Friday, June 10, 2011

We Don't Want an Apology From Tony Clement. We Want an Investigation.

Embezzlement - To take (money, for example) for one's own use in violation of a trust.

Fraud - deceit, trickery, sharp practice, or breach of confidence, perpetrated for profit or to gain some unfair or dishonest advantage.

I watched the news coverage last night on the G-8 spending in Tony Clement's riding. John Wiersema, the acting auditor general, who has worked in the department for 33 years, claimed that he had never seen anything like this.

The Conservatives misappropriated funds and used those funds on cosmetic surgery.

Bike racks, carvings and lighthouses on stumps. All going into one of the wealthiest ridings in the country, without receipts or oversight.

I then watched as NDP Charlie Angus, asked Tony Clement to apologize.

Are you kidding me? Apologize for the theft of almost $50 million dollars? If this had been in the private sector, Clement would not only lose his job, but could also be facing jail time.

What happens if the government steals $100 million? Will they have to write lines?
I will not get caught, I will not get caught, I will not get caught ...
This is fraud boys and girls and demands an investigation. Who got what and how did they spend it? I looked at the crap sprinkled around his riding, and there's no way they can account for $50 million. No way on earth.

This is not just about pork barrelling. This is about missing funds. Our funds. We demand more than a damned apology.

It was nice that in the debate, Thomas Mulcair brought up the Sponsorship scandal. I see the NDP are picking up where they left off, allowing the Conservatives explain away every misdeed, because apparently the Liberals did it first.

Grow up.

I've been doing a lot of research into the sponsorship scandal, that involved no elected officials, unlike this one. I think I'm going to have to publish some of it, because that scandal started with Conservative Brian Mulroney.

However, Mulcair is only further turning people off politics. What must the young people in his caucus think? This is a lot of money and it must be taken seriously.

And yet what do we get from the Conservatives?

John Baird accusing the opposition of engaging in uncivil behaviour, and Stephen Harper arrogantly claiming that they used more misappropriated funds, if Bob Rae had only done his homework.

Openly admitting to being crooked, knowing that they were going to get away with it.


Where is the right-wing noise machine? In 1995 the Canadian Taxpayers Federation were all over the sprucing up of Nova Scotia for the impending G-7 summit.
The federal government was wrong to put next month's G-7 summit in Halifax because the city needs too many government-funded fixups, says a national taxpayers' lobby group. The heads of the leading industrialized nations meet in the Nova Scotia capital June 15-17 and the federal, provincial and local governments are spending $8.1 million to spruce it up.

The federal government "should have chosen a location which wouldn't cost that kind of money ... There are conference facilities available, I'm sure, in that part of the world as well as across Canada that could have hosted an event like this without spending several million dollars to upgrade them."
(Halifax wrong choice for G-7, By Steve Lambert, Canadian Press Newswire, April 30 1995)
And who was this tax dollar watchdog, quoted in the article?
...said Jason Kenney, spokesman for the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, a watchdog group promoting cuts in taxes and government spending.


  1. If there are still any sketics out there with respect to this matter, which I think would be hard to believe, keep this in mind. Last month France held their G20 at a cost of $29 million, while ours last June cost us $644 million thanks to the 'good government' of the HarperCONS.

  2. What is really upsetting me right now is how the media is not reporting on the costs of France's G8 and G20 hosting duties. (or have I missed it?) France is full of protestors (every day, someone is out on strike and marching about something), but there were no astronomical hosting costs. No fake lakes, no double (triple?) overtime for overzealous police (anybody make the link between the sheer numbers of police with nothing to do and the policy brutality which took place?). The G20 hasn't been held yet, but the G8 was very low key.

    A comparison between Canada and France would show the enormity of Harper's spending on the summit, and would provide a pointed contrast of just how far out of line his spending was.

    And thank you Emily for tackling Sponsorship head-on. Sponsorship was about lax bureaucratic oversight. This is what happens when the bureaucratic process Canadians love to complain about is not in place. The Sponsorship Scandal is the classic example of what happens when you short-circuit the bureaucratic process, do not have enough bureaucrats in place following proper procedure.

