Ottawa’s stimulus fiasco

A circus school, a ferry to nowhere, lawn-bowling greens. This is vital infrastructure?

by Jason Kirby with Josh Dehaas, Philippe Gohier and Jane Switzer

Mathieu Belanger/Reuters

The village of Klemtu, in northern B.C., hardly stands out among Canada’s ports. With a population of 450, the Aboriginal village doesn’t get many visitors to its makeshift dock. Even so, politicians in Ottawa and Victoria have come to see Klemtu as a key hub in their effort to stimulate the economy. Starting next month, work will begin on a new ferry terminal at a rocky outcrop two kilometres north of the village. The total cost to B.C. and Canadian taxpayers: $25 million. Granted, that’s only one-quarter of what BC Ferries paid in the late 1990s to build the Duke Point terminal in the city of Nanaimo, but that facility came complete with a stretch of four-lane highway and it serves more than one million passengers a year. Klemtu will be used “at most for a few hours once per week,” according to an environmental assessment of the project. Perhaps fittingly, tiny Klemtu sits on the shores of a place called Swindle Island.

Larry Greba of the Kitasoo Development Corp., a company owned by the local band council that pressed for the new terminal, insists the steep price tag will eventually be offset by fuel savings, since a more efficient ferry will service the new terminal. The project also helps a community beset by perpetual recession, he says. “They have had a bastard terminal since 1996, so this will open a huge opportunity for the community.” Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the province says the terminal will benefit other communities in the region and create 150 short-term jobs.

There’s no question isolated parts of northern B.C. need better ferry service. But the sheer scale of the Klemtu terminal suggests that, in the mad rush to spend stimulus money, prudence and common sense have been cast adrift. And a close look at some of the other projects funded under the Conservative government’s sprawling Economic Action Plan signals Klemtu is far from alone.

The stimulus plan, which the government announced in January 2009 under pressure from opposition parties, was meant to put Canadians to work on shovel-ready infrastructure projects. Originally valued at $40 billion over two years, the Finance Department now says the stimulus measures, including contributions from other levels of government, will hit more than $60 billion. But with the economy well into recovery, critics charge the surge of money flowing out of government coffers is not only needless, in many cases it’s been squandered on frivolous projects. And with at least five years of multi-billion-dollar deficits ahead of us, it threatens the long-term health of the economy.

“This represents the largest infrastructure renewal effort in this country in over half a century.” So said Prime Minister Stephen Harper upon the launch of the Economic Action Plan. But as past scandals involving this sort of thing have shown, one man’s infrastructure is another’s boondoggle.

In the early 1990s Jean Chrétien’s Liberal government went on a $6-billion spending spree under the guise of infrastructure, which spiralled into a pork-barrel scheme of epic proportions. In one particularly egregious instance, which would become synonomous with wasteful spending, Ottawa funnelled nearly $1 million to build a bocce ball court in North York. So it’s somewhat surprising the federal government’s action plan website lists at least two bocce ball projects, one of which involves $108,255 in federal money to fix a bocce ball shelter in Woodbridge, Ont.

But bocce is the just the beginning of spending on recreation, culture and tourism projects the Conservative government considers vital infrastructure. A search of the site turns up what could be called Stephen Harper’s Hierarchy of Sports Canadian Taxpayers Care About: one bowling alley, two slo-pitch parks, three cricket pitches, six lawn-bowling clubs, 10 skateboard parks, 17 baseball diamonds, 47 tennis courts, 50 soccer fields, 51 curling rinks and 280 arenas and ice rinks, the latter costing the federal government roughly $120 million. In some cases, money went to Canada’s wealthiest neighbourhoods, where residents might be expected to finance projects themselves: $90,933 for the Leaside Lawn Bowling Club in Toronto, or the $31,533 that went to renovate a field house in Toronto’s tony Rosedale. Some are projects even locals never thought they’d get. For years the Ontario town of Dunnville fought its neighbour Cayuga, roughly 24 km down the road, over which community would get a new arena, since it wasn’t feasible to build two. Now thanks to the stimulus, they both get one.

For those more inclined to exercise their minds, the Harper stimulus plan has earmarked vast sums to arts and culture infrastructure—a move critics say is an attempt to erase some of the self-inflicted political damage incurred when his government cut arts funding in 2008. To help creative types through the recession, Ottawa pledged $25 million through a special endowment for arts and creativity. Another $385,000 went to the Bata Shoe Museum, established by the wealthy Bata family—who have a net worth once estimated at $325 million.
Along the same lines, Ottawa has pumped millions into tourism events like folk festivals, comedy shows, gay-pride events and theatre productions across the country. It handed $500,000 to locomotive-train enthusiasts in southern Ontario and is spending $218,480 to produce a 26-episode TV series on the “sunset country” region of northwestern Ontario. The Calgary Stampede, which calls itself the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” still got $1 million from Ottawa to “increase awareness” and boost the number of “celebrity guests.” In another northern B.C. project, “the world’s largest North Coast First Nation traditional style replica canoe” is being built near Prince Rupert. Along with a dock, the price tag for the canoe is $127,875.

In Quebec, the Conservative government is spending heavily ($60 million over five years) to promote cruise ships on the St. Lawrence and Saguenay Rivers, including up to $1 million to translate into English a theatrical production and another $569,425 for a statue to honour the founder of Baie-Comeau (famously Brian Mulroney’s home town). And in Montreal, the federal government gave an additional $1.5 million in stimulus funds to a circus school, a comedy school and a theatre school, on top of the funding it already provides.

The action plan has also sprinkled stimulus dollars across rural Quebec in the form of hotel and tourist cabins, effectively doling out cheques to private businesses to help them through tough times. In one case, it’s not clear they even needed the money, given the hotel was virtually operational before the cheque was cut. In mid-August, Le Complexe MV Inc. received a $1.1-million grant to build a 100-room, three-star hotel in the remote Quebec town of Havre-Saint-Pierre. Yet by then most of the work was done, and two weeks later the hotel started taking reservations. An official at the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec acknowledged the money wasn’t delivered until construction was nearly complete, but said in the case of big projects it takes time to get through the approvals process.

There’s no doubt everyone loves a new sporting complex. And circus clowns are people too. But these are not the sort of projects Canadian taxpayers have ever thought of as infrastructure. This was a historic opportunity to improve the nuts and bolts of the economy, say critics, yet much of the money has been frittered away. “We know we have lots of problems in our general infrastructure, but because the rationale was to get money out the door as quickly as possible, you see soccer pitches, swimming pools and boys and girls clubs getting money,” says Niels Veldhuis, senior economist at the Fraser Institute. After all, just two weeks ago yet another major blackout in Toronto left a quarter-million people in the dark. “You have to ask, is this about doing what’s right for Canada and the economy, or is this about getting as many votes as possible?”

Dimitri Soudas, the Prime Minister’s director of communications, defends the spending on non-traditional infrastructure projects because they provide a short-term economic boost, along with longer-term benefits such as, in the case of arenas and soccer fields, fitter, healthier children. And unlike the Liberals, he says, the Conservative government funded specific projects and didn’t just funnel money through opaque bureaucracies. Besides, he says, most infrastructure projects involve work on highways, roads and water systems. Indeed, along with public transit and municipal buildings, these projects account for more than 80 per cent of the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.

But that leaves many hundreds of millions spent on other types of projects. And even for those that were about roads and sewers, the average size is quite small, just $2.5 million—about one-tenth the size of the ferry terminal in tiny Klemtu. That’s hardly the scale of infrastructure many observers say is needed for the future. Last week the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario released a report that argued the infrastructure deficit in Canada—pegged at roughly $130 billion—could cost the economy 1.1 per cent of annual GDP growth over the next 50 years. “In a lot of cases municipalities would tell you they weren’t the best types of projects in terms of city building,” says Andy Manahan, the organization’s executive director.

Some municipalities did try to tackle crumbling infrastructure, only to have more photo-op friendly projects get approved by Ottawa instead. In Brantford, Ont., councillor Richard Carpenter complained to a local newspaper that the city asked for roads, and got hockey arenas and a farmers’ market instead. “It turns out the ribbon-cutting projects are the priority for this government,” he said. Given the Prime Minister’s propensity for photos with kittens, perhaps that explains why five humane societies and animal shelters in Ontario received $5.3 million in federal funds to build or renovate buildings.

Ultimately what angers critics is the timing of it all. Even if laying artificial turf does create jobs, many of the projects are simply too late to make any difference to the economy.
Last month Canada’s unemployment rate fell to 7.9 per cent, the lowest level since the start of 2009. Yet across the country those Economic Action Plan signs—which, according to Le Devoir, cost between $800 and $7,000 each—are still being erected at a furious pace. That’s because planned spending by federal, provincial and municipal governments under the $10-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund (ISF) is about to peak this month, eight months after Statistics Canada declared the recession officially over, and a full year since the Bank of Canada said we were out of the woods.

According to a new analysis provided to Maclean’s by the Parliamentary Budget Office, which will be released in full within the next few weeks, money flowing from the ISF will hit nearly $900 million this month alone. The analysis also shows that by the time the recession officially ended last November, little more than one-tenth of the ISF money is estimated to have been spent, even less than was reported in the PBO’s previous update in the spring.

With such meagre government largesse early on, the Fraser Institute argues the stimulus did almost nothing to prompt the recovery. In a March report, the conservative think tank analyzed StatsCan data and determined government consumption and spending made a negligible contribution to GDP growth in the last two quarters of 2009. Instead, it attributed the rebound to rising exports. While other economists questioned the institute’s analysis, Prime Minister Harper was livid. He slammed the report as “shabby,” and said economic theory shows governments must ensure funds are put to good use to create jobs. (Never mind that in his 1991 University of Calgary master’s thesis, Harper took a swipe at the Keynesian economic policy of deficit spending to fight recessions.)

In the eyes of conservative economists like Mark Milke, director of research at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, every taxpayer dollar now going to jump-start the economy is being wasted. “It takes great gall to claim credit for ending a recession by spending stimulus money when that money was spent after the recession had already ended,” he says. “It’s kind of an Alice in Wonderland approach to finance, which one rarely saw under [former finance minister] Paul Martin.”

