More numbers -

More numbers


The CBC offers its analysis of stimulative spending.

According to the analysis of the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, Conservative ridings have received about 60 per cent of the funding, compared with 40 per cent for opposition ridings. For example, the Saskatchewan riding of Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale, who has been a vocal critic of the stimulus spending, has received about $4.8 million. But the Conservative riding next door received about $6.5 million. Crunching the numbers in a sample of other ridings across the country shows a similar pattern.

Meanwhile, McGregor & Maher look at what money from a specific fund for struggling communities went to what projects in the Industry Minister’s riding.


More numbers

  1. I'm sceptical. I rather doubt the Tories could figure out how to short-change Opposition ridings if they tried. Math is not their strongest suit.

  2. So you think the Opposition charges are either baseless or distorted? Because the Tories are too stupid to engage in a complex Brobdingnagian scheme that allocates stimulus funds preferentially to certain ridings, while at the same time fully cooperating with hundreds of regions and municipalities, ten provincial governments, and three territories?

  3. Why else did Harper demand that there be no traceable strings to this, that the regulations had to be 'relaxed' so the stimulus could get out quicker? He wasn't so interested in how quick any stimulus got out back in November-December, when everything was truly hitting the fan. I don't know, the credibility of CONbots seems to be tied to how many snipes they expect us to bring back from the hunt…

  4. "Crunching the numbers in a sample of other ridings across the country shows a similar pattern."

    Wow. So the CBC is cherry picking results and not adjusting for demographic and regional factors!

    That globe and mail hack job yesterday comes to mind. Completely ignored the fact that liberals don't represent any native communities in Ontario and they are a huge focus of the RINKS program.

    These guys are such amateurs. The money goes where it is needed the most.

    Harper doesn't care about rewarding ridings. He cares about the unemployment numbers and wants the most bang for his buck.

  5. Why else did Harper demand that there be no traceable strings

    "No traceable strings"? Every stimulus dollar is ultimately documented and traceable. We shall see.

    that the regulations had to be 'relaxed' so the stimulus could get out quicker?

    Not sure which regulations you're referring to specifically, but earlier this year the Liberals were demanding that the Government pull out all the stops so that stimulus dollars got out as quickly as possible.

    He wasn't so interested in how quick any stimulus got out back in November-December

    Probably because the stimulus budget passed in January.

  6. (regarding McGregor and Maher)
    What projects from Cape Breton were turned down, that should not have been? Which projects in Parry Sound should have been rejected?

    Why does the aggrieved member believe that the Ontario government, which also played a role in the approval process, was complicit in corruption?

    Does the member believe that the civil servants applying the project's guidelines are complicit in a partisan conspiracy as well? If so, where is his request for their resignation.

    What specific aspects of the eligibility criteria does the MP from Cape Breton believe were unfair? Accessibility? The preference for projects that could spend the money quickly? Energy efficiency? Strategic interest? etc.

    While the article shows that Cape Breton is poorer, some of that is as a result of endemic problems unlikely to be resolved by stimulus money. A more relevant metric would be the size of the economic downturn in each riding, rather than the income of each community. Structural unemployment is a different kettle of fish from cyclical unemployment (eg. recessions).

  7. Here's a possibility that just occurred to me: when the Tories were doling out stimulus money, and were seeking input on what to spend it on, they were probably more likely to listen to their own MPs than to the opposition.

    So it's not that there was a deliberate plot to spend money in Tory ridings – it just kind of worked out that way.

  8. Like it or not, politics is a lot about perception. Most people (readers here excepted) are shaped by headlines that conjure up images that fit into easily understood pidgeon holes. Why else have the Conservatives spent a fortune on the "just visiting" campaign? Because if you seed an image, it can grow into a branding – these things work.
    It would seem that opposition claims are getting a bit of traction.
    Mr Harper is now at the point where dismissive replies to questions are going to seem suspicious and evasive.

