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ACTION ALERT: Demand that the G8 spending report be released immediately

CBC reports, “The Canadian Press reported Monday the Conservative government allegedly misinformed Parliament to win approval for a $50-million G8 fund that lavished money on dubious projects in Conservative (Tony Clement’s Parry Sound-Muskoka) riding. A chapter of a January 13 draft report…said Auditor General Sheila Fraser suggests the process may have been illegal.” The $50 million came from a requested $83 million fund to alleviate border congestion (about 350 kilometres away from Huntsville), something the government never told Parliament.

All parties have publicly said they support the release of the document. Conservative candidate John Baird says, “We are very comfortable to ask for the report to be made public…” The article notes, “Baird…told reporters on Monday that statements such as ‘Parliament was misinformed’ do not appear in a later draft of the auditor general’s report, which he said he had seen. …But CBC News has learned that while the reference to misleading of Parliament was removed, the changes in the final report were not substantial.” Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff says, “Mr. Harper has no choice, he has to release this report today and he has got to explain to Canadians how he could have so scandalously abused public money, and so scandalously misled Parliament and so scandalously disobeyed the law.” NDP leader Jack Layton says, “They don’t like to release information about what they do (but they must).” The CBC report also notes, “(Bloc Quebecois leader Gilles) Duceppe told reporters…he also wants the report released before the leaders’ debate…”

And yet Auditor General Sheila Fraser says, “Under the Auditor General Act, we can only present reports when Parliament is sitting. The Office of the Audit General of Canada remains the custodian of its reports until they are presented to the Speaker of the House of Commons for tabling.”

But the Globe and Mail editorial board writes this morning, “In the interests of the electorate and the Parliament to which the Auditor-General is accountable, the final report must be released, immediately. …Parliament itself has been dissolved for the election. And so Sheila Fraser, the Auditor-General, says, with considerable justification, that she cannot release the report until Parliament reconvenes. In almost any other circumstance, that process ought to be respected. …(But) the urgency is great. With the leaders’ debates being held tonight and tomorrow night, the air must be cleared. Insinuations about what might or might not be in the Auditor-General’s report cannot be allowed to foul the debate. …Parliamentary scholar Ned Franks said that Peter Milliken, who still holds the office of Speaker of the House of Commons, could be urged, on unanimous agreement of the parties, to release the report if it was provided to him by the Auditor-General.”

TAKE ACTION: Demand that the G8 spending report be released immediately. Send your message – voters need to know – to the party leaders, the Speaker and the Auditor General at – Harper.S@parl.gc.ca, Ignatieff.M@parl.gc.ca, Layton.J@parl.gc.ca, Duceppe.G@parl.gc.ca, Milliken.P@parl.gc.ca, communications@oag-bvg.gc.ca.