Yet the government’s position on the question of timing is simple—the recession never ended. “Statisticians may think the recession is over but the recovery remains very fragile, and ultimately people getting their jobs back is a key factor in determining when the recession is over,” says Soudas from the PMO. On this point, the government enjoys some support from Kevin Page, the parliamentary budget chief who has criticized the lack of transparency surrounding the stimulus plan. In an interview, Page said the Canadian economy is still operating well below potential.

Soudas also points out infrastructure was not the only part of the stimulus plan. At the federal level it includes tax breaks for individuals and businesses, reforms to Employment Insurance, a home-renovation tax credit and incentives for home buyers. Those non-infrastructure measures, worth roughly $30 billion—including $9.7 billion to bail out the auto sector—were put in place right away, says Soudas, and contributed to the rebound.

“There’s something to be said for that argument, given the stunning rebound in house prices over the last year. On the other hand, government intervention and record low interest rates from the Bank of Canada prompted Canadian households to gorge themselves on mortgage and consumer debt, setting themselves up for trouble. This week the Bank of Canada raised rates again in order to cool down the economy. Now there’s a very real risk the flood of infrastructure money being pumped into the economy this summer could fuel the fire, forcing the bank to tighten even further and squeeze over-leveraged households.”

Questionable infrastructure spending isn’t the only part of the stimulus plan critics have serious problems with. Ottawa has also used the opportunity to pump millions into private businesses and industries through grants and loans. When in opposition, the Conservatives accused the Liberals of trying to pick winners and losers in the private sector. Yet that is exactly what the Harper government is doing now, with almost no disclosure about the terms of the funding arrangements.

Scan through the action-plan website, and taxpayers might wonder whether Ottawa fancies itself a bank or even a venture capital fund. In one transaction, Ottawa provided $2 million in funding to Canada Bread Company Ltd., to “engineer and design” a new plant—even though the company generates $1.7 billion in revenue and has $60 million in cash.

Meanwhile, several stimulus projects involve “start-up” companies, such as $199,000 for a new organic health-food company in Quebec, $120,000 for another Quebec company that plans to make work clothes, and $450,000 for HD Petroleum, a company launched by a former cellphone salesman near Winnipeg to convert waste oil and plastic bags to diesel fuel. (In a recent newspaper interview, company president Todd Habicht boasted HD has attracted 25 inquiries from investors in Africa and the Middle East, which begs the question why government funding was needed in the first place.)

In fact, Ottawa is intent on promoting particular industries, even when there’s already too much capacity to keep existing businesses busy. Consider the market for wood pellets, which are burned to produce power. Under the stimulus plan, at least $7.5 million has gone to build or convert four wood-pellet plants in struggling forestry communities across the country. Yet in May, an industry official told a Senate committee there is already excess supply, while the collapse of the euro has decimated wood-pellet exports to the crucial European market. It’s a similar story in the slaughterhouse industry, where Ottawa is spending $50 million over three years to expand capacity.

For Kevin Grier, a senior market analyst at the George Morris Centre, an agri-food think tank, the rush of money for slaughterhouses smacks of the interventionist spending policies seen during the Trudeau era. “This government money gets [companies] into a market when they wouldn’t be there any other way, because nobody in their right mind would give them the money,” he says. Nobody, that is, except the government of Canada.

In the end what the Great Stimulus Spending Spree of 2009 and 2010 will be remembered for is its legacy of infrastructure projects. The truth is no one knows for sure what, if any, impact these projects have had, says Page. That’s why his office is currently surveying 1,000 Infrastructure Stimulus Fund recipients about whether the money actually stimulated output and created jobs, with the report due out in the fall. “This is an opportunity to promote transparency,” he says. More importantly, if there is another recession, at least there will be some solid, independent analysis about which types of projects are worth pursuing. And which ones equate to shovelling taxpayer money down a deep, dark hole.




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Ottawa’s stimulus fiasco

  1. “It's kind of an Alice in Wonderland approach to finance, which one rarely saw under [former finance minister] Paul Martin.”

    Ouch. That's gonna leave a mark.

    • Given what a putz he was as PM, most Canadian will never truly recognize what Martin did for the country as finance minister. It is not simply that he eliminated the deficit; he brought a level of sanity to the planned spending of money by the federal government. Prior to Martin, virtually all money was handed out on a year to year basis with allocations often not being made until months into the fiscal year. Surplus money was routinely clawed back, sometimes quarterly, departments that did not run a deficit often were arbitrarily cut. He transitioned a lot of government spending to rolling 3 year budgets, with timely decisions about increases and cuts that allowed rational management of resources.

      Sound management at the highest level helped cultivate a much improved generation of managers. I realize it is sometimes hard to believe, but that legacy continues. Today's government actually still does a better job of spending money than in the Trudeau/Mulroney eras.

      • Martin was a key reason I voted Liberal in the recovery of the "peso crisis". Even though I knew it would hurt me personally. As to overall governance, Martin was wholly entrenched in the mire of the LPC at the time, and frankly, if they weren't who they are, I would have no problem with a younger Paul Martin as the head of a LPC that moved centrist.

        He isn't, they aren't, and the CPC is at least alive to deal with the stimulus fallout…such as it is. Frankly, the LPC is hoping to get to the fall with a passable candidate, and it won't work this time. They have to go much, much deeper to reinvent themselves as the default choice for Canadian voters.

        To be truthful, I am taken a bit by surprise that this is bad as it gets. Given $56 000 000 000 reasons to pander, at least it was applied evenly, more or less. And very little is completely missing, a problem the LPC had the last go round with government intervention…

        Not that any of that makes it a good idea…

      • But as I recall when he was first appointed Finance minister he was all for spending, spending as with the other Libs. . It was the counsel of senior Finance gurus that convinced him (and then Chretien) that the country was in deep doo doo . As usual, the genius was with the mandarins, not the political level.
        Also, as I recall Harper did not believe that stimulus (Keynsian ) was the way to go but the INternational opinion swayed him??

  2. It's not rocket surgery… this is what happens when a government that doesn't believe that government can successfully bring Canadians together to solve problems gets desperate to save it's own hide.

    This is report is a really damning picture of waste and incompetence (how can we have a government that can't even succesfully SPEND MONEY?), and doesn't even mention serious allegations that stimulus funds were over-focussed on Conservative ridings.

    What a mess.

    • doesn't even mention serious allegations that stimulus funds were over-focussed on Conservative ridings

      Allegations are just that: allegations. They are not facts. Besides, the purpose of this article was not to highlight which ridings got money.

      • Well if the Conservative government would make the facts available, the allegations would either go away or rightly have consequences.

        Has a comprehensive report been made available of how/why/where the money was spent?

    • What the hell is rocket surgery? If that's what Liberals have planned to put people back to work I'm against it.

      • hahaha… I hope you're kidding…
        "Rocket surgery" is a mix of "rocket science" and "brain surgery", as in: "it's not rocket science" or "its not brain surgery".
        The point of combining the two, is to create something ridiculously stupid.
        Not getting that… well, that's doesnt score too high on the I.Q. board.

        Now everyone else can thank you for making conservatives everywhere look retarded…

        • I think it's rather apt – given how Harper is handling the census. Rather than just simply remove the threat of jail for noncompliance and change a few questions – he blows up the institution. Rocket surgery it is.

    • Nonsense! A stimulous program is just that! Projects to create employment, maintain some sense of normality during a severe economic downturn NOT caused by Canada. I think the Conservatives did a good job in doing that.

  3. it seems like everything done by Canadian politicians is merely to gain short term political points with no thought to the long term health of the country, recreational facilities are important but genuine infrastructure is the key to a healthy economy. this was the opportunity to really move the country forward maybe spend heavily on green power, so as fossil fuels increase in price as more expensive sources are used, we could be the country with affordable, non-polluting sources of energy. we should of thought of our children and their children rather than trying to win a damn election (and i vote conservative)

    • Don't forget that these were projects nominated by other jurisdictions; if the command from above is to stimulate it is not within Finance's purvue to do much but stimulate. It was the other parties, particularly the Libs and the NDP which wanted the stimulus. And the projects had to be "shovel ready".

    • As the saying goes, "people get the government they deserve". Although we Canadians are generally kind, tolerant, and extremely polite people, many of us put forth views and actions that are excessively politicaly correct. In other wards, we pander to groups with whom we wish to be on good terms. Looks like the government is pandering to a group with whom they wish to be on good terms – the electorate.

  4. I am completely SICK of this whole system of government,they spend our money frivolously like they won a lottery and then at budget time whine about the huge deficit we have. How many of those projects were favors to friends by people working in the government?
    The government should run like private business with checks and balances.This has been going on forever and will keep going on in a goddamn circle,we have professional economists,the Canadian taxpayers federation and whoever else saying they are wasting our money year after year, and year after year it continues.
    I have no experience in economics and people might think I'm naive but why can't the government run like a business? look at how much money they play with,how long would a bank last if they used their clients money like that?
    I really don't care about the pompous government ways,governor generals,official this, official that,similarities to old traditions like royalty.I want a boring CEO to run the country.
    I thought democracy was government for the people by the people Why is it us verses them? I hate this system and there seems no way to stop it.Why can't anything change?

    • Hi Anna,
      Governments cannot run like a business, because businesses have one priority – profit. If we had the same motive, then it would be easy to align all resources and decisions around this. Governments are in the business of spending – and the priorities are numerous. However, governments can be more 'business-like', and learn how to manage effectively. Unfortunately, we rely on the people in power to make good decisions.

      I believe nothing will change until we demand more. People need to vote – and not arbitrarily, but demand more from candidates. We have what we have because we have so much apathy. Most people don't understand how our system works, and not many are paying attention. I work for a provincial government, and when the public is aware and angry, change is made. We get what we have for being complacent.

      • If the gov was run like a business, the first thing we would do is sell off Quebec.

    • I wouldn't want a "boring CEO" to manage our country. Don't forget that it was the "boring CEOs" who led the financial disaster in the banking community in the U.S.

    • The government is horrible, but do you really want a CEO whose only interest is padding his or her bottom line? Government is supposed to be for the common good, not the good of the those elected. Take the census. Imagine what riding padding will happen if there is no demographic data which says what areas need the money most. Mind you these Reformer-tories ignore the data anyway and pump money where it's not needed anyhow. Anyone think a big superprison is gonna pop up around Calgary at a cost of 1.5 billion?

