A blog to give a voice to our concern about the continued erosion of our democratic processes not only within the House of Commons and within our electoral system but also throughout our society. Here you will find articles about the current problems within our parliamentary democracy, about actions both good and bad by our elected representatives, about possible solutions, opinions and debate about the state of democracy in Canada, and about our roles/responsibilities as democratic citizens. We invite your thoughtful and polite comments upon our posts and ask those who wish to post longer articles or share ideas on this subject to submit them for inclusion as a guest post.
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Electioneering on our Dime?

We all know that we are inundated with TV advertisements promoting the Harper “government” in the guise of telling citizens about their “plan” or some other “program” non of which actually tell the watcher anything that will help them actually access said programs. Does anyone actually go to that web page they promote? We now know how much they intend to spend (or more accurately how much they will admit to) and it is over $60 MILLION allotted thus far. This includes $10 million to advertise its annual “economic action plan,” $8 million to promote its “better jobs” program, $5 million promoting services to veterans and $5.5 million to combat illicit drug use and $7-million for the Canada 150 ad blitz Remember this is all for 'advertising' NOT programs or department bugets.
We also know that all departments other than the PMO have taken serious cuts in their annual budgets (and perhaps some of them did need to find “efficiencies”) but we now find out that the Harper regime has found a way to find even more money to try to buy off the voters in 2015. They simply have not authorized previously budgeted spending as it came up for final approval and then taken the “surplus” and stashed it back in their election goodies account.
Public Accounts documents reveal the Conservatives have held onto more than $7 billion in approved spending across a spectrum of departments. Since 2007-2008, the average amount that the government has underspent is 23 per cent of the allocated funds. Over the last three decades, the average was 2 per cent.

Public Accounts of Canada for 2013-2014 reveal for the third consecutive year, spending on military equipment, weapons systems and infrastructure declined significantly.
That spending is down roughly $1 billion from a high point of $3.8 billion in 2010-2011.
The documents show the government failed to spend $763 million of its allocated funding this past fiscal year for those types of large-scale initiatives even as Canada flexes its military muscle overseas.
Veterans groups are responding angrily to news that the federal department responsible for their care and benefits was unable to spend upwards of $1.1 billion of its budget over seven years. This while they had no trouble spending $4 million on ads last spring to promote what it's doing with veterans.
 Almost 14% of the money that Canada’s newly amalgamated Foreign Affairs Department planned to spend alleviating poverty in poor countries in the last year has been returned, unspent, to the Finance Department.
Foreign Affairs spent just shy of $792-million on aid to low-income countries in 2013-14, but had $917-million available, leaving more than $125-million in lapsed funding.
Canada’s national security agencies failed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars from their approved budgets last year even as some push for more cash in the wake of last month’s attack on Parliament Hill, according to a review by The Globe of recently released Public Accounts figures. 
It could be said that departments being frugal in spending our tax dollars is a good thing, but when many of the essential services that these departments are providing are being cut due to funding shortages and 'surpluses' are being spent on buying votes and barraging Canadians with useless self promoting advertising and telling us that the budget will be balanced just before the election then it must be questioned.
When the Liberals take power in the Fall I predict that they will find it is all smoke and mirrors, any 'surplus' will have been spent on shiny goodies and there will be a substantial deficit on the books. Its all part of the Harper Regimes plan to get reelected no matter what the cost, but if they are not elected to leave any new government with little room to undo all the damage done over the last ten years.
That may not have much to do with democracy but has a lot to do with the future of Canada and the return to a parliamentary democracy and a government that works FOR the people not for themselves.

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Owen Gray said...

Scrooge understood the operation perfectly, Rural.

Rural said...

Cutting back on groceries to buy shiny baubles, Owen?