Auditor General’s report becomes hot potato in Canadian election.

The long awaited report of the Auditor General on the Canadian government’s spending on the G8 summit has become a potential very damaging problem for the Harper government. A leaked copy of an early draft of the final report yet to be formally released has made its way into media hands and become a headline issue in the media on the eve of the leaders’ debate in English Tuesday evening. The Report condemns the government for spending monies on undocumented infrastructure projects and misleading and misinforming Parliament about some of the 50 million dollars of infrastructure legacy spending that took place in the Parry Sound Muskoka riding of the Minister  of Industry Tony Clement . Michael Ignatieff , Jack Layton  and Gilles Duceppe were quick to pounce on the potential scandal involved which they argued shows that the Government is not transparent in its dealings with Parliament involving the spending of public money.  Ignatieff used the debacle to charge that the Conservatives had ”sprayed money around Tony Clement’s riding ” and took decisions about which projects to fund while” sitting around a bar in the Muskoka.” These kind of accusations will undoubtedly become a major talking point in the debate. The auditor general acting on her legal mandate refuses to release her final report until a new Parliament is chosen in an election and cautions the public not to jump to conclusions . So the Conservatives are caught in an awkward spot insisting that the final report is much less critical and there is no cause for drawing alarming conclusions. But politically this could turn out to be a quite damaging issue for them even if they try to defuse the issue by leaking a copy of the final report (assuming they have it and the public believes it to be the true and final report)provided the opposition capitalizes on it during the final weeks of the campaign. It is unlikely to defeat the Conservatives, since it simply feeds into the general cynicism about politicians and is a complex issue but it might very well prevent it from capturing a majority. A simple swing of  3-5 % points in the vote away from the Conservatives would accomplish this outcome.

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About haroldchorneyeconomist

I am Professor of political economy at Concordia university in Montréal, Québec, Canada. I received my B.A.Hons (econ.&poli sci) from the University of Manitoba. I also completed my M.A. degree in economics there. Went on to spend two years at the London School of Economics as a Ph.D. student in economics and then completed my Ph.D. in political economy at the University of Toronto. Was named a John W.Dafoe fellow, a CMHC fellow and a Canada Council fellow. I also was named a Woodrow Wilson fellow in 1968 after completing my first class honours undergraduate degree. Worked as an economist in the area of education, labour economics and as the senior economist with the Manitoba Housing and Renewal Corporation for the Government of Manitoba from 1972 to 1978. I also have worked as an economic consultant for MDT socio-economic consultants and have been consulted on urban planning, health policy, linguistic duality and public sector finance questions by the governments of Manitoba, Saskatchewan,the cities of Regina and Saskatoon, Ontario and the Federal government of Canada. I have also been consulted by senior leaders of the British Labour party, MPs from the Progressive Conservative party, the Liberal party and the New Democrats on economic policy questions. Members of the Government of France under the Presidency of Francois Mitterand discussed my work on public sector deficits. I have also run for elected office at the municipal level. I first began to write about quantitative easing as a useful policy option during the early 1980s.
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