  5. Pathetic, yet a cut above the Liberals and NDP. Precisely why I quit voting. Not one of these governments makes any pretense to represent the taxpaying middle class so I could care less who gets elected. Ultimately the whole shebang is gonna collapse.

    • Thanks! Every time you don't vote, my vote gains that much more power.

      • Like the first guy said…voting doesn't matter….they all do the same thing anyway. The parties are a ruse…it's truly a one party system.

        • 2 down. 34,159,997 to go..

      • Only if they live in your riding, Thwim.

        • True that… but I remain ever hopeful.

          • Perhaps you could hack into the StatsCan data base, find out their riding and move there.

          • That only works if that riding is less (or equally) populated to the one in which he is currently living. He'd have to look into the relative voter turn-out, too. Just to be sure. :)

          • Providing the homes in that riding have the right number of bathrooms …

    • Great idea, lets give up on democracy because of these incidents!
      Say that to those who risk their lives going to the polls in Afghanistan!
      Give your brain a good shake will ya?

    • "Not one of these governments makes any pretense to represent the taxpaying middle class…"

      Why does one need to represent the majority? The majority is already overrepresented in the candidates who come for the most part from the middle class. Those that need specific representation are the socially marginalized and the minorities. So you'll pardon me if I don't bleed buckets for the middle class. It's the class that says to the others: Let them eat cake!

      • Talk about slaying the goose that lays the golden egg.

    • What's worse, someone who can't read, or someone who won't?

    • Rather than not voting in disgust, vote for one of the fringe parties to hold the government to account. I think until the system of electing government is changed a coalition is the only way to improve democracy. A majority government will never want to change the system. They would be fools to do so.

    • Wouldn't it be nice to back to the early Brit parliaments where there were no legal parties, but parties formed up on current issues (Whig, Tory, Reform) so that the member voted the way he had been bought? No, there is at least a discipline to our party system. The member votes the way the party was bought.

  6. I was against the stimulus spending, and (if the writers of this article had bothered to mention) so were the Tories and the PM. It was only AFTER the bloc, NDP and lieberals threatened a coup de tete on the basis of the fact that the Tories WEREN'T going to spend any money on stimulus, that the Tories relented. I don't see any of the blame shifted though to Iggy, Dooocep, or Jumpin' Jack though…
    In this three page 'article' only 1 sentence vaguely mentions 'opposition pressure'. For Macleans a coup de tete equals opposition pressure.

    • Why should it? It was up to the Tories and the PM *how* the money got spent, and that's what we're talking about here, not just if they money should have been spent.

      • Do you honestly believe that the PM sits at his desk signing off on 40 billion dollars in projects? This is why they didn't want to do it in the first place…it is ripe for abuse. However, the opposition and the media hounded the government for weeks demanding they spend, spend, spend, just like the new American god Obama was doing (BTW I'd be interested to see what the Democrats have spent their 800 billion on?). Besides, what exactly is stimulus anyways? What an idiotic concept…just spend…doesn't matter on what…just spend. Then we spend 9 billion on something important, like fighter jets, and everyone bitches too. Canadians bitch if you don't spend, bitch if you do spend, bitch if you don't spend on the right things (ie their pet projects)…blah blah blaha

      • The governing party is not the "Tories". The Harper government we now have is the Conservative Republican Alliance Party. The Tories were the Progressive Conservative Party of Joe Clarke, Robert Stanfield and John Diefenbaker!

    • I would have thought that the opposition leaders all simultaneously headbutting the PM would have left a lasting impression…

  7. critics charge the surge of money flowing out of government coffers is not only needless

    Presumably the same critics, months before, who insisted that stimulus money was necessary.

    Macleans should state who these critics are, rather than giving them the anonymous title of "critics." Are they the same ones who insisted stimulus was necessary in 2008/09? If so, their opinion should perhaps be taken with a grain of salt.

    • As you noted above, the focus of the article was not on which ridings the money was spent in… nor really is there any discussion about whether the stimulus was needed from a macroeconomic perspective.

      The article instead points out that an awful lot of the money that was spent, was spent extraordinarily poorly. It is pathetic that Dimtri Soudas brags that rather than follow established protocols for determining priorities, they instead created adhoc proceedures on the fly. I am involved in 2 stimulus funded projects and helped with 3 unsuccessful applications. Large project competitions are always chaotic but this was absolutely flippin crazy.

      If you want to give create to the opposition for the existance of the Economic Stimulus Package fine. (I believe the PM has firmly taken credit for it however) I don't think you can blame the opposition for the procedures that were followed or the specific projects funded.

      • "The article instead points out that an awful lot of the money that was spent, was spent extraordinarily poorly."

        Actually, if you believed in the necessity for stimulus then by definition the money could not have been spent extraordinarily poorly (except if you buy into "leakage"arguments, I guess). There are clear winners as public spending replaces private spending as the latter retrenches but, as a whole, the economy would be better off and the money was not spent poorly. Just because you yourself were not an obvious winner does not mean the money was spent poorly. Of course, if you didn't believe in the need for stimulus then it really doesn't matter what the government spent money on because you think it's just wasted. That's why the macroeconomic arguments are important to this article because they provide context.

        • That's complete crap. That's like saying if you have cancer in your foot, cutting out just the affected areas is the same thing as cutting off both your legs.

          It's entirely possible to approve of the stimulus as a whole but have to shake your head about the piss poor way in which it was done — there are ways to do stimulus that would have left lasting societal benefits such as improved transportation/communication/education/energy efficiency infrastructure. There are ways that can actually hurt the community in the long term, such as prettifying a small town by raising a sidewalk — without raising the hydrant.

          And there are a whole lot of ways that don't do much of anything.. such as gazebos.

          • Thwin… comparisions like that are how a crap got such a bad name.

          • A better comparison is if you got your leg cut off. Do you quickly apply a tourniquet or do you call an ambulance and wait for them to show up? The stimulus experiment was about spending alot of money very quickly. The stuff you cite as examples don't get built in that sort of time-frame. It's the equivalent to letting the patient bleed out while we wait for the ambulance.

      • I'm not arguing any of that. My point is that Macleans be a little more clear when they paraphrase critics. Are they the same critics who wanted the stimulus money to begin with? Making a vague statement like "critics claim the money is needless" is poor journalism, in my opinion.

        Which critics? Aren't there other "critics" who said the opposite? Why paraphrase one group of critics, and not another? What about critics who said the money wasn't enough?

        • Isn't it MacLean's who have columnists who used to write like they were a fly on the wall of political discussions? I suspect the Conservatives have put up fly scvreens.

  8. A circus school? I always suspected these guys were clowns. Now I have the proof! :-)

  9. According to Keynesian economics, it doesn't matter where the money got spent, only that it got spent quickly.

    You think you're going to get well-spent, well considered spending with an ideology like that?

    Don't demand Keynesian stimulus spending, and that's one less incentive to waste taxpayer dollars. The idea that stimulating aggregate demand is the solution to all economic problems is madness anyway. I mean, everyone else knows that all problems aren't solved with a single tool, so why do sociologists and economists think so?

    • They don't. That you only know of one of the tools they use is your fault, not theirs.

      • Please. There are two economic models which dominate. One says the cure for all economic ills is deficit spending and slashing interest rates whenever the economy slows down. The other says that you need to cut taxes so people invest their money into the economy.

        So tell me what the hell the debt and mortgage crisis has to do with either of these things? The first is good if you have a lot of stored wealth and a large flexible unskilled workforce sitting idle, with a largely domestic market. The second solution is good if you have so much taxation that you've largely cut the middle class out of investing, or you are encouraging people to invest their money elsewhere rather than your economy.

        Neither solution has anything to do with a loss confidence in over-leveraged institutions, crippling personal debt, or suspicions that your assets are over-valued. The only way to solve that economic slowdown is to restore confidence in the financial institutions themselves, encouraging consumers to save until they are solvent instead of hanging over the ragged edge, and ensure that people are forced to understand what they are investing in.

        The current (past?) economic crisis has nothing to do with people not spending enough (they are already spending past their limit) nor with investing enough (what people can save, they generally are investing).

    • I must have missed the chants of the roaring crowds calling not just for stimulus, but *Keynesian* stimulus. The crowds were that precise in their demands? They weren't just, you know, asking for some sign that the government recognize that it mighthave fiscal tools at its disposal that might, you know, help a bit? Since we're imagining what the crowds were clamouring for, why don't we imagine they were asking for stimulus that was also targeted, strategic and coordinated by an overarching theme or objective? Do we really have to accept that the mob wanted *Keynesian* stimulus?

      • You probably also missed the 2008 parliamentary crisis as well. Economic stimulus (are you actually going to pretend we aren't referring to Keynesian stimulus here?) was a pretty central plank of that coalition.

        • No, I'm pretending that we don't have to be so slavish to an economic theory that we have to stick to such a fatuous interpretation of it as TTE laid it out.

        • There were plenty of suggestions at the time on these very boards that the stimulus should be targeted and be used to give Canada a competitive edge. High speed rail, better digital infrastructure, roads, that sort of thing. Not bocce ball courts.

          • I don't think anyone really thought high speed rail was a suitable candidate for stimulus funding. It couldn't be built in the time-frame we were dealing with. The problem with not paying attention to economic theory is that you forget what the whole point of the spending was to begin with. It was to partially replace the private sector demand that evaporated with the recession. The money needed to be spent before the recovery. Believe it or not the bocce ball courts were way more effective economically than high speed rail would have been because they actually got built and the money got spent.

          • Good point re high-speed rail. The buzzword that was being thrown around was "shovel ready", i.e., having projects that could get going quickly. That was not going to happen with any high-speed rail project, or anything else cutting-edge, fancy or innovative.

          • If the CPCs weren't just pandering; if they really believed at the time that their origianl instincts were best, they could easily have managed a strategy that satisfied the hysteria without necessarily giving in to nonsense spending.

            I'm not blind to political reality and that there are times you have to compromise to continue to govern. However, I think there are a lot of people who wish that, given that reality, the government had at least taken that money and done something – anything – strategic with it. Instead, rinks, bocce ball courts, gazebos; anything that could be done quickly, easily and to which the local CPC MP could point as an example of how much tey can deliver. Kickin' it old school!

