Lawrence Martin writes that the Harper government can't account for $3.1 billion and no one appears to be too upset about it:
The money was initially targeted for public security and anti-terrorism funding. There was $12.9-billion allocated. Only $9.8-billion has been accounted for. Mr. Ferguson asked the Treasury Board, which is supposed to track spending scrupulously, to explain the gap, to come up with some answers. It didn’t have any. It still doesn’t.
The Conservatives, who tout themselves as first-rate managers of the public purse, seem just to have brushed it off. They hoped, maybe in their wildest dreams, that the story would go away in a few days after the A-G’s revelation back in April. And that’s what happened.
To put what has happened in perspective, it's useful to recall the Sponsorship Scandal -- which gave Stephen Harper the keys to 24 Sussex. The Gomery Commission concluded that:
$2 million was awarded in contracts without a proper bidding process, $250,000 was added to one contract price for no additional work, and $1.5 million was awarded for work that was never done, of which $1 million had to be repaid. The overall operating cost of the Commission was $14 million.The Harperites huff and puff about Justin Trudeau's admission that he smoked marijuana; but they say nothing about Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine. Not only is there a double standard. There's a problem of scale.
There is also the problem of the minister in charge. Tony Clement was the man who diverted anti-terrorism funds to his riding in order to spruce up the place:
Where is Mr. Clement now? He is President of the Treasury Board. After the G8 funding duplicity, Mr. Harper brazenly put Mr. Clement in charge of oversight of all government spending. For the flight of the $3.1-billion, Mr. Clement has offered no public apology. Nor has the Prime Minister.
It's hard to miss the pattern.