Harper should release G8/G20 costs: opposition
Can't deliver report when MPs not sitting, AG's office says
A report into the government costs of the G8/G20 summits must first be tabled before Parliament, a spokesman for the auditor general said, despite demands by opposition party leaders Tuesday on the campaign trail for its immediate release.
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, NDP Leader Jack Layton, Bloc Québécois Leader Gilles Duceppe called on Conservative Leader Stephen Harper to release the findings of Sheila Fraser's report, which was scheduled to be tabled on Tuesday, only to be delayed by the election call.
"We think Canadians ought to know what is in that report because in many ways it is the most amazing example of waste in this Conservative government's record," Ignatieff said at a rally in Conception Bay South, N.L.
Ghislain Desjardins, a spokesman with the auditor general, said under the law, his office is responsible for sending reports to the Speaker of the House, who in turn tables the report to Parliament.
But the House is not sitting because the Liberals, Bloc and NDP voted non-confidence in the Harper government, resulting in its dissolution.
"Our Act says [the report] has to be tabled when they are sitting and they are not," Desjardins said.
Although departments audited do receive a copy of the report, Desjardins said departments acknowledge that the reports are property of the Office of the Auditor General.
He added that while the Privy Council Office receives a copy, the Prime Minister's Office does not.
Conservative candidate John Baird said that if the opposition wanted the report released, they should not have voted down the government.
During a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Baird also referred to a statement made by Fraser in 2007 before a parliamentary committee, in which she said her office takes "every reasonable step to ensure that our reports are not disclosed to the public before they are tabled in the House of Commons.
"Premature disclosure represents a disregard for the statutory right of the House of Commons to receive our reports, and may represent a breach of parliamentary privilege," she told the committee at the time.
The Conservative government has defended the nearly $858 million in costs related to the G8/G20 summits, held in Huntsville and Toronto the weekend of June 26-27.