The Harper Conservatives continue to put partisan priorities ahead of the public interest, as Liberal MPs revealed today that local property taxpayers are being forced to pay a share of the estimated $45 million price tag for unnecessary Economic Action Plan vanity billboards.
“Instead of focusing on priorities like public health, the Conservatives are forcing provinces and municipalities to pay for flooding the country with giant partisan billboards,” said Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale. “With no help from Ottawa, local governments are grappling with challenges like H1N1 under tight budgets. Yet the Harper government requires them to spend property taxes on boosting the image of the Conservative Party of Canada.”
Schedule “G” and other provisions contained in contribution agreements for the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund in Ontario reveal that municipalities are required to produce, erect and pay for Economic Action Plan signs at each project site – costing as much as $4,250 a piece.
I`ll give the Conservatives credit, because they`ve managed to bury additional expenditure for partisan gain onto someone else`s balance sheet:
Siqns and Plaques
The Recipient agrees to produce and install temporary and permanent Project signage to communicate the nature of the Project and the involvement of the Governments of Canada and Ontario and the Recipient, as outlined in the ISF Style Guide.
The recipient is required to give the Conservatives 15 days notice, for any ribbon cutting exercises. This approval ensures that various members of the Conservative Party can show up to curry favor. Another kicker, all this ``communication`` is paid for by the municipality:
For the purposes of events, Eligible Costs include the following:
- Printing and mailing invitations
- Light refreshments, such as coffee, tea, juice, donuts, muffins, snacks
- Draping for plaque unveiling
- Project material for display and/or media kit
- Temporary signage
- Rentals such as:
- PA system
All those events Harper chases and organizes across the country. I wonder how the local property taxpayers would feel if they knew it was at their expense.
I had wondered how much these signs cost, quite flashy, well beyond any other government promotion I`ve seen. A small sign could run you as much as $2250, a large one $4250. The government provides the recipient required labelling for all signs. Quite a price tag, particularly when you comprehend some of the MEASLY endeavors where these signs have popped up. I would say that`s more than the DOORKNOB Mr. Easter :)
Cash strapped municipalities shouldn`t be required to invest in decadent signage, as part of any stimulus agreement. In essence, the government is siphoning off money for partisan gain, that would otherwise be used for the infrastructure it was intended for. The municipalities would obviously agree to any provisions, because they want the stimulus money, but there is something unethical about demanding signage and other promotion.
Next time you drive by one of those pretty signs, just remember you`ll get the bill hidden in your property taxes. We are all DONORS to the Conservative Party of Canada.