more sense to hold off on projects, and then ‘reward’ the riding if/when they vote for the gov’t. I know it sounds bad, but it is good politics.

            Again, love to know how to stop it, because I think anyone in the position to make the decisions would see things exactly the same way.

          • I think we have to differentiate between things that would be good for one riding….and things that would be good for the whole country.

            For example…at random….Sydney Steel was kept going years beyond it’s natural end….it bought votes, and was really welfare-in-disguise. This should stop.

            Something like high-speed rail, a working electrical grid and so on that are beyond the means of private investment, yet good for the whole country…that should be what govt should put money into.

  3. Liberal Party of Canada

    Conservative Party of Canada

    Absolutely.

    No.

    Difference.

    Period.

    • I don’t know that Harper will mandate a commission of enquiry to look into this.  That’s a difference.  Jean Chrétien – Stephen Harper – Abolutely – No difference might be closer.

      • There is a difference.

        This was ‘funding request not made in a transparent manner’.
        The liberals funneled money/contracts to specific people. The backdoor deals can be imagined (I think some came to light).
        Right there, there is a difference.
        Martin only called the inquiry because he had to. Also, it was attempt to push all the blame onto Chretien, while hopefully leaving the LPC, and Martin to look like hero’s. Nobody fell for it, and they are still paying the price.
        Again, big difference. I am not defending ‘pork-barreling’, but I sure won’t defend theft.

        • What if Martin called the inquiry because he thought it was the right thing to do. Would this alter your opinion in the slightest?

          •  Of course that would alter my opinion.

            It would take a lot to prove that to me, though. He was the finance minister, and a ‘head honcho’ in the LPC. I would have a hard time believing that he didn’t at least know about it.

          • Of course your logic points to the most obvious answer. I too had a very hard time believing he knew nothing. 

          • You said ‘had’; do you now believe that Marin knew nothing? If so, what on earth convinced you?

        • My understanding of adscam seems very different from yours. Based on my experience in the federal government and based on Gomery’s report, what happened was actually an interesting lesson in bureacracy.

          Chretien believed we were at the time mere months away from losing the Quebec referendum. So he created a special program that didn’t answer to the normal auditing chain in order to quickly fund a mass pro-Canada ad campaign in Quebec.

          The problem arose when a number of unscrupulous characters realized that they could hide huge cash grabs in the paperwork since the auditors would have to go to special lengths to find it.

          The scam itself was mostly the work of a handful of people who were not sanctioned by the party. I don’t honestly believe this was a pre-meditated problem. I believe Chretien when he says that he didn’t mean for it to happen. 

          He’s just an idiot for not realizing it and not stopping it.

          I especially believe Martin when he says he didn’t know about it, because the normal financial chain was circumvented. It was fairly well hidden.

          Like all governments that rule too long, they eventually start to rot as the greedy and insipid work their way in. It was time for the Liberals to go, simple as that.

          That doesn’t reflect however on all or even most Liberals, IMO.

          The real problem now, from my perspective, is that the CPC is already starting to rot, but there’s no viable alternative, so their largesse is only bound to get worse.

          It’s one thing to stupidly create a program in which you allow the coffers to be raided of millions of dollars. You should burn for that, and they did.

          It’s another thing entirely that this government can spend BILLIONS without any reasonable scrutiny at all. I consider that much worse in its impact, and so far as I can tell, no one gives a flying load at all.

          It’s like we’ve lost the ability to care.

          • create a program where the money is stolen vs. spent the money with little transparency. Big difference.

            Billions?

            Of course we all care, but we can also realize that it probably won’t change, it is the nature of the beast.

          • Both amount to money stolen, the first unintentional, the second totally intentional, so the difference is huge, and by orders of magnitude.

            Rightfully, people turned on the Liberals, including long time Liberals, but here we are in what I consider a worse situation from a democracy/accountability perspective and Harper’s support has never been higher.

            It’s so completely irrational I can’t fathom it.

            I’ve always been a swing voter between PC and LPC, but now I feel like there is no one to vote for who wouldn’t leave disaster in their wake.

          • Phil, I don’t have a ‘reply’ button for your comment. Odd.

            I think the reason you think this is irrational is because you are misinterpreting the story. The AG never said any money was stolen. He has accounted for every penny. When he says there is no paper trail, he is talking about the ‘vetting’ of projects, not the money spent. He didn’t even allude to money being stolen.

            If you only read the articles on this, you get the reporters spin. Aaron is the worst for this. If you listen to his whole speech, you get the whole picture.

            So to be quite blunt, you commenting that there was money ‘stolen’, and that this is much worse than adscam, adds to the misinformation.

    • While I won’t defend the lack of transparency, I do think the acts are not equally bad. Theft from taxpayers is a little different than a lack of transparency.

      Also, this tidbit isn’t getting as much press, I would imagine:

      ” In all, government spending came in much lower than initially
      projected. Parliament approved a total of $1.1 billion in funding for
      last summer’s G8/G20 summits, but total costs came in at $664 million.”

      I would expect that the LPC would have spent it all, and maybe more.

      • Well, Tony’s money came out of Infrastructure – that’s just one example – no wonder the costs appear lower.  What else did they run under another department?  This is sleazy bookeeping.

        • That’s not how I read the story.

      • Should the government be proud that it only spent $510 million on security instead of the $900 million it thought might be necessary?

        It shows terrible budgeting skills to be off by 40%. As well, $510 million is more than 10 times what was spent for security at the London and Pittsburg G20 summits in 2009-2010.
        It gets me that $664 million spent on the summits: $510 for security, $45 million for Gazebos, $109 million other.

        • Actually, the IAG actually states that he believes it was done for reasons of expediency. He also stated that the departments involved had very little time to plan for it. That is what he says accounts for the underspend.

          • So in preparing the budget they said we should be able to do this for less than 30X comparable events. Security costs were only 17X higher than the recent London G20. So we should be happy that they were underbudget????

          • To be quite blunt, that might be comparing apples to oranges. I have no idea what the security concerns were for the London or our meetings. I doubt that the security personnel were overpaid.

            I would expect that with each summit, and the protests that follow, the costs will continue to go up.

  4. The method was clear:  Harper asked “Who wants a piece?”.  Clement answered first.

  5. Conservative values meet Oprah values:

    And your Conservative riding can have tangible benefits! And your Conservative riding can have tangible benefits! And your Conservative riding can have tangible…

  6. Y’know, A well-run conservative, fiscally responsible government with a near record sized cabinet really doesn’t need an auditor-general.

    Off with his head!

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