Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Harper's G8 Summit spending: the tale of the numbers

What follows below is what Parliament saw in relation to the $50 million in G8 Summit spending for Tony Clement's riding. As you will see, it tells us that we cannot trust what the Harper Government puts before Parliament. Here is the series of budgetary approvals that masked the funds that ended up in Clement's riding:

Spring 2009, $66.7 million is approved by Parliament for the Border Infrastructure Fund:

Later in December 2009, $83.2 million more is approved for the Border Infrastructure Fund:

In November 2010, the Public Accounts show that for the Border Infrastructure Fund, $149.9 million had been approved, i.e., the combination of the two amounts referenced above. The accounts also showed that of the $149.9 million approved, $121,332,454 was actually spent out of the Border Infrastructure Fund:

No mention, anywhere above, of the G8 Summit. Why would there be? And who would be assuming or even thinking G8 funds would be connected to a Border Infrastructure Fund?

This is the interesting part. Along with the indication in November 2010 of the $121 million that was actually spent out of the Border Infrastructure Fund, you now see a further breakdown of how that $121 million in Border Infrastructure Fund moneys were spent. Now there are suddenly two categories that appear, with one named "Contribution for the G8 Summit." The G8 amount of $40,569,173 million added together with the Border Infrastructure Fund amount of $80,763,281 million add up to exactly the $121,332,454 that the Public Accounts show, above, that was actually spent out of the Border Infrastructure Fund. Except the problem is that the G8 funding was never put before Parliament as such, as part of the Border Infrastructure Fund. And clearly, G8 summit money for Huntsville is not Border related:

Then in 2010, the government sought $10 million more for the Border Infrastructure Fund. It is now expressed as being connected to the G8 Summit but doesn't suggest at all how the moneys are being used:

The February 2011 draft of the Auditor General's report, leaked the other night, read as follows on the above disclosure: "This time, the Supplementary Estimate item was labelled "Funding for Border Infrastructure Fund related to projects in support of the 2010 G8 Summit," which did point out that funding was being sought for projects related to the G8 Summit. In our view, this is still not clear because it suggests that these projects were somehow related to border infrastructure, which was not the case."

Bottom line, a request for funds for the Border Infrastructure Fund was submitted to Parliament. Parliament approved it. There was no indication to Parliament at all that the moneys would go elsewhere, to a G8 fund for Minister Clement's riding. The G8 contribution out of the Border Infrastructure Fund was disclosed after the fact. And Canada finds out after the fact.

Again, from the Auditor General's draft February report (which could be found in the final report as well): 
The funding request presented to Parliament for the G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund was aggregated within the Supplementary Estimates for Infrastructure Canada under the Border Infrastructure Fund relating to investments in infrastructure to reduce border congestion. In our view, this categorization did not clearly or transparently identify the nature of the approval being sought for G8 infrastructure project expenditures or explain that these expenditures would not have to meet the existing terms and conditions for the Border Infrastructure Fund.
Trusting a Harper government to spend moneys according to what has been approved by Parliament is clearly an issue. 

(Source for numbers.)