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Old 11-23-2011, 12:16 PM   #264 (permalink)

giant steps
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Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 15,190

it's getting uglier and uglier. tony clement is looking dirrrrrrrrrrrrrty in this.

NDP accuses Clement of misleading MPs, doctoring Hansard on G8 - The Globe and Mail

When he appeared before the Commons public accounts committee on Nov. 2, Mr. Clement said a 33rd project was removed from the list on the direction of the municipality.

“One [of the projects] fell off the table because the local municipality decided that, because they would be incurring costs as well, that they did not want to be responsible to their taxpayer base for that,” the minister testified.

But an e-mail from a representative of the town of Gravenhurst to the minister’s constituency office says the mayor had been advised by Mr. Clement that “this project should be removed from the G8 Project List and be included in the Town of Gravenhurst’s application for the Building Canada Fund – on the advice of Mr. Minister Clement, please remove this project from the G8 Project List.”

Mr. Clement also told the committee the municipalities sent the projects to his constituency office where they were passed on to Infrastructure Canada without review or analysis.

“They delivered those prioritized projects to the constituency office, who then, in turn, without additional review or alteration, transmitted them, ultimately, to the Department of Transport and Infrastructure Canada, where the minister responsible would make the decision” he testified.

But Mr. Angus said the documents show that is false.

Letters of rejection sent by Mr. Clement’s ministerial office to the chief operating officer of the Township of Muskoka Lakes say “the Minister’s staff and department officials have reviewed all proposals received” and “competing priorities restrict our ability to fund all of these local G8 initiatives.”

The proposals for projects from the local municipalities who wanted a share of the G8 legacy fund were submitted on hand-made forms created by the local mayors, rather than official federal application documents. When Mr. Clement was asked at the committee if he would provide those forms to the committee, he replied: “Sure.”

That response is recorded on tape and also in the initial transcript of the proceedings. But it was removed from the official Hansard, which was released a day or two later. The Hansard can be altered only by the MP, or the staff of the MP, who is speaking.

In watching the recording of he committee meeting, it is somewhat unclear whether Mr. Clement was saying "sure" in response to the question he had just been asked, or if he was saying "sure" to indicate that he understood the question.

“Who changed the Hansard record? Why is it that Mr. Clement gave a clear statement, at committee, that he would provide documents, on record?” Mr. Angus asked. “Who went then behind, after the fact, and had those words removed?”

The testimony before the public accounts committee followed many weeks of opposition questions in the House of Commons about the G8 spending in Muskoka – all of which were answered by ministers other than Mr. Clement.

In the end, however, there is little that the New Democrats can do as the opposition in a majority government, to hold ministers to account. Mr. Angus said the issue is in hands of the Prime Minister.

“Mr. Clement has become toxic deadweight to this government. He has burnt his bridges of credibility. He has misrepresented the facts. He can’t even stand up in the House and answer a question because he knows it puts him deeper into the doo doo,” the NDP MP told reporters. “The question is about Stephen Harper’s government. Is this the new norm, that ministers can come to committee and misrepresent facts?”
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