          • Quickly and easily was the whole point of the spending! That's the whole point of the theory of stimulating the economy. You shovel a bunch of money around to get people spending it back into the economy.

            Stimulus isn't about planning for projects that you would begin spending money on in 5 years, and then go on to spend over the next 10 for serious infrastructure. Strategic spending and stimulus spending have opposing goals.

            So if you wanted to spend several billion upgrading the power grid to something belonging in the 21st century, or building a high speed rail connection between Montreal and Toronto, or a serious upgrade to our roads system, or allowing towns and cities to upgrade their sanitation facilities, those are all things that are necessary, but none of them are feasible projects for short-term stimulus spending if you actually want that to be short term stimulus spending.

            Stimulus spending, as an ideology, demands spending things that are quick, easy, and show that the government is spending that money. Why do you think so many people hate Keynesianism?

          • You aren't hearing me. Apologists before the government's 180 derided stimulus spending and proudly proclaimed their government as being above such pandering. In response to political reality, they had to capitulate. The degree to which they did so was in their control.

            If they really believed the stimulus aspect was of little or no value, then they could have at least found shovel ready projects that showed a little more foresight than was exercised. Your original post correctly questions the value of blind spending, but appears to blame the unaccountable, unidentified target of your post, rather than those who were ultimately responsible for the spending. It's not liek they have demonstrated any reluctance to appear to be doing one thing while they actuall do another, is it?

          • Ah, well I can certainly understand that. For the record, I am assigning blame where blame is due, which is why I didn't renew my membership or donate any more money to the CPC since they ran a deficit for the purposes of stimulus, and refused to cut spending and services (or raise taxes) due to budget shortfalls.

            The only saving grace in this entire mess is that most of the stimulus money never got out the door, so perhaps the deficits won't be as bad as we feared. I doubt it though.

            But you must understand, I hate Keynesian economics specifically, and I think sociology and macro-economics (I term certain economists as "sociologists in suits") is an intellectually bankrupt pseudo-science. Human societies aren't made up of a vast unconscious hive mind that can be spurred in different directions by pulling a specific lever.

          • I agree with your last para to the point where we can neveer be certain that a lever will work, since part of the dynamic is that awareness of its use can skew past results. However, for the most part, humans have demonstrated time and again, over many eras and many societies to have a distinct appetite for acting in mindless concert.

          • Never mindless, and there are always many tensions active in a society at once.

            Hegel is ahistorical shite. Most of the understanding of a "progressive" linear history is built on crappy history as well.

          • Never mindless, even if horrible. To put it bluntly, there is always tension of different ideas in society, and people generally don't think en masse in perfect synchronization, even if there is social movement.

            Largely the idea that we do can be traced to Spinoza, Hegel, Marx, and others who claimed that we largely did not think for ourselves, but are merely products of the thinking of our time. Any unbaised study of history shows that this is simply untrue, and that generally societies are very complex and diverse because the individuals within them are.

          • The stock market disagrees with you.

          • Oh? How so?

          • The entire notion of technical trading relies on the idea that the market, that is, the greater mass of humanity, moves in specific patterns and on specific triggers. What's more, these triggers can be manipulated with the right levers.

            Yes, a person is an extremely complex and diverse thing. People, however, are not. People are understandable and fairly predictable. And while there will always be the few who differ, Keynes theories don't require that everybody act in exact concert, merely that the bulk of society works in the same direction given certain levers.

            Hell, Cramer goes and outlines specifically how he's done it personally: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMShFx5rThI&fe

          • "You aren't hearing me."

            We're hearing you just fine. Instead of building things quickly that might have actually helped the economy recover faster and given people jobs (and money) during the worst of the recession you'd rather have already employed government workers sit down and take years to plan and assess constructing digital infrastructure and high-speed rail projects while those construction workers sat around unemployed and were forced to declare personal bankruptcy. But hey, we'd be so much more productive in 2025 (provided the project isn't simply cancelled two years down the road before any money is spent).

            You can't have it both ways and say you were for the stimulus funding but wanted all the money to be spent on fancy infrastructure and built in 8 months. The real world doesn't work that way. That's why the government ended up having to build bocce ball courts. There are only so many roads that can be paved at once.

          • I should also add that I find it slightly amusing that you think building bocce ball courts (which virtually no one will notice) is pandering while building high-speed rail, a very visible infrastructure project that will primarily benefit areas where the Conservatives need to break through to win a majority, is not. The former is built and done while the latter benefits a narrow geographic region and would likely continue to suck money from other regions of the country for years. Which one is pandering for votes again?

        • Oh, and when I wrote *Keynesian* you could read it with the kind of tone you might find in Monty Python's skits about the Spanish Inquisition. It helps.

        • I do remember 'timely and targeted' being thrown around alot at the time. It's the opposite of shovelling money off the back of a truck.

      • 'Stimulus' is a Keynesian concept, and it refers to stimulating aggregate demand. You can't divorce stimulus from Keynesian economics because it was Keynes who invented the concept and brought it to prominence amongst economic thinkers. Had Keynes not been born, it's altogether possible someone else would have thought of it. Who knows, perhaps we'd be calling it Kruggian stimulus. But the concept of stimulus always refers to the immediate, temporary boost to aggregate demand. If the objective is to invest in long term productive assets, that's fine, but let's call it that, and not confuse it with stimulus.

        • For the record, I'm generally not opposed to useful long term spending on infrastructure. I'd like to suggest for both the environment and for the public good we update our antiquated energy distribution network for example.

    • There is nothing wrong with Keynsian economics. It is not outdated. But you have to play both ends. When things are bad you stimulate; when things are good, you pile money into savings. The Libs seldom saved. The NDP only have p[lans to spend.

  10. My understanding is that stimulus projects were funded by THREE government agencies – municipal/regional, provincial and federal. So while some of these projects DO sound pretty stupid, I'm not sure it's just the federal government that comes out looking foolish.

    • AND the media and opposition quickly forget that it was THEY who demanded the spending…down the memory hole…

      • Yes, but you see, they would have done a much better job spending the money. That's the way politics works — everyone is an armchair quarterback.

        • Of course, it's "stimulus" if you are spending it, and "waste" if the other guy is spending it. Politics has always been thus.

        • This is true…Lieberals prefer their spending be done in brown paper bags.

          • I'd rather be practical than principled. I understand if you don't. But I'd take a few million pocketed for a 10 billion better spent myself.

    • Unfortunately, it was insisted by the Feds that the two lower tiers took responsibility for the allocation in their areas. It turned out to be a front as Baird used the big gavel to judge what was appropriate for the Feds to pass on the funds.

  11. So… When is Sheila Fraser's report on this coming out? An important date to note because I'm almost certain that Harper will try to provoke an election before that report comes to light.

    • We desperately need to have a meaningful conversation as to who replaces Sheila Fraser this fall…she is the single person in the public sector I accept as working in my interest without qualifications on my part…

      It's way to important to leave up to the status quo, and the inevitable political horsesass braying…

    • I'm betting that Harper will pull the plug on Parliament only days before the Summer Recess is over and not even allowing the MPs to return to the HoCs in September. Yup, straight into an election so Iggy might as well hold on to his bus and just keep on criss-crossing Canada in his Magic Bust.

      Alternatively, Harper may just let the HoCs return after the Summer Recess and present it with a confidence motion issue .. and watch what Iggy and his Liberals do …!!!

      • I agree. Dropping this census bomb and going after employment equity very much resembles a move aimed at mobilizing his Reform base.

        The timing lines up with potential plans for a fall election.

  12. Let us vote these idiots out of power! The fools! When will the people wake up and be more involved? We own them, not they owning us!

    • The conservatives were elected in large part due to the naked corruption and waste of the Lieberals…down the memory hole..

      • Lieberals Huh?..are ALL the conservative posters as "charming" as this………………I used to vote Progressive Conservative………..but there is NO way I am voting for this Government that has invited "tea-bag" mentality and stupidity into this country….and the more I see and hear of the supporters the sadder I am at the loss of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada

      • As I've said before, at least the Liberals managed to balance the budget while doing it.

        Meanwhile, the CPC can't even manage that.

    • If you do there are even greater idiots wwaiting to take their place.

  13. A Fall election is now mandatory as far as Liberal Iggnatieff is concerned. The Harper gov't must be held accountable for their stimulus spending, the census fiasco, the RCMP rebellion, and a myriad of other blunders by the Conservative gov't.

    Iggnatieff can no longer shore up the Conservative minority gov't as he did for over a year of his leadership of the Liberal opposition. It's now or never for Iggnatieff … election or rejection … time's up Iggy … !!!

    • he's already been rejected.Iggy that is.

      • You mean rejected by Canadians? .. I meant rejection by the Liberal party and replacing him with somebody like BobRae … who is next in line to inherit the Liberal throne .. as a matter of natural ascension.

        • Observant, you get more stupid by the day. Iggy is not going anywhere and he will fight the next election and possibly win it. The Liberal party has not rejected Iggy, nor will they before the next election becasue he is within shouting distance of the Harpercrites with about 25% of the elcectorate undecided. Harper is down over 5% from the last election and the Liberals are slowly movig up and hoping to peak in an election, which is what smart parties do. .

          • Observant was correct, in 2006 Dion was democratically selected by the Grassroots.

            In 2008 about 200 insiders prevented another repeat of any democratic contest between the three candidates. They also made noise to prevent any deadbeat running again from 2006.

            Bob Rae was very unhappy about the back room decision, but he could count.

            "I just happen to have a view that says it's better to have the party as a whole involved in finding a solution than it is to have a solution imposed from above," Rae said during a news conference at his Toronto office Monday afternoon. "No other democratic party would do it this way, and I think we have to think very carefully about finding the right process."

            Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/edmonton/story/2008/12/0

        • Oh my God! Bob Rae is the worst of possibilitities. He probably wouldn't get a single vote in ON.

  14. This is deliberate misspending of public money.

    What we need are bridges, overpasses, sewage plants, water plants, highways without potholes….not this kind of crap.

    This goes beyond politics into criminal.

