Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beyond The Headlines

The other day, Canwest released a study of infrastructure spending that came with the "fairness" headline, no evidence that Conservative ridings were given favoritism. In reaction to that claim, I penned a post challenging the most basic of premise in that Canwest post. Besides David Akin (who I do respect, just disagree on this point) calling me a "dink", I thought my criticism valid, no satisfactory counter forthcoming.

Well, Gerard Kennedy is at it again, doing fantastic work (Donolo, get him off the backbench, it just looks silly at this stage). This time Gerard trains his gaze on the Knowledge Infrastructure Program, the stimulus analysed by Canwest, that showed NO bias. What did Gerard find?:

Conservative stimulus bias continues at post-secondary institutions

the Harper government has funneled a disproportionate amount of money to colleges and universities situated in Conservative-held ridings, Liberal Infrastructure Critic Gerard Kennedy said today.

“An honest analysis of the facts shows the same pattern already evident in other infrastructure stimulus funds. Colleges and universities in Conservative ridings were given an average of 33 per cent more funding on a per student basis than those institutions in Opposition-held ridings,” said Mr. Kennedy.

“This amounts to a funding gap of nearly $263 million – and it’s not fair to our young people trying to get an education, or the researchers working to build our economy through discovery.”

Mr. Kennedy’s findings are based on an analysis of the available data on the $2-billion national Knowledge Infrastructure Program (KIP).

He found that in the four most politically competitive provinces – that is, where Conservatives are most likely to gain or lose seats in Parliament – there is a very pronounced bias of funding.

Of note, just to take this out of the partisan realm, not one press release claim from the Liberals on this score have been refuted by an independent analysis, using similar parameters. In fact, the Liberal analysis has been supported time and again, the only exception the Canwest piece, which missed the most glaringly obvious of problems with such superficial conclusions.

I'm sure there is some stimulus program out there that truly refutes the favoritism thesis. It's just nobody has found that program yet(sorry Mr. Akin), including a PMO which I'm sure has tried. Given the wide array of programs, the lack of counter is almost more telling than the evidence to date.


DL said...

I think the Liberals should move on from this stimulus spending stuff. Its a bore and the public doesn't care. Its obvious that this issue is being overplayed and has no legs anymore. You've made your point, the polls didn't move one iota - now how's about attacking the Tories on a substantive issue.

Steve V said...

Canadians believe Tories biased on stimulus funding: poll Source: The Canadian Press Oct 29

2009 14:23 OTTAWA _

A new poll suggests the Harper government's multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded ad blitz to promote its stimulus plan doesn't seem to be having the desired effect. The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey also suggests most Canadians believe Liberal claims that stimulus spending favours Conservative ridings


I think you should move on, because you are colossal bore on my blog. Seriously.

Steve V said...

Just to add, I think this is a very important issue. This sort of stuff drove me wild when the Liberals were in power, and the fact the Conservatives have taken partisan advertising and pork to unprecendented levels, is SUBSTANTIVE.

Scott Tribe said...

I think the Liberals need to keep hammering on this DL. It took a long time for the Sponsorship Scandal to sink in. We've only been into this Pork-Barrel Cheque-Gate stuff for a few weeks.

I'm encouraged by that poll Steve is mentioning that the Liberals message on this is getting thru (do you have more specific numbers and a link to that poll, Steve?)

By the way.. I AM impressed that David Akin at least took the time to come here and try to reply. Not every reporter would do that. (I presume you must have a good back and forth with him on Twitter).

Scott Tribe said...

PPS - I hope David will note this new study and expound on its statistics.. and I think every reporter should be asking Harper and the COns why cant the PBO be used to resolve this controversy over #'s once and for all - unless they have something to hide.

Steve V said...

I got that story via email, no link. Will post when I can get one.

The first step in defeating a government is chipping away at their credibility. These releases help in that regard, so they might bear fruit down the road. Besides, it's not always about scoring points, this is a valid issue. DL suggests we just ignore gross misuse of taxpayer money because the polls aren't moving. I don't get it.


