Thursday, November 12, 2009

Entitled to their entitlements

Bit of a theme today...

Helena Guergis responds to the fact that she's the second biggest spender in parliament on ten percenters, those monotonous riding flyers:
"I only spend what I need to spend," she said.
Well, there's a tiny bit more to it than that. Something about the $86,000 she's spent blanketing her riding and others actually only being in the $75,000 range. And the typical, but, but, the Liberals thing. The official figures, however, show how steeply Guergis' use of ten percenter flyers has climbed:
In the last fiscal period, Guergis' printing costs were $86,808, a 55-per-cent increase from the previous fiscal period when she spent nearly $56,000. In 2006-07 and 2005-06, Guergis spent about $28,000 on printing.

She was second to Northumberland-Quinte West Conservative MP Rick Norlock, who spent $87,749 in 2008-09.

Across Parliament, spending on printing has nearly doubled since the Conservatives came into office. In 2004-05, MPs spent $4.8 million on printing; in the first full year of the Conservative government, that number jumped to $7.8 million, while last year printing costs were $9.4 million.

In the fiscal period ending in March, printing costs were a shade over $10 million.
Of the top-20 spenders for printing (from Norlock, down to Rick Dykstra, who spent $69,451), 19 are Conservatives, with the NDP's Olivia Chow — who represents a riding in downtown Toronto — the only non-Tory. (emphasis added)
Public expenditures can be justified on communications for constituents that are informative and don't veer into partisan propaganda, a point that should apply to all parties. And there should be a reasonable limit on them in terms of the quantity. Such principles have clearly not been respected by Conservatives though. They've twisted this heretofore quite bland communications device into a mad partisan leaflet spree across the country.

The numbers above show the massive escalation in Conservative use of this communication tool above other parties. The numbers also show that prior to their tenure in government, spending on such items was characterized by a much greater degree of restraint. It's useful to have that comparative perspective along with the numbers that expose the ongoing propaganda enterprise. With this aspect of MP communications, as with many other aspects of government spending, they're showing they can't be trusted to exercise restraint with taxpayer dollars. The numbers just keep growing and growing year in and year out.