    • Remember "shovel ready". Those items take years to plan. By the time they woould be ready the need for stimulus would be over.

    • You live in a cave?

      I see many signs and construction crews in GTA.

      The Economic Action Plan builds on these investments by launching a new Infrastructure Stimulus Fund that will support federal and provincial/territorial investments of at least $8 billion in construction-ready projects in all regions, allowing for accelerated access to provincial/territorial base funding, topping up support to the Communities Component of the Building Canada Fund, and introducing a $1-billion Green Infrastructure Fund. These investments will renew public infrastructure, create jobs, and contribute to cleaner air, land and water. http://www.actionplan.gc.ca/eng/feature.asp?pageI

      Auditor General Reports 2010 http://www.oag-bvg.gc.ca/internet/English/parl_oa

      Many projects are questionable, ignoring each party was responsible for the decision and approval of the process. The province and Municipality kicked in 2/3 of the funds. http://www.taxpayer.com/sites/default/files/Top10

  15. The federal government set all of the rules… some of them quite Byzantine. The federal government set all of the deadlines, most of them ridiculus. Quite frankly, even with the very best of intentions and the most competent management process doing things this large, this fast would have led to problems.

    However, this crop of Conservatives are horrible managers of people and money. Rules are vague to begin with, requirements & priorities change continually, and politics continually trumps all other issues.

    • You mentioned, Stewart, that you've worked on some of the applications. Can you elaborate on some of the rules and problems they posed? Any idea how the rules compared to the Infrastructure Program the Liberals ran after the 93 election?

      I'm not predisposed to the CPC and mad enough at them about the Census to donate to whoever can beat them in my riding, but I am prepared to cut them some slack on stimulus. Candace does have a point in that municipalities had to propose the projects, so the proposals for gazebos and such must have had some local origin.

      One other question – the projects were supposed to be 'shovel ready.' Yet, weren't they also supposed to be things that wouldn't have otherwise been built if the stimulus money had not been available? Would that mean that, say if the City of Xville wanted to built a fire station or arena, they had to have the design complete but construction on hold or forecast for the future?

    • Don't let facts get in the way of your vitriol.

      Ms. Parrish says that Mississauga is receiving a huge amount of dollars from various stimulus programs and it was city staff, not federal and provincial politicians, who decided which projects to fund. So there! “The feds and the province decided how much we'd get. Council decided where it would be spent. And we are grateful for that autonomy,” she writes.

      Stephen Harper earns a Toronto ovation-

      Finally Mr. Harper appeared. The crowd stood to applaud. I later asked Matthew Church, chair of the Toronto Public Library Board, why le tout Toronto rose to applaud Mr. Harper.

      “I don't know,” he mused. “That surprised me as well. It didn't seem like the kind of event that would warrant a standing ovation. But people are happy that he is putting money into libraries.”

      Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/toronto/
      http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/otta

    • That implies to me that the civil servants are now incompetent rather than the political level. The Ministry of Finance was once the Ministry of the Finest. What happened to it?

  16. Those things require..ummm…PLANNING… the opposition and media were demanding spending happen NOW. These things are also largely out of the scope of the federal government – don't let that *fact* stand in the way of your indignation though… Down the memory hole.

    • And all munis and provinces have lists of the things that need to be done. So planning was already in place.

      The Opposition and media weren't demanding anything, Harper agreed to the spending at the G20.

      • eye roll.

        • Facts bother you eh?

      • I doubt it. Those jurisdictions don't spend a nickel on planning until they see the cash. Advanced provinces require projects to go through phases. Usually there is no money for planning until the boss can see where the money is coming from. Particularly capital construction.

    • "the opposition and media were demanding spending happen NOW. "

      Don't blame the opposition for the failure of the government to act appropriately. You are enabling sub-par management of the public purse by providing the government with vapid excuses based on a misunderstanding of a parliamentary mechanism called "loyal opposition". It should be obvious the government is obliged under all circumstances to act appropriately or suffer the consequences.

      • You fail to understand that government spending IS the problem. The government shouldn't have spent any money on stimulus…and flarety and Harper would have been happy not to either. What part of 'threatening to bring down the government', don't you understand?

  17. This article is pretty selective in its examples, as if it sets out to prove a predetermined point the writers hope to make.__In my riding, where I see the Economic Action Plan signs go up, I also see crews busily working to improve highways and county roads that were previously near impassable – instant employment for the people building them, and a needed investment in basic infrastructure that will be a legacy item for many years for the people that will use them and depend on them.__When I visit Ottawa, I see shoddy and run-down heritage Government buildings receiving a needed facelift and internal refreshing, which is a point of pride for those who believe our national capital should be a showcase.__As with all things, it is easy to cherry pick examples. And no doubt some are some projects that were approved that are only peripheral to economic stimulus. But let's step back and take a look at the whole picture here – the plan obviously worked

  18. What folks do not seem to understand is that the economic downturn created a significant loss in employment. These projects created employment and has provided feature infrasructure for communities. We heard both the NDP and the Liberals screaming about job creation. We heard other critics also screaming about job/infrastructure opportunities and need. I really do not care what the project is/was, this initiative created job opportunities, vendors and a host of support companies. That is what a stimulous program is all about in the time of economic downturn.

    I do not think any other government would do any better no matter what political persuasion.

    • As has been recorded elsewhere, the stimulus never got out the door until the 'recession' was over.

      And building things that don't need building, while ignoring things that do…matter.

    • Many of us were not happy with the size or scope of the spending. We do believe all levels of government are inept regardless of political parties and waste will occur.

      That said in the minority in October 2008, the 3 stooges tried a coup promising billions in goodies for projects. In December 2008 the G20 agreed to spend like drunken sailors and stop the failing banks.

      For some in 2010 they can't turn off the tap. The CPC have promised along with several others to make cuts to balance the books. The crying from the cheap seats will always take place.

    • Infrastructure spending in Collingwood amounted to two glaring examples of hardship for the local townfolk – First a very large scale donation to build an astroturf 'arena' for a private school and secondly a lot of out of town workers benefiting through temporary employment and then leaving the area – if we traced the companies that received these grants, I wonder what we would find

      • As a taxpayer why not spend a few minutes and investigate, contact the OPP if you find anything.

        Here is the link for the Auditor General while you are at it.

        Office of the Auditor General of Canada
        240 Sparks Street
        Ottawa, Ontario
        K1A 0G6 Canada

        E-mail

        For general questions and comments about the Office of Auditor General of Canada, please contact communications@oag-bvg.gc.ca.

        E-mails are acknowledged within 15 working days. If you would like a response, please include a name and a telephone number.
        Telephone

        613-995-3708

    • Right on. Actually the NDP and the Libs are experts at throwing money out the door.

  19. I'm particularly peeved by the purchase of new jets which costs each taxpayer approximately $666.66 or more. I'd like Macleans to dig up how much the current CF-18s are costing in maintenance, and what a competing bid might cost for fewer or better suited aircraft.

    At least all of this porky infrastructure isn't designed to kill.

    • back to the 60's commie, you have no place here in the future.

      • Fitting that you'd describe yourself as living in the future, while defending spending designed to be paid off by our grandchildren's children. And it's ironic you'd defend the purchase of military technology designed around 20th Century ideas of war. The future of war could very well be based around insurgencies on the ground, and unmanned drone planes in the air. The days of fighter jets are on the verge of being left behind, and have very little purpose in Canada other than to serve as Pentagon pork.

        • Canada buys 65 of these F-35s to gain access for Canadian companies to build components for about 2500 of these next generation aircraft … which is not a bad trade-off, wouldn't you say???

          The spin-off benefits also extends to relations with the USA, which is still Canada's biggest market and business partner .. and it will stay that way forever. If you object to that relationship, perhaps you should consider another residence .. like N Korea.

        • It's good you hippies are always fighting the last war….you remember…the one you didn't fight in? You won't be happy until USA jets are patrolling Canadian skies…why do you hate Canada so much?????

          • "You won't be happy until USA jets are patrolling Canadian skies…why do you hate Canada so much"
            That's specifically what I'm against — US jets patrolling in Canadian skies; yet you are asking for it.

            There was a time when Canada was innovative and world renowned for our military's inventiveness. Now we're only the American's lapdogs, and buy their white elephants, and fight their wars for oil.

            Observant, your opinion wasn't ridiculous until your last crack which makes you sound as loony as NiceGuy. The spin off detriments of burdening taxpayers with another $133/year for jets that they will not benefit from, is great enough to negate any temporary economic gains from building last century's war machines.

          • What is 'loony' is your amortizing the entire cost of the 65 F-35s on a per capita basis. Canada will receive huge benefits from F-35 contracts that will accrue to Canadian industry .. something you conveniently ignore in your simplistic socialistic ignorance of economics and business. Thank God we have economics educated Stephen Harper leading our nation in it's dealings with the USA.

          • The per capita example is a simplification, yes. It's useful to see what it costs on the face of a purchase, since that is empirical evidence, and isn't subjective like "huge benefits" you cite.

            Unfortunately, you and Stephen Harper are of the opinion that you need to spend future generation's money and non-renewable resources on the present, to generate "sustainable" economic growth. Your simplistic adherence to failing economic theory is perhaps blinding you to better models that blend the positive aspects of capitalism with the social responsibility Harper-nomics lacks.

          • So you object to the purchase of a few F-35s on principle .. and prefer to live in a cave where you can communicate with nature .. but still hold on to your non-productive service job … or gov't job.

          • In Manitoba its not uncommon to see B52's out of Minot flying N or S

            Been that way for a long time.

            I've wondered if they have nukes on board.

  20. Interesting analysis. Did the author forget how many projects were joint ventures with three levels of government?

    Does he name the Mayor or Premier that directed or made the request for funding?

    Ms. Parrish defends the Tory stimulus spending: “As a former Liberal MP I recognize that federal politics, can, at times, take on the rhythm and colour of a stage play,” she writes. (Recall that Ms. Parrish was kicked out of Paul Martin's caucus after she stomped on a George Bush doll as a part of a skit on CBC's This Hour has 22 Minutes. She also called Americans “bastards.”) She continues: “I understand the dramatic cries of outrage that must be flung at the government in power – often backed by somewhat scrambled statistics. But is infrastructure stimulus money being distributed unfairly? NOT!” She says that having first-hand knowledge of political “spin” and the “slings and arrows of the press,” she is a non-partisan now who can set the record straight. Ms. Parrish says that Mississauga is receiving a huge amount of dollars from various stimulus programs and it was city staff, not federal and provincial politicians, who decided which projects to fund. So there! “The feds and the province decided how much we'd get. Council decided where it would be spent. And we are grateful for that autonomy,” she writes.
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/otta

    • Good point. Its not necessarily the Feds solely at issue.

