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More Conservative pork-barrel/partisan politics over economic stimulus.

Yet again today, we have more examples/evidence of the Conservatives deciding to use stimulus funds for partisan gain.

First, more studies from independent media researchers that continue to show that Conservative ridings are getting disproportionate funding advantages over opposition held ridings:

The investigation — a two-week project by The Chronicle Herald, the Ottawa Citizen and journalism students from Ottawa’s Algonquin College — found that across the country, Conservative ridings received $4.7 billion, more than half of the $8.5 billion announced under the federal government’s Building Canada infrastructure program…The analysis found that the federal government has announced, on average, $32.8 million in infrastructure spending in each Conservative riding, $9.2 million more than in opposition ridings. The figures add weight to opposition claims that the government is steering money to areas where it can be of most help politically.

Of course, the Conservative government disputes they use political favoritism as a consideration when doling out stimulus funds, but here’s another key point of the article that totally undercuts their argument:

The federal government has declined to release databases tracking infrastructure stimulus spending, which would allow a precise analysis of where the money is going.

If they have nothing to hide or are doing everything on the up-and-up, as the Conservatives claim, why not release that information to the public?

The other thing we find out today is not only are the Conservatives trying to use stimulus funding to benefit Conservative-held ridings, but where they do spend money in opposition ridings, in some cases they’re inviting Conservative candidates to appear at the funding announcement, not the local opposition MP. Sometimes they aren’t even informing the opposition MP that the announcement is even happening:

While Conservative allies and would-be MPs are welcome at public announcements to splash taxpayers’ money around Canada, opposition MPs say they’ve been pushed to the sidelines and even left in the dark about funding announcements taking place in their ridings. Some New Democrat and Liberal MPs say they have only learned about funds going to their ridings when they looked in the local paper after the fact and saw unelected Conservative candidates prominently featured at government-financed events…

This fall, Moncton Liberal MP Brian Murphy was barred from entry to an announcement by the Prime Minister at the Irving shipyards in New Brunswick…In Edmonton-Strathcona, the only Alberta riding the Conservatives do not hold, local Tory candidate Ryan Hastman has participated in at least five government announcements over the past few months, while the local NDP MP, Linda Duncan, says she has been excluded from all of them. Hastman boasts of his participation in pictures on his Facebook page. Duncan, who calls the “whole process offensive,” says it becomes doubly irritating when a Conservative candidate claims credit for funds she helped to get for the community, as the duly elected MP.

The same thing happened recently in the riding of Welland, Ont., held by New Democrat MP Malcolm Allen. When the Prime Minister stopped in to announce federal stimulus money going to Niagara College last month – which came with a provincial contribution as well – there was pointedly no mention of either Allen or the provincial MPP, Peter Kormos, who is also a New Democrat. The local Conservative candidate, Leanna Villella, was apparently involved in the event and the organization of it, as she explained in a blog entry.

It mentions the Liberals believe that the Conservatives are in violations of the laws intended to keep partisan politics and government spending separate. I don’t expect much to come out of the Treasury Board investigating this – since it is under the sway of the Conservatives, but I think Elections Canada, the non-partisan independent body (whether the Conservatives and their supporters think it is or not) will have something to say about this.

On the surface though, it appears these stories just add to the prior evidence of Conservatives trying to use the Economic Action Fund to benefit themselves politically, and more or less trying to buy voters and votes.

UPDATE @ 3:31 pm: And yet even more examples of this Conservative pork-barreling/partisanship:

94% of funding flowing through the Enabling Accessibly Fund has been directed to projects located in Conservative ridings…Apparently, the vast preponderance of disabled people in Canada just happen to live in areas of the country that voted for Stephen Harper.


4 comments to More Conservative pork-barrel/partisan politics over economic stimulus.

  • Both parties legally steal form the people!!!

  • Edmonton Voter

    Ryan Hastman didn’t play any formal role in any of the announcements. He was just present in attendance, sitting in the crowd. they were public events, where was the MP? Instead of whining to the (out of town) press she should be working harder in her own riding.

  • Roll Tide

    Here is another one Scott, Big Winnie. Bryon Wilfert (Liberal MP Richmond Hill)
    had to crash a government announcement in his own riding.
    The local Liberal MPP however was invited.

    Conservatives are finally learning the art of politics, with rare by-election results, and it irritates Liberals to no end.

  • Big Winnie

    I wonder where the articles/links to articles refuting these claims are?

    Could it be that there aren’t any and that indeed the CONs are being blsatantly partisan?

    Prove me wrong!

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