At the lonely end of the rink (II)


The Globe does its own analysis of stimulus spending on ice rinks, playgrounds and such.

A high-profile Harper government stimulus program created to build hockey rinks and other recreation projects has funnelled about 33 per cent per cent more money to Conservative seats than to opposition ridings in the battleground province of Ontario.

An analysis by The Globe and Mail shows Tory ridings received an average of $2.1-million, compared to $1.5-million on average for opposition ridings.


At the lonely end of the rink (II)

  1. Once again they are looking at a specific fund, not the totality of funding or anything close to it. In this case it is a particularly small fund at that. Secondly, they have no sense of whether projects outside of Tory ridings were actually requested and denied (and by the government, rather than by impartial bureaucrats). There is no mention of the fact that while gas tax extension to the cities are large enough that cities can afford this kind of stuff on their own, it isn't going to be large enough for a small community.

    There is a story about where this money is going. If you look at a larger subset of the funding (as I do on my blog: http://hosertohoosier.blogspot.com/) and compare cities, you find that cities with a greater proportion of Tory MP's actually got less money. This is in part because cities with many marginal districts are the ones that got the money. This is the problem with journalists – they know nothing about proper research design.

  2. But the taxpayer knows when they've been duped.

    Harper's action plan and it's three arrows reaching for the sky:

    the deficit
    money going into Conservative friendly ridings
    cynicism of the electorate

  3. I think what makes these accusations potentially devastating for Harper is that they feed into the established narrative that he's a man who just can't help himself and will always place partisan gain over good governance.

    It remains to be seen whether these stories will seep into the greater public consciousness…if it does I think we'll be seeing a signifcant tightening in the polls.

    • Another element that was briefly suggested by Whiskey is the cynicism that Harper has been using in his favour, could just as well roll over and smother his end-goal (besides the stuff he's not comfortable talking to us about). Just as his heavy-on-the-negative meme helped drive liberal voters home — and being relatively nonideological in their support, it wasn't too difficult to do — the creep of suspicion and confirmation that Harper's actually the only one in it for himself 24/7 could send enough of his supporters into a dark room come the next election day. But then, Harper will again attempt to play them with the 'Darn justice system/evil media/tax-everything/take away your right to bear arms' ire impulsors…

  4. If there's one thing that Harper has emphasized to voters over the past number of years, it's his obsession with 'Canada's national pastime' (and Tim Hortons, of course) so it shouldn't surprise anyone that there's more pork going to Conservative ridings intended appeal to 'ordinary Canadians', i.e., hockey fans. Senator Lebreton has opined that his obsession seems to have arrived somewhat late in life tho, not appearing until after he left a stint with her office.

  5. Nevertheless, one must wonder why the Conservatives have been unwilling or unable to shed full light on stimulus spending. At some point, their silence begins to signal either incompetence or something to hide.

    • It is for the same reason that Iraq get ejecting weapons inspectors, despite not having WMD's. Iraq wanted Iran to believe it did have chemical weapons, but for the UN to believe it didn't. The Tories want people in Tory ridings to believe that they are getting federal largesse, and people in non-Tory ridings to believe that they are not.

      Also delaying on the release of data may be a strategic move. If the opposition spent a month on this topic, only to have their claims largely discredited after considerable investment in the issue, it would be a win for the government.

  6. They awaken from their slumber.

    Ignatieff and Kennedy thoroughly document that 85-90% of infrastructure money was going to Tory ridings, before the stimulus. That was last January and February.

    Then they thoroughly document that the vast bulk of stimulus infrastructure money, between 1/3 more and 14 times more, was going to Tory ridings, after the stimulus. That was in the summer.

    Now we have a detailed analysis by the Chronicle-Herald on the huge graft taking place throughout Nova Scotia. Conclusion: the Liberals were right, at least in Nova Scotia.

    Then we have the Chronicle-Herald and the Ottawa Citizen providing a detailed analysis of large graft in large projects across the whole country. Conclusion: the Liberals were right, at least when it comes to large-scale projects across the entire country.

    Then we have the Chronicle-Herald and the Ottawa Citizen providing a detailed analysis of large graft in recreational facilities across the whole country. Conclusion: the Liberals were right, at least when it comes to recreational facilities across the entire country.

  7. And now we have the Globe and Mail providing a detailed analysis of large graft in recreational facilities across the Ontario. Conclusion: the Liberals were right, at least when it comes to recreational facilities in Ontario.

    Response from the Government to these many detailed reports? The Liberals were biased, we are entitled to take credit and trust us on the fairness issue (because we aren't going to provide you with any countering data).

  8. And another juicy "stimulus for votes" story just got very Mario Puzo:


    Leo Housakos, a prominent Tory organizer in Quebec, told La Presse that details about a party fundraising event last spring were leaked to the media by a fellow Conservative who was out to get him. "It's someone from my own caucus and I will take care of him soon," Housakos told the Montreal newspaper.

    Anyone in the Tory caucus named Fredo, by chance?

    Seriously, this bagman is a Senator? Harper's a piece of work.

    • Memo to self: call broker in morning, put $5000 into cement shoes.

  9. It is an essential part of the vote-buying strategy that the voters in non-Conservative ridings get the message that they should have voted Conservative. The role of the media is to spread this message. If people thought that the money was being spread about evenly, they would have no reason to change their votes.

    If it turned out that government funds were being spent in an unbiased fashion, the Conservative party would lose. Perhaps that is why they are not being forthcoming with information.

