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NEWS: RCMP investigating if three Acts violated with G8 spending in Huntsville

The Montreal Gazette reports this hour, “The RCMP has confirmed it is looking into allegations the Harper government misappropriated funds involved with last year’s G8 summit in Ontario. Sgt. Greg Cox said Tuesday the investigation was underway… As news of the RCMP probe surfaced Tuesday, Opposition MPs went after Clement, peppering the government with questions about the investigation. The NDP repeatedly asked the government whether Clement would provide an answer to spending questions, and whether he would co-operate with the investigation.”

CTV adds, “The investigation began after former Liberal MP Marlene Jennings issued a formal complaint. Jennings told The Canadian Press she spent an hour speaking about the allegations with three RCMP officers last week. …In the complaint, Jennings said that the government may have willfully ignored the Financial Administration Act and two appropriations acts. The tone of those acts is that the government must disclose how federal funds will be spent when seeking approval from Parliament.”

The Canadian Press reported on June 9 that, “The (Auditor General’s) report details how, in November 2009, the government tabled supplementary estimates in which it asked Parliament to approve $83 million for a border infrastructure fund aimed at reducing congestion at border crossings. Parliament was not told that $50 million of that money was to be devoted to infrastructure projects hundreds of kilometres from the Canada-U.S. border — in Treasury Board President Tony Clement’s Parry Sound-Muskoka riding. …(The) auditors were unable to find any documentation about how projects were selected or even why the government settled on $50 million for Parry Sound-Muskoka when cities that have hosted previous summits received no more than $5 million.”

During the last federal election, the Council of Canadians demanded that then-Auditor-General Sheila Fraser find a way to make this report public so that voters could make an informed choice on May 2. We have also consistently argued that the proper forum for global gatherings is the United Nations, where 192 countries are represented, and not in these types of summits with small clusters of 8 or 20 self-selected leaders. We have stated that the estimated $860 million spent on the weekend summits (an incredible $833,000. a minute, according to an official in the Prime Minister’s Office) was money wasted. We believe that those millions of dollars would have been better spent on more support for maternal health, or on access to clean drinking water, or on actions to counter or mitigate climate change. When Canadians were asked last June about the billion dollar price tag for the summits, 78 percent said the cost was unjustified.