Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thursday Link Grab Bag

1. Tory 10-percenters are mean. They're inaccurate. But, they're rarely stupid. Well, I said "rarely":

A Liberal MP says the latest taxpayer-funded mail-out to his district promoting federal Conservative policies has gone totally off track.

Avalon MP Scott Andrews says the Conservatives sent a so-called "10-per- center" to his riding promoting the Harper government's work to improve Canadian rail service.

There has been no railway in Newfoundland since the 1980s.


I have some doubts this will reverse the ABC campaign...


2. In Alberta, good news for the Alberta Liberals:

If we can sell out both of our Leader's Dinners in Edmonton and Calgary this fall, our debt will be completely paid off. If you'd like to help, please visit our website at www.albertaliberal.com to purchase your ticket now. If you can't make it to the dinner yourself, you can donate your ticket to another keen Liberal who perhaps cannot afford a ticket themselves.


The ALP has been massively in debt ever since I was a member - if they can get in the black this year and start building up an election war chest, this is outstanding news.


3. The nominated Conservative candidate in Markham says the Tories aren't spending stimulus money in his city because the voters had the gall to elect a Liberal MP last year. Stupid voters.


4. And there are some numbers to back him up:

The Liberals are rejecting claims by Prime Minister Stephen Harper that 80 per cent of the $4-billion set aside for immediate job-creating infrastructure projects are underway. Instead, the Liberals say, their research shows only 12 per cent of the projects were underway and generating jobs … Gerard Kennedy, the Liberal critic for infrastructure and communities, said he conducted an analysis of 946 infrastructure stimulus projects out of a total of 1,697 announced. He said his research also indicates Conservatives are directing projects to Tory ridings

For example, Kennedy said, in British Columbia, Conservative ridings had been allocated 13 times as much money as opposition ridings. In Quebec, 2.7 times as much money went to Tory ridings, he claimed. In Ontario, Conservative ridings got 11 per cent more than opposition ridings, he said. He said 14 of the 16 announcements the prime minister has made were about infrastructure projects previously planned or won’t be built for years.


What I really like about this is that the opposition took the time to do their homework, rather than just shouting banal insults in the House of Commons. There's an argument to be made that some of this is because the Tory ridings are more rural, but there's sure a lot of smoke coming out of this one.


5. Kudos to young Liberals Jonathan Pedneault and John Lennard for having the guts to call out the party on their handling of the Outremont non-nomination.

Apparently, Cauchon has been offered Jeanne-Le-Ber to run in. I'd rather see Cauchon in Outremont (where he has roots, making him a good bet to knock off Mulcair) and the star in Jeanne-Le-Ber...but who am I to question Denis Coderre's political judgement?


6. In less controversial nomination news, Stan Kutcher is the Liberal candidate in Halifax.

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25 Comments:

  • Ignatieff has given Kennedy the infrastructure file and he's been hitting triples and homeruns since February. Really doing some impressive work, fully backed up and verifiable. It makes Baird's blustering in response, without even any examples to back up his claims for fairness, just bluster and name calling.

    This is going to be the big issue in the campaign. Kennedy has been hammering away at this - both the inability to get infrastructure and stimulus money out the door, and forking what they do get out to Tory ridings - since even before the budget in January. It is astonishing how little attention the media has paid to it. But they are starting to wake up.

    But in one of those reports from Kennedy, in March I think, a lot of Conservatives defended the pork by claiming the Liberals had neglected rural ridings for years and so it was justified. So I looked at the list of infrastructure projects and about 75-80% of them were in cities, not in rural areas. So the claim is quite bogus.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 8:12 PM  

  • I just read that John Baird and other Conservatives had committed to speak on PowerPlay and when the topic became Kennedy's report, they pulled out.

    Here's the PowerPlay clip. Kennedy does really really well. Clark tries to go at him hard, but he had all of the facts right at his fingertips. Brilliant!

    No wonder Baird ran scared.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 8:32 PM  

  • Those of us who were around remember the Liberal infrastucture program after they came to power in '93 was also criticized as a pork barrel extravaganza. The "dingwall" built in Dingwall's riding, the bocce ball courts in Toronto, etc.

    By Blogger nuna d. above, at 8:43 PM  

  • I am certainly not happy with the Outremont decision, but if the riding had already been promised to another candidate then how could there have been any other choice? How do you woo a candidate with the promise of a particular riding and then tell her to go elsewhere or fight it out with a previous MP.

    Of course, if the riding had not already been promised to her before Cauchon spoke up, that is a totally different story.

    By Blogger Gayle, at 10:47 PM  

  • "but if the riding had already been promised to another candidate then how could there have been any other choice?"

    exactly. a promise is a promise. and uppity party members who question the leader's right to skip the nomination process and put a star in the spotlight are in the wrong party.

    we don't have the luxury of democratic niceties when it comes to finding candidates - and any current MPs who make a public fussover that should have star candidates nominated into their ridings in retaliation.

