Evidence of Tony Clement’s involvement in alleged G8 pork fest mounts
The Toronto Star, bless its heart, can’t let the G20 go, and we’re more than a little glad, because the story keeps getting more and more interesting. Federal officials have repeatedly claimed that the spreading of the wealth for G8 “legacy fund” projects was all above board, but things are looking increasingly dodgy. The latest news is that Tony Clement personally directed the funding, taking a much more active role than previously believed.
Municipal records from Gravenhurst and Bracebridge show that as far back as 2008 Clement and his local Conservative political team in Huntsville began drumming up projects in the Muskoka area that would qualify for G8 legacy funds. Those who had a hand in shepherding the proposals through the approval process were Clement’s constituency team, staff in his ministerial office and government officials under Clement’s authority.
For instance, beginning in 2008, Clement chaired a committee of Muskoka mayors (known as the Local Area Leadership Group, or LALG) who would help organize the summit, suggest criteria for summit legacy projects and screen proposals that would go forward for possible funding.
The minutes of the group’s Dec. 5, 2008 meeting — marked “confidential” — revealed the central role of Clement’s office.
So it’s looking like the early accusations that Conservative MPs were using the G8 summit as an opportunity to slather on the pork fat in their ridings are a bit closer to the mark than we previously suspected. But hey, that’s okay, because Toronto’s G20 experience was so wonderful and totally didn’t poison our relationship with the city’s police. Oh wait; scratch that. But it’s all good, because Clement is only the president of the treasury board now, and thus responsible for implementing all of the spending the Government of Canada commits to. So no worries then.