Different numbers - Macleans.ca

Different numbers

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The government releases a partial accounting of stimulus spending to support its particular case, laments that the official opposition has done likewise.

In charts provided to The Canadian Press, government officials note in particular that the major infrastructure component of the Building Canada program has allocated $1.4 billion to large projects in opposition ridings in Ontario, and just $436 million to Conservative ridings.

“This particular fund supports major projects, typically in major municipalities that tend to be represented by opposition members,” said Chris Day, spokesman for Transport Minister John Baird.

“We have different funds for different purposes. It’s wrong to highlight one fund, as the opposition has been doing, and carry that trend.”

Meanwhile, Canwest analyzes another program entirely, finds evidence that it favours opposition ridings, but concedes that its data is incomplete.

If only there existed some sort of independent officer of Parliament—call it, maybe, the Parliamentary Budget Officer—to whom the government could turn over all its data for a full accounting of what has been spent, where it has been directed and whether it’ll all amount to anything. If only.