February 27, 2004

Frost Hits the Rhubarb

Slush Fund for the Election? Was it Paul Martin who wrote the recipe for Jean Chretien's Pork Supreme?

Liberals to spend record $186B -- Critics call $10B in new spending electioneering Eric Beauchesne, CanWest, Feb. 25, 04

OTTAWA - Bureaucrats in the Privy Council Office, aboriginal programs and regional development agencies are among the largest beneficiaries of more than $10-billion in additional federal spending announced yesterday.

The record $186.1-billion Ottawa expects to spend in the next fiscal year is almost 6% more than it initially estimated it would spend this fiscal year and more than double the rate of inflation over the past year.

MP Monte Solberg, the Conservative finance critic, . . . much of the record spending total "will be geared to things that the Liberals think will get them re-elected."

[. . . . ] "The fact is we've seen spending go up by 40% in the last six years," Mr. Solberg said.


The spending estimates for the 2004-05 fiscal year starting on April 1, the government cautioned, will be later revised to cover expenditures announced in a March 23 budget that were not known when the current estimates were prepared.

Among the estimated increases announced yesterday were:

- A 20% rise in funding to the Privy Council Office, the public service branch of the Prime Minister's Office. The $27.4-million boost brings the PCO's budget to $141.8-million. Paul Martin campaigned for the Liberal leadership with a promise to decentralize power in the PMO.

- An $800-million increase in the federal budget for aboriginals, bringing it to more than $8-billion a year. The figures include a near doubling of the budget for the office of Indian Residential Schools Resolution, which is under fire this week for spending more money on administration than it does on settlements.

- An extra $108.3-million to the four principal federal economic development agencies -- in Quebec, Northern Ontario, and Western and Atlantic Canada -- for disbursements as grants and contributions. Opposition politicians have often referred to regional development programs as slush funds.


Actually, Maritimers can tell that when ACOA grants are floating around and the road crews start working, it's Jean Chretien's Pork Supreme on our plates. We'll have to rename it for Paul. Paul's Poutine? What an obvious--and obnoxious--election ploy -- paying people to vote for the Liberals; otherwise, they might not. NJC

- An additional $153-million for programs to support Canadian culture, such as television programming, plus $60-million for the CBC to strengthen English and French radio and television programming.


CBC/Pravda will be paid for everything negative it says about Conservatives, and particularly that Westerner, Stephen Harper -- anything to keep him from being elected leader of the Conservative Party of Canada or Prime Minister. Trust me on this. Then watch for the shivs in his back -- in fact anywhere -- done in CBCs very obvious manner. If you've read my previous posts on CBC methods, you'll be ready for them. Just leftist/liberal/Liberal mouthpieces doing their jobs as the claque. NJC

Judy Wasylycia-Leis, the NDP finance critic, questioned whether the government was merely creating a "slush fund for the election."

"How do we know all this money will ... not [be] siphoned off as commissions or booking fees or to line someone's pocket?" she said.
[Bang on, Judy! NJC]

[. . . . ] Peter MacKay, a Tory MP, noted the Prime Minister has taken the unusual step of tabling the main estimates earlier than expected and is not allowing MPs enough time to review the details of the $186-billion in projected spending for 2004-2005.

Mr. MacKay said the Commons rules give committees only one month to study the estimates, yet the House of Commons is not scheduled to sit for two of the next four weeks.

[. . . . ] The government said a detailed explanation of how the new money will be spent within departments will not be released for several months.

However, additional current spending increases include:

- $1-billion for defence to support peacekeeping and purchase equipment;

- $759-million for agriculture, including more for food inspection and $70-million to assist farmers hurt by the mad cow crisis;

- $574-million in foreign aid; [Would that be Chretien's African aid legacy? NJC]

- $564-million to cover public servants' job benefits; [Note this vs. what will go to the military along with the judges and RCMP. NJC]

- $446-million to support health research;

- $406-million to support highway improvements at the border;

- $330-million to boost salaries of judges, who are seeking a 20% increase, and the salaries of Mounties and the military;

- $251-million for veterans;

- $186-million to support efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to meet Canada's Kyoto commitments, $63-million to improve air quality, including negotiations with the United States, and $54-million to protect the environment in national parks;

- $170-million to help the homeless, and another $128-million to improve housing for low-income families;

- $127-million to spruce up the Toronto waterfront, and $96- million for enhanced development in Western Canada. [Note that's more for one project in one city than for 3-4 Western provinces. NJC]

There were relatively few spending cuts announced in a summary of the estimates.

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