Christian Conservative Christian "Independent"

I'm an evangelical Christian, member of the CPC, but presently & unjustly exiled to wander the political wilderness.
All opinions expressed here are solely my own.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Memo to Liberals: Of COURSE more money went to our ridings

Since a majority of [FEDERAL] Liberal Party members seem to be pretty much clueless on the basic concepts regarding Infrastructure spending, as proven by a comment here on this blog this morning, I thought I'd repost my reply to his comment here in it's own post, in an effort to educate the brainless folks on the other side of the aisle...
Young Liberal said: "The analysis done by the Liberals and the Globe and Mail does focus on the RInC, granted.

Yet, the CBC has done analysis on the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund which proves similar conclusions. Conservative ridings got 60 percent of all the funds.

It gets more difficult to explain away two instances of this, doesn't it?
And now, my response:

If only that were true, YL... of course, you Young Liberals never bother to let facts get in the way of a good spin job, now do you?

Ontario has 106 ridings, and we won nearly half of them with 51. Since most of your ridings are clumped together in places like Toronto, your ridings ARE REALLY SMALL compared to ours. As such, there's less area, and therefore FEWER PROJECTS TO FUND. Add to that the fact that most of the projects that we are funding generally affect two or three OR MORE Toronto ridings, YET ARE ONLY CLAIMED AS FUNDING FOR A SINGLE RIDING, it stands to reason that the per riding spending average would end up falling somewhat.

Conversely, with our ridings generally being larger, there is more surface area, including more communities, and therefore have MORE infrastructure projects to fund.

Take water for example: In Toronto, one large pumping station can handle three or four ridings. However, in our ridings, there are potentially DOZENS of small water stations, all of which may require upgrades. As such, OF COURSE there's going to have to be more dollars spent in our riding, BECAUSE THERE ARE MORE PROJECTS.

Add to that roads, sewers, bridges... larger areas mean MORE PROJECTS, WHICH MEANS MORE DOLLARS.

If I'm having to explain these things to you, then it's quite obvious why Canadians have lost faith in your Party... CAUSE YOU DON'T HAVE A CLUE WHAT YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT.

UPDATE: I guess I need to clarify... it's seems that FEDERAL Liberals are the ones I'm talking about who just don't seem to get it... their Provincial counterparts in Queen's Park, who had a SIGNIFICANT say in where the money went, get it.

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  • At Fri Oct 23, 10:13:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Simeon (Sam) George Drakich said…

    Windsor,ON. received the greatest proportion per capitia anywhere else in the nation, yet it is a NDP stronghold.

  • At Fri Oct 23, 10:38:00 a.m. EDT, Anonymous Michael Harkov said…

    And when Liberals blather on and on about "Conservative ridings", how quickly they forget that there are other people that live there other than people who vote Conservative. Maybe those Liberal, NDP, Green, Bloc, and Independant voters are happy that their "Conservative riding" got projects approved to help their local economy out. Should they refuse stimulus infrastructure projects because their MP happens to be Conservative and they are in a "favoured" riding so they want to appear above reproach? Did anyone think to ask them how they feel about the help they got? The Liberal deputy premier of Ontario seems happy enough.

  • At Fri Oct 23, 11:11:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Ardvark said…

    Another blow to the Liberals case, not only has Ontario's infrastructure Minister thrown water on the Liberal/CBC claims, so has the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

  • At Fri Oct 23, 11:16:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Bert said…

    Right on, CC. I'm glad that the Liberals kept fixating on the infrastructure "scandal". Look where it's getting them.

  • At Fri Oct 23, 11:26:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger Hinchey's Store said…

    The truth will set you free - sometimes it just takes longer because you have to refute all the lies being spread!

  • At Fri Oct 23, 11:41:00 a.m. EDT, Blogger wilson said…

    The stimulus money should go where it is needed.
    After 13 years of Liberals, there is very likely more need in Conservative ridings.

    Here is an example of how Liberals spread the funds out fairly:

    75% of the funding going into 2 Liberal held Manitoba ridings
    (the other 12 ridings got what was left, 25%)

    ''...Figures released to Parliament as the program money was flowing showed, for example, that three-quarters of the funds for Manitoba wound up in the two (of 14) seats controlled by Liberals,
    including that of the party's Manitoba (and Western Canadian) kingpin, Lloyd Axworthy...''

  • At Fri Oct 23, 12:18:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1. "Of course more money went to our ridings."
    I don't disagree with the "of course" here... But... I thought you would think it was because your party formed the government. It has happened when the Liberals were in power (and then as now the opposition parties quite rightly complained).

    I think a deeper analysis would show that ridings that needed to be "secured" in some way, or were potentially winnable, would receive more. It is interesting that some NDP ridings are getting a lot of money. That makes perfect sense, however. Ridings with a strong NDP presence are perhaps less likely to elect a Conservative in the first place. The best strategy for the Conservatives would be to encourage people to vote for the NDP. If the NDP wins, then the liberals have one less seat, and the seat in question goes to a small/weak party that can be used to support the Conservatives. And if the Conservatives get lucky, the vote will be "split" enough to elect a Conservative.

