Stimulus package not very stimulating at all

Posted on August 13, 2009 in Debates – Opinions/Full Comment/Editorial – Stimulus package not very stimulating at all
Posted: August 13, 2009

Industry Canada says the federal Conservatives’ Economic Action Plan “was designed to provide timely economic stimulus when it is needed most: now and in the next 24 months.” The Marquee Tourism Events Program(MTEP) — an offshoot of the stimulus plan — was “established to provide targeted, time-limited support to assist existing marquee tourism events to enhance their offering and deliver world-class programs and experiences.”

Instead, the MTEP has become a $100-million barrel ‘o pork, whose contents are shovelled at festivals around the country, whether the funds are needed or not.

Ottawa, where Transport Minister John Baird holds a riding, got a $338,000 grant that arrived so late and unexpected that organizers had to scramble to find a New Orleans jazz trumpeter they could spend the money on. A second Ottawa music festival got $1.5-million and had to similarly find a means to spend it. Toronto’s Pride Parade famously received $400,000 for a well-established event that already draws large crowds and hardly needed more notoriety. The Canadian National Exhibition will reportedly receive $3-million, some of which will go to paying former U. S. president Bill Clinton to give a speech. None of this largesse stimulates much of anything, other than photo ops for members of Cabinet.

Canadians were told we would have to endure years of deficits to fund targeted expenditures calculated to create jobs and build infrastructure. Instead, the Conservatives are feeding the well-founded suspicions that the stimulus program itself was never as badly needed as claimed and that tens of billions of dollars are being sacrificed unnecessarily in the name of political expediency.

National Post

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