Fraser launches probe into report leaks

Auditor General Sheila Fraser's office is launching an internal probe into the leaks of two draft reports into the G8 Legacy Fund, a spokesman confirms.
Auditor General Sheila Fraser is launching an internal probe to find out how two versions of her report on G8 spending were leaked on Monday.

Auditor General Sheila Fraser's office is launching an internal probe into the leaks of two draft reports into the G8 Legacy Fund, a spokesman confirmed on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, just ahead of the federal leaders' debates, NDP Leader Jack Layton sent a letter to Fraser suggesting a meeting amongst the 4 party leaders for this Thursday to work out a solution to releasing the final G8 report, according to Kathleen Monk, Layton's communications director.

However the auditor general's office told CBC News it is not aware of such a letter and noted Fraser will be in Nunavut for the rest of week.

With the investigation, the auditor general's office and other government agencies are seeking to find out how two draft versions of a highly anticipated report on federal spending on the G8/G20 summit leaked out.

"Our departmental security officer has initiated discussions with other departmental security officers to look into this matter," said Ghislain Desjardins, a spokesperson for the Office of the Auditor General.

Various leaks of draft versions of the report into federal spending on the G8/G20 summit were disclosed on Monday.

The Canadian Press reported earlier Monday that the Conservative government allegedly misinformed Parliament to win approval for a $50-million G8 fund that spread taxpayers' money on dubious projects in a Conservative riding.

The leaks led to calls from all parties for the report to be released by Fraser before Tuesday night's televised leaders' debate.

The auditor general issued her own statement, saying that only her final report will represent her audit's findings and conclusions when it is tabled in Parliament.

Fraser is an independent officer of Parliament, and she can only release her report when it is in session. She will release her report after the May 2 election.

NDP candidate David Christopherson said the auditor general is doing the right thing by trying to find out how her reports were leaked.

"That's exactly what I would expect Madame Fraser to do. That is why she has the highest amount of respect on the Hill," Christopherson said.

NDP defends blocking motion

Chistopherson also defended a decision to block a motion that could have allowed Fraser's report on G8 spending to be released during the election.

The Hamilton Centre NDP candidate told reporters on Tuesday that a motion came up before the House of Commons's public accounts committee that would have opened the door to permitting the auditor general's report  to be released when Parliament was not in session.

The NDP voted with the Conservatives on March 24 to put off the motion to a future meeting. However, the Conservative minority government fell on March 25.

Christopherson, who was vice-chair of the Commons committee, said on Tuesday, however, that the Liberal request came up on short notice without time to examine the proposal or bring in the auditor general to discuss the change in policy.

"Of course I realized there was some partisan advantage for me, and other MPs, if I allowed this to happen, but it was not in keeping with the democratic traditions of Parliament, nor was it respectful of the office of the auditor," Christopherson said.

"The hypocrisy of the move was too much. Political parties have done their fair share of sitting on auditor general reports in the past."

He said there are very strict rules around how the auditor general's reports are released and that changing the practice for partisan gain would be wrong.

"In my view I did the right thing in terms of why I'm there and whose views I'm representing in that committee," Christopherson said.

The NDP candidate said he'd make the same vote if he had the chance to do it again. Christopherson said now that the draft reports are in the public realm, he said it would be beneficial to release the final report.

"It wasn't about the content, it was about the integrity of the auditor general's work. These rules are in place for very good reasons," he said.