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Not getting the bang for their buck

We’ve found out from the normally Conservative-friendly Canadian Taxpayers Federation that the Conservatives have been spending a ton of money in Western Canada:

An exhaustive Access to Information search by the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation found that the Tories have funded everything from flagpoles to school murals. It’s all been handled under the Western Economic Diversification fund, which has paid out more than $440 million across the four western provinces since the Conservatives came to power in January 2006.

Is that a big surprise? Not particularly; that is their base of power, so it makes sense that they would try and reward the region. If they are trying to use this strategy to win additional votes, however, as Dave suggests, then it’s a pretty poor strategy. They already hold all but 7 seats in the Prairie provinces, and have little to gain if they’re looking for additional votes there.

I’d be interested to see how much money they’ve poured into the Maritimes or Quebec and Ontario since obtaining power.


10 comments to Not getting the bang for their buck

  • Kuri

    WesternGrit – I haven’t been asleep, but I’ve been involved in the delivery of Gs and Cs as a non-partisan professional. And the facts are that the U of A (and several other urban recipients continue to receive project funding on a regular basis). I think it’s sad that partisan individuals are going to slur the civil service, imply they are politicized and used the work of a clearly anti-government organization like the CTF all to make a short-term rhetorical point at the expense of furthering a long-term anti-government meme that hurts Canadian society at large.

  • Kuri… WTF… Have you been asleep the last 3 years? The Harper government killed the “Cities” initiatives piloted by the Liberals, and have cut back funding on the Arts, Culture, and Research. What are those 3 things synonymous with? Cities. Universities. Obviously our little difference in opinion – and your interpretation of it – can’t be “clouded” by the facts…

    Thank you… Come again…

  • Kuri

    Actually, WesternGrit, you implied that the days of U of A (or any urban centre) were over – not true.

  • Kuri…

    “a) the priority of rural diversification started with the Liberals”
    – Didn’t say that it did not. Liberals were “champions” of the Prairies at the turn of the last century… Today’s reality is different.

    I clearly identified the U of A as a great recipient of funding – It is pretty much the “biggest non-oil thing” in Edmonton (at least to some of us).

  • Kuri

    FYI Western Grit: a) the priority of rural diversification started with the Liberals and b) operating funding for syncrotron (Canadian Light Source) was very recently renewed. Currently the U of A is probably one of the biggest recipients of federal funding in the entire country if one includes all departments. You’re simply off base here.

  • For decades (under Mulroney and Chretien/Martin governments) “Prairie-ers” (I won’t use the misused term “Westerners”, since BC is not anywhere NEAR being blanket-Conservative) were complaining about what they claimed was “Eastern Pork-barreling”. The most vocal ones were the very same Reform MPs you have in Ottawa (from the rural Prairies) today. They whined and complained a lot, then got to Ottawa and realized what Western Diversification is. They also started using it. Now, they’ve gone beyond just funding some projects, to full tilt partisanship.

    The projects coming out now are “pay-outs” to home ridings. Each Connie MP wants one. They’re doing this, but forget that the appearance is much worse than Liberal, or old PC, projects. Why? Old PC and Liberal Projects tended to be focused on more populous areas. This is where the factories, large plants, harbors, etc. were. Western D under the Liberals resulted in massive improvements at URBAN centers like the Universities on the Prairies. Projects were chosen, on the Prairies, which would impact the largest number of Canadians/Westerners. Liberal projects included the syncrotron (sp?) at the University of Sask. (a “mega” project), the research centers at the U of Regina, heavy spending at the Universities in Calgary and especially Edmonton. Winnipeg too. The Zoo in Calgary received a MASSIVE infusion of funds, which basically built the new enclosures, water areas, Destination Africa, etc.

    Liberals and PCs could play to their “natural base” without looking too partisan because their natural base was urban centers across Canada, and large industry in Central Canada, and on the Coasts – as well as environmental concerns and Northern projects. In this way, people in Regina, Winnipeg, Edmonton, Prince George, and (of course) Victoria and the Lower Mainland, enjoyed lots of infrastructure and “developmental” projects. The “new” Conservatives forcing big projects into rural Prairie with sparse population will raise eyebrows. This can only be seen as partisans at the trough… It is a simple fact of the Canadian (and most Western democracies’) dialectic – the urban/rural split – with more “centrist” or “liberal” parties appealing to more urban/urbane/cosmopolitan centers (as well as remote areas which require more government aid), while the more rural-type voters support more right-wing parties. Of course it’s not a “wash”, with large swaths of rural areas voting left (depending mainly upon the economic demographics)…

  • Kuri

    The CTF basically hates any kind of economic development. If you look back, they’ve heaped their scorn on WD and it’s entire mandate before when the Liberals were in power as well. There have been similar reports criticizing any and all projects done by ACOA.

    The projects funded by WD and all the RDAs are justified under the department’s priorities and strategic outcomes (which again, often date back prior to the Conservatives coming to power), and are rigorously screened prior the ministers even seeing them. I’m not defending every last project – but the CTF is pretty selective in the projects they choose to highlight. Notably absent from their reports are things the strategic investments in BC’s wine industry or Manitoba’s aerospace sector.

    (Also, since Budget 2009 has introduced a new RDA for Southern Ontario ‘SODA’, under Industry Canada, I expect that you’ll see more projects of this nature in your neck of the woods now than has been the case in the past, Scott.)

  • Big Winnie

    I wonder if Espanola (Carol Hughes riding – NDP)ever received infrastucture money to repair sewers and water mains that they had asked for $78,000).

    Is anyone keeping track of what the Cons are spending (other than their own ridings?

    Is anyone keeping track of all the broken promises made by the Cons?

    Isn’t it time we kicked their collective asses out?

  • slg

    It’s buying time, there going to leave me
    I can see that far away look in their eyes
    I can tell by the way the voters are looking
    that it won’t be long before there’s more buying time.

    Just wondering why the Taxpayers Assoc doesn’t look into the obsene waste of taxpayer dollars on 10 percenters. I’ve received (from the Cons) 9 as of mid-April, including a 14 page booklet of garbage.

  • foottothefire

    This is disgusting.
    Harperites trying hard to look like Republicans is one thing but this – this is defrauding Canadians.

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