Thanks Muskoka!

Hey, did you know that YOU, along with every other man, woman and child in this country coughed up a couple of bucks just to give a hearty “thanks” to the good folks of the entire Muskoka region of rural Ontario for hosting the frivolous G8 summit in the town of Huntsville last year?

The story has been reported before, but is resurfacing again in the context of an impending Auditor General’s report leaking out to the press, alluding it seems to charges of — quell surprise! — multi-million dollar deceit and deception by The Harper Government® in using the monumentally irrelevant and immediately forgettable event as an excuse to spray a golden shower of $50 million onto Industry Minister Tony Clement’s riding of Parry Sound-Muskoka.

Claude Doughty, mayor of Huntsville, the main site of the summit in Ontario’s Muskoka region, defended the program, saying some of the projects were meant more as a “thank you” to area municipalities for being host than as G8-related facilities.

“I don’t think there was ever any intent that some of them would be used by the world leaders,” he said. “You have to appreciate that a lot of people in Muskoka did a lot of work to prepare for the G8, myself included. And for those municipalities that went out of their way to really do those things, this was a bit of a token of saying, ‘Thank you.’ ”

However, some of the “legacy” items are largely unused. The University of Waterloo’s environmental research centre, completed 11 months ago, remains deserted and without signage. The echoing hallways of a summit centre are largely bare save for pieces of community art, while a brand-new seniors centre, banquet hall and drop-in daycare were empty on Monday afternoon.

The program also financed a gazebo and public washrooms that were far from the summit centre, as well as municipal and airport improvements that aimed to revitalize the area but not all of which were used by world leaders and their entourages.

I seem to recall a little thing called “Adscam” that sent the Harper Conservatives and their Bloggin’ Tory sock puppets into an absolute frenzy of wildly indignant outrage about the missing $45 million from that fiasco… I guess they’re pretty upset about this egregiously crass misappropriation of public funds by another self-serving government too, huh?

Update: Oh look, here’s a video of the CBC news report from our C-SPAN Junkie friend south of the border.


Filed under 2011 Canadian Election, Conservative Hypocrisy, Conservative Party of Canada, HARPER Government of Canada

16 responses to “Thanks Muskoka!

  1. hitfan

    I was born in that riding…heh.

    The difference is that adscam was outright graft, this is pork barrel spending. There were years and years of similar scandals under the Liberal government (look at all the pork projects showered in Shawinigan).

    I doubt that this scandal will hurt Tony Clement, it will probably help him win there. The more this gets advertised in the media, the less money that the Conservatives will have to spend on re-electing Clement.

    Every government engages in pork/patronage politics, no matter how high and mighty they claim to be. And every opposition party feigns moral outrage over such practices and claim that when they get in power, they will be more transparent and accountable than ever before. They also say that they learned their lessons about their own corruption and were humbled by being voted out.

    Democracy enables the people to choose which political stripe of corrupt officials will get to rule over them.

  2. Graft v. Pork Barrel Spending… I think that case was decided on a technicality, wasn’t it?

  3. TofKW

    The difference is that adscam was outright graft…

    Oh really hitfan? Do you have any proof that a single dollar of that missing money went back to the federal Liberal party?

    Don’t get me wrong, I chastised the Libs at the time for this whole fiasco. And yes the A-G could not account for ~$40 million from the entire fund. But after several audits, court cases and a federal commission (not to mention the supreme court cases that spawned) there is not one shred of evidence that sponsorship money went back to the federal Grits.

    Q – Total number of federal Libs found guilty of any wrong doing in Adscam?

    A – Zero

    Now aside from that missing $40 million, I’m having a hard time trying to see the difference between Adscam and the Muskoka G-8 porkbarrelfest, except that maybe the CON-friendly contractors at least did some work for the money they received. But either way you slice it, both of these events were a rape of the taxpayer’s wallets for political gain.

  4. CWTF

    But, but, but it’s different when Harpercons continually do this…. just because….

  5. Adscam was puke inducing, but, via pork-laden boondoggles past, current, and planned, the CPC has wiped its ass with more of our dollars in five years than the Liberals managed in twelve.

  6. jkg

    the CPC has wiped its ass with more of our dollars in five years than the Liberals managed in twelve.

    I think that is the key point. I would suspect that if all were accounted, the arguable misappropriation of funds would outstrip the 40 million from Adscam. The CPC have tread very close to the legality of how they appropriated funds, but that shouldn’t automatically catapult them into some sort of ascendant sphere in which they cannot be criticized. After all, saying the Liberals did it too is nothing more than a tu quoque talking point.

