Saturday, May 09, 2009

Gettin' all speedy with Canadian taxpayer dollars

A bit of a follow-up to this morning's post...a CP report interviewing Transport Minister John Baird on infrastructure spending: "Baird promises speediest handout of infrastructure cash in modern times."
There have been suggestions that last week's sudden departure of top bureaucrat Kevin Lynch was the result of a clash between Conservative politicians and public servants, who are purportedly worried about the government's rush to throw money at infrastructure projects without doing due diligence.

But Baird said bureaucrats are making an "unprecedented effort" to cut red tape and are doing "phenomenal work" to speed up the process.

"It's been a good partnership."

As to due diligence, he said the fact that provinces and municipalities must agree to match federal funding provides "the biggest form of accountability," ensuring the money is spent on worthy projects.

"It's not the federal government's job, it's not my job to micromanage municipal and provincial projects. We're a funding partner," Baird added, noting that provincial governments are accountable to their electorates, legislatures and auditors general for the details.
Sounds like Mr. Baird's getting his scapegoats ready with a bit of a hands off posturing too, but we'll see. Timely report on the issue in the wake of the Privy Council shake up.

Floated my theory earlier this week of how Mr. Harper makes disastrous partisan decisions while abroad, the fall economic update and the shiv in Mulroney's back both coming while the PM was away. Whether the departure of Kevin Lynch while the PM was again abroad will rank up there with the others, on that too, we'll have to wait and see. Track record's not good though.