Saturday, March 07, 2009

"Sucking And Blowing" II

If want further proof, that the Conservatives stance on their 3 billion slush fund is nothing more than political grandstanding, then look at their approach to the university infrastructure funding. Ottawa demands accountability:
The federal government insists the money be used on projects benefiting science and technology...

In a note sent to universities and colleges on Thursday, Industry Minister Tony Clement and Gary Goodyear, the Minister of State for Science and Technology, said that qualifying projects must “directly support federal (science and technology) strategy” and develop facilities for research and development in industry.

Universities were also asked to develop their own list of priorities, which would be reviewed by the federal and provincial governments, with Ottawa making the final call. Ottawa would pay for 50 per cent of a project, with the other half to be funded by the university or province.


The Conservatives are resisting demands that the infrastructure money simply be put into a provincial formula, and then the schools decide where the money will be spent, maybe on science and technology, maybe on a roof, their choice. Given the lack of funding for forward thinking projects, I tend to agree with the government here, that this money must be directed where it is intended. In other words, I have no qualms with a measure of oversight. In this way, the money won't get lost in the system, taxpayers can point to the expenditures reaching the targets, set out by the government.

Nevermind your personal opinion, the fact the government demands accountability for these funds, and then balks at any desire for accountability on their 3 billion slush fund, demonstrates the height of inconsistency. In fairness, the Liberal reaction, articulated by Kennedy, that the government should get out of the way, quickly give the universities the money, conflicts with the reasoning on the 3 billion slush fund. Hard to argue you're holding up some money on one score because of your desire for oversight, then on another criticizing a desire to eliminate oversight, in the name of expediency.

However, it's the government that needs to be consistent in the practical world. The fact the Conservatives seem to be offering selective accountability, effectively talking out of both sides of their mouth, depending on the allocation in question, makes the Harper threats look even more hollow and irrational.

23 comments:

Luke said...

Let’s not forget the Tories track record on green spending. “Billions of dollars in government spending on green programs since 2006 have had little quantifiable effect in improving Canada's air and water, according to a new report from the environment commissioner.
Scott Vaughan, Canada's environmental watchdog, also found that tracking the efficacy of the federal government's most important policies to slash greenhouse gasses is nearly impossible.”

Tomm said...

Steve,

Are you saying that the government is making everybody else accountable but them?

How do you figure that? They have a budget of over $240 billion that is being added to by $3B. How is this $3B under a different accountability regime as the first 240?

This is a non-issue and Ignatieff should be embarrassed on having brought this up.

In regards to item #2 and that the government is asking for accountability by the receiving agency. Would you have it any other way?

In regards to item #3 that the money requires matching grants. It's a choice they've made. Do people agree with this or not? If Ignatieff wants to yell, I would suggest he do so here. This is a much better mountain to die on than the $3B without a detailed shopping list.

burlivespipe said...

Tomm, the purpose of this special $3b allocation is to speed up some select projects, for quicker action on the infrastructure front. Don't you think that there's already a good idea where this money is going, or do they just plan to leave it on the loading dock at night and let it find its own holes to fill?
Requesting some level of over-sight, not the CONs' after the fact, would seem to be a natural extension of process after the sponsorship scandal. That there's already evidence in their past dealings in your gov't choosing projects for political purposes over need, only highlights the need for some accountability before the money is handed out.
But I know you've got to stick to your 'tough principles', that its only bad when others do it...

RuralSandi said...

Getting a little dictator like isn't it? Do as I say, not as I do.

There's no excuse for not accounting for th $3 billion. They could set up an emergency approval committee or something like that.

Steve V said...

"Are you saying that the government is making everybody else accountable but them?"

What else would you say, given their stance here????

Tomm said...

Steve,

The Conservative government is fully accountable. Pretending that they are not, is just myopic and petty.

If Ignatieff wants the detailed shopping list. Good for him! He asked for it. It's not forthcoming. Is this his mountain to die on? Better not be, or he will die on it.

He has to be smart enough to let it go. The rest of this, as Chantal Hebert says, "is inside baseball".

How much money is going to be spent by Indian Affairs and Northern Development? Does Ignatieff have the detailed shopping list? Is he ready to fall on his sword over it?

Website Budget Information includes:

"Budget 2009 commits $305 million ...to ... improve health outcomes for First Nations and Inuit individuals..."

Cool! The details are amazing!

