Monday, September 6, 2010

Sun Media's Attacks on Sheila Fraser May Now Have Relevance

Last month our local paper, part of the Sun Media chain, ran on the front page of their National section, a story attacking our Attorney General, Sheila Fraser, and her office's spending. This was complimented with a political cartoon.

It all appeared to be a little odd. Where were these stories coming from and why now?

It may have something to do with her recent report on the stimulus spending.
The possible fly in the ointment for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's fall schedule is already in the hands of his government—a potentially explosive report from Auditor General Sheila Fraser on billions of dollars in stimulus spending under the government's Economic Action Plan.

A spokesman for Ms. Fraser confirmed to The Hill Times that findings of the audit, along with audits on a total of 13 other areas that could also provide the opposition with ammunition in Parliament, have been sent to the respective departments under a tight cloak of secrecy for their review, fact verification and possible discussion with Cabinet ministers.
No doubt the report will cover self-promotion advertising, pork-barrelling and the effectiveness of the entire program.
A data-extraction analysis by Ottawa Citizen reporter Glen McGregor and Halifax Chronicle-Herald reporter Stephen Maher last October found that 57 per cent of the stimulus money the government had committed for large projects to that point went to ridings held by Conservative Party of Canada MPs. Their report said the difference then between government and opposition ridings was most pronounced in Quebec, where Conservative ridings received 22 per cent of large projects even though the party holds only 13 per cent of ridings. Liberal districts received only 10 per cent of large projects though they hold 19 per cent of seats in Quebec.

... Mr. [John] McCallum [Liberal MP, Markham-Unionville, Ont] said political favouritism is only one aspect he and his party expect Ms. Fraser may have investigated. He recalled the controversy over millions of dollars the government spent promoting the program—at least $34-million—and allegations that the advertising was a thinly disguised promotion of the Conservative party rather than a useful guide for citizen and business participation. At one point, the government was pressured into withdrawing more than 30 photos of Prime Minister Harper from the Economic Action Plan website. The government was discovered spending $46,000 to turn two commuter train cars in Toronto into rolling billboards for the action plan, in the midst of the H1N1 pandemic scare, and the government spent $108,000 on an action plan reporting event on the plan's progress that, critics said, looked more like an election campaign rally.
If only Harper had his Fox News North up and running. They would have spent weeks destroying the reputation of Sheila Fraser. Biff Buffoon would have encouraged rallies for her removal and called on God to strike her down, while Janie Saber would have gone through her garbage and published receipts for Starbucks coffee. Clearly she's a Liberal.

Then by the time the report was released, it would have no credibility, having been written by a woman who belongs in a home.

I can hardly wait.

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