    So, how does Mr Harper counter? Does he release a different interpretation of the numbers? Has he been holding back data that he can now release to behead this movement? Will he simply up the advertising and possibly add more fuel to the partisan fire? Does he address the nation with another scripted Infomercial and scoot without taking questions from the media? Will Mike Duffy host and be asking the "hard ball" questions? Will that be enough?

    While better minds than mine crunch numbers and interpret data, I'm simply wondering how this is beginning to shape up for run of the mill headline readers.

  9. Couldn't have said it better myself. Harper cares for the unemployment numbers but not specifically the unemployed. The difference is that the number is a reflection on his stewardship of the economy. It is usually all about him, after all.

  10. how this is beginning to shape up for run of the mill headline readers.

    Maybe it's all part of the Tory plan. Maybe, in a very cynical interpretation and complete twist in your theory, if the public believes Tory ridings are getting more money, they're more likely to vote Tory.

  11. It is a fairly plausible hypothesis. When Harper ran as Mr. accountability in 2004 he lost. When he ran on a quilt collection of vote-buying schemes in 2006, he won. Besting the Liberals at retail politics and micro-targeting may well explain his success in a country where Conservative governments tend to be flashes in the pan.

    Incidentally Olson's theory of groups might explain why Canadian politics has generally been characterized by vote-buying. When the beneficiaries of something are few, they are more likely to organize and react to benefits. By contrast, when the beneficiaries are diffuse, collective action becomes difficult as everybody free-rides. So a plan that would make all Canadians $1 richer might not succeed against a plan that would make 1 million Canadians $20 richer – even though the first plan is both more equitable and better for all. The people that stand to gain $20, are going to be more likely to organize, to donate money, etc.

  12. And so it appears that the figures coming out from the stimulus spending in relation to individual ridings are within the margin of error that you would find in any plan that involved dishing out billions of dollars and receiving input from hundreds of opposition parties, and prov. and mun. gov`ts.

    Goodale`s riding receives somewhat less stimulation then the adjoining one. As our man Wherry accurately points out, the good people of Goodale`s riding will notice this and a certain percentage of them may decide to do something about it in the next election.

  13. The chess master thinking twelve moves ahead…

  14. The lurking story that every journalist is looking for now, is HOW they managed to do this.

    Anyone who has worked for the Feds knows that there are a million rules and safeguards in place to prevent this type of political manipulation of taxdollars.

    Rules would have had to have been circumvented, persons pressured and tracjs covered up. The AG is going to come down on these guys like a tonne of bricks.

    This wouldnt be a story if it were just one or two funds that had some skewed funding. This is a systematic abuse across the entire system. Something like this cannot be done on accident or with some subconcious decision making. There had to have been central planning, coordination and execution at the highest levels.

  15. CBC is cherry picking results

    Mother Corp. doing a hit job on Conservatives? I am shocked. Shocked.

  16. Rule of thumb:

    if you have to break out the excel spreadsheet and do fine mathmatical calculations to attempt to parse unequal "pie sharing" (as opposed to, say, pointing to paper bags of stolen taxpayer money being passed beneath the table to be used by the party),

    it's best you move on to the next attempt to generate a scandal.

    Perhaps take another crack at some sort of offensive cartoon bird, or a distasteful black humoured joke behind closed doors. A hidden communion wafer perhaps?

    That's surely to work in place of a concise formulation as to why your party should be in power in place of the government (an actual policy platform). This time that is. The last four years of failing at faux scandal chasing, must be some odd aberration.

  17. One Thing's for Certain,

    nothing says "we're ready to take the reigns of this great country in a sea of worldwide economic turmoil"

    than giddily running around the halls of parliament with door knob props.

  18. So Aaron, you're just going to ignore the fact that it's not just Smitherman, but the Federation of Canadian Municipalities who also deny that there is any partisan motive to the stimulus spending?

    You're going to ignore the fact that of the 130 applications for RinC funding in Toronto, 118 were approved, over 90%, thereby shattering the myth that there was any partisanship involved?

