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Infrastructure Minister Baird's refusal to give Toronto money for streetcars continues to baffle me. It's a good 'green' project, the manufacturer is a Canadian company, the province and the city are keen to go ahead … why not just do it? Mr. Baird, however, persists in insisting that the project is ineligible, because the streetcars would be built in Thunder Bay instead of Toronto. So what? Aren't they still Canadian jobs?
And then the penny dropped. Hmmm, I said to myself this morning, I wonder who represents the Thunder Bay riding, anyway? So I went searching, and found not one but two ridings for the Thunder Bay area. And – yes, you guessed it – neither one of the MPs is a Conservative. In fact, they're both NDP. Could this possibly be the real reason for Mr. Baird's adamant opposition to streetcars in Toronto? Bizarre, but possibly true given his track record elsewhere. If true, then Canadians all across the nation should stage a protest. Using stimulus funds to further political aims is not what this country needs.
Posted On Jun 26 11:01AM
Wow that is disgustng. It seems that they Cons don't want to give the NDP campagin fire-power. You know, to the tune of "I have a solid track record of bringing jobs to Thunderbay". Lets get jobs in the hands of people instead of playing politics.
Posted On Jun 24 02:25AM
I believe Parker Barss Dunham (sp?), a Nova Scotia freelance journalist and commentator, was recently on CBC Radio, discussing this very topic. It seems clear that the Conservatives are using the infrastructure spending to further their political ends, and I hope the Liberals (and everone else) hammer them for it.
Educator, writer, musician
Posted On Jun 20 01:56PM
A couple of links of interest The first re an email from a “senior official inside Transport
The second re the “$45-million Enabling Accessibility Fund” and how 94% has gone to Con ridings…… http://impolitical.blogspot.com/2009/06/auditor-general-working-this-summer.html
Best start making your list and checking it twice ready for that fall? Election!
Posted On Jun 19 09:44PM
Really, these recent events leave much to be desired........
Posted On Jun 19 09:39PM
This is where reporting back in real time could be of great significance. Minister Baird is relying on the two year completion rule as his main reason for denying the funding.
IF we had real time feedback on the spending and moreso were committed to re-evaluating and making ammendments (if necessary) to the spending strategy, this project would be a great example of taking a moment to reflect and re-evaluate.
I may be out of my mind here, but it seems clear to me that improving transit woud be an excellent stimulus initiatve. Better transit means it is easier for people to get to their jobs. And even though the project is in excess of two years, it makes much more sense to pay for an expensive, but very important project such as this now, when the money is flowing, vs, three years from now when we are struggling to recover. ALSO, as I understand, this is the only money TO has aasked for, and I am sure there is good reason.
With respect to a project that lasts two years, in terms of jobs created, when the project is completed for some, the employment may be gone. Whereas a project that is longer term, means people will have a job for longer period. This is expecially important when we consider your blog from the other day that toys with the possibility that we are only 10 months into a four year downturn.......
This is all GREAT food for thought!
Posted On Jun 19 10:34AM
At least Baird has cleaned up his language lately. I wish he'd clean up his act, as well. The Liberals did a pie chart comparing Con vs. non-Con ridings that got Building Canada funds. Pretty skewed. I was therefore surprised to read Scott Brison's comments in the Halifax story you linked to, where he seems to be defending the Cons. Is he kowtowing for the sake of getting at least some of the stimulus funding? Or what?
Posted On Jun 19 09:11AM
John Baird has a complete disregard for 'playing fair' in politics as his meddling in the Ottawa city mayoral race demonstrated (he basically helped ensure Chiarelli would not win by denoucing his light rail project DURING the mayoral election, and now he's implicated in the O'Brien scandal too).
But he's smart (or rather, cunning), so he does it behind a curain of rules and procedures to keep it all above-board. But at the end of the day, he's all for rewarding ridings for towing his party line, and penalizing those who get in his way.
He's the biggest of Harper's bullies.
Good on the blogger in NS for uncovering the bias in stimulus spending in favour of Conservative ridings. We need more investigative 'journalists' like that to keep Baird accountable.