Fun with maps


While John Baird’s office offers the Parliamentary Budget Office a 4,476-page spreadsheet, the folks at Spatial Databox have put together a customizable map. Enjoy.


Fun with maps

  1. Wow! Kudos to the people that made that, it's a very handy tool. It would be better if we had estimates of actual project costs rather than just broad categories, but sadly the Conservatives don't seem to have provided that information. It's good as is, though, and should be able to clear things up over whether funding allocation is actually biased towards conservative ridings.

    Do you have any plans to post a tally of how the projects in each cost category for different parties compare to the distribution of seats? I could do it myself but it would take quite a long time and hey, you're the press, this is the kind of thing we pay you for.

    Thanks for the link.

  2. My guy Bruce Stanton, (PC-Simcoe North, ON) tells me he's bringing $74 million to the riding. He will itemize this in his fall mailing. $400K from the Building Canada Fund, to expand a firehall in Ramara was not listed on your map.

  3. Okay, it took less time than I though and there's fairly strong evidence of favouritism towards Conservative ridings, but also some other useful results.

    For each category worth >$100,000, the Conservatives gave their ridings over 50% of the projects. They gave themselves 54.7% of projects worth over $5 million (compared to their having 46.4% of seats) and the Liberals 18% (compared to having 25% of seats). But for projects under $100,000 (the lowest range, where I expected to find pork spending) they actually gave their ridings disproportionately few projects and the other parties disproportionately many.

    The other interesting aspect is that the NDP got a greater proportion of projects than their percentage of seats – or very close to it – in every category. If the NDP were running the government, I'd actually be very suspicious based on these numbers. 11.7% of HoC seats – but 18.3% of projects >$5 mil (more than the Liberals!), 11.1% of ones $1-$5 mil, 15.9% of ones $100k-$1 mil, and 15.4% of those <$100k. Conversely, the Bloc got disproportionately few projects in their ridings in every price category. In fact, the project distributions correlate much better with the <i>popular vote for those two parties than they do with the number of seats they hold. The Bloc has 15% of the HoC seats; in no price category did they get over 10% of projects.

    The North skews this a bit – there's a lot of space and a lot of projects and a lot of need for development up there, and the NDP have the NWT while the Conservatives have Nunavut, which are both much larger than the Yukon. But I expect the disparities would remain in place even if projects in the territories were excluded from consideration.

    I love technology.

    • Interesting to note that the purchase of bunch of Coast Guard and Fisheries and Oceans vessels is geographically coded for DFO's headquarters in downtown Ottawa, so they count as stimulus spending in Paul Dewar's riding (on this map anyway), rather than wherever the boats are buing built and/or deployed. A lot of spending on improving Government Buildings is also concentrated in Ottawa Centre, this might explain some of the pro-NDP skew you've noticed?

  4. Scratch the comment about the North, there are actually more projects in the Yukon (Lib.) than in Nunavut (Con.).

  5. RE: Conservative bias in spending projects.

    I'm hearing that, while the numbers themselves look slightly off-kilter (nearly 50% of the projects for Conservative ridings in almost every category), there's apparently a good explanation: Conservatives tend to get voted in by people in less affluent areas, and it just so happens that the less affluent areas are in more need of the money. How much truth to this statement?

    • Historically, the Conservatives have been the party of the wealthy. The poor tend to vote for the NDP.

      • if only that were true.

    • Not "nearlyy 50%", over 50% in all but the lowest category. To be exact, 54.7% (>$5 mil), 57.2% ($1-$5 mil), 54.5% ($100k – $1 mil) and $41.7% (<$100k).

      I don't know about "less affluent", but they do have more rural areas while Liberals are highly concentrated in the cities (how much stimulus can you concentrate in Toronto and Montreal anyway?). But there hasn't been any analysis of the relative poverty or wealth of ridings, so until there's strong evidence backing up a different explanation, this looks like straightforward partisanship in spending

  6. My own belief: the Conservatives have spent more money in their own ridings – not because they are conspiring to do so, but because they'd rather work with their own MPs than with opposition MPs. Opposition MPs tend to do nasty things such as oppose, whereas Conservative MPs are deferential to their leader and are more willing to do what they're told to do.

    This doesn't make the unequal distribution of stimulus money any fairer or more moral.

