Saturday 26 September 2009

Plus ca change

From today's National Post:
Pork-barreling in Canadian politics is hardly new. The task of the politician is to climb the tree to shake down the acorns to the pigs below, conceded Sir John A. Macdonald in a moment of, presumably drunken, sincerity.

Now we have Gordon Landon, regional councillor for the Town of Markham and the nominated Conservative candidate in the Ontario riding of Markham-Unionville.

In what will likely prove to be a career-limiting move, he admitted on live television that the reason his riding has not received federal funding for a medical testing centre is that the Member of Parliament is a Liberal.
From Jean Chretien's mouth, 2002 (link is to Free Dominion, but the quote was also in a Paul Wells story from the National Post, February 2002...will they ever put up their back archive?)
“For 25 years, the people of Lac-St.-Jean and Chicoutimi were promised roads by the former Jonquière MP [Lucien Bouchard, former head of the Bloc Quebecois]. Now that they have a Liberal MP, they have hope.”
The National Post story suggests heavy weighting of federal Canadian stimulus spending towards Conservative-held districts. I found no such distortion in overall spending under the much-maligned HRDC Transitional Jobs Fund and Canada Jobs Fund under the Liberals: if anything, the average Liberal district received much lower funding correcting for the unemployment variables on which decisions were meant to have been made. However, Liberal cabinet ministers received much much more.

It would be nice to have the dataset that the Libs are talking about. In the HRDC case, it was much easier: the scandal resulted in the release of the data, and grant allocations were supposed to be based on unemployment criteria; consequently, I could check actual allocations against the criteria for being given grants. Not sure that could be done in this case. I'd also worry about using a sample of all projects where the sample was chosen by the Liberal opposition rather than by a random draw.

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