I think Akin is great. I just didn't buy this analysis, and I've seen nothing to counter my criticisms.

DL said...

The point might ago a lot further if you could get your provincial Liberal friends like Smitherman to stop contradicting you!

DL said...

...mind you, i don't know why I'm complaining - the more the Liberals and Tories have their "certs is a candymint, no certs is a breath mint"-style debate about which ridings are or are not getting too much of the stimulus money - the more NDP support seems to be edging up!

Marpman said...

Since when does a good opposition party hold a government accountable when the polls say it should. Sometimes, the issue is bigger than what the day-to-day electorate can immediately grasp. Its important to both draw attention to these issues, explain them and set out how you will prevent/rectify them. Do these things and the electorate will remember.
The arrogance of the Tory government towards the people of this country is immense...and hopefully people will start to understand.
Keep discovering and hilighting these issues.

Steve V said...


Smitherman is talking about the big projects, which he had a hand in. Do you honestly believe that individual MP's in Ottawa can't argue for funding for their riding, without going through a provincial minister? Are you that naive or willful ignorant, based on your partisan leanings?

Oh yes, look at the NDP in those polls. Libs below Dion totals, and you guys would still lose seats. You're a joke man.

Steve V said...


Anyone who thinks this stuff isn't important, well it says more about their own partisan bias, then any fair debate. He just doesn't care, because Jack isn't waving the flag. That's the bottomline, predictable and boring all at once. Congrats.

KNB said...

Here is the link

Steve V said...

Cheers :)

DL said...

The poll says that people suspect that there is favouritism in how stimulus money is distributed (I agree) and they it also says that most people are not very concerned about the issue (I agree too). The fact is that if I really did think that this was the most importnat issue facing the country - the last thing I'd do would be to return the Liberals to power since i would know that they would just try to favour Liberal ridings.

Steve V said...


DL said...

Just when you thought it couldn't get worse. The NDP just reported one of the best 3rd quarter fund-raising yields ever. see

Steve V said...


"The NDP's third quarter performance goes most of the way to making up for its below-average performance in the first half of 2009"

marie said...

Rick, didn't Steve tell you that the media is blatantly shoeing their preference for the Conservatives? Guess what so is CTV just as biased. DL, just because the Liberals did it as you guys are so predictable of saying, but the Liberals did it. That's no excuse for the Cons to do the same. A party that was elected on their word that would be more accountable. FYI, the Liberals lost for their behaviour and the Cons will to. Forget the polls. I don't care what they are now, there is not an election yet, lets wait and see when we get there.

And just remember the deficit and how much has been wasted promoting the Con party also remember who have to cough up the tax monies of this deficit, you, your children and their children. Budgets were meant to keep. You can't spend more than you earn so the excess has to come out of tax dollars from your own pockets.When you do get taxed, You might think differently instead of cherrying this inept party, you might find yourself cursing them instead.

ottlib said...

Of course the Liberals need to keep hammering away at the stimulus and advertizing issue.

Certainly people will eventually tune them out on a conscious level but it will penetrate otherwise and when an election comes around and they are reminded of this again they will say, "Oh ya!"

And as I have stated before the Liberals should not be chasing higher poll numbers. It is just a waste of time and ultimately self defeating.

DL if you are giving the NDP the same quality of advice that you are giving the Liberals, and the NDP is listening to you, I can see why that party cannot seem to escape fourth party status.

Steve V said...


The NDP don't do advice, or introspection. Have you every heard one supporter question anything? There are parallel stories between the Libs and NDP these days, I find the silence amazing. It's all just peachy in NDP land, always has been, always will be.

Gene Rayburn said...

"the more NDP support seems to be edging up!"

Watch out! NDP Majority in 2245!

Steve V said...

Polling that shows the NDP would LOSE less seats, and fundraising that is still behind year to year, is a cause for celebration. Hilarious.