Not as advertised

by Aaron Wherry

The Harper government’s ability to announce impressive-sounding numbers apparently exceeds its ability to use those impressive-sounding numbers.

The Green Infrastructure fund provides a good illustration of funds getting backlogged despite Canadians being told they would get it. The fund was announced in the 2009 budget as an initiative that would support projects such as sustainable energy.  It was supposed to push $200 million out the door every year for five years. In two years though, it has spent $50 million. 

By the end of this year, the program is expected to use $104 million, not the $600 million planned, according to the government’s books. In an email, a spokeswoman for Infrastructure said it is “normal for there to be smaller expenditures in the early years” of larger-scale projects. She didn’t respond to a follow-up, however, asking why the forecasting doesn’t reflect that. 




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Not as advertised

  1. Not that I am complaining about government’s inability to spend money fast enough but this is good example of bureaucratic incompetence and their desire to make things as inefficient as possible. 

    Shovel ready jobs exist, shovel ready government doesn’t. Bureaucracies have to study if red spotted newt is going to be affected in any way if we develop our infrastructure and if newt is going to be harmed, we have to find way to spend even more money to build underpass so no newts will be injured while crossing road. 

    It takes years and years of endless processes and meetings and studies before anything is shovel ready in Canada.

  2. Pssst, shhh,  lets not tell T. Clement that there’s money layin’ around …

  3.   It was supposed to push $200 million out the door every year for five years. In two years though, it has spent $50 million. 

    Paging Tony…get some solar panels up on that gazebo right now son.

  4. One of the reasons funding always takes longer than expected to roll out the door is that government departments almost always fail to account for their own processes and delays in the funding timelines and basically download the impacts of this onto recipients.
     
    For instance, project proponents typically submit their own projected timelines based on counting back from the end date for funding, usually an absolute date based on Treasury Board approval for the program. The funding department takes so long to assess proposals internally they often don’t even begin to negotiate agreements until months after the projects were supposed to start. Then proponents have to collapse 30 month projects into 18 and have a hard time spending money at the front end because the initial part of the project involved planning and research.

    In other words the government uses up all the time for properly planning a project (which you can’t do until you know how much funding you have and for how long) in shuffling proposals back and forth internally. Micromanaging and interference at the political level just adds another layer of delays.

  5. Huh. Imagine that. You start firing all the people who evaluate applications and the application process slows down.

  6. Somewhere a government director is getting a fat bonus for coming $500 million under budget.

  7. People, people, let’s remember what’s important here: every wasted dollar is meticulously accounted for. Whether it built a port-a-potty in the middle of nowhere or a hockey arena for a population of 200, our Strong National Conservative Majority knows where every penny of taxpayer’s dollars were pissed away.

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