Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"Your money, their friends"

Update (7:45 p.m.) below.

What a great slogan to encapsulate the partisan self-interest endemic to the Harper government. Think that one will come in handy going forward. They're spending our money disproportionately in Conservative ridings on the infrastructure front. They're spending our money to boost their own political fortunes in national advertising with a clear partisan bent. Your money, their friends. Your money, their electoral self-interest.

The latest evidence of the bias, found in a report on infrastructure spending distribution in the Nova Scotia ridings: "Spreading the wealth unevenly." The Herald has plowed through the list of expenditures in the respective Nova Scotia ridings and finds:
...more money — $162 million — is being spent in those three Tory ridings than in Nova Scotia’s other eight ridings put together.
There's an excel spreadsheet there that itemizes the spending in each riding, laying bare the imbalances. To highlight one example from the Herald report, there's an instance of Peter MacKay crowing about a project in his riding that's getting funding when it didn't have the municipal and provincial approvals, whereas other ridings with those approvals haven't been able to get funding. Funny how it all works out.

The barrel seems to be rolling downhill on this story. CBC's Amanda Lang did a brief analysis on the National of the "blue shovel" map on the action plan website a week or so ago, debunking its misleading impression of significant investment across the country. She only looked at a few of the items being represented there, however. The Parliamentary Budget Office has also weighed in now with a highly critical report of the federal spending, raising serious questions about how the money is being spent and the difficulties in tracking it.

Go behind the shovels and you find the real story. The Herald is exposing the imbalance in Nova Scotia, how about the rest of the country? That blue shovel map is still begging for more scrutiny elsewhere.

To date, as with most things emanating from the Harper government, it's looking like high times for "blue" Canada, not so great for other parts of different colours.

(h/t FarNWide, see pogge as well)

Update (7:45 p.m.): There are the pictures today. And they've been reported on since the summer. It is utter nonsense for Conservatives to maintain that the infrastructure spending is not being politicized.