Auditor's draft report alleges Tories misspent G8 funds

A draft report by the auditor general alleges the Harper government misinformed Parliament on a $50-million G8 fund that lavished money on projects in a Conservative riding, according to The Canadian Press.
A sign welcomes G8 summit participants to the town of Huntsville, Ontario, June 23, 2010. A confidential draft report by the auditor general raises questions about spending of taxpayers' money in preparation for the summit, The Canadian Press reports. (Graham Hughes/Canadian Press)

The auditor general says the Harper government allegedly misinformed Parliament to win approval for a $50-million G8 fund that lavished money on dubious projects in a Conservative riding.

And she suggests in a draft report the process may have been illegal.

The findings are contained in the draft of a confidential report Sheila Fraser was to have tabled in Parliament on April 5. The report analyzed the $1-billion cost of staging last June's G8 summit in Ontario cottage country and a subsequent gathering of G20 leaders in downtown Toronto.

It was put on ice when the Harper government was defeated and is not due to be released until sometime after the May 2 election. However, a Jan. 13 draft of the chapter on the G8 legacy infrastructure fund was obtained by a supporter of an opposition party and shown to The Canadian Press.

All four main parties called for the auditor general's final report to be released before the first televised leaders debate on Tuesday, in the wake of the Canadian Press report.

The draft reveals that a local "G8 summit liaison and implementation team" — Industry Minister Tony Clement, the mayor of Huntsville and the general manager of Deerhurst Resort, which hosted the summit — chose the 32 projects that received funding. It says there was no apparent regard for the needs of the summit or the conditions laid down by the government.

The auditor general's office said Monday morning it would not comment on the story, and said Fraser does not give interviews on any matters during elections.