‘Rules were broken’ over G8/G20 summit spending: Auditor-General

‘Rules were broken’ over G8/G20 summit spending: Auditor-General

Postmedia News | Oct 6, 2011 9:08 AM ET | Last Updated: Oct 6, 2011 9:14 AM ET
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Blair Gable/Reuters

By Jason Fekete

OTTAWA — The federal Auditor-General ratcheted up his criticism Wednesday of the Harper government’s spending on the G8 and G20 summits, detailing serious concerns about broken rules, potentially misleading expenditure requests and ministers hand-picking projects to receive funding.

Speaking to the House of Commons public accounts committee about his spring report, interim Auditor-General John Wiersema scolded the Conservative government for a “one-of-a-kind” situation unlike anything he has ever seen in his 33 years working in the A-G’s office.

Wiersema repeated many of the concerns first raised in the A-G’s June report, but explained in much greater detail the problems his office uncovered with the government’s management and fiscal oversight of G8 and G20 spending.

 

The government rushed through spending on the June 2010 G8 and G20 summits without proper documentation or explanation to parliamentarians about how the cash would be spent, he said.

He said government ignored normal protocols when approving infrastructure projects for the G8 summit in the riding of Tory minister Tony Clement — now Treasury Board president — bypassing public servants who generally determine what projects receive funding.

“Rules were broken,” Wiersema told reporters following the committee meeting. “Lawyers could have an interesting debate as to whether any laws were broken.”

The interim A-G said he’s “very concerned” that no government documents exist to explain how the Conservatives selected 32 municipal projects in Clement’s Parry Sound-Muskoka riding that were included in a $50-million G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund.

“Supporting documentation is important for transparency and accountability,” he said.

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