Thursday, February 18, 2010

The bureaucrats made them do it

Funny what's trickling out of the access to information channels these days. Things like this:
Senior bureaucrats told the Harper government shortly after the last election that its infrastructure plan could be used as a "strategically important" communications tool that would provide "excellent visibility" for local ministers and MPs, Canwest News Service has learned.

The advice was included in briefing notes released through Access to Information legislation. They were prepared for Transport, Infrastructure and Communities Minister John Baird in the fall of 2008, shortly before opposition MPs started questioning whether the government was using its economic stimulus spending to raise its profile and boost its popularity.
It looks like a bit of spin on the issue of infrastructure, an attempt to suggest that bureaucrats paved the way for the Conservatives to skew their infrastructure funding.

The briefing notes by bureaucrats cited in the report from the fall of 2008 are banal enough, however, touting the merits of an infrastructure program already in place, the Building Canada fund, and how Canadians could be informed about it. It looks like the bureaucracy doing its job, weighing in on an existing infrastructure fund and how it was doing, how it could be improved.

If the upshot of reporting on these notes now is to suggest that bureaucrats were responsible for how the Conservatives proceeded to dole out infrastructure moneys and advertise the plan, sorry, not buying.