Ignatieff demands Harper release G8/G20 spending
Published Tuesday, April 5, 2011 2:23PM EDT
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff demanded Stephen Harper release a spending report on the G8/G20 summits and explain how his party spent $1.2 billion during a three-day convention in the Toronto area.
"We think that report is on the Prime Minister's desk, and we think he aught to get it out," Ignatieff said during a campaign stop in Conception Bay South, N.L. "We think Canadians aught to know what is in that report because it is many ways the most amazing example of waste in this Conservative government's record."
A full spending report by Auditor General Sheila Fraser was scheduled for release on Tuesday, but was not tabled in the House of Commons before Parliament dissolved ahead of the federal election.
Canada hosted the G8 and G20 summits in downtown Toronto and the central Ontario resort town of Huntsville in June.
The federal government revealed about $860 million in spending in November, including $26,661 for mosquito traps and $439,186 for portable toilets.
A so-called "fake lake" was also constructed in a downtown Toronto convention centre to host foreign journalists, despite millions being spent on a media centre in Huntsville, where dignitaries had gathered.
"You have a perfectly good summit site at Huntsville, you could have put them all up at a screen porch looking out at the lake. Instead you move it down to Toronto, you put up a fake lake and you blow a billion and two (dollars) in 72 hours."
The Conservatives have steadfastly defended the cost of the summits, a large portion of which covered security measures.
Ignatieff said there have been several public inquires into the policing of the G20 summit, but only one official report on the government's $1.2 billion in spending, and that report remains classified.
Fraser was also to probe the G8 Legacy Infrastructure Fund, a $50 million projects that Liberals have alleged went toward projects in a Tory-held riding, which had nothing to do with the summit.
Ignatieff said the public had a right to know what was in Fraser's reports before the election on May 2.
The Conservative Party of Canada responded by dismissing Ignatieff's remarks and saying the Auditor General's report must be presented to the House of Commons before it could be released publicly.
"We will not interfere with the Auditor General's reporting to Parliament. In fact, we are a little surprised that Michael Ignatieff would suggest such a course of action," read a statement.