    By Anonymous IggyToTheEnd, at 11:05 PM  

  • Gayle hit the nail on the head. At this stage, Cauchon and Ignatieff need to meet and sort this out so that either through the current proposal or through a nomination campaign, both he and the "star candidate" end up running. Coderre should butt out on this one.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:06 PM  

  • Gayle rocks.

    I'd say most candidates should be appointed by Iggy. There's maybe a few dozen where it might be hard to find a star - and there, let the local yokels figure things out.

    Otherwise, I'd eliminate nomination contests all together. Most members aren't REAL members anyway. They're insta-members who come and go and never set foot in an AGM.

    By Anonymous TruePatriotLove, at 11:24 PM  

  • Sorry, don't remember just where, but I saw it on the news tonight that Cauchon was offered another riding by Ignatieff, one that used to be Liberal but had been recently won by the BQ.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:30 PM  

  • "Kennedy said, in British Columbia, Conservative ridings had been allocated 13 times as much money as opposition ridings"

    That couldn't possibly be anything to do with the fact that there are 22 Conservative ridings in BC, and only 14 opposition ones.

    Nah, Kennedy's much too smart not to have thought of that one.

    By Blogger jad, at 12:54 AM  

  • "So I looked at the list of infrastructure projects and about 75-80% of them were in cities, not in rural areas. So the claim is quite bogus."

    1. That is lower than the % of Canadians that live in cities defined broadly.
    2. I highly doubt your math since about a 25-33% of the money is going towards building highways. Look at the stimulus map - it looks to be spread about even spatially (which will tend not to benefit Liberals): http://www.plandaction.gc.ca/eng/map.asp
    3. You are conflating different kinds of "urban" ridings too.

    My riding, Parkdale-High Park is a truly urban downtown Toronto riding. It takes up 16 square km.
    London-west is a riding in a small city. It takes up 86 square km.

    Needless to say, the amount of roads that will need repairs, and the potential opportunities for improvements in transport are going to be much much greater in London.

    The most "urban" riding the Tories won was Thornhill (79 km squared).
    So it isn't just a rural thing, it has a lot more to do with suburban strength too (except in Quebec where there probably is a lot of corruption). Look at any election map of Canada, and imagine - if you wanted to repair the trans-Canada highway - what % of the way would it be in Tory districts?

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 1:35 AM  

  • Kudos to those idiots that called the Party re Outremont? They are kids trying to make a name for themselves and hurting the party at the same time. C'mon - Lennard? He's a Rae guy.

    Chantel Hebert just laughed about it, because in Quebec it's not that important - she said you could fit the group in a phone booth.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:21 AM  

  • Hoser:

    This is complete graft and, because of the sheer size of the stimulus package, it is graft on a scale we have never seen before.

    Your excuses do not explain why ridings like John Baird's in Ottawa are getting something like 3 or 4 times the average, he's getting even more than most Tory ridings, and his riding has one of the lowest unemployment figures in the province. Your excuses do not explain why so many of the projects are in places like Calgary and Edmonton.

    There is no excuse for this kind of graft. It is the very thing Harper was most critical of before he got control of our finances.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 9:20 AM  

  • "Kennedy said, in British Columbia, Conservative ridings had been allocated 13 times as much money as opposition ridings"

    That couldn't possibly be anything to do with the fact that there are 22 Conservative ridings in BC, and only 14 opposition ones.

    Nah, Kennedy's much too smart not to have thought of that one.


    I think Kennedy's smart enough to know that 13 times 14 doesn't equal 22...

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:24 AM  

  • Just from the perspective of trying to win back as many seats as possible in Quebec, it seems to me that Cauchon in Outremont and Le Prohon in JLB makes more sense.

    There's a 6-7% gap to make up in Outremont against a strong incumbent, and a 2-3% gap in JLB against a Bloc backbencher. And Cauchon is certainly the better candidate in Outremont...in JLB, it's debatable - they probably would both do about the same.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 9:26 AM  

  • ""Kennedy said, in British Columbia, Conservative ridings had been allocated 13 times as much money as opposition ridings"

    That couldn't possibly be anything to do with the fact that there are 22 Conservative ridings in BC, and only 14 opposition ones.

    Nah, Kennedy's much too smart not to have thought of that one.


    He addresses that question head on, actually. It is not a matter of comparing the total aggregate dollars spent over the whole province. The Tories are spending way way more in each Tory riding and per riding.

    Some liken this graft to the Sponsorship Scandal (not the brown envelopes part; the using taxpayer money to win Liberal ridings part. Andrew Steele went back a bit further in time and is calling it the "$12 billion boondoggle" which seems a bit more accurate. Others are calling it "Cash for Cons".

