Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Stephen Harper - The Anti-Robin Hood

Tony Clement and Stephen Harper
Tony Clement's slush fund is once again making a splash in the news. After days of refusing to answer questions during Question Period in regards to the $50 million that was misspent in his riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka for the 2010 G8 Summit, Clement has announced that he will field questions in a parliamentary committee. Let's forget for now that the committee consists of 7 Conservatives, 4 NDPs, and 1 Liberal. What I want to talk about is Stephen Harper.

I've been hearing a lot from Conservative supporters that this $50 million isn't that big of a deal. After all, remember AdScam? I do. $3.75 million in misappropriated funds. Doesn't seem like that much money compared to $50 million. Harper rode the AdScam wave all the way to the PMO. Remember his cries for transparency and integrity in government? Where are they now? Paul Martin launched a full inquiry into the sponsorship scandal. I don't see Harper following suit and giving Canadians the transparency and honesty that they deserve, or that he promised.

"Oh, but every riding received stimulus money to help weather the recession." True. The average riding received between $15 and $20 million in stimulus funds. In addition to the $50 million in G8 funds, Parry Sound Muskoka received $42 million in stimulus funds, over twice the national average, for a grand total of $92 million in government funding in 2010 - over 4 times the national average.

Now, let's look at the amount of money that other cities have received in summit funding in the recent past. In 2002, Kananaskis, Alberta hosted a G8 summit. The city received about $5 million in funding. In 2001, Quebec City hosted the Summit of the Americas and received $4.5 million in funding. So why, then, did Parry Sound-Muskoka need $50 million? Plain and simple: it didn't. Parry Sound-Muskoka is a riding with a very healthy tax base. Cottages costing millions of dollars tend to contribute nicely in the form of property taxes. 

Just a small part of Muskoka's "Millionaire's Row"
The fact is: this $50 million could have been spent in a riding that truly needed the help. But Harper chose to take taxpayer's money and funnel it into a friend's riding that is already wealthier than most in Canada.

Harper's Economic Action Plan: Take from the poor - Give to the rich.

1 comment:

sailsmart said...
There was no paper trail according to the auditor general's report. Called "serious and troubling" but that's it. Teflon Harper, eh?