Finally!

A question worth asking…

Michael Ignatieff asks the Harper government to explain why it needs $3 billion “walking around money” (aka the mini-Stim) without any accountability or oversight whatsoever, despite the fact that it’s yet to spend the same amount from the 2007 budget that was allocated to infrastructure.

And the answer… D’oh! Eternal mystery abounds.

Update: All is revealed! Here’s the non-answer from the government side of the House (thanks to KNB in the comments):

“Mr. Speaker, the government, in consultation with other levels of government, has estimated that we will need about this much money to make sure that we get some of these new programs that have just been designated in the budget out before July. The country and other levels of government are waiting for this. I encourage the Liberal Party to stop playing games and simply let the money flow into the economy.”

Q: Does that address the matter in any way, shape or form? A: No.

21 Replies to “Finally!”

  1. The part I find interesting is the lack of any talk of this over the $3 billion stim at the Flogging Bories forum. This leads me to believe that even Harper’s base has trouble figuring out just what he’s doing.

  2. Maybe, but probably more the case that they simply go out of their way to ignore anything that doesn’t dovetail neatly with their relentless cheerleading and blindly partisan narrative. Anyone stepping out of line or having the temerity to raise troublesome questions is likely to be spurned and/or shunned by the party faithful. Even more so than the forums of the other parties, the Bloggin’ Tories is very much an echo-chamber and collective circle-jerk.

  3. Yes, the rugged individualists are very united. We have to give them that. Calling them fascists would be outside the bounds of acceptable (serious) discourse. Can we at least call them authoritarian followers?

  4. The non answer was this:

    Right Hon. Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, CPC):
    Mr. Speaker, the government, in consultation with other levels of government, has estimated that we will need about this much money to make sure that we get some of these new programs that have just been designated in the budget out before July. The country and other levels of government are waiting for this. I encourage the Liberal Party to stop playing games and simply let the money flow into the economy.

    I know that’s not what you were looking for, but for the record, all MP’s can ask for clips from QP, but I’ve been told that they are only given clips of themselves, not of others.

    One presumes Harper is collecting his for his family’s viewing pleasure on weekends, ;).

  5. KNB — Thanks for the info. That provides some insight regarding the matter that I wasn’t previously aware of.

    What a completely absurd stricture. Still, it explains much.

    As for the “non-answer” response from the government — how entirely typical.

  6. It is rather absurd though I suspect it is designed to ‘protect’ members.

    From what I understand, some are questioning whether or not it can be changed.

  7. It’s a policy that’s eminently “fair” and dead-stupid at the same time.

    What bothers me about it is that it’s premised on an assumption of “bad faith” — i.e., designed to prevent MPs from dishonestly misrepresenting the free and fair exchange in the HOC by means of cynical editing, partisan manipulation and such. Well, there are already bloggers such as “HUNTER” who routinely do this, so that argument has pretty much fallen by the wayside. MPs should be provided with a complete video of the proceedings, annotated to note the time where they appear and then leave it to them to do with it what they will…

  8. I can’t disagree with that. It would be fun actually to discredit those who chose to distort, with the truth in living colour.

  9. BCer in TO just got this scoop, the Cons are opposing the accountability motion without even reading it:
    http://bcinto.blogspot.com/2009/03/conservatives-opposed-liberal.html

    OK I am seriously trying to be objective about this, and assuming some sort of strategy for Harper thinking he can get a majority by fighting with this in a new election. I can’t see anything but the Cons loosing seats, and possibly the whole election. This has to be a game of chicken and he figures Iggy will blink.

  10. Not to mention almost every Liberal riding association has zero money at present. And no candidate searches have started because we’ve all been pre-occupied by a non-existent leadership convention.

  11. James — Just as a snarky aside, surely I can’t be the only person to think that given all of the massive bail-outs and the Keynesian notion of spending our way out of the current economic fuckstrophe, that maybe Bob Rae isn’t such an irreparably “tainted” commodity after all…

  12. Ignatieff is trying to deflect the real question. Obviously, at least at Red Tory, it’s working.

    Harper wanting 3 billion dollars isn’t the question. He is the Prime Minister and Canada has already given him the authority to spend hundreds of billions of dollars, i a hundred different ways. We are in a recession and things are crashing, I would be disappointed if he didn’t want some flexibility.

    The real story is Ignatieff behaving like his predecessor. He wants to look “strong” so he criticizes the government without any intention of bringing it down.

    The Liberal’s are playing petty politics to the QP cameras. I hope they are photographing Navdeep Bain’s good side.

    Harper knows it’s malarkey and so he is telling the Liberal’s to move on. If they refuse they are being invited to bring down the government. This is pretty simple stuff.

    If Ignatieff was smart he would quit playing to the cameras and continue leading his party away from the shenanigans we have seen since Harper’s original election.

    The Liberal’s still haven’t learned a damn thing.

    Oh and by the way, how the government spends the money will be available for all the government accountants and auditors to paw over. Just like the other $242 billion.

    Someone should tell the media to call bullshit, and when the Liberal spinmeister’s open their mouths in shock that the media quit playing their little game, to just walk away.

  13. I’m growing weary of your repeated suggestion that I’m a witless dupe or Liberal propagandist of some kind. Sorry, but you score an “epic fail” on that account.

    The point of this post (noting that a perfectly legitimate question has at last been made in one of these silly, self-serving videos) is that despite all of their smug huffing and puffing, the Conservatives — by their own admission — have yet to get DIME ONE out the door in terms of “stimulus” money.

    If you will recall, this was one of my major objections to the latest budget… Billions of dollars of infrastructure investment was stuck in the pipeline and, much to the consternation of other levels of government, simply not getting through to the “real economy” (aka “Main Street”), so simply funneling more “magic money” into the same fantasy rabbit hole appeared to be a useless waste.

  14. So you are tired of my thinking you are some Liberal propagandist.

    Firstly I don’t think so. Put that aside. You’ve clearly shown your own views to be yours alone.

    However, Ignatieff’s question was clearly multifaceted inclduing a jibe at existing money. But that wasn’t the main thrust. It was about new money and accounting for it, and some reference to hiding a deficit.

    You liked the question, I gathered that much. I thought the question was much like the previous parliament except with a different face.

    As I said, the LPC needs to move away from QP photo-op attack mode.

    But returning to your partisanship. You are partisan, don’t pretend otherwise.

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