    • Your own belief shows you are painfully unaware of how this works. But don't let that stop you from conjecturing and posting that conjecture.

  7. From a quick overview of the total number of projects, looks like the only ridings really getting the shaft are Bloc (5.9% of projects, 15.3% of seats). The three main parties are all getting above their overall seat total percentages. This is not good for national unity…

    • I'd say its good for national unity – vote federalist and get your roads paved! Besides, I suspect part of the issue is missing data in Quebec (something I experienced looking at the numbers), and perhaps the mafia "surtax". Quebec would get more money if it could eliminate its endemic corruption, and lazy construction workers.

      • Actually, it is not just the Bloc, but QC in general. I have access to most of my local data in my region, and what is listed is rather spot-on. QC only has 499 projects out of 6400+. Given 23% of population, should be around 1400. And, of those 499, the Bloc ridings (and Cons) get more than their fair share (Bloc has 64% of seats, 76% of projects. Cons have 15% of seats, 18% of projects). Libs, with 19% of seats, got 6.2% of projects. As far as I can tell, it is actually Mulcair getting the biggest shaft – 1 project!

    • 'This is not good for national unity… '

      Gawd I am sick of Quebecers using that threat.
      Yah get $16 Billion a year from the ROC,
      I think you are pretty much well ahead of ANY other province.

      Yah get enough from the ROC to buy NB Power, to the tune of $5 billion cash,
      and take on $5 billion debt.
      Of course the extra debt keeps the have-not status going, right?

  8. So now that we see that the Liberals received a greater proportion of projects than one would expect from their seat total (including many big ticket items in Toronto), with Toronto also getting a more than proportional share will Gerard Kennedy apologize for impugning the government? Will the Citizen and Chronicle Herald apologize for their misleading studies?

    • why? because when a government (irrespective of the level or party in power) puts out incomplete information and says: "look, the program is awesome, trust us" the opposition should do just that? sounds like a recipe for even worse governments than we have now!

      • When presented with the facts, the Liberals realize that they're wrong, and should retract their earlier statements.

        No one's saying the opposition shouldn't criticise. What we're saying is that they should take back their previous statements when the facts don't line up with their criticism.

        • Except the facts do line up with the Liberal position and, as more and more facts come out, it becomes more and more irrefutable. Despite Tory bluster and distraction.

    • But that is simply not true, hoser. The numbers show it and the Conservatives continue to do what they can to hide it. In one program only have the Conservatives shown that they got disproportionately less but even in that program they got more actual money and the program was for research centres and they just don't build big urban research centres out in rural areas.

      Program after program after program shows consistent and concerted favouratism.

      • 'Program after program after program shows consistent and concerted favouratism. '

        then shouldn't your beef be with the Municiple and Provincial governments that approved the projects.

        How many projects in Ontario have a fed Tory MP but a Liberal MPP?
        Do the cross checking, and then stomp your feet screaming favoritism.

        • The federal government decides where the federal money will go, Wilson.

          Clearly, if they have a choice of sending money to a riding that is represented by the Progressive Conservatives or the Liberals or the NDP provincially, it makes no difference to them as long as it is federally a Tory riding.

          Equally clearly, the provinces don't care who represents the riding federally as long as they get the money. It is not up to the provincial government to make sure that federal funds are distributed evenly and fairly among ridings represented by all federal parties. That's the federal government's job.

          Equally clearly, the municipalities argue for themselves to get the federal money and not which other municipality gets the funds. That's the federal government's job.

    • The only category in which they did better than their seat total was the least expensive one (<$100,000). In every other category they got substantially less; Liberal ridings got only 18% of the most expensive projects (>$5 mil) while Conservatives got 54.7% of them. I think it can be estimated with a high degree of certainty that a disproportionately high amount of money was given to Liberal ridings and a disproportionately low amount to Liberal ridings.

      Now that the facts are available, Liberals should modify their criticism to reflect this fact – but in the big picture they were right: the Conservatives are favouring themselves.

  9. What are we to make of the cons refusal to provide the parliamentary budget officer, who clearly has a job to do on behalf of Canadians, with electronic files. Why are they deluging the office with more than 4,000 pieces of paper?

    What are they hiding? Why are they trying to make it take a great deal of time to understand where they have spent money?