    You're just going to keep on posting these half-baked analyses, in this case simply comparing one riding to another without any other contextual information, in your continued campaign to assert partisan motives in the absense of any real evidence?

    Honestly Aaron…why are you here if you are only going to present one side of the story, a side that isn't even correct, and ignoring the facts which conclusively discredit your own argument? You're supposed to be a journalist, not a member of the Liberal spin cycle.

  19. If that was true, there would surely be evidence of it. How would the Conservatives conspire with:
    1. a civil service that doesn't like them
    2. every provincial government, which also had a role in figuring out guidelines
    3. thousands municipal governments and hundreds of other community organizations

    I would guess that all of the infrastructure spending is probably skewed towards Conservative ridings. They tend to have more First nations communities. They tend to be rural, and thus have greater infrastructure needs per capita too. Moreover, they aren't likely to be able to build things even with the 3 billion dollar gas tax extension.

    I also suspect that you haven't looked at the data. If you look at total infrastructure spending, Toronto did well. It got about 1.6 billion dollars, versus a provincial total of around 4.6 billion. That is actually LARGER than their share of Ontario's population.

    So what does Gerard Kennedy do? He talks about the RINc fund, which totals a bit over a hundred million bucks in Ontario. So yes, Toronto, you were screwed. It doesn't matter that the government is spending a billion dollars on subway extensions, 250 million on GO transit, and investing in about 500 other projects in Toronto.

  20. In Tony Clement's response he points out that his riding's take is skewed by 5.1 million dollars for the University of Nipissing.

  21. We shall see. Its her job and she does it well. So we will see what she has to say about all of this. Get your "She's an opposition/government stooge" comments now before we run out.

  22. Whether I agree with the calculations or not I prefer this discussion INFINITELY to the inanities that went on before. Its a discussion that, doorknobs excepted (although bravo on the attempt), tends to be a little more elevated.

  23. I have no real reason to think one way or the other, but my instinct is that if the Tories deliberately tried to reward their own ridings they wouldn't do it subtly, like 60-40, but ham-fistedly like Karzai's brother, 90-10 or whatnot. As to cooperating with anybody, I presume you are being almost barbarically sarcastic.

  24. This day in history (circa 1980), a propos the Special Recovery Capital Works Program:

    "Figures released to Parliament as the program money was flowing showed, for example, that three-quarters of the funds for Manitoba wound up in the two (of 14) seats controlled by Liberals, including that of the party's Manitoba (and Western Canadian) kingpin, Lloyd Axworthy. Or Big Lloyd, as we used to call him."

    The Liberal Party of Canada: where hypocrisy abounds.

    H/T Jeffrey Simpson's column in today's Globe.

  25. Why yes.

    The partisan hit job goes something like this:

    1) Take the cue from your favored party and parrot the allegations.
    2) Reify those allegations by highighting the facts that fit the meme, and ignoring those that belie it.
    3) Lather.
    4) Rinse.
    5) Repeat.

  26. You're probably right. There is just so much spite involved in this stimulus thing — "You want us to spend money? Got the dagger at our throats, eh? Well, just watch us spend this sucker, baby!" — that I'm impressed they spent anything on Opposition ridings (or at least ones with big Opposition margins).

  27. re: the "what projects were turned down?" question, see Contrarian's analysis of paving projects in Nova Scotia – and feel free to explain why 83% of submitted projects would be approved in Con-held ridings (and 88% in the riding the Cons hope to take in a by-election) while only 22% would be in Lib-held ridings.

  28. My word, you Harper apologists are all over the place on this one!

    "Nothing to see here, move along!"
    "What's the big deal anyway? That's just politics baby!"
    "It's the media's fault! The big bad media! They hate us! Waaaaah!"
    "Liberals did it too!"

    Which one is it? Frankly I've come to expect better message discipline from you guys (perhaps we need to go back and carefully reread our talking points, regroup and come back more focused? Hmm?)


  29. "Liberals did it too!"

