Four things we learned from the auditor general’s report on the G20

Four things we learned from the auditor general’s report on the G20

The auditor general’s report found a lot of, well, pork (Image: James Schwartz)

Back in the dim mists of time—about six weeks ago, during that whole election thingy—we took a moment’s pause from the debate over the strong, stable national Conservative government versus the coalition bogeyman to consider what might actually have been a relevant issue: a leaked version of the auditor general’s report on the G8/G20 summits from last summer. The full version was finally released yesterday, and it turned out to be pretty informative. Some highlights from the AG’s report, after the jump.

1. Yep, it cost a ton of money
Okay, it didn’t cost as much as expected. What the NDP and the Liberals have derisively dubbed a billion-dollar summit ended up being more of a $600-million summit, which, apparently, makes it a bargain. Also, almost all of that went to security—and everybody knows how that worked out.

2. All aboard the gravy train: next stop, Muskoka
The G8/G20 “Legacy Fund”—designed to provide for investments in highways and border security and to make the nation look like it knew what it was doing for a few days—seems to have been put to use funneling something to the tune of $50 million to the personal riding and environs of one Tony Clement, who was the then Minister for Industry. According to The Canadian Press, the leak revealed that the funds were dispersed with no regard for the needs of the summit or the conditions laid down by the government. Yikes.

3. All aboard the gravy train: next stop, the cop shop
The police seem to have made out like, well, bandits. Security costs—spread between the RCMP, the OPP, the Toronto police and assorted other security personnel—accounted for $510 million out of the $610 million total cost. But, hey, who doesn’t like a heaping pile of gravy (wait, Dijon mustard) on their pork?

4. Wait a minute—none of this sounds really new
Most of this stuff was already widely suspected, and the porky details about Muskoka really just confirmed Clement and Stephen Harper’s critics’ existing accusations. So, even if the report had been released during the election, it probably wouldn’t have changed many minds anyway.

• Conservatives misled Parliament over G8 costs: Auditor General [Toronto Star]
Auditor blasts lack of transparency in doling out generous G8 funds [Globe and Mail]
AG turns spotlight on RCMP, G8/G20 summit cost [CBC]