Thursday, March 31

Conservative G8 Legacy Fund had no controls, documents reveal Liberals launch G8/G20 “Wish you were here – you already paid for it!” postcard campaign

Days after announcing a Liberal government’s plan to cut Conservative waste and stop corporate giveaways, Liberal candidate David McGuinty revealed new evidence today that there were no controls over the $50-million G8 Legacy Fund or any requirement that the projects actually relate to the summit.

“This confirms what we have been saying all along: Industry Minister Tony Clement used the G8 Legacy Fund as his own personal slush fund to pepper his riding with $50 million in taxpayer-funded vanity projects,” said Mr. McGuinty, Liberal candidate for Ottawa South.

The information was obtained through a House of Commons Order Paper response that was quietly tabled by the Conservatives just 70 minutes before their government was defeated for being in contempt of Parliament – likely in the hopes that no one would notice, said Mr. McGuinty.

The documents show that the $50-million fund was doled out to Mr. Clement’s hand-picked projects with no requirement for municipalities to report which companies received the funding, and no requirement for the projects to be connected in any way to the G8.

The documents also reveal the Conservatives wasted no expense requiring an Economic Action Plan sign be erected in front of each of the 32 projects, and they budgeted an additional federal contribution of $1,000 per sign.

“What’s clear now is that the G8 was used as a flimsy excuse to spray $50 million in public money across Tony Clement’s riding, with no controls and no connection to the G8 whatsoever,” said Mr. McGuinty. “We’ve already established that most of the projects had absolutely nothing to do with the G8, were located miles away from the summit site, and many were not completed until well after the summit was over – and now we know why.”

To commemorate the wasteful excesses of the G8, the Liberal Party launched a G8/G20 “Wish you were here – you already paid for it!” postcard campaign. The postcards, featuring marquee examples of G8/G20 waste, are signed “Love, Stephen & Tony.”

“These pork-barrel vanity projects are etched in the public consciousness as iconic symbols of Conservative waste,” said Mr. McGuinty. “A total of $50 million spent by Tony Clement to buy votes could have bought 50,000 annual Learning Passport grants for young Canadians.”

The postcards feature a landlocked wooden lighthouse that doesn’t light up, public toilets over 30 kilometres from the summit, a sidewalk 81 kilometres from the site, a $380,000 antique steamboat and the world-famous,$2-million fake lake pavilion.

“The Conservatives wasted no expense using GPS to track the $1,000 EAP signs that went in front of these projects, but didn’t bother tracking how $50 million of taxpayer funds were spent,” said Mr. McGuinty.

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