    They're putting up barriers to truth. Why?

    • All extremely rhetorical questions, I presume.

    • They're putting up barriers to truth. Why?

      I can only guess. One rather weird tactic I've seen from these rightists is something I remember Ralph Klein doing a few years ago. He refused to provide evidence for something (I can't remember the details) and wound up the Liberals to the point where they speculated uncharitably as to his motives. He then provided the evidence and ended up making the them look bad.

      • Good point. I have a feeling that Klein's gambit will be repeated in this case. In other words, the evidence will show that the distribution was reasonably equitable, and guided by the requests of provinces and municipalities. The Liberals will be left flailing at nothing.

        • But why does being prickish and wasting the time and budget of the people of the PBO make them look good?

          I am so sick of the total lack of transparency and accountability with our government.

    • Barriers?
      They gave Page copies of ALL documents. Exactly what Sheila Fraser will be looking at.
      Had they given him spreadsheets, he would have cried NOT ENOUGH DETAIL to make an accurate assessment.

      So Kevin Page got what he asked for.
      Now let's see if Page's crack team of gotcha's come to the same conclusions with the same info the AG gets.
      We will see if Page's report is biased, when compared to the AGs.

      IMO it is just a costly duplication of the AGs job.
      But it's what Page asked for.

      • Then you clearly don't understand the role of the auditor general and the role of the Budget Chief.

        He is trying to do his job. The job that Harper said was needed in 2006. The job Harper has tried to make as difficult as possible ever since he appointed Page. First, by breaking his promise of making him report and be responsible to Parliament. Second, by trying to prevent him from delivering his damning budget reports on Harper's out-of-control spending. Third, by slashing the PBO budget. Fourth, by not providing information to Page after years of reasonable requests. Fourth, by specifically refusing to provide information Page requested on the stimulus, changing their numbers from report to report, changing the way they reported on the numbers from report to report, and now handing over a printout, 4400 pages, instead of an electronic spreadsheet that would allow searches and tabulations of numbers.

        Harper's accountability has been a disgrace from day one. It has only gotten worse, $56 billion times worse, with the stimulus.

  10. The Harper government's magnanimous gesture yesterday of over 4,000 pages of stimulus spending information to the OPBO suggests that the government has been unable to provide accurate up to date electronic information to Canadians about how their money is being spent because they haven't bothered to keep accurate records.

    • I would think that they have electronic files of everything they have in hard copy, but are refusing to deliver it to Lynch. And I don't understand why, and my speculation does their reputation no good.

      So WHY??

  11. Hello. I'm the author of the action plan map featured in this blog. As you can see, the map assigns each project to one broad cost category. If those 4,000 pages of stimulus spending information (mentioned above) can provide me with exact dollar amounts, I'd like get my hands on this.

    You can reach me at kevin DOT macdonald AT thinkwrap DOT com

    Thank you

    • Can't help with the info, but do want to thank you for the map.

    • Seconding the thanks. It's very informative and would be even more so if you could get the exact costs.

  12. Now that's interesting.

    A while back I commented that either the map on actionplan.gc.ca was either inaccurate or signs were being put up where the Economic Action Plan funding wasn't actually being spent. If I go by this latest map, then I have my answer, and it's not that the info was just missing from actionplan.gc.ca.

    To recap: there's a sign near my office that touts how the Economic Action Plan is helping with the new sports complex the city is building. (There's been no activity at the site since before the sign went up, so whatever part it's helping with it's clearly not "putting shovels in the ground" as they say.) The sports complex is not on the actionplan.gc.ca site; it's also not on this map. So, either the govt. is really slow at getting this info together, or the sign has gone up without the funding being confirmed/announced. Alternatively, it could just all have something to do with the fact that the local MP's office is directly across the road.

    Cock-up before conspiracy, but eventually it gets hard to believe it's the former.

    • or the funding might be coming from a program that pre-dates the Economic Action! Plan, for example any project funded under the Gateways and Border Crossings Fund (Budget 2007) that has been announced since February gets an EAP sign even though the program was not part of the Economic Action! Plan.

  13. For those of you who commented on missing projects, I've been told that there are more than 600 projects to be added to the Government's Action Plan website, which will appear on the map, soon after.

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