The budget is not full of detail. They never are. Ignatieff should get a different question writer, or do a better job explaining why it is a big deal to the average Canadian.

Tomm said...

burl,

You are right, it makes sense to have some sort of planning and implementing team and some oversight.

But that being the case, why does a Liberal have to sit on it? Does it have to be adversarial and political?

If this committee has to be political and multi-party than Harper has given his answer. Bring down his minority government.

If you or I were in charge and we could manage the public bleating from our opposites, we are likely to form such a political team. But sadly, we cannot control the public bleating from the opposing parties, so you and I would also be unlikely to what you are suggesting.

I see what you are saying and also think it's a good idea. But I can also see why it is politically unworkable.

marie said...

Tomm, it is Harper and the likes of you who should be the ones embarressed right now unless your 12 years old and don't know any better. Boy I can't wait until the rug and the smug look on your faces is pulled out of you Cons.
Btw, I hope you make a ton of money so that you can pay enough taxes for those who aren't lucky enough to even have a job. And Btw, you must be from Alberta. One can tell where you jokers come from with your attitutes. You obviously work for the government or else you would be a little worried for your own lively hood and your famlies. and Tomm,Harper campaigned on accountability so he better start doing that right now. and Tommm, you too should be demanding that as well so get of your high horse and start facing reality. and Tomm, Iggy is right to ask for accountabilty. If Iggy were Pm right now, you would expect and demand it from him too just as we would so cut out the crap. Burlivespipe answered you on how to speed up the spending of the $3. billion. Just tell the country how and where you he plans to spend it. Is that so hard to understand? Makes sense to me but sometimes it appears that making sense doesn't compute in the Cons brain or your idols.

Thats my rant for the day. Have a good one

Tomm said...

Marie,

Sorry you have so much bitterness. Open your eyes to what is really happening. You are being manipulated by the media into thinking certain things in certain ways.

Six months ago the media was making great hay of Obama not being on the same page as Harper. Now they ignore the fact that not only are these guys getting on, but their policies are very similar.

Quit drinking the kool aid.

And yes I was born and raised in Alberta. Does that make me Satan? or just Satan's apologist?

Let me guess, you are a woman who has bought into the evil kitten eater rhetoric around Harper being a cruel, mean, unfeeling fundamentalist Christian.

I hope your rant got rid of some of that bile. A person's gotta vent.

JimmE said...

Tomm

I know facts are not part of the Reform-a-Tory world view, but please try & concentrate:
2007's Budget - had $2 Billion+ in approved infrastructure money the present government did not spend result - this money lapsed.
2008's Budget - $3.9 Billion for infrastructure is left to be spent by March 31st 2009 - no spending plans itemized or not, are on the horizon!
To spend this money into April, May & June, the present government is REQUIRED BY LAW TO PRESENT AN INTERIM SUPPLY BILL. Now I know, the present PM does not think the rules apply to him, but in this case SORRY; them's the rules.
As for the present PM's strange contention (& by extension THE POINT OF YOUR CRIT) the evil Liberals were holding up needed money - sorry, those pesky facts creep into view once again (Sorry) as even if an Interim Supply were approved TODAY the present government could not spend a single penny of the $3 billion ``emergency fund.``  Vote 35 of the Main Estimates makes it illegal for the government to spend that money before April 1, 2009.
Furthermore the present PM or the PMO did not read the Liberal motion before the temper tantrums. Given the history of the present PM & the Reform-a-Tories on this & other files, posing, posturing & breaking stuff is more important than action or helping folks.
Sorry, your point is invalid. Damn-you pesky facts! Why can't the world just be like a Post or Sun column!

Steve V said...

"Six months ago the media was making great hay of Obama not being on the same page as Harper. Now they ignore the fact that not only are these guys getting on, but their policies are very similar."

Are you for real? And, you're telling others to open up their eyes. Wow.

KNB said...

Obama and Harper...they're tight! lol

Tomm said...

KNB & Steve,

How's the kool aid?

Must be delicious given the side effects you're putting up with.

JimmE said...

Tomm
Seems your lack of ability to face & process facts, together with your quick resort to ad homonym attacks must be part of some deep seated problems. Has the present PM's abandonment of all his Neo-con agenda effected you so dramatically - or are you incapable of dealing with facts in a coherent fashion?
You have my pity.

marie said...

Sorry you have so much bitterness. Open your eyes to what is really happening. You are the one being manipulated by the media into thinking certain things in certain ways. No way Tommm. For that to happen, I would have to have some respect for them and believe me, I have none.