    … and would do it again if they had the chance.

    I'll start worrying when instead of investing funds in Canada and Canadians, the party in power starts diverting and misappropriating money to their own party, ie. ADSCAM.

  30. The stimulus money can't be allocated at the drop of the hat. Legitimate projects have to be in the works, specific requriements have to be met, guidelines followed, meaning that the number of projects that rely on ministerial discretion are is limited. My guess, however, is that the Cons are pushing for 90-10 for those discretionary projects, resulting in a 60-40 split overall.

  31. This has a ring of truth to it.

  32. Agreed. It all seems so high schoolish to me.

    The Liberals seem to be regressing in more ways than one.

  33. There hasn't been a study yet that shows even handedness.

    In fact, Baird and Harper admitted that Tory ridings are getting more. Baird quoted Chretien to justify and Harper blamed Liberal MPs for not working hard enough.

    So the fact that Tory ridings are getting more pork in every category is settled.

  34. As noted elsewhere, you conservative folks need to get your story straight on all this graft.

    We have Tony Clement saying all the money is being distributed equally and Tory ridings are not being favoured.

    We have John Baird quoting Jean Chretien as justification for favouring Tory ridings.

    We have some in the blogosphere trying to say there reasons for the favouratism, i.e. differing needs of differing ridings.

    And then you have the Prime Minister admitting that the money is not spread evenly but justifying it not by the needs of the ridings but by simpley and arrogantly saying Tory MPs worked harder than Liberal MPs to get that pork into their ridings.

    I think if the Prime Minister and Baird are admitting that the money is not spread evenly, you can stop trying to convince the world that favouratism isn't happening and start trying to unapologetically excuse Harper's most massive broken promise so far just as the PM does.

  35. Not only is the above analysis by HTH accurate, it has essentially been confrmed by Dalton McGuinty's Deputy Premier.

    Sure, Gerrard Kennedy's whining might help reinforce support from Liberal partisans, but the Tories will never win the hard core Liberal vote anyway. This is the problem with Liberal strategy. It's aimed at Liberal voters. That may help Liberal GOTV efforts in downtown Toronto, but won't win many converts.

  36. Smitherman and the Municipalities are not going to say anything to get them in hot water with this overly partisan bunch that might get the tap shut off for funding… they're just trying to cover their tracks.

    They are entitled to their opinions.. but the facts (and more importantly the numbers) speak for themselves; doling out of the stimulus funds is predicated by partisan/porkbarrel considerations and also what helps the Cons get re-elected.. not on the good for the overall country.

  37. Wherry is competing with Susan Delacourt to be first in line for a Senate seat when the Liberals return to power in 2024.

  38. As to cooperating with anybody, I presume you are being almost barbarically sarcastic.

    Heh… I'll try to be more civilized with my sarcasm, but your instincts are probably right. The Liberals can't have it both ways – either the Tories are ham-fisted clods with all the subtlety of a herd of elephants, or they are cunning manipulators who managed to slip their alleged patronage stealthily past the watchful eyes of the municipalities and provinces.

  39. I miss the fiscal conservative Stephen harper who used to say things like this back in 1997…
    "I think the public is more sophisticated now. I don't think they believe that just throwing money at make- work projects or make-work jobs is going to create an overall rise in the employment level. Governments of all stripes are following very different policies precisely because the public isn't that gullible any more."

    I know that he wasn't eveybody cup of tea back then, but he was my cup of tea. Now he might as well be a card carrying member of the NDP when it comes to fiscal matters and a Liberal when it comes to social matters.

  40. Same as it ever was.

  41. but the facts (and more importantly the numbers) speak for themselves

    Indeed they do. For RinC in Ontario, the subject of the Globe's hit piece, for Toronto there were 130 applications for RinC funding. 118 were approved, over 90%.

    Perhaps you could point out where the partisan bias or pork barrelling was when not a single one of these ridings are held by a Conservative.

