Slush fund meeting during ‘08 election reprehensible
August 18th, 2011 - 7:57pm
Clement went to mayors in midst of election campaign to start divvying up millions
OTTAWA — Serious new allegations have come to light against embattled Conservative Minister Tony Clement around meetings to divide up G8 money, held in the middle of the 2008 Federal Election campaign.
“This stinks. Handing out political IOUs in the middle of an election campaign is totally unacceptable,” said New Democrat Ethic Critic Charlie Angus. “Minister Clement must have known it was wrong to meet local mayors and start dividing up millions of taxpayer dollars in the middle of an election campaign.”
Documents released by the NDP earlier this week showed that one week after the 2008 election was called, Clement held his first “Local Area Leadership Group” meeting to discuss how to spend tens of millions of dollars throughout the riding as part of the G8 Legacy fund.
“Even before the fund was publicly announced, the he appears to be dangling taxpayer money in front of local mayors, whose support he needed for his reelection,” said New Democrat Treasury Board critic Alexandre Boulerice. “Was Tony Clement at these meetings as Minister or Candidate? And how could he ever imagine this was appropriate?”
Days after this meeting a number of Mayors went on to actually endorse Clement, who had won the previous election by just a handful of votes. Some even posted video testimonials on his campaign website – videos Clement later removed.
“As soon as the election was called, Clement should have cancelled all meetings related to this G8 slush fund. Instead he directed local politicians to send proposals for millions in spending to his riding office,” said Angus. “Mr. Clement has a lot to answer for.”