Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Toronto infrastructure gets a bit of partisan slant too

More evidence that when it comes to distribution of infrastructure stimulus spending, it's good to be a Conservative or friend of a Conservative cabinet minister. At the Toronto infrastructure announcement this past Friday, the fact that Conservative-leaning councillors were able to independently pick up infrastructure funds for their wards came to light:
Several projects not on the mayor's original list were added to the funding package, including park improvements in wards represented by opposition councillors such as Denzil Minnan-Wong, John Parker and Case Ootes.

The Todmorden Mills museum, in Ootes's ward, will get $1.2 million in upgrades not on the original list.

"I'm not going to make any apologies for using my relationships to get needed infrastructure for the city," said Minnan-Wong, who chatted with Flaherty and Baird before yesterday's announcement.
Preceding the announcement, some of the councillors, including well-known Conservative Minnan-Wong flew to meetings in Ottawa on the subject: 
"I’ve had lunch with Minister Flaherty to talk about infrastructure projects,” Mr. Minnan-Wong said later. “I’m not going to apologize for going to Ottawa and trying to encourage them to fund projects in the city of Toronto and what I think are priorities for my ward.”
Just in case you thought that because Toronto is a Liberal fortress the Harper Conservatives couldn't make any partisan hay out of the infrastructure funding. Which, Gerard Kennedy pointed out, was about $112 million short of what it should have been.

That is all...