Wednesday, November 20, 2013

It's Hard To Miss The Pattern

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.


Lorne said...

Now that the Ford mess is hopefully starting to die down, Owen, perhaps we can get back to some of the truly important issues; you post makes clear that there are a lot of unanswered questions about what our political 'masters' are up to.

Rural said...

Have no fear, this and much more will suddenly surface just in time to announce a surplus just a few weeks before the next election!

Owen Gray said...

The Ford mess managed to do what the Harperites had been trying to do for months, Lorne, which was to change the channel.

The irony is that it was just a another show from the same network.

Owen Gray said...

Mr. Flaherty gave us a preview of coming attractions a couple of weeks ago, Rural.

But, with a little luck, the corruption of the PMO will drown out news about the deficit.

Anonymous said...

How this was presented to the faithful is interesting. It makes it makes it appear that the budget of various departments did not use the full amount of monies set aside for them and saved monies for the taxpayer. This leads not to concern about money that has disappeared but the belief that money has actually been saved by these departments.

They do not understand that this is not correct, Again, a fail by the media.

Owen Gray said...

It's all about evasion, Anon.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Clement is the fox guarding the hen house.

Owen Gray said...

Exactly, Philip. The man who scolds people about spending throws money around extravagantly.