Ottawa, Ontario - November 1, 2001, by: Right Honourable Joe Clark

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Through public pressure resulting from questioning in the House of Commons one Minister was removed and appointed Ambassador to Denmark, a second was reassigned, the Auditor-General was empowered to initiate a limited review, and a moratorium of sponsorship funding declared.




The moratorium has been lifted. Questions remain unanswered but, without the House being in session, they can not be asked in that forum and so are brought to you and your readers.




The Auditor General is currently unable to conduct a review of all government advertising.




Crown corporations, such as Canada Post, and trusts allocated $7 billion by the Finance Minister are outside her existing powers. She has requested that they be given to her. The government refuses to give her these powers though Section 11 of the Auditor-General's Act provides for this. The question "Why not?" demands an answer.




The Auditor General's initial review stated unequivocally that departmental officials had broken every rule. These same officials will now be in direct charge of allocating funding and of reviewing how this system works. My suggestion has been ignored that an independent presence in the person of the Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, a member of the Official Opposition Party, be added to the monitoring committee . The Minister talks about transparency, why then is everything being done by those implicated in creating the problem in the first place?




The minister spoke of recovering funds not properly used in the future, though precisely how is unclear. To this point no mention of recovering misappropriated funds that have been uncovered, such as the $1.5 million paid for three reports none of which was actually done. That this will be done must be forthcoming.




Only an independent inquiry will fully bring to light the "who", "what", "where" "when" and "how much" concerning the misuse of advertising and sponsorship tax dollars.



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Opposition Members of Parliament cannot bring pressure to bear until the House of Commons meets in September. Until then it is the hands of the public and the media to demand answers to the questions raised here from Government supporters at every opportunity.

Joe Clark