    There is a reason John Baird bailed out on PowerPlay last night. They don't want to have to face questions about this graft because they don't have answers.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 9:30 AM  

  • Some further thought on Hoser's comments that bigger geographical regions would naturally need more infrastructure investment than bigger population ridings.

    That is bunk.

    In fact, cities - where most of this infrastructure money is in fact being spent - have greater infrastructure needs than rural areas: more people means more roads, more sewers, more hydro, more electricity. And not just for residents: big cities are where the businesses are located so they have even more demand on hydro, roads, sewage, power, etc.

    By Blogger Ted Betts, at 10:54 AM  

  • Just finished reading the Liberal report. Many typos. Not much in the way of detail.

    When changes require re-engineering of infrastucture plans, doesn't that mean engineers get some work? I don't know if you know this, you guys being a bunch of tenured professors and all, but engineering firms could use some work right now!

    Plus, I think the Liberal academia should be able to produce a 13 page report without spelling mistakes!

    By Anonymous IggyForever, at 11:25 AM  

  • "In fact, cities - where most of this infrastructure money is in fact being spent - have greater infrastructure needs than rural areas: more people means more roads, more sewers, more hydro, more electricity. And not just for residents: big cities are where the businesses are located so they have even more demand on hydro, roads, sewage, power, etc."

    I didn't say that cities have lower infrastructure needs. I said that they have lower infrastructure needs per capita. Also I didn't focus so much on rural as I did suburban (which is where most of the Tories are).

    Folks in the suburbs need more roads (PER CAPITA) because they are further apart, likewise with sewage. Hydro/power is a provincial issue.

    For instance, Toronto's Transportation Services Budget was 60 million dollars in 2006. With 2.5 million people in the City of Toronto, it works out to $24 a head.

    In that same year, London spent 22.6 million dollars on its road and Transportation budget (http://www.london.ca/Budget/Budget_2008/03_Operating_Budget_Report.pdf). However, with a population of 352,395 that works out to $64/person.

    Similarly, Toronto's water budget was

    London's 2007 water operating budget (I am excluding capital contributions since operating costs are a better indicator of the extent of infrastructure needs) was 35,227,000 (http://www.london.ca/budget/Budget_2009/2009%20Water%20Budget.pdf), or $100/person. Plus, listed separately (unlike the Toronto budget) the wastewater operating budget was 28,035,000 for a total of $179.55/person in London.

    Toronto's operating budget (http://www.toronto.ca/budget2008/pdf/2008twopexbcfinal.pdf) was 379,337,700. Or 151.74/person.

    Moreover, this is the case EVEN though London has a smaller budget per capita and lower property taxes per capita.
    London, despite a smaller per capita budget, devotes more money to operating its sewage and transportation infrastructure (feel free to make this comparison between other sets of major/small cities).

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 12:42 PM  

  • Also, if you look at Gerard Kennedy's raw data, he only looked at 946/1647 of announced projects. Moreover, it looks like he is cherry-picking the smaller ones, since it covers only 1.1 billion of what I believe is 4 billion.

    (http://www.liberal.ca/pdf/docs/240909_ISF_Call_Data.pdf)

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 12:47 PM  

  • Also note: only 28 projects in Quebec (is that because Kennedy's staff speaks as good French as he does?), and about 5 projects in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver combined. I know Toronto got at least 200 million in infrastructure funds, so something looks VERY fishy about this.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 2:12 PM  

  • Congratulations Martin Cauchon for putting Iggy in his place!

    By Anonymous RaeDaysAreBack, at 2:39 PM  

  • RaeDaysareBack - good grief - another bunch of nincumpoops playing games again.

    Give it a rest.

    Rae days are not back, get over it.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:19 PM  

  • Hossier....you try too hard, it's not working.

    By the way, one of your Con candidates admits what the Cons are doing.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:20 PM  

  • Good research Hoser! I think that proves the point.

    (Although I would assume Kennedy's staff picked the projects at random)

    By Anonymous Jeff, at 3:55 PM  

  • According to Kennedy's staff (which was very helpful), the Toronto stuff was announced after they did their study (September 11th), and the Quebec gov't website was incomplete.

    The bottom line is that it isn't a very representative study. That is unfortunate for the Liberals more than anybody. They probably could have made a stronger case if they waited for all the data, and focused more on egregious cases rather than painting a picture of overall corruption that they lack the data to put forward.

    Anon 3:20, I apologize for trying to hard. Next time I will just post "Harper rules. Yeeeaahhh!1!!" I am certain that such a reasoned argument will doubtless win your undying affection.

    PS: some of my data is wrong too by the way (I thought something was the operating budget for transport in Toronto but it isn't). So maybe there are more roads per capita in Toronto than London.

    By Blogger hosertohoosier, at 4:29 PM  

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