  42. What is new about this? This same thing has been going on forever, it's how it works. When your MP is in cabinet you are probably going to see more influence when it come to federal spending. WOW! SHOCKER! Someone cal the Toronto Red Star!

  43. Definitely a one-two "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?" thing. "Mr. Speaker, I ask the Minister this: is he too incompetent to allocate the monies fairly, or is he completely unethical?" I agree with Danby below that these are both paradigmatic critiques of any government and might register with the big public for that reason; seems to me Blamo, above, has probably hit the nail on the head, though to my mind the really big problem is not misallocation of funds but the whole idea of shoveling money out a truck. I don't know who's more to blame for that being the flavour du jour, the parties that insisted on it or the party that embraced it with open arms. It reminds me of the reconstruction of Iraq.

    Sorry about the "barbaric sarcasm" line, btw, I just couldn't resist the idea that barbarians (not that you are one) would be more sarcastic than civilised people.

  44. Ted,

    I believe that you believe this is "the most massive broken promise!!!" Just as I believed all those partisans believed every other over-hyped faux scandal as being truly scandalous. It comes with the partisan territory.

    Just like in "cartoon bird gate", "wafer gate", "wearing too soft looking a sweater gate", "bad black humour gate", "giant ceremonial check gate",

    the efforts to elevate, hype, expand every shortcoming, slip , what-have-you, into something that will seriously damage the CPC,

    is partisan, not populast.

    The public wasn't outraged: a small number of liberal supporters and their friends in the media were outraged, and tried to make the public outraged in story after story. Not saying the CPC is perfect. But the attempt to portray them as political monsters is well past the expiry date.

  45. Now, without discussing whether or not the extra stimulus fund was necessary on top of the building canada infrastructure fund, this though came into my head. So, If I was the trying to win seats that I needed for a majority, would I not pump huge amounts of money into seats I did not hold, instead of ones I did? I would think that there would be a 60-40 spit that way if one was really trying to buy votes. sorry folks, just don't see it happening this way

  46. Wow! A 4 pt swing in favour of the Liberals!

    You're right! That IS interesting!!

  47. Headlines about Conservative held ridings getting more spending are like advertising for the Conservative Party because their brand appeals to self-interest I don't mean that pejoratively, just that their platform tends to be individual-focused vs. community-focussed, for example with childcare tax benefit s to parents rather than funding to create daycare spaces. I would suspect that even while they deny favourtism is happening, many Conservative MPs and candidates enjoy the accusation.

  48. Yup, they are realy flying now, better switch gears again and start threatening an election! Wait…maybe springtime will look better, or maybe next summer, or the fall, or maybe 2012 will be better….how old is Ignatieff again?

  49. "Don't feel particularly bad for the unemployed…" ~ Stephen Harper.

    Yep, he cares. Deeply.

  50. (didn't do the math before you posted the link huh? ;)

  51. The irony is that nothing seems to have gone to Calgary Southwest, yet the MP is being pelted with stones.

  52. Clement isn't saying equally, he is saying fairly/equitably (ie. in response to the strategic interest of projects, the need of a community and the fundamentals of the project being proposed). There is a difference between the two.

  53. Contrarian doesn't give any information on the projects that were turned down though, apart from where they were. Did they fit the guidelines or not? If not, were the guidelines fair? I listed those three questions because if you are going to accuse the government of corruption, you need to satisfy all three. If there is anything fishy going on, the aggrieved parties would certainly have the ability to make that case, since the criteria for approval are public, and since they presumably have a sense of whether they met the criteria.

  54. Wow! A 4 pt swing in favour of the Liberals!

    More commonly referred to as the "margin of error."

  55. Which means they could be 3% closer! Looking better.

  56. I've got an idea.

    Why doesn't the government release the data so we can all judge the pork. So that Kevin Page, Harper's Budget Chief can do his job.