    • Now, now, CanadianSense, how can you look in the mirror knowing that you confused the Left with facts??

      • Canadian sense always confuses himself THINKING his facts are real. In spite of Parrish's comments the money comes from the taxpayer and thus the feds, as leaders of the stimulus project, should vet all spending to ensure it goes toward creating real infrastructure and is appropriate for the taxpayer.

        Canadian sense is a very partisan Tory wannabe.

        • Fed contributed 1/3 and the Province-Municipality were responsible for 2/3.

          Ignoring the math and facts who made the decisions on what project is typical from your history.

          George Smitherman, deputy leader refused to play along with the Federal Liberals and the media in playing games on the allocation of spending.

      • My bad, I forget how some in the media omit facts in their analysis because it does not reflect their agenda.

        All levels of government are responsible for agreeing in 2008 to spend money to replace the loss of private spending. The provinces and cities were responsible to direct the project and have it completed on time.

        I am confident the auditor general Sheila Fraser will find waste. I was against the large program and the speed of which every PREMIER got on board.

        Even with the culture of every rule broken under the Liberals no longer in Ottawa, the accountability act can't fix poor procurement practices with tight time lines.

        I am thankful the CPC moved the E.I. fund out of General Revenue so future governments can't steal those funds to pay for other priorities. One of the larger expenses was providing benefits and programs during the recession. The Liberals were playing fast and loose with the Employment Insurance taxes collected, cutting Health, Education and Social Services in the 1990's to create a balanced budget on the backs of the most vulnerable.

        • The conservatives have fund many other ways to steal from Canadians including the Income trust tax right out of the box. The libs moved EI funds into general revenues to be more fiscally efficient a word the tories don't find in their dictionary.

          • EI funds that should have been kept for EI, not general revenue. Fiscally efficient means "hey, here's som loot; were in good times, EI doesn 't need it. Libs don't look beyond the nextg ellection.

          • No fiscally efficient means using the funds for general spending purposes and keeping tabs on the amount owed to that system so that when needed ther government can move the funds back. Everyone knows that keeping cash idle isstupid. then again you seem to be a Tory. Economics and Tories are strangers to each other as are any other factual or scientific basis for doing things.

          • That is the problem with Liberals, they have no problem justifying taking tax revenue and using it as they deem necessary.

            I don't meet many people who want to have more taxes, but I have heard many complaints wanting the government to spend/manage what the currently have wisely.

            That is the disconnect with the tax and spend political culture in all levels of government.

          • Yea sole source jet plane orders without any parliamnet ary vfetting is good government if you're a reformatort. You're a joke.

          • The minority government can not pass a SINGLE monetary bill without at least one party in support of the government agenda.

            Can you guess what party has been the most supportive and loyal to the CPC Agenda?

            Hint :Layton and Duceppe make fun of the leaders of the party on a regular basis.

            Here is the October 2009 Rex Murphy take on the return of the king
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yya1YjSDYK4

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl-epJKaXes

          • The Libs are calcvulating that there is nothing in those bills that can't be changed pretty quickly when they come to power. Its that simple when forcing an election will not win them points. they have not played the sucker forduceppe and layton and certainly not the Herpes gang.

            Again you miss the point because you don't have stats that measure those little nicities.

  21. You know, just because the Libs and NDP argued for stimulus spending, doesn't mean people like Pork Barrel Clement and co. had to turn the process into a trough. The Cons are cons, and what they did with the money, they did with the money, but let a con blame a con, never. The new right is always never wrong when you're playing the long con. The massive social engineering project designed by Stephen Harper to make Canada unrecognizable to those who love it.

    • Precisely how is Canada less recognizable today than five years ago?

      • That'd be the change in the census, making it harder for Canadians to recognize facts about our country.

        Also, it used to be that Parliament could access documents when it demanded them.

  22. One of these days, we might just figure out that government spending is the problem, and not the particular group of people who are spending it at any given moment. You want "stimulus", this is what you get.

  23. Pathetic, yet a cut above the Liberals and NDP. Precisely why I quit voting. Not one of these governments makes any pretense to represent the taxpaying middle class so I could care less who gets elected. Ultimately the whole shebang is gonna collapse
    _______________________________________________ Brent its people like you that keep the CRap governments in power. Sitting at home and not voting is not a solution to stop this crap. Its showing up at the polls and exercing your right to have a say and get rid of the polititons who really are to blame for this. Not voting is a cop out and not worth compaining about.

    • How is quitting voting going to do anyone any good? Voting is a hard decison but its the only one you get so stop bellyaching.

  24. Please, please call an election Mr. Harper. After another minority, what will happen to you? Maybe you and Mr. Harris will move to the U.S.A. together and get a job shilling for Fox news. God moves in strange ways.

  25. The last federal election in Canada resulted in the lowest voter turnout ratio in over 100 years. So nearly half the people in Canada no longer bother to vote. And why would they? The crowd in Ottawa right now is void of any solid philosophical underpinning relating to most of what they do. The stimulus package was a disgrace, particularly when considering it came from a government led by the former leader of the NCC. Not impressed. Anybody agree there is a strong constituency for a truly fiscally conservative and socially hands off party?

    • The problem is, politicians are not allowed to have philosophical underpinnings anymore. Because that would be "ideological". And we all know you can't dare be ideological nowadays. You must be pragmatist, centrist, and utterly vacuous in any word, thought or action. The irony is, an aversion to "ideology" has become so completely doctrinaire and dogmatic that it has become a fanatical sort of ideology in its own rite.

      • Ideology is ok when its properly presented as a project that benfits all or most portions of the population and is properly vetted. But when its meant to serve a minority only and is rammed down our throats then its not ok.

        • Like the Green Energy Act imposed by the Liberals in Ontario?

  26. The lack of long-term thinking, this miserable myopia, in a period of great upheaval is worrisome. The only common denominator seen in these projects is self interest; to hell with the future. Tell me now, who's just in it for themselves?

    • That would be Premiers and Municipalities that agreed to spend 1/3 equally. Funny how you ignore the coalition of the willing. Need a few links of David Miller, Dalton McGuinty, Jean Charest praising their partnership?

  27. A circus school, a ferry to nowhere, lawn-bowling greens. This is vital infrastructure?

    No, it's business as usual for the Federal government of Canada. Except when they do a whole bunch of stupid, expensive things at once, they call it stimulus. But 'stimulus' is merely a change in intensity, not a change in direction.

  28. Blame the liberals, they were the ones screaming spend or election.

    • This article is about HOW the money was spent, not whether or not it should be. Please keep up.

  29. Who said that the stimulus was about "vital infrastructure"??

    I thought it was about job creation, purchase of building materials from a resource based economy keeping them going, keeping the manufacturer's going… etc.

    ………..
    “It's kind of an Alice in Wonderland approach to finance, which one rarely saw under [former finance minister] Paul Martin.” —– Apparently you don't remember "Prime Minister Martin"…

  30. If the government wasting our money by giving it to friends and business associates surprises anyone they must have spent the last few decades living in a cave.
    Watch:" Oh Canada our bought and sold out land" on youtube. If you haven't seen it take the time, you wont regret it

    [youtube eVBDwAuCdPw http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eVBDwAuCdPw youtube]

  31. I will read this report and all the comments sometime this week, I promise. But the headline and the few initial comments are very cute. It's almost like this is an unexpected surprise? People, the faster you want to throw money around because the sole purpose is to throw money around, the more you must expect EXACTLY this sort of thing. Now, off to read the gory details…

  32. Ahh. $1.5m extra for what is Canada's leading circus school (The National Circus School)
    A circus school which also happens to be an official post secondary education, and which is internationally coveted. A circus school which is mainly funded by Cirque Du Soleil, one of Quebec's larger companies: a company that makes millions in tax revenu unto itself.
    Yes, let's harp on that circus school.
    I mean, I pretty much hate Harper, but what I hate more is mob lynching.

    • I think I'll concede that you have a good point here.

      Of course, I generally don't approve of subsidizing industry in general, including arts and culture industries. The circus school, while it may provide a post-secondary education, seems to largely a place to train and recruit for a non-essential and specific part of the economy. I mean, why shouldn't the Cirque de Solei fund it, since that is where most of the people will go to work?

      But I will concede that it is no worse than any other arts spending, and a better use of arts funds than a lot of it.

  33. Wow. Thanks to Maclean Magazine. Anybody with half a brain in their head knew that the Harper thugs were lying through their teeth. What a complete mismanagement and blatant pay off to bolster support in conservative ridings….this government took 60 billion bucks…and what…after the Summit Security Budget…of a Billion plus…this is not hard to believe at all…

  34. Interesting that the Fraser Institute critique of Harper's spending was based on StasCan data. No suprise that Harper now wants to undermine StatsCan reporting.

  35. Wow, your hands must hurt…quick economic lesson for you. BORROWING money to create these 'pools' takes a bad situation and makes it a thousand times worse. Once these borrowed 'pools' dry up, not only do you not have anything to support your economy, but you now have more DEBT… this debt means taxes go up on any of the businesses and workers left standing…spiralling things downward. Don't believe me? Just wait 6-12 months after the 'stimulus' is over. Oh and BTW owing this money to your primary rival in the world (Chinese) means that they have a say in what you do spend money on.

    • Well, if you spend it like the Conservatives have, on gazebos and trails for snow-mobile clubs, then yes, you have no additional benefits to support your economy, which means you need a much larger stimulus in order for your economy to really start performing better.

      However, economies can be (and often are) self supporting, with increases in business activity providing the necessary increase revenue to the government which enables them to pay back the loans without tax increases.. or are you saying you think Flaherty's budgets are full of crap (as that's the strategy he's specifically said he's relying on)? I tend to agree with that idea actually, but more because I think the stimulus that was provided was done poorly and so was not enough to really get our economy back to self-sustaining levels (mostly because of its dependency on the US).

