Monday, March 21

Contempt report undermines credibility of budget – and entire government

March 21, 2011

OTTAWA – A report tabled in the House of Commons today that recommends the Harper regime be found in contempt of Parliament undermines the credibility of tomorrow’s budget, Liberal MPs said today.

“This contempt report – a first in the history of Canada and the Commonwealth – is the result of the Harper regime’s abuse of power,” said Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff.

“How can we believe tomorrow’s budget has any credibility?” said Mr. Ignatieff. “The Harper regime continues to hide the costs of new mega-prisons, stealth fighter jets and corporate tax cuts – because they know their numbers don’t add up.

“Stephen Harper thinks he’s above the rules. Today’s contempt report shows that parliamentarians won’t let him get away with it,” he said.

In the House of Commons today, a report from the Procedure and House Affairs Committee was tabled concluding that the government is in contempt over its refusal to fully disclose the costs of its prison legislation, corporate tax cuts and untendered F-35 deal.

“The Parliamentary Budget Officer has already found that the F-35s will cost nearly $30 billion, not the $16 billion claimed by the government, and that just one prison bill will cost $10 billion or more,” said Liberal Finance Critic Scott Brison. “Yet the Conservatives refuse to release the full costs of their spending plans."

“Hiding their budget numbers is only part of the story,” concluded Mr. Ignatieff. “With two RCMP investigations, charges of breaking election laws, four Access to Information investigations, a $500,000 gag order on the former Integrity Commissioner, and a Minister falsifying documents and misleading Parliament, this is a pattern of abuse of power, attacks on democracy, and contempt for Parliament and the Canadian people.”


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