Tories, Liberals escalate standoff over stimulus fund
Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff accused Prime Minister Stephen Harper Wednesday of using a $3-billion stimulus fund to hide the extent of the government's deficit, escalating a disagreement that has led to election speculation in Ottawa.
Ignatieff said during question period Wednesday the Conservatives had $3 billion left over in last year's budget for infrastructure that could be used to stimulate the economy instead of the new fund.
The clash between the Liberals and the Tories over the stimulus fund for Canada's sagging economy is fuelling election speculation.
Harper has accused the Liberals of playing politics at the expense of the economy. He says the $3-billion fund, if passed right away, can be put to work before July.
"The country, other levels of leadership, are waiting for this. I encourage the Liberal party to stop playing games and let the money flow," he said during question period.
The Liberals have criticized the $3-billion fund as unaccountable and will propose a motion next week requiring the government to precisely spell out what the money will be spent on.
Harper's spokesperson, Kory Teneycke, said it won't be a problem to itemize the spending after the fact, but the government is not planning on producing a precise spending document in advance.
Ignatieff has said he won't approve the stimulus fund without specific details.
Harper has said that the fund is a confidence matter for his minority government and has raised the possibility of an election if the opposition doesn't approve the stimulus plan.
With files from The Canadian Press