As for me Tommm, I don’t think so.I do not respect the media enough to be manipulated by either them or by you. Am I bitter you asked? Yes I am and the media can all go bust for all I care. And forget real news as they haven’t got a clue about the rules and ethics of real Journalism. All they have is an opinion just like the rest of us which me dick all. If anyone is guilty of being manipulated I would say to you open your own eyes buddy because if anyone is being manipulated by the media, it is you.

As for Iggy asking for details of the money, he is simply doing his job, thats what the oppossition does. Maybe you eed to go back to school and learn a little about parliment and how they work. As for thePM, he is trying to save his own butt never mind Canadians. Sorry you have such a hard time understanding this Tommm. In general Canadians are pretty smarth and are seeing Mr. Harpo for who he really is. Maybe when things get a little lean and you get a little hungry, you will feel a little different.

Tomm said...

Marie,

Given your last post, you would be surprised at how little we disagree with.

If you also think the media is manipulative and affecting public opinion, we agree.

If you think Ignatieff asking questions about this is his job, we agree. (I was recommending that he has gotten all the answers he is going to get, so he should move on)

If you think this recession is an abolute disaster to the global economy, to Canada, and may have consequences to our civilization that we cannot even envision right now, we agree.

If you think this recession was brought about by George Bush's last 8 years in office, we agree.

Where we don't agree is when you call people names and engage in character assassination. You said:

"...In general Canadians are pretty smarth and are seeing Mr. Harpo for who he really is."

"Mr. Harpo" has done nothing to you. He is trying to govern this country. For you to think that we would be in better shape with Paul Martin and his Liberal team, or M. Dion and his Liberal or Coalition team is dreaming. You bought their line and you have to defend it. Think back and remember what they really said and did and not what you have romanticized about their visions of Canada.

Tomm said...

JimmE,

You said:

"Seems your lack of ability to face & process facts, together with your quick resort to ad homonym attacks..."

I didn't even comment on your post. I don't see where you get my "attacks" from.

However you have no problem attacking me:

"...your lack of ability to face & process facts,..."

"...must be part of some deep seated problems."

"...are you incapable of dealing with facts in a coherent fashion?"

I think the person doing the attacking ...is you.

Steve V said...

Tomm

I remember hearing something about "shovels in the ground" in September, while Harper was saying if a recession was coming, it would have happened already.

There's also a certain irony in Deficit Jim chastizing the opposition about delaying the stimulus, when the only reason it's in the budget is because of them (see November update).

Tomm said...

Steve,

You're right. I too am mystified why Harper wasn't more forthcoming about the coming recession since 2008.

The only reason I can think that he wasn't, was in an attempt to win the election. He seems to have been given advice to pass around joy and light.

After the election, he should again have been more forthcoming but instead mixed surprisingly good news with a stake threw the Liberal & Bloc's heart.

Dion, Layton and Duceppe's response to the November update was, I guess in hindsight, predictable.

Shovels in the ground and today is a little easier to speculatively explain. Harper. clearly, does not like throwing taxpayers money around and is doing this, fairly grudgingly.

He appears to not like the multiplier effect of throwing money on the ground, so he has put in place a bunch of gates that must be opened to get the money.

As opposed to Layton who seems to see the government as the solution. Jack Layton would be handing out money to pretty much anybody with their hand out (see NDP EI new release).

I do see irony in Jim Flaherty's comments. But even with the irony, he is still correct. That's probably why he smiles when he says it. He sees the humour.

Steve V said...

What about after the election, the "technical recession" crap, still talking surplus when nobody else was, then the ridiculous fiscal update. Seems to be a lack of foresight.

JimmE said...

Tomm

Your ad homonym comments are included in your comments directed at others; or did you forget that ?
My comments are not attacks on you personally, but factual observations of your ideas posted. If you take crit. of your ideas personally well, that ain't good for either discourse or your own noggin.

Tomm said...

JimmE,

I understand. You were disagreeing with things I said to others. Fair enough, but if so, you should provide the context, otherwise it's difficult for me to comment on blanket statements.

I take issue, because I try to ensure that what I say has both merit and back-up.

In fact, you will occasionally see me caught in having a double standard. I try to own up when that happens.

JimmE said...

Tomm
Fair enough. I'm only too happy to help point out any gap in logic or double standard.