General

Clement and Baird defend G8 spending

Rule bent in the interest of "efficiency," committee told

Treasury Board President Tony Clement and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said they acted in the interest of “efficiency” while managing funds for the G8 legacy fund, the Globe and Mail reports. In his testimony before the House of Commons public accounts committee on Wednesday, Clement said municipal officials in his Muskoka riding used his constituency office to sort out requests for funding, because this would speed up the selection process. Eventually, of the 33 projects that were sent to Infrastructure Canada for review, 32 were approved. Baird, who was infrastructure minister at the time, said he used the border infrastructure fund to pay for the project because those funds could be accessed quickly. “It was merely a delivery mechanism,” he told MPs. Last spring, Auditor-General Sheila Fraser found that the Conservative government broke the rules when it used the border money in Clement’s riding. John Wiersma, who replaced Fraser on an interim basis, warned that further audits are impossible because of a lack of paper trail. The NDP allege that the legacy fund was used to boost Clement’s chances in the 2008 election, after he won the Muskoka riding by a mere 28 votes in 2006.

The Globe and Mail

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