    From the information released, there is no question that there is huge favouratism going on. Whether that can be excused because "Conservative MPs work harder" as Harper is trying to claim or because "this favouratism to catch up for the Chretien years" as Tim Powers and Baird claim or because "our ridings are bigger" as Clement tries to claim or "there is no unfairness" as others have tried to claim (really you should get your answers straight), is an interesting secondary question.

    Why won't Harper release the numbers and data like he promised? That way you could all figure out which is the best way to excuse this partisanship.

  57. Baird was quoting Chretien's justification for taking credit for doling out pork, not for doling it out disproportionately. Chretien did have a quote to justify that too (which makes one wonder why you would advocate a return to Liberal governments if you're bitching about this, but that's another question for another day), but it wasn't repeated by Baird. Get your facts straight.

  58. I'll be sure to remember that the next time I see our favourite Dakotas or Jarrids extolling the latest poll showing the Conservatives gaining.


  59. If being 11 points back gets you excited Dick, then I'm happy for you.

  60. When it goes from 15/16% back to 11% back in only one week of highlighting the reality of Harper's stimulus slush fund?

    Yeah, that is a good week. Only a start, but no one is saying otherwise.

  61. Yeah, where is my new Hockey rink? Where is a whining Liberal when you need one?

  62. "I'll start worrying when instead of investing funds in Canada and Canadians, the party in power starts diverting and misappropriating money to their own party, ie. ADSCAM."


  63. Much as I dislike harping on the same old theme, if Harper & Co. would just release all the data, the whole issue of who got what would be resolved once and for all. Surely all this speculation is doing more harm than good. The longer they refuse to release the details, the more it looks like they have reason to believe that Canadians will not approve of how their money is being allocated.

  64. We'll see what next week looks like before we start talking about trends. The Liberals own polls must be just as grim, since Ignatieff has done another chicken little and run away from all his threats.

    I'll see you and Dick for next weeks update.

  65. Why would they, this whole issue just highlights that Conservative MP's do more for their constituents then Liberal MP's.

    Just ask the Ontario Liberals….

    Or do the Liberals plan on blaming the Liberals for this one?

  66. Yes, 5.1 million to build a 52 bed dorm at a sub campus. Money well spent, I'm sure.

  67. I'm not sure Blamo hit the nail on the head. The most likely scenario, through my rose-coloured glasses, is that Harper decreed that the stimulus money should be allocated equitably, according to the needs of provincial and local governments. The alleged push for a 90/10 split would have been politically fatal, if successful. Whatever you think of Harper's motives, it seems like the most politically expedient course of action would be to achieve an equitable distribution*, but also to promote the hell out of all the largesse that Parliament is forcing you to shovel out the back of a truck.

    *That said, I'm sure many MPs were dutifully promoting the interests of their ridings, and the big question is whether this had any meaningful effect on the outcome.

  68. "I'm sure many MPs were dutifully promoting the interests of their ridings"

    That raises an interesting constitutional question, n'est-ce pas? I mean, as you say, it's the duty of an MP to promote the interests of constituents, so it seems strange that we should be blaming them for having done so successfully. Yet one's instinct is that spending should be as equitable as possible. Something of a contradiction, at the heart of our notion of representative government?

    • Indeed. On the one hand, MPs from the governing party are expected to advance the interests of their constituents; on the other hand, the Canadian Government is supposed to ensure that all ridings are considered equally when it doles out largesse.

  69. If we were spending money wisely, we probably wouldn't have a university of Nipissing at all… or a stimulus for that matter…

    5 million seems more than reasonable for building a dorm though. In Texas, a dorm for about 572 people ran for 50 million. Considering that the cost per room drops as the size of a building increases, I'd say the price is about right.

  70. This has zero ring of truth to it. It supposes that the Conservatives are still such principled small-c conservatives that they would bring spite to bear on the dumb idea of shoveling future wealth into freshly dug holes.

    Impossible. The last several months have proven that the big-c Conservatives have no principles worth defending at all.

  71. The MP for Calgary Southwest? Actually lives with his family in Ottawa. As for Calgary, he's just visiting.