Thursday, October 29, 2009

Very Compelling

This sure sounds like a government with a compelling story to tell, in an effort to counter unfounded criticism:
The federal government has dumped three boxloads of information about its efforts to stimulate Canada's sputtering economy on Parliament's independent budget watchdog.

But rather than provide an easy-to-read spreadsheet listing infrastructure projects and how much money has been spent on each of them to date, the government has flooded the parliamentary budget officer with 4,476 separate pieces of paper on individual projects.

The tactic has opposition critics accusing the government of trying to bury Page in paper.

New Democrat MP Pat Martin says the goal appears to be to confound and confuse people about how much has really been spent.

So transparent, and accountable, they just ooze "fairness" on this one, don't they?

17 comments:

Big Winnie said...

I'm no accountant but if this government really wanted to be transparent/accountable, they would have created a spreadsheet with the data requested accompanied by the boxes/documents inside (both properly numbered)for easy reference/verification. So how does the government keep track of the projects, money alocated, riding, etc and why couldn't that info have been provided to the PBO?

Also, if I recall correctly, didn't the PBO's budget get slashed or his request for additional fundng denied? So much for accountability and transparency.

Jerry Prager said...

There is something truly bizarre about this. Wouldn't this kind of tactic make every accountant in the country shake their heads in wonderment, how can a government be run this way ? Here's a bunch of boxes, we don't know what's in them, except, kinda, sorta, maybe...
I can't imagine Paul Martin being that incompetent.

Steve V said...

They way they've released this data is more telling than the analysis of what was released prior. It's almost an admission that you have no counter. I wouldn't be surprised if Baird glued some of the papers together to be a pain.

The Mound of Sound said...

That's not fairness they're oozing Steve

Steve V said...

Amazing the respect they have for the position they've created.

Lizt. said...

It sounds like Mr. Page could stand a little help. That must be hell to go through..they do not want him to find anything out.

CuriosityCat said...

Seems to me that some good citizens in Ottawa should form a little team and volunteer to help Mr Page do some analysing ...

Good citizenship type of stuff, eh?

Perhaps some MPs might want to do that?

Joseph said...

There is also a little report tonight that the flu vaccine quantities the federal government promised to the provinces have been lowered . . . after they had all rolled out their vaccination plans. BC is already shifting the date that it will be available to the general public.

sassy said...

Seems to me that some good citizens in Ottawa should form a little team and volunteer to help Mr Page do some analysing ...

That's a capital idea.

moonstar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jad said...

So let me get this straight. The PBO wanted the information, and the government has given him the raw data to work with.

Had they provided him a nice little spreadsheet,he could of course have said that the data had been specifically organized to provide a certain result. He could also have complained that he didn't get ALL of the data. But they have given him the raw data to do with whatever he wants. That is after all his job.

But they have given him the raw data and the guy actually has to do some real work on this to prove his point. Good luck !

RuralSandi said...

jad - you must be kidding. You have to be - or just extremely stupid.

Harper has loads of staff to keep track "properly" - sending a mess in boxes is an attempt at a stupid political statement, to insult Page.

We need grown ups in Ottawa - Harper's kiddie caucus is out of control.

Steve V said...

"jad - you must be kidding. You have to be - or just extremely stupid."

Unfortunately, he's not kidding.

Tof KW said...

"I'm no accountant but if this government really wanted to be transparent/accountable, they would have created a spreadsheet with the data requested..."

Well let me help the discussion, as I am an accountant. Indeed this should all be reported properly, the raw backup should be properly organized and used for random sample auditing.

If I were being audited and simply presented boxes & boxes of the raw data, then told the auditor "you figure it out" ...I'd be out of a job.

Steve V said...

Maybe when it's organized, it doesn't paint a pretty picture ;)

Joseph said...

When I was self-employed, I had a spreadsheet, scanned each document and kept all the legally required files and receipts. As such, I gathered about 3 boxes of information PER YEAR. Needless to say, my revenue was a mere fraction of a fraction (of a fraction ;) of the expenditures being dolled out the door now.

So somehow the 3 boxes isn't at all impressive to me.

What I want to see evaluated is the criteria used to determine which projects received funding . . . and the email exchanges musing about the votes per dollar of various ridings that were most assuredly bantered about.

Steve V said...

The amount isn't impressive, and it's worse that it is presented as such.