      At any rate this gets into the part I was talking about earlier.. you know how you pay that money back ideally? You increase taxes on the highest class of investors.. those who have the biggest pools of money left over and who are the most likely to "invest" in ideas that promise returns while fulfilling no real need — which is what got us into the problem in the first place. In short, you pay them back with their own money.

  36. You continue to contrive history in a way that is almost libelous to others and say nothing about reformatort garbage. The tories are self destructing with stupid moves, tinkering with wikipedia stuff and generally giving Canadians the worst government ever with 70% of the population wanting them gone.

    That's the bottom line to your revionist history of meaningless trash.

    • Liberals should not use the term self-destruct. Martin, Dion and Ignatieff all self-inflicted wounds. From policy flip flops, leadership debts, to unresolved fundraising problems to aborted leadership contest.

      Zero links to correct those pesky facts. Truth is a defence. An anonymous internet alias can not sue for damages regarding Libel.

      • Self destruct is what Tories always do because they cannot help themselves with the ideological crap they throw at us.
        The real fact is that Chretien was in a similar position to Iggy a year before he slaughtered the cons and Harper was ten points behind Martin and unpopular but won. He cannot get a majority because he is a rabid dog ideologue and also because 70% of this Country is not conservative or stupid enough to ever give Harper a majority. Those are the facts. Now go back and play with your deficits and census excuses and sole source fighter jet contracts. Oh and don't forget to look in on Wikipedia in case you need to alter some more facts.

        • You are Liberal because you have cognitive dissonance. Chretien beat Brian Mulroney's replacement promising to scrap GST and Free Trade (Red Book). The Liberals have become a regional party compliments of the October Crisis in Quebec and NEP out West. The progressive vote has left the Liberals in 2000 with NDP at 8.5% and Greens at 0.5%. The rural, medium cities, social conservatives, visible minorities, Catholic have LEFT the liberals as the default party- its over.
          2006 the Liberals(30.23%, 103 seats) under Martin were rejected at the ballot after their non-confidence motion in parliament. In 2008 the Liberals achieved another low point not repeated since Confederation (77 seats, 26.3%) under Dion, votes are not fungible. NDP, Bloc and Green voters reject the Liberal Party. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_federal_ele
          2009 in four contest the Liberals sucked failing to improve their vote (except Casey's riding because Liberals did not run against May in 2008). The CPC won 50% of the seats taking a long held Bloc seat 16 years.

          "Your time is up." Classic Liberal line. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/09/01/ignatie

          Only one political party has failed in GOTV since 2000, their financials tell the real story.

          Replay the hidden agenda, scary right wing Republican Christian 'rapture' theory, Canadians have tuned out the Liberals. The Liberal friendly media in Toronto is carrying the remnants of the party and they are failing to bring them above 30% in 2010.

          Just showing up and being anti Harper is not enough. BTW Ignatieff has the 307th worst attendance rate in parliament (Just Visiting Ads seem fair) http://howdtheyvote.ca/

          • Harper beat martin because of a scandal and the promise of open government. He has hidden scandals and has been repressive in his governance style. Why else do you think Canadians detest the man? He is a proficient liar.

            You keep resonating facts that don't mean squat. The Tories got shut out in NFLD and so are not truly national either if you want to be that precise.

            Libs will replay the lack of transparenccy the incredible dishonesty of this givvcernment and the dirty tricks agenda they thrive on.

            The polls do not indicate a Tory win next time out and at best show a much reduced minority. this after almost 5 years of governance against a supposedly weak opposition.

            I am not just anti Harper but he is the only target as he continues to operate as a dictator.

          • Revisionist history making excuses for Liberals being rejected at the ballot.

            Coming out of the 2000 federal election, Liberal dominance seemed assured. For the
            Liberals to lose, two things had to happen: the right would have to re-unite and short-term factors would have to be strongly against the Liberals. Both conditions were in place by the time of the 2004 election. The right had re-united in 2003 when the Alliance and the Progressive Conservatives merged to form the new Conservative Party of Canada and the sponsorship scandal had angered many Canadians. In the 2004 election, the Liberals managed to hang on to power. In the 2006 election, they did not. And in 2008, they suffered a crushing defeat. Indeed, the party long considered Canada's “natural governing party” recorded its lowest ever share of the vote. In this paper, we examine why the Liberals' fortunes changed so dramatically over so short a time span. http://ces-eec.org/pdf/Anatomy%20of%20a%20Liberal

            The FACTS don't back up your fairytale. Denial and entitlement to power is the major problem for Liberals and you provide proof positive in your rants.

          • There is no denial; there is a conscious effort to address the problem in the left and unite it under a liberal umbrella. it is still fledgling but is gorwing as the people come to detest harper more and more. Having a brain dead industry doesn't help the cause either. Clement is now as big a joke as Stockwell day.

            here's the facts:

            Modern liberalism prides itself in its ability to self-organize, to put the very self-advancement of the individual in service of the greater good. But its greatest challenge at present isn't Stephen Harper or ideological conservatism; it's their own inability to permit their inherent liberal temperament and outlook to pull them together. The Conservative government knows this and rides on the crest of numerous broken waves.

            These dedicated and liberally-minded citizens have become the disconnected – unable or unwilling to draw together to break the present ideological conservative influence that survives not so much by power as by default. The comfortable won't enter the fray, and that leaves only these active citizens to unite their voice politically and become the change they seek.

          • Checkmate. You need to link to a Liberal MPs blog for validation of your worldview.

            Liberalism has died and Liberals killed it, they adopted a Central Planning society and Ottawa knows best culture.

            Both of you invoke the scary Republican right wing mantra for the loss of Liberal votes. You blamed RCMP and scary TV ads defining the Liberals Martin-Ignatieff.

            The Liberals can't afford to run TV ads, they are reduced to a few radio spots and Youtube spots.

            The grassroots have never replaced the Bay Street donors and the power of the Liberal friendly media has lost it capacity to install a new liberal PM.

            It sucks to be a Liberal, the glory days are over and Janine Krieber was correct in her Facebook analysis.

            The Liberal party is in a free fall, and it won't recover. Like all the liberal parties in Europe, it will become a poor little thing at the mercy of ephemeral coalitions.
            I don't want to give my voice to a party that risks winding up in the dustbin of history. I'm looking around and there are certain things that please me. Like a dedicated party, one that doesn't challenge its leader with every dip in the polls. A party where the order of the day is happiness, and not assassination. A party where work ethic and competence are respected and where the smiles aren't phony. http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/729113

            As always you mock religion because it does not suit your political agenda. Those social conservatives have moved away from the Liberals.

            Push SSM, state funded abortion and disrespect the views of social conservatives.

          • I don't push anything and there is a constitution that had to be followed.
            Screw social conservatism. It is followed by about 10% of the population. The facts are, and you cannot deny them with your BS, that Harper is despised and distrusted by 70% of the population and once again the Libs will have to clean up the dirty mess left behind by these rank amateurs.

            Your crap about Liberalism being dead is just so much baloney pure and simple. There is a swelling demand for change in the western world that is not being met because the Luddites who call themselves Consefrvatives are in reality a cave man mentality and simply try and drag the whole population into their den of stupidity with no science or facts to guide them. Democracy demand things like PR and more transparency something the Tories not only fail at but try to bury. Luddites are you. Look in the mirror and don't bother with your luddite stats that mean nothing with a population in a mood for change.

            I think you maybe the crazy person who rides around 905 ridings on his bike shouting obscenities at Liberla or NDP functions.

          • Do you have any clue what it social conservatism is? You than make up a number of ten per cent.

            Your flawed logic:
            In 2000 the last Liberal majority it was 38.46% that means 61.54% rejected the Liberals. In 2006 Liberals earned 30.23% 69.77% under Martin. Dion earned 26.26% was rejected by 73.74%

            ‘If you want to have your way in Quebec, you just have to bypass the Quebec officials in the party, going instead to the inner circle from Toronto," Coderre said Monday at a news conference in his Montreal riding.

            Read more: http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/a

          • How's your Tory logic working since the latest polls:

            With this poll, the national projection is now:

            Conservatives – 33.9%
            Liberals – 28.2%
            New Democrats – 16.4%
            Bloc Québécois – 9.7%
            Greens – 9.1%

            That translates into:
            120 seats for Harpo
            92 seats for Iggy
            41 for Jack the ripper
            55 for the bloc

            Your logic is flawed as usual as the trend is against the reformatorts

          • You keep referring to voluntary Polls and I have cited actual election results. Can you tell the difference?

            More troubling news for you.
            As of 2001, 77% of Canadians claim adherence to Christianity, followed by no religion at 16%, and Islam at 2%. (Census 2001)

            Since 2001 has immigration increased, are those coming non-believers?

            Facts and figures 2009 – Immigration overview:
            Permanent and temporary residents
            http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/resources/statistics

            Do you think these immigrants are more or less religious?

            Scared yet?

            The majority are moving to largest urban centre the remaining Liberal strongholds Vancouver, Toronto, Montreal suburbs.

            They are social conservatives!

          • Wrong again.
            Immigrants have moslty always been social conservatives but not the type that voted Tory. They are unlike the western social conservatives whose ties to born again christianity are the drivers. My parents were immigrants who were conservative and voted liberal all their lives. That will not, and is not, changing because the Libs are moving their center ground to meet those needs just as they always do since they are not driven by some phony ideology based on hearsay as opposed to evidence based facts.

            cont'd………

          • ……….cont'd.
            Why are your sacred reformatorts running the country so poorly? They are close to losing their lead in the polls. 70% don't like them and that is growing. My prediction based on past elections when change was "in the air" is that the sacred reformatorts are trending towards 25 or 26% again. People are sensing that change is needed. My only uncertainty is where those votes will go which will determine if Iggy can win a majority first time out. I believe Duceppe has a soft underbelly that can be exploited by the left only and not the Harpercrites for sure. Ontario is coming out of its funk and starting to see harper for what he is and don't like it.
            I know my trends are better barometers than your phony so called stats that are meaningless in today's environment.

            Keep up the charade.

          • Link refute your rant. As I said it sucks to be a Liberal in denial.