    What happened with the G8 and G20 is nothing like that -- it is deliberate theft of tax payer dollars for the gain of the Con Party. it is deliberate lying to Parliament (which is Contempt of Parliament).

    I am disgusted by the NDP. Can't stand Thomas Muclair, and the only one I respect at this point is Paul Dewar.

    The term in the report is very mealy-mouthed:

    "In addition, the harshest language in the first draft – that the government “misinformed” Parliament and that obtaining approval for funds under the guise of a border initiative might have been illegal – did not make it into either the second draft that was circulated inside government, nor the final version.

    Mr. Wiersema said the final version is the only one that counts. He added the audit found no evidence the government deliberately misled Parliament. “The evidence that we saw suggests that this was done for a matter of expediency,” he said."

    Oh baloney. How can they seriously claim that pork barrel projects in Muskoka (purportedly for the G8) have anything to do with border security? Muskoka isn't anywhere near the border. It had nothing to do with expediency, and everything to do with misleading Parliament into approving funds for something they would never have knowingly approved.

    And yet again, there's no scandal... just washed off the front pages...

  3. Bicycle racks are infrastructure components, and not a cosmetic frivolity. I agree with the rest of your article, though.

    Bicyclists account for 8% of the population, and we pay the same taxes as everybody else. If 1% of our car infrastructure money was spent on bicycling infrastructure, our injury and fatality rates would drop dramatically.

  4. @John -- where'd you find the numbers? I've been checking for a story in the mainstream media, but nothing...

    One correction though -- only the G-8 has been held so far (May 26th-27th in Deauville); the G-20 isn't until november 3rd-4th in Cannes.

    I wish there were more about this in the Canadian media... It wasn't just an obscene waste of money and appalling violation of rights and example of heavy-handed policing; the Harper Government, in the way it hosted this event, made Canada look foolish on the international stage. No other country spends such exorbitant sums on "fluffing" before a visit. By definition, a G-8 country shouldn't need to. France sure as heck didn't. But Harper finds Canada so deficient and lacking he has to spend hundreds of millions prettying it up? How gauche and sad and pathetic it makes Canada seem...

  5. Laura,
    I stand corrected, it was the G8 and not the G20.

    To answer your question I believe it was Terry Milewski on CBC News who reported on this with respect to the figures I quoted.

    The real sadness is with Harper's majority comes total control and zero accountability. We are about to live through some scary times and I fear for my country, as I believe it will be transformed into a miniture version of what the states are i.e. a nation in decline... nothing more than 'wage and debt' slaves for corporatocracy.

    As Brigette DePape has said, we need an 'Arab Spring' here more so than most people realize. In fact, she even goes further and says most nations around the world need one. I agree!

  6. Another excellent post Emily. I share your outrage. But I have to point out one thing. You say that in the private sector someone would be fired or facing jail time, but after reading David Olive in the Star this morning, I doubt that it will even happen in the private sector to any great extent. Especially since the Harper government intends to take us down the same path as the United States with the steady erosion of our regulatory systems.
    “One of the most galling aspects of the financial crisis is that so much of the behaviour that precipitated it was explicitly legal,” writes Salon financial analyst Andrew Leonard. [Leonard’s emphasis.] “The crooks rigged the system so that they weren’t, technically speaking, crooks.”

    To me it's all part of the corruption that is tainting our governments. Harper maintains that fraud is simply a matter of 'adjustment' or administrative errors. I'm sure they will be working on all kinds of loopholes that they can slither through.

  7. Correction... Parry Sound-Muskoka is actually one of the poorest ridings in the country. When you look at the people who live here year round (like me) 40% of the families here earn less than $30,000 per year. What makes me mad about this spending spree is that Tony blew the wad on stupid shit, like gazebos and shrubs. This riding desperately needs affordable housing, and infrastructural like high speed internet (yes Nunuvat has it, but there are many parts of Parry Sound-Muskoka that don't).
    It will be a cold day in hell when Muskoka sees another red cent from the feds, and Tony is to blame. And we have the stupid G8 memorials, like the red pavement stripes in Bracebridge, to remember it by!!