The RCMP is looking into allegations that the Harper government embezzled $50 million from G8 Summit funding last year in Conservative MP Tony Clement’s riding. The criminal investigation comes on the heels of a sanitized auditor general’s report earlier this month, which concluded that the Stephen Harper’s government “did not clearly or transparently” explain how the money was going to be spent when it sought Parliament’s approval for a G8 legacy fund for Tony Clement’s riding.
The Conservatives have become the subject of a criminal investigation after revelations that much of the $50 million meant to spruce up the Huntsville location of the G8 summit went to projects that had nothing to do with the G8 venue.
Depicting a slush fund without using those words, the auditor-general report revealed the projects — more than 200 at first and whittled down to 32 — were hand-picked by a small team of insiders, led by Clement without the usual screening by federal officials. The funding went into one of the wealthiest ridings in the country, without receipts or oversight. The Auditor-General report uncovered that Clement – Harper’s industry minister at the time, the mayor of Huntsville and a local business person, according to the audit, embezzled funding. Embezzlement – To take (money, for example) for one’s own use in violation of a trust. Going to Parliament and requesting money for one purpose and using it for something else is a serious matter which deserves both parliamentary and judicial attention.
The investigation was launched by then Auditor-General Sheila Fraser’s who sought to make her findings public before the May 2, 2011 election whereby she concluded the Harper government willfully and intentionally “misinformed” Parliament about the G8 legacy fund and as such those involved have acted illegally. Harper knew that this report would cause irreparable damage to his campaign so he had a gag order imposed on the report until after the election. As well, two retired judges were gag ordered by Harper from releasing secret documents about prisoner transfers in Canada’s mission in Afghanistan until after the election. MPs had called for both the auditor general’s and the judges’ reports to be disclosed — despite the fact the election was ongoing. Auditor-General Shelia Fraser was prevented from making her report public even after the election as she was forced to retire on May 29, 2011 (for implicating Harper in yet another serious crime) and a sanitized version of her findings was made public on June 9, 2011 by Harper picked, Deputy auditor general John Wiersema.
In 2010 a Ms. Fraser audit uncovered massive cost overruns in the Harper government’s purchase of more than 40 military helicopters, findings the auditor-general said had implications for the government’s planned $16-billion procurement of F-35 fighter jets. Her investigation found the Department of National Defense (Peter McKay) had spent $11-billion on the helicopter purchases, double its original price tag. She lambasted the Harper government for sole-sourcing the contract and deliberately misleading the Treasury Board in 2006 about how much the purchases would cost.
Also in 2010 Parliamentarians bowed to Ms. Fraser’s demands to examine their office expenses to see if taxpayers were getting value for their money. The Harper government and most opposition parties caused a public furor when they criticized Ms. Fraser’s request and the Board of Internal Economy, a secretive committee that handles House of Commons expenses, suggested an audit of the legislature went beyond Ms. Fraser’s mandate. But after weeks of public protest, Parliament announced it would invite Ms. Fraser’s office to examine a “statistical sampling” (censored) of the office expenses for both senators and MPs. While Ms. Fraser promised not to name names in her audit, she said she would launch investigations into any questionable spending and refer more serious findings to the RCMP. The reports from both the House of Commons and the Senate is due this fall but now that Ms. Fraser is gone Canadians won’t see the report.
A separate auditor general report that examined overall spending for the G8 summit in Huntsville and the G20 in Toronto last summer revealed that the actual bill was $664 million. Stephen Harper asked for and received $1.1 billion in funds for the 2 summits. The RCMP should also be investigating Harper and his Conservative caucus for fraud as $436 million of the $1.1 billion is still unaccounted for. Any accountant can tell you that if you subtract $664 million from the amount Harper received $1.1 billion there is $436 million missing from the books. Of the $664 million actually spent on the summits the audit revealed that $510 million of that went to security. On April 1, 2011 the Ontario provincial police laid charges against one private security firm and many of its top executives hired by the Conservatives to do screening and metal detection at checkpoints during last summer’s G20 summit in Toronto.
Contemporary Security Canada (CSC) is accused of a string of provincial offenses under Ontario’s private security guard legislation, including three counts of offering services while not licensed, hiring an unlicensed guard at the G20 and G8 and two counts of failing to ensure proper uniforms. The charges stems from a controversial tendering of a $21-million contract for two weeks of work doing metal detection, spot checks and x-ray screening inside summit security zones.
The RCMP criminal investigation into the Harper government embezzlement of $50 million from G8 Summit funding last year in Tory Tony Clement’s riding last year was launched after a criminal complaint was filed by former Liberal MP Marlene Jennings. In an April 15 letter to the director of public prosecutions, which was forwarded to RCMP Commissioner William Elliott, Jennings said the Harper government may have willfully violated two appropriations acts and the Financial Administration Act. The acts stipulate that the government must disclose how it intends to spend the money when it seeks parliamentary approval for funding.
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