            Even controlling for a variety of social background characteristics, the loss of visible minority support is evident (see Table 1). According to our estimations, the probability of voting Liberal in 2000 was 26 points higher among visible minority voters than among other voters; in 2008, the probability of a Liberal vote was only 12 points higher. The net contribution to the Liberal vote share was less than one percentage point. http://ces-eec.org/pdf/Anatomy%20of%20a%20Liberal

          • 2000 and 2010 are a decade apart and there are new people in the party who fully understand the dynamics of the population. the ones who don't are the Tories who keep on playing to their red enck religious base that will never ever see them get a majority and is shrinking as Martin stated in his G&M column the other day. They have no other constituency is the real fact you cannot face up to. Once agian your phony stats deny you the truth of the matter

            Keep up the wet dream scenario; we love it.

          • You religious intolerance is evident. You forget the fallout and deny the loss of religious support for Liberals.

            Sadly for Liberals they even deny the Good News in Canada.

            "It's the economy stupid". Voters sent the CPC back in 2008 with a larger mandate. Only Atlantic Canada rewarded the Liberals in 2008. They lost Ontario in seats and popular vote.

            The Canadian economic juggernaut roared into June, creating a staggering 93,200 jobs and pulling down the unemployment rate to 7.9 per cent.
            http://www.thestar.com/business/article/833996–j

            Ontario's employment was up 60,000 in June, the sixth consecutive monthly gain. This brings employment increases in the province to 187,000 (+2.9%) since July 2009. With these gains, Ontario's employment is slightly below its pre-recession level. In June, the unemployment rate fell 0.6 percentage points to 8.3%, the lowest since January 2009.

            In June, employment increased by 30,000 in Quebec and the unemployment rate dipped 0.2 percentage points to 7.8%. Since July 2009, employment growth in Quebec has been the fastest of all provinces at 3.0% (+117,000).
            http://www.statcan.gc.ca/daily-quotidien/100709/d

            Your personal attacks and desperation is evident by the pattern in your attacks.

            No links, insult and scream Christian "rapture" fear mongering. Nothing has changed from Manning and Stockwell days.

          • My insults are to your stupidity and poor use of what you assume to be meaningful and truthful when in reality thye form your wet dream.

            I'm done with this version of your looney right nonsense. I think you are Clement in drag.

          • Exposing your religious intolerance and now you express a bigotry towards cross dressers?

            Are you keeping a secret?

          • here's a stat for you to chew your bone on:

            "Typically, in Canada, the federal government's approval ratings go up in summer, when the HOC has been shuttered . But Prime Minister Harper treats the whole season as a kind of leash-free dog-park for his back benchers"

          • You copy a sentence from an opinion piece that you are afraid to link?

            Your refer to Allan Gregg Harris Decima Research for your talking points?
            http://edmonton.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/2

            What place did Harris Decima place in 2008 General Elections?

            Harris Decima finished 5th, ahead of Strategic Counsel 7th (Peter Donolo), behind Ekos Research (Frank Graves) 2nd.

            Angus Reid came in first place in polling election popular support.

            Harris Decima last poll before the election under polled the CPC by 3.7% over polled the Green by 4%.
            http://canadiansense.blogspot.com/2010/04/harris-

          • Since you are a FAN of Harris Decima Research here is a gem from A.G. on your leader from May 18, 2009

            Here is their Polling for 2009. Enjoy. http://canadanewsdesk.com/polls/?p=Harris-Decima&…

            In the last 15 Polls by Harris Decima the Liberals only lead in 3.

            Harris-Decima chairman Allan Gregg said Ignatieff's continuing poor leadership numbers help explain why Harper's Conservatives have managed to maintain their lead in the overall polls despite recent controversies over disgraced cabinet minister Helena Guergis, the treatment of Afghan detainees and abortion policy.

            Indeed, Harris-Decima found national support levels essentially unchanged, with the Tories at 32 per cent, the Liberals at 28, the NDP at 17 and the Greens at 11.

            “You really have to ask yourself if there isn't an Ignatieff drag problem that is plaguing the Liberals,” Gregg said in an interview.

            “When you have as much disapproval, unfavourable impressions, it isn't indifference. It's something deeper than that.”

            Gregg said it may be that the Tory portrayal of Ignatieff — as an “out of touch, effete, Central Canadian snob” — has taken hold among voters.

            Whatever the reason, he said it's not normal for an opposition leader to be viewed more negatively than a sitting prime minister, particularly when that prime minister is not hugely popular himself.

            “Opposition leaders usually do not evoke strong negative feelings, so it's very unusual,” he said.

            The poll suggest the Tories were statistically tied with the Liberals in Ontario and the Atlantic provinces and leading everywhere else, except Quebec.
            http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/article/810968

          • You ignore your party is in damage control after SSM, pushing state funded abortion for the Congo.

            The Pope denied Pelosi, Martin. Chretien any photo ops to help with the Catholic vote?

            THE LEADER of Canada's official opposition has been striving to cultivate better communication with people of faith.

            For close to a year, John McKay — a Toronto-area Liberal MP with longstanding evangelical Christian connections — has been acting as Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff's entrŽe into various sectors of the Canadian Christian community
            http://www.canadianchristianity.com/nationalupdat

          • As they should…the dynamics of the population are changing, the center has moved and the party is changing with them. Too bad the reformatorts can't get past the dinasour age.
            When is their majority coming? 2025!!! After the next Liberal expires from 14/15 years in power which is the trend for them.

          • You use a single poll and a projection from an undisclosed website.

            I link election results, financial statements from wiki, Elections Canada, Census about Liberals and Immigration.

            I introduce, link actual EVIDENCE as FACTS and you are stuck with 90's Liberal attack lines.

            It must suck to be an apologist for a party that can't field any star candidates or afford to buy television ads.

          • Clearly the truth is upsetting you.

            Canadians support a wide range of charitable and nonprofit organizations, but they focus that support preferentially on a few causes.8 As Chart 1.3 shows, religious organizations were the biggest beneficiaries of charitable giving, receiving 46% of the total dollar value of donations.9 Health organizations followed, with 15% of the total value of donations. Nine percent of all donor dollars went to social services organizations, while international organizations and hospitals each received 6% of the total value of donations. These figures are essentially unchanged since 2004.
            http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/71-542-x/71-542-x200

          • No can you………it seems the Tory war room has bought the rights to publish all their garbage in the newly managed SUN newspapers.
            Heres one of your heores:
            This is the same Brian Lilley who, yesterday morning, implied that Iggy had spoken falsely about receiving a public education in Canada, and who seems to have spent the hours since rewriting the piece so he could maintain its sneering tone in the face of contradictory evidence. Being QMI, we'll never get a retraction out of him. But if anyone has the dough to threaten legal action, looks the Channel Ezra will be ripe for plucking. Gross factual errors here there and everywhere.

          • You keep introducing different subjects after denying evidence and facts. This pattern of yours is tragic.

            Did you refute any points with links outside Liberal partisan websites? No

            Clearly you have consumed the kool-aid and talking points are yours.
            You deny Statscan and Census links on religion, immigration. Too funny.
            You deny a non-partisan study about the Anatomy of Liberal Defeat.

            You refer to a Liberal MP blog and the official Liberal website for your evidence as fact.

          • No koolaid here………I see Harper for what he is as do 70% of the population. That's consistent and you cannpt fac ethat so you hide behind the ignorance that you call stats. You'd be a great candidate for the Troy censu job.

  37. Yup. And in the mean time, non vital infrastructure like municipal potable water infrastructure, healthcare, highways, bridges, etc., are all falling apart… Add to that the destruction of the long form census, the restriction of media access to federal employees, unprecedented restriction to information access, a complete refusal to protect Canadians abroad (I'm not talking about Khadr here, although I'm more than uncomfortable with his situation), and a refusal to be a leader in green tech which the large majority of economist (if not the totality) expect to be the one of the highest growing economic area worldwide in the coming future with China, the US, and Europe investing billions and eventually trillions in green tech… We are looking at one on the most incompetent (and dangerous) government in Canadian history. And if we held elections tomorrow hey would still win!!!! Granted, Ignatieff doesn't inspire confidence, but anything is better than this…. We need to wake up.

  38. ""truly fiscal" and "hands off". You sure as hell aren't talking about politics. Masybe that's the way the PTA work.

  39. Arenas and other recreational venues are not infrastructure. Money would have been better spent on updating the energy grid. This government does not think things through, that's pretty obvious. Not knowing the details of these recreational facilities, who can bet that it is certain riding's and more affluent neighborhoods?

  40. First, I am not a conservative, but i need to defend the spending on rec. I remember back in the Lib's day, when they spent infrastructure money fixing up the Saddledome in Calgary. Even as a liberal I was stunned at this. If they are going to spend the money on sports infrastrucure at least do it on amateur sports, where the payback in a healthier society may be realized. There is always going to be extreme pork in all of these types of programs and unfortunately it will not matter which party is governing. All one can hope for is not too much, and some benefit longterm for the buck.

  41. While in general I not against some spending on public projects like highways, water treatment plants and other public infrastructure. My gripe is the $223 million tagged for so called develop of broad band services in many areas. First off the industry is fanatically busy and very competitive, so why millions have to spent to cover a few area's that will be covered by private funding in the next few years is beyond me. Simply put there is no down turn in this part of the economy. The federal government all ready spent millions a few years ago for the B.R.A.N.D projects to do the same thing. Saskatchewan will not receive funding because it was determined that satellite service was adequate and the province was covered. This is the same service that is available any where in Canada! So the question is if the service is available nationally and is considered good enough to eliminate funding then why should anyone receive any funding?

    While our company has expanded rapidly with private financing the applicant in MB is on their 3 trip to the public trough. The rush to spend the money that in most cases is not needed has created a feeding frenzy to get “free” money. To make matter worse, in the rush to spend the money, the rules for funding have changed on the fly several times. This does not even being to address the issues with over charging, manufacture kick backs and the fact that millions will be spent to build private networks for the winner of the hand outs.

    If the Feds what to improve service simply have Industry Canada provide some low cost licensed frequencies that the industry can use so they can provide a better quality service then is possible with the present unlicensed frequency most suppliers are forced to use.

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