One potential boondoggle has emerged in the Simcoe-Grey riding of Helena Guergis, the Minister of State for the Status of Women. It turns out that the federal and provincial governments have handed over a giant cheque for $523,000 to Pretty River Academy, a private school in Collingwood, Ont., to build a soccer field for its 156 students.Could take off. Why was this private school funded when so many public projects were left wanting?
This has caused uproar in the community because critics claim applications by the Town of Collingwood for public recreational facilities under the same program were turned down.
Opponents have started a petition calling on the federal and provincial governments to withdraw the funding and redistribute the money to public facilities. "These Pretty River Academy grants are so unreasonable, so totally contrary to good public policy, that it's farcical. Something needs to be done," said Lorne Kenney, the local resident who convened a citizen's group in reaction to the grants.
MPs generally expect kudos from their constituents when they bring home the bacon but there are clear signs of a backlash against Ms. Guergis. "My personal view is that [the grants] call her fitness as a legislator into question," said Jared Singleton, a local high school teacher.
Ms. Guergis, no stranger to controversy in recent years, was unavailable for comment yesterday but has defended the grants as sound use of public money. If we do blunder into a general election campaign in the near future, it will be interesting to see if her constituents agree with her.
Conservatives spending money in Conservative ridings...to the neglect of others, quite the story.