Harper government tracks ‘missing’ $3.1 billion

·Politics Reporter

Conservative MPs finally has a good news story to take home to their constituencies this weekend.

You'll recall, in May, the Tory brand took a hit when the Auditor General slammed the government for losing track of $3.1 billion earmarked for national security.

The media and the opposition parties somehow turned 'losing track of $3.1 billion", into 'losing $3.1 billion.'

Nevertheless, that money has now been tracked.

According to the National Post, the problem was due to mis-categorizations between departments.

In the wake of 9/11, the Liberal government of the day drew up a budget with $7.7-billion in new public safety and anti-terror provisions. Over the course of the next seven years, a total of $12.89-billion was allocated for anti-terror measures, across 35 departments and agencies. Mr. Ferguson said he couldn’t account for $3.1-billion of that funding.

Most often the discrepancy was because spending was not tagged as being for anti-terror programs. For example, $246-million was transferred from Citizenship and Immigration to the new Canadian Border Services Agency but the money was not identified as being part of the Public Security and Anti-Terrorism Initiative envelope.

The Post notes that Treasury Board can now account for all $12.89 billion dollars.

[ Related: Tory MP to introduce bill to give backbenchers more power: report ]

The good news comes at the end of another tumultuous week for the Conservatives.

On Monday, in four federal byelections, the Tories retained two seats but suffered a huge loss in voter support compared to 2011.

On Tuesday, Auditor General Michael Ferguson released his semi-annual report suggesting that the government's performance, in some areas, with regard to border safety, rail safety and food-recall was lax.

On Wednesday, CBC News reported on documents retrieved by NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden which suggest Canada allowed the U.S. to conduct widespread surveillance during the 2010 G8 and G20 summits in Ontario.

[ Related: Should Canadians be concerned about the U.S. spying on Canadian soil? ]

On Thursday, Ipsos Reid released the results of a survey which suggest that Tory support is at a two year low.

"If a federal election were held tomorrow, the Liberals under Justin Trudeau would receive 35 per cent of the vote among decided voters, up 4 points since the end of October," notes the pollster.

"Conversely, the Tories under Prime Minister Harper have declined by 1 point and would receive 29 per cent of the vote, which marks the low-point in public support for the government since being re-elected in 2011."

And, throughout the week in the House of Commons, the opposition parties continued to score points hammering away at the PM about what he knew about the Nigel Wright/Mike Duffy affair.

So, yes, tracking $3.1 billion and thereby killing an opposition attack point is a great news story at the end of another bad week for the Tories.

Unfortunately, for Conservative MPs, it was another bad week.

(Photo courtesy of the Canadian Press)

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