  7. Penny

    The fact that the Liberal Adscam was wrong, doesn’t make it OK for the Neocons to do it, too! Regardless of the difference in the amounts of the taxpayer’s dollars being “sprayed around”, the fact is, it was misleading Parliament once again, on a money matter that should have been discussed by not just the “Harper Government” aka John Baird, but by the Canadian Governement!

  8. hitfan

    I’m not going to defend the Conservatives spending on the G-8 summit (a billion dollars for security…really?) But I could easily dredge up examples of blatant pork barrel politics during the Chretien years that barely changed the public’s mind.

    Adscam was actually an issue during the 2004 election, and the Libs still won. They finally lost in ’06 because, well, they were defending 13 years of incumbency and the scandals that go along with it.

    It’s not a single scandal that tosses a government out–but the accumulation thereof. My theory is that there aren’t enough scandals to vote out the Conservatives…yet.

    My aphorism regarding democracy letting us choose our political flavor of corrupt officials to govern us is quite apt. Let’s not kid ourselves here, if it were a Liberal government with similar scandals, the Liberal sympathizers would be defending them at this juncture.

  9. philosoraptor

    Let’s not kid ourselves here, if it were a Liberal government with similar scandals, the Liberal sympathizers would be defending them at this juncture.

    With reference to the G8 spending issue – by itself – this is probably true; however, when we consider also the damage to our democracy, the disdain towards science, the contempt of Parliament, the lying, the evasion, the proroguing, the lack of accountability, the decrease in transparency, the “Harper Government” nonsense, the blatant and hypocritical reversals of positions (e.g., on stacking the senate, fixed dates, etc.), and so many other things….I would argue that there is a very worrying trend.
    I normally wouldn’t care about the G8 spending – it was excessive and obviously favoured Conservative ridings, which is madenning but by no means unique to the CPC. By the same reckoning, I am not immediately opposed to the purchase of military equipment, or the construction of northern improvements (what happened to the deepwater port anyway?) if such expenditures can be justified. What bothers me the most – and what influences my vote – is the underlying, gradual erosion of our foundations, and the concern that arises when I conceive of us continuing, unfettered, in that direction.

  10. Tavington

    philosoraptor: there are two types of voters: partisans and swing voters. Partisans either vote for their favorite party, or if they dislike what their party has done, will jump to an independent party that has no chance of winning. Or they don’t even bother showing up at all to the polls. I fit that category–and yes, I am disappointed of the scandals that plague the current government. What’s the point of deliberately trying to stretch the rules when getting caught means that there are negative political consequences?

    However, politics is not a genteel game of fun. Klausewitzian rules apply–if you don’t fight dirty or cheat, then your opponents will. Nature hates those who fight clean and favors those who do not. So it’s foolish to disarm yourself in order to play fair. An elected Senate to me would be a “nice thing to have” (I think it should simply be a national proportional representation party list ballot where 1% of the vote nets you one Senator), but with zero chance of constitutional amendment, Harper has every right to appoint them. The Liberals appointed Liberals to represent Alberta in the Senate even though it ran counter to the political will of that province. The election results of 2006 and 2008 need to have consequences, and those votes deserve representation in that chamber.

    So I could either vote Conservative (in tory-safe NE Calgary) or vote for one of the independents who have no chance of getting more than 500 votes. I’m never going to vote Liberal or NDP unless some major weird political realignment occurs where one of these two become the main centre-right party.

  11. philosoraptor

    And Tavington demonstrates why the disdain of the body politic has never been higher.

  12. philosoraptor

    Nature hates those who fight clean and favors those who do not.

    What does this even mean anyway? Is this actually meant to be a descriptive statement about ecology in some way?

  13. emily

    It means… no, it IS the motto, the philosophical underpining of The Harper Government TM.

  14. benalbanach

    ‘This is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased” said God of Stephen Harper.
    Mr Day said that he apologized without reservation but did not know who had mis-appropriated the passage and understood God’s displeasure.

  15. Tavington: I’ve never supported the theory that two wrongs make a right. While understanding reasons why Harper would stack the Senate the way he did, it really does make a mockery of the institution, which is unfortunate as I believe it can serve a useful purpose beyond merely rubber stamping legislation from the government of the day or acting to torpedo bills that the HOC has approved that the PMO doesn’t happen to agree with. Meaningful reform of the Senate would go a long way towards helping parliament be less “dysfunctional”… How that can be accomplished though is highly problematic.

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