Thursday, November 05, 2009

Colossal Waste On YOUR Dime

I had assumed that this 100 million dollar self promotion exercise, under the guise of the Economic Action Plan, included all "expenses". That assumption was wrong, because on top of the gross misuse of public money previously exposed, we now find an addition 45 million allocated for signage, ceremonies, etc, so Harper can look good, and the kicker- most of the cost is put at the foot of the municipalities. That's right, want stimulus cash, then pony up and promote the Conservatives. I would recommend a read of the Schedule G attachment, which outlines what municipalities MUST do for the CASH:
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:
- flagpoles
- Stage
- chairs
- podium
- 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.


Gayle said...

"...want stimulus cash, then pony up and promote the Conservatives."

Considering most of the money is going to conservative ridings, I think they deserve to pay more. :)

Steve V said...

That's an interesting angle isn't it? Hate to see the property tax hike in Clement's riding ;)

Jerry Prager said...

I noticed that large prop cheques signed by local MP's and/or bearing the Conservative Party Logo, aren't being billed to municipalities, they are a gift of the Government of Canada.

Jerry Prager said...

I'd like to see a detailed breakdown of just which construction companies are benefiting from the largese of the tony tory - Tony Pork-Barrel Clement. There are a lot of loyal conservatives up there in Muskoka who probably deserve thank you cheques from the Minister of Squander, and it would be nice for the rest of us to see how many party faces there are in cottage country snap and print publication photographs of action plan projects. It's probably a who's who of Gravenhurst, Bracebridge and Huntsville municipal, provincial and federal Con men and women, with handfuls of Lake of Bays, Port Carling, and other Canadian Shield backwater developers thrown in for kickbacks. Or not, it could be they're all just folks.

Tom said...

I watched the signage costs go from $5M to $45M in a wek of Liberal question periods. I expect by next week it will be up to $100M snce the figure is not definite and can be overstated with impunity in the house.

Steve V said...


I haven't seen to many pieces disputing any of the Liberal numbers. About all I've seen is people verifying them.

These signs are not voluntary, which means once you have general cost, you just multiple by the projects known. Not really that complicated. I think the real issue here, you're inclined to scoff, instead of letting the numbers speak for themselves.

The Liberals have been trying to get these costs for MONTHS. If it's such a paltry sum, why the constant roadblocks by the government.


You can pretty much guarantee, that the way some of these Con MP's are throwing around the money, some of it is going down a blackhole, somebody is padding.

Jerry Prager said...

While I'm sure some of it is padding, the very fact that certain contractors will be benefiting, while others won't be, is where the crux of the matter is: every riding in the country should be studied for who is actually getting the money, and what their party affiliation: because again, as Harper himself implied in Sudbury, a Recession is no time for Conservative economics: and since their Accountability platform was obviously a lie, they really are left with only one agenda: the destruction of the Liberal Party, and clearly the Cons have no morality and no ethical guidance systems on that one: they are using everything in their power, legal and illegal to turn Canada into a nation of reactionaries.

sassy said...

Not that I would be one wee bit proud in have one in my possession but I think we should all DEMAND tax receipts for our involuntary donations to the Conservation Party.

marie said...

Sounds to me like the liberals should be spending money on attack ads letting everyone know across Canada how the signage’s of the Reform Cons actions plan in their communities are being paid and billed by their own taxes. To the tune of 45 million dollars.
People will eventually smarten up and toss those idiots to never never land. Right off this planet would be preferable.
But Harper is just laughing at the lot of his brainless supporters singing "With a little help from my friends" That's called brain washing and it looks like he has perfected this with his parrots as well as his supporters. Their is no other explanation for what he gets away with.

As you can tell, I dispise this man and can't wait to see the last of him.

Frankly Canadian said...

Good post Steve! This is the type of corrupt management that needs to be exposed to all Canadians. I have to agree with Marie as well that the Liberals need to launch a series of attack ads to expose the many hidden facts about this government. The list of corrupt and mismanaged affairs boondoggled by these deceitful Conservatives is mind-boggling. I hope I will be seeing billboards and television ads exposing at least the most recent fiascoes. Again my hats off to you for your brilliant and relentless investigative Blogging.

Steve V said...

I agree on the attack ad front. Now is the time.

marie said...

Now that we agree that the time is right to spend money on attack ads, how to we get the liberals to start those attack ads right now? They don't appear to be listening to their supporters much lately.