Monday, April 11, 2011

Gazebo in the middle of nowhere

Remember the bridge to nowhere in Alaska, the earmark that finally triggered America's gag reflex about pork barrel government spending?
Well, now Canada has the $100,000 gazebo in the middle of nowhere -- just one of the Muskoka projects built with G8 money that Parliament had apparently thought was going to be used to improve border crossings.
The Globe and Mail has posted a blistering editorial thundering that the AG report into the G8 expenditures "must be released, immediately."
But actually, it doesn't matter anymore what the final report says -- now that we know that at least some of the auditors in Fraser's office thought the Harper Conservatives were using the G8 as an excuse for unaccountable, old-boys-club pork barrel spending, any mealymouthed exoneration in the final version will be seen for the whitewash it is.
The Toronto Star editorial doesn't even bother asking for the final version of the report:
The much-ridiculed ersatz Muskoka lake the Conservatives commissioned for the G20 in Toronto wasn’t the only example of spending like “drunken sailors,” to quote Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff. Clement’s constituents also got $1.1 million for trees and sidewalk upgrades 100 km away from the Huntsville site. Another $745,000 for civic amenities in towns nearly 70 km away. $274,000 for public toilets 20 km away. And a $100,000 gazebo an hour’s drive away. What any of this had to do with the summits is anyone’s guess.
That’s the problem for the Conservatives. We may not see the final version of Fraser’s report before the vote, but what we already know is bad enough: A party now trying to wrap itself in the mantle of fiscal rectitude threw millions around for dubious political reasons.

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