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2011 Election, Federal Politics

RCMP finally investigates Muskoka’s G8 ‘Legacy Infrastructure’

Don't get him anrgy. You wouldn't like him when he's angry...

Uh oh – time for Tony Clement to get all huffy and defiant again because dammit, we just wont go away with the questions about how $50M was distributed throughout Muskoka! Circle the wagons, ’cause the RCMP are coming, Tony!

First off, it’s about damn time someone looked into this! Chances are when something looks so unbelievably crooked, it’s crooked!

And second of all, no, I am not so naive as to expect that any criminal charges will be laid as a result of the recently announced RCMP investigation into the G8 spending habits of the Harper government. I don’t even expect that the outrageous sum of $50M (legacy money, you understand) paid out to undeserving communities and hamlets in Tony Clement’s Muskoka riding will ever be paid back to the government of Canada for use where needed. But as a taxpayer, I want my money back!

I am happy to see that the RCMP is doing its job in following through on the request made by former Liberal MP Marlene Jennings to examine why in holy hell the lucky a-holes in Clement’s riding were rewarded with $50M when not $1 worth of damages occurred there and Toronto received nothing.

Not. One. Dollar. Oh. My. Gawd.

But maybe I am answering my own question: aside from Clement being a loyal Harper follower (and, I must say, a prolific Twitterer and seemingly good guy – hell, he took his daughter to see Glee Live last week, how bad can he be?), Muskoka showed the world a Canada that Harper could be proud of: hard working Canadians who vote Conservative by-and-large, and don’t come across (or are) bomb-wielding anarchists. Maybe that was worth $50M to Harper.

And maybe Toronto, for all its smashed glass, looting, rioting, and torched police cars (to say nothing of the police brutality, unlawful arrests, and unconstitutional, sweeping police-state powers), deserves not $1 for all the headaches we caused Harper when the world came to town.

Because of an election-time early leak of the Auditor General’s G8 report which I wrote about here, many opposition MP’s were suspicious of the way in which funds were spent during the G8/G20 debacle. According to the Montreal Gazette, “the audit also found millions of dollars worth of projects — including construction of public washrooms and gazebos — were authorized without approval from department officials, and ended up having little to do with their original purpose, presented to Parliament as funding for ‘border infrastructure.'”

$50K for a gazeebo 100km from Huntsville. Border Infrastructure. Huh.

What it comes down to, G8/G20 rioting or no, is that Canadian taxpayers from coast-to-coast should not be paying for “beautification projects” from a “legacy fund” in the Conservative riding of Perry Sound-Muskoka just because the riding is held by a loyal Conservative whose constituents didn’t embarrass the Prime Minister when Obama was looking. These kind of rewards simply reinforce the notion that patronage payments will be made to Conservative ridings, and if you’re stupid enough to live outside the Tory world, well nuts to you.

And while I am not suggesting that Toronto should have received funds because of the rioting, I am suggesting that as a good will gesture to the citizens of Toronto from their Prime Minister, whether they voted for him or not, Stephen Harper should not have been so callous as to tell Toronto to go to hell and sleep in the bed they made. Which is pretty well what happened.

While there is no way for the RCMP to investigate the motive behind the decision to award Perry Sound-Muskoka for not causing a fuss, that would be amazing. Sadly, an investigation into the sketchy truth of the matter will have to suffice. I won’t hold my breath for restitution on behalf of the City of Toronto, but if something unscrupulous led to our being left to lick our wounds alone, I am in favour of finding out what happened.

Maybe we don’t need an investigation into the motive: most of us in Toronto already know Harper let us suffer while sidewalks were re-done in Huntsville.

About awreeves

Editor-in-chief at Alternatives Journal. Author of 'Overrun: Dispatches from the Asian carp Crisis'.


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