Clement, Baird to appear at public accounts committee on G8 spending

OTTAWA — Tony Clement will answer opposition questions for the first time in months about the controversy over $50 million in G8 legacy spending in his Ontario riding when he appears before a Commons committee on Wednesday.

OTTAWA — Tony Clement will answer opposition questions for the first time in months about the controversy over $50 million in G8 legacy spending in his Ontario riding when he appears before a Commons committee on Wednesday.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird confirmed during question period Tuesday that he and the Treasury Board president will testify at the all-party public accounts committee.

Clement managed distribution of the multimillion-dollar fund in 2010 throughout his Parry Sound-Muskoka riding when he was industry minister. Many of the projects were a long way away from the G8 meeting site in Huntsville, Ont.

Baird has fielded all queries on the matter in the Commons because he approved the spending as the former minister responsible for infrastructure.

The auditor general released a report last month finding the Harper government clearly broke the rules when it set up and doled out the $50-million fund.

Interim auditor general John Wiersema said further audits of the controversial fund are pointless because there is no paper trail to follow.

The auditor general concluded the Tory government kept Parliament in the dark when it diverted $50 million in border infrastructure monies to create the G8 legacy fund.

It also found there was no documentation explaining how or why 32 beautification projects were ultimately chosen to receive funding even though many of them were hundreds of kilometres from the G8 site.

It concluded that public servants were shut out of the selection process and that Baird approved the projects based strictly on Clement’s recommendations.