  10. One thing that's striking from Kennedy's report, which is very useful, is the total lack of correlation between number of projects and dollar amounts awared (e.g. David McGuinty's (L) riding is in third place for funds awarded with only 7 projects, below the average). The Liberal party is also making the full spreadsheet available to anyone who asks.

  11. Can you clarify some things for me?

    (1) if I'm intepreting your data correctly, you only have 27 data points. Is this correct? The Action Plan website has over 6,000 projects so I'm skeptical of your claim that this is a robust data set (but I may be interpreting something incorrectly).

    (2) What is the total $ sum of the infrastructure projects you identified?

    (3) How many ridings are included in your data points? How do they breakdown by party?

    I'm not convinced your analysis is more robust than the journalists; it 's just more technical. Mutliple regressions are notorious for being filled with noise and a few funny outliers or incomplete data can throw it way off. Aside from all this, if people continue to hear stats like "Quebec has the highest unemployment and received the lowest stimulus" or "3 Conservative ridings in Nova Scotia got more money than 8 Liberal ridings combined" you can run regressions until you are blue in the face and nobody will care.

  12. By the way my hypothesis on this is not widespread corruption – but rather a lack of careful planning on the distribution of stimulus. I do not believe the Consveratives — if the full dataset proves they haven't been fair — did it on purpose.

  13. Actually I think that was when Harper worked for Deborah Grey, she mentioned it but I haven't been able to locate where.

  14. One of the ironies of this is that it might have all been so unecessary for Harper. No one could have foreseen the faceplant that Iggy managed all on his own – what with that and Steve going all musical on us, the Tories hit majority territory. But Harper's a fanatic, and fanatics are always in a hurry …often torching themselves in the process. We'll see i guess. Let's see if Ignatieff has any killer instinct?

  15. The Cons keep going on about funds in Toronto in Liberal/NDP ridings – well, duh……it's targetted token funds because Harper needs Toronto for his majority.

  16. Another observation from Kennedy's report, the difference between the ?Conservative and opposition averages looks like it might be explained by two ridings: Kenora and Kitchener. Why do the Tories favour the letter k?

  17. Possibly because they won by 2 recounts in Kitchener and also very closely in Kenora. Sounds like they are trying to make things a little more comfortable next time.

    • Possibly. Aren't there are a lot of First Nations communities in Kenora? Since those are direct federal responsibilities, could that have had an impact on the funding levels and number of projects?

  18. Of course! I stand corrected. He worked for Grey, not Lebreton. I couldn't find anything either, but it was quite recently.

  19. Best line of the day – Dominic LeBlanc talking with Tom Clark about the cost of stimulus signeage being more than what was actually spent on some facilities:
    "Canadians want jobs, not knobs"

    • Apparently, voters in CON ridings got both…

  20. People, people, please! The obvious response to all of this is to add The Globe and Mail to the massive list of Canadian news organizations who are simply biased against Canada's New Harper Government!

    Along with the Chronicle-Herald, the Ottawa Citizen, the national Post, the Toronto Star (duh!)… the important thing is that Stephen Harper is the victim here. Poor little fella, all he wants is to stay home, play piano in his sweater vest and write books about hockey.

  21. That's because its a hit piece and that other stuff would detract from the hit.

    The liberal media has done their share of complaining about Iggy lately, but make no mistake about it. Theirs were tears of dissappointment.

    Now that Harper's in majority territory expect to see a repeat of the rediculous faux scandal chasing we saw leading up to the last election – cartoon birds!!!

    This is not to say that the CPC is without fault. Just that any sempblence of fault will be amplified, exemplified, highlighted, and placed on the 24/7 cycle.

    Of course it will have more of an effect on the media than Harper, as most average Canadians have digested the eeeevil crime that is "giant ceremonial cheque gate" and view this flogging for what it is.

    • Not the 'the media doesn't want us to succeed!' twaddle again. I think just that tactic itself leads the general public to decide that it should be so, so keep on whining. Just double up on the tinfoil this time…

  22. Further to my point above, the problem lay in the fact that the liberal elite media – incapable of introspection and being able to viewi things from a perspective outside of their confined progressive milieux,

    actually believe that every day Canadians are as outraged at every CPC slight, error or misstep as the they and the far left commenters like those on these blogs are.

    To them it only makes sense to repeat – over and over and over again – the grave offense that is…giant ceremonial cheque gate.

  23. Yeah, all of these studies seem to forget about swing ridings.

  24. This would be interesting to see. Whether the swing ridings are in fact the only ones where things are divided equitably. If that were the case, i suppose we're going to be hearing a lot from the cons about how Toronto for instsnce disproves opposition charges of favourtism.

  25. Wasn't there a pretty simple reason that Toronto didn't get its fair share of stimulus funds?

    Like, they didn't want to follow the application process?

    SInce half the Liberal ridings in the country are in the Toronto area, wouldn't that explain a lot about why they might be lagging behind?

    And wouldn't you think that the media might think to remind people of this little fact if they were interested in presenting a true analysis of why opposition ridings might be getting shortchanged?

  26. Luring Ignatieff to his doom…it's a terrible gamble. It would be interesting to see how the public reacted. Perhaps a lot of people would just grin and say naughty Tories, and give them their majority. Or…maybe it'll just further confirm in the public's mind that SH can't be trusted…awful risky.

  27. Still doesn't explain the inequities in other areas of the country. But somebody is probably looking into this. Everybody is just enjoying kcking Harper around right now…perhaps he shouldn't have pissed off so many in the media earlier on. Anyway, if this goes south for the libs, i'm sure the press will gladly switch pile ons.

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