Monday, August 15, 2011

Early evening accountability watch

The Mounties have dropped their preliminary probe of a former Tory aide who was cited for political interference in an access-to-information request.

An RCMP spokeswoman said Monday there will be no further investigation into Sebastien Togneri, who ordered an internal Public Works document withheld after it was ready to be sent to The Canadian Press.

"It was determined that a criminal investigation into this matter was unwarranted," said Const. Suzanne Lefort. She declined to comment further on the decision by the force's "A" Division, which launched the initial inquiry in March.

Canada's information commissioner ruled earlier this year that Togneri clearly interfered with the Access to Information Act request when he had no legal authority to do so.

Internal emails showed that Togneri, a political aide to then Public Works minister Christian Paradis, ordered senior public servants to "unrelease" a document that was already in the mailroom for delivery. The document was an annual report on how well the department manages its massive real-estate portfolio.
The Auditor General's office:
The auditor general is not going to take a second look at the G8 legacy fund despite new revelations that Tony Clement shepherded requests for taxpayer-funded projects through his constituency office.

The Star reported Monday that newly released documents obtained by the federal New Democrats show Clement, who was then industry minister, steered applications for $45.7 worth of public money through his political team in Huntsville, Ont.

The unearthed municipal records from Gravenhurst and Bracebridge were not available to the Office of the Auditor General when it investigated the G8 legacy payouts and released a scathing report in June accusing the Conservative government of doling out funds without bureaucratic oversight or paperwork.

“It appears that this slush fund was set up in such a way that it kept the Canadian public and the auditor general in the dark,” NDP MP Charlie Angus (Timmins—James Bay) told a news conference in Ottawa on Monday.

A spokesman for Auditor General John Wiersema nonetheless said the case is closed.

“We asked for documentation, but we were not provided with any,” Ghislain Desjardins wrote in an email Monday. “Deputy ministers signed off on the accuracy of facts in the chapter. We have no plans to reopen the file.”
Smiles all around in Conservative circles tonight...although the Mounties are apparently still looking into the G8 issue. Well, last we heard, they may or may not investigate.