Maclean's Interactive: Six weeks of spending — MPs dole out millions -

Maclean’s Interactive: Six weeks of spending — MPs dole out millions

Community centres and curling rinks happily replace their drywall and repair their roofs


Whenever parliamentarians leave Ottawa for any period of time, novelty cheques tend to follow them to ridings across the land. You can always count on a reporter or two pointing out the seasonal feeding frenzy. Occasionally, the practice of spreading wealth courts controversy, as the country learned in 2009 when the federal Conservatives doled out giant novelty cheques emblazoned with party slogans—a practice the federal ethics commissioner ruled didn’t violate any rules.

Over the six weeks since Dec. 12, the day the House of Commons rose for the most recent break, MPs and cabinet ministers did their thing. They doled out millions of dollars in spending on refurbishments to curling rinks, parks and community centres in every province. We tracked the cheques, and noticed a few things.

First, here’s an explanation of what you’re looking at. Our analysis included all newly announced spending, and excluded re-announcements or confirmations of spending. Ridings that benefitted from a spending announcement pop up on the map; ridings that didn’t benefit from a dose of cash don’t show up. Ridings are coloured according to the party that holds the seat: blue for Conservatives, yellow for New Democrats, and red for Liberals. Next, an explanation of the dots. They’re coloured according to the dollar value of the announcement (see below the map for a more detailed breakdown).

Overwhelmingly, the feds spent money in Conservative ridings. They skewed heavily towards the western half of the country, including a wide variety of rural towns, but also targeted opposition ridings—particularly in northern Ontario, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland.

LEGEND: Blue: $0-$50,000; Green: $50,000-100,000; Yellow: $100,000-$500,000; Red: $500,000-$1,000,000; Purple: $1,000,000+

The big numbers:


— the total value of all announcements from Dec. 13-Jan. 27


— total # of spending announcements


— # of announcements made on Jan. 22, the most during the holiday break


— the total value of the Jan. 22 announcements


— the share of announcements made in Conservative ridings


— # of departments that made announcements


— # of announcements made by Western Economic Diversification
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