“Important government spending”. Like those snowmobile machines. Or tennis courts.

- November 14th, 2012

On Tuesday, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty released the semi-annual fiscal and economic update in which, among other things, he announced that his government would not be able to return to a balanced budget during the life of the current Parliament. Six months ago, when he released Budget 2012, he said the budget would be balanced in this Parliament’s last year. In facing up to the fact that, by the election of 2015, the Conservatives therefore will have run deficits in eight of their 10 budgets, Flaherty offered this:

Nevertheless, we remain on track to meet our goal to return to balanced budgets over the medium term.

This reflects our Government’s strong commitment to control growth in government program spending, as we work to return to balanced budgets. And, today’s Update of Economic and Fiscal Projections shows that government program spending is on a fiscally responsible, sustainable track as it is well below the growth rate of government revenues for this and the next five years….

But let me be clear.

While we are committed to controlling government program spending by eliminating waste and inefficiencies, we have made a deliberate choice to protect what we consider to be important government spending.

Meanwhile, at 34 different events across the country yesterday, Conservative MPs participated in 30 different funding announcements handing out a combined $36 million in cheques. Here’s the list with the MP making the announcement, a brief description, the municipality where the announcement was made, the province, and the amount handed out. These events are where Flaherty’s budget rubber hits the road. Are all of these items “important government spending.”

Aglukkaq Adult basic education Yellowknife NT $8,600,000
Gourde Snowmobile grooming machines Victoriaville QC $108,885
Valcourt Repairing sportsplexe Nigadoo NB $127,488
Lunney Economic development for for salmon fishery adjustment Port Albertni BC $7,000,000
Strahl Tourism Chilliwack Chilliwack BC $16,691
Armstrong Upgrade to Lion’s Park Springhill NS $51,145
Ritz Pulse research Winnipeg MB $617,203
Fast Agora Employment Essentials Abbotsford BC $190,000
Goodyear College research programs Winnipeg MB $17,000,000
Clement Meldrum Bay waterfront revitalization Dawson ON $394,000
Payne South Eastern Alberta Partners for Youth Career Development Dunmore AB $20,000
Goodyear Herd North America Inc Winnipeg MB $99,999
Keddy Assistance for older workers Bridgewater NS $108,500
Payne Walsh and District Community Hall upgrades Walsh AB $28,300
Bergen Community centre upgrade Treherne MB $13,300
Komarnicki Moosomin Communiplex upgrades Moosomin SK $132,650
Smith Ogniwo Polish Museum upgrade Winnipeg MB $12,300
Dreesen Red Deer Public Library Red Deer AB $225,300
Komarnicki Arena upgrade Kipling SK $19,674
Rempel West Hillhurst Community Recreation Centre Calgary AB $249,178
Hoback Swimming pool upgrade Shellbrook SK $39,362
Glover St. Boniface Library upgrade Winnipeg MB $20,000
Komarnicki Upgrading community rink Gainsborough SK $20,679
Komarnicki Tennis court upgrades Wapella SK $22,900
Valcourt Soudure Audet Welding Charlo NB $246,000
Lebel Intl Federation of Airline Pilots Associations Montreal QC $166,667
Valcourt Val d’Amour Road sewage line Atholville NB $164,017
Gourde Snowmobile grooming machines Saint-Alban QC $90,000
Keddy Cox Warehouse improvements Shelburne NS $229,807
Keddy County infrastructure projects Shelburne NS $107,084

And that’s just one day.

There’s a couple of dozen more like this scheduled for today.

In fact,since the last general election, my #OttawaSpends database has logged 2,241 occasions in which a government MP showed up with a cheque for someone or something for a total of $19 billion.

Categories: Economy, Politics

Subscribe to the post

7 comments

  1. Peter says:

    I found this article to be interesting but I don’t see really the point of the negative comment in the headline or in the last line. OK, snow grooming machines, that’s a little out there but MPs showing up to dole out cheques for various things – is’nt that just a regular function/what government does? For the most part, the expenditures seem completely normaly to me. Tennis court upgrade – no problem with that (unless it’s in the minister’s own backyard/house).

  2. Emily M says:

    Just more evidence that Canada’s so-called Action Plan is alive in only Conservative ridings.

    Buying votes to get elected is the the Action and it’s not Canada wide.

  3. Phil says:

    Groomers build snowmobiles trails to towns that would be otherwise be vacant from tourism in the winter. Tourism=$=employment

  4. David Akin says:

    Sorry Phil — Trail club fees pay for groomers, as they should. If there’s a money to be made from snowmobilers, then the businesses that profit from those trails can pitch in and fund trail groomers.
    Also: The feds only seem to give money for these machines to Quebec clubs. In four years of tracking these grants, I’ve seen no federal money provided to any club outside of Quebec for snowmobile grooming machines.

  5. Jeff says:

    $19 billion since May of 2011?

    I suspect this is more of the old Harper strategy. Keep greasing the economy with all these dribs and drabs and talk up how the world economy is terrible.

    Sometime around the beginning of 2014 these MP cheque deliveries will start to dry up and people in the ridings won’t really notice. Their MP’s will be hanging out and drinking coffee in the hockey rink that he helped pay for two years earlier. They’ll be seen in the aftermath of the stuff they helped create…but the new cheques will stop.

    Meanwhile, the deficit numbers will start to plummet. Hmmmm. What’s going on here? Looks like Harper policies are finally paying off! The deficit is disappearing faster than we imagined. The Conservatives have done the right thing after all!

    By September of 2015 the deficit will be gone and the non-deficit party will start….just in time for the election in October.

    Strange that!

  6. Andrei Filippov says:

    Peter – Does the government need to blow the budget to repair tennis courts? The money borrowed today will have to be paid back or defaulted on by our children.

  7. Phil says:

    Dave I think you missed my point.
    Either way we are talking 2 billion in economic activity from snowmobilers per year in Quebec alone. Is it worth cutting off a trail to save 100 grand? Yes permit sales buy groomers but in Ontario the OFSC is running a deficit, MTO owns the trails, goverment owns the MTO, without goverment spending the OFSC would collapse and then the trails are done.

Comments are closed.