This is big – not like finding Jimmy Hoffa’s grave big, but pretty big for those of us in Toronto happy to have it confirmed by no more reputable a source than the Auditor General, Sheila Fraser, that in the lead up to the G8/G20 summits in Huntsville and Toronto, the Conservatives were rather…underhanded, shall we say, in their approach to organizing the event.
To put it bluntly, perhaps: we got hosed. We thought it before, and we know it now.
I can’t even do justice to this story, so I will refer you all to an extensive article by Joan Bryden in the Globe & Mail that outlines the release of the report to the Opposition, and the unbelievable extent to which Harper and his ministers misled and uninformed the House as to their true intentions with federal spending as it pertained to the G8/G20 summits. I would also recommend the article ‘Cone of silence tightens on Tories’ as a follow-up.
Here is just a snippet from the article of the questionable spending for the G8 summit:
Among the questionable projects funded were:
» $274,000 on public toilets 20 kilometres from the summit site.
» $100,000 on a gazebo an hour’s drive away.
» $1.1-million for sidewalk and tree upgrades 100 kilometres away.
» $194,000 for a park 100 kilometres away.
» $745,000 on downtown improvements for three towns nearly 70 kilometres away.
Funny thing is, I remember being on the stationary bike at Hart House flipping through the Globe when this story first broke last year, and was amazed when the story died within days. I was livid. This was big news, I thought – not finding Jimmy Hoffa’s grave big, but still pretty damn important.
And I was just as livid to hear that while Conservative ridings near Hunstville received $50M in perks through an undisclosed ‘legacy fund,’ centre-left Toronto – the site of most of the riotous violence, smashed shops, rights violations, burning police cars, mass arrests of innocent bystanders – received absolutely nothing. Not a dime, and all the chaos. I thought then, and I know it now, that this is one of the more flagrant political pay-outs I have seen in Canada in a good long while. And now they wont even talk about it.
Next time I am 100 km’s away from Huntsville remarking on how beautiful the sidewalks are, I’ll know who to thank for the flawless concrete underneath my Samba’s. And so will the voters in Tony Clement’s riding.
You’re welcome, Toronto.