    2. "Since most of your ridings are clumped together in places like Toronto, your ridings ARE REALLY SMALL compared to ours. As such, there's less area, and therefore FEWER PROJECTS TO FUND."

    What you have here is not so much an explanation as an hypothesis. It can and should be tested. (Unfortunately I'm in no position to do that).

    I agree that where there are large distances to travel, and population densities are low, the costs per person will be higher. This should be taken into account.

    But I take issue with the statement that non-Conservative ridings are "really small." Small in terms of square kilometres, yes. By comparison, Conservative ridings are small in terms of population. There are far more people in an urban riding than in a rural riding. From this point of view there may be "more projects to fund" in the urban ridings. (Square feet per se don't pay taxes, use government services, or vote).

    I'll offer one example (which I hope is illustrative). I grew up in a rural area. That riding is over 7000 square kilometers with a population density of 15.3/km2. My riding now has several thousand more residents, several thousand more electors, squeezed into 14 square km. Population density: 8671.9/km2. I always thought it seemed crowded around here... (BTW, I am getting these stats from Wikipedia. I haven't verified them but there seems to be no reason to vandalize these pages).

    The county I grew up in was 1000 square km (can't say much about the other 6000). There was one hospital. By contrast, there are at least half a dozen hospitals within walking distance from my apartment in Toronto. They are all full. In fact, they may be more crowded than the rural hospital I grew up near.

    My point is that the size of the population matters at least as much, if not more than, the size of the riding. (Unless you're into building "bridges to nowhere").

    Keep in mind that the Conservatives hold a minority of the ridings, and received an even smaller minority of the popular vote. And (as I've said before) they would likely not be doing all of this spending if it were not for the opposition parties' actions (whatever the no-doubt-mixed motives behind the "coalition" were).

    I would like to see a party or party leader be honest about this, and say what I'm sure many/most Canadians already know: this is a problem, it is morally questionable, it is happening now, has always happened, and will continue to happen (no matter who is in power) unless changes are made; changes that would take seriously the idea that all citizens are equal in some fundamental sense, entitled to equal concern and respect, etc. I could go into more detail... I've been (re)reading Aristotle's "The Politics" lately and there are some ideas there that I think would serve us well, though they are ~2500 years old.


    Your party might be in the best position to do the sort of thing I have in mind, and might benefit from it politically more than the other parties.

  • At Fri Oct 23, 12:32:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Great post.

    There's a big debate going on at the CBC item on same topic:

    and I have just submitted my own comment giving a link to this post.


  • At Fri Oct 23, 01:00:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    The story Wilson refers to is about the Liberals in 1980. Though he does not say so explicitly, he suggests that this is what the Liberals did during the Chretien/Martin years. I don't doubt the general point. But I'd like to see more and more recent examples (i.e., involving a sample of more than 14 ridings three decades ago).

    But how far back are we going to go here when it comes to political "scandals"?

    I agree the money should go to where it is needed. Unfortunately, there are no self-evident criteria with which to judge need. But I'm sure that some of the worst people to make such judgments are individual party leaders and MPs.

    It's natural for MPs to want to do what they can for their constituents. And governments do what they can to secure future electoral success. It would be nice if we could all recognize that and figure out a fairer way to allocate funds, whoever is in power.


  • At Fri Oct 23, 01:07:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Bec said…

    That is exactly what I was about to suggest, wilson.
    The infrastructure deficit left over from the 13 years of neglect and pork barrelling, they are darn lucky that a Conservative govt, considers this ENTIRE country, worthy.

  • At Fri Oct 23, 01:26:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Thanks for the thoughts again 1152.

    Yes, I was talking about size in terms of area and distance, not population. My main point was that as the size of a riding is larger, there will likely be more communities that each have their own rinks, water systems, and roads that need infrastructure monies. The more urban a riding is, though more people per, there will likely be fewer kms of roads, pipes, etc. on which the government CAN spend money. Add to that the fact that many of the projects likely benefit their neighbouring ridings, it all means that it's likely HARDER for the government to find projects to fund in urban centres than it is in rural areas.

    Add to that the fact that in urban areas, it's harder to have "shovel ready" projects prepped so quickly, as most of the time major planning and prep work needs to be done in advance... ie., tearing up a main arterial road to get at the pipes underneath, re-routing buses and streetcars, etc.

    And then of course there's the kicker... the lack of projects in Toronto could also be David Millier's fault, since he was non-compliant with his funding requests until WAY after the deadline, and as such lost out on a good portion of the construction season.

  • At Fri Oct 23, 03:24:00 p.m. EDT, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    1. I do recall some controversy over Toronto’s compliance with the funding criteria. My first instinct is to ask about the criteria. For example, I vaguely recall one issue being the timing (how long a project would take to start, when it would be completed, etc). You say: “it's harder to have "shovel ready" projects prepped so quickly, as most of the time major planning and prep work needs to be done in advance... ie., tearing up a main arterial road to get at the pipes underneath, re-routing buses and streetcars, etc.”

    If the criteria demand that projects be finished within a shorter period of time, and urban areas by their very nature would require more time to complete such projects—as you have suggested—then perhaps the criteria themselves should be examined; perhaps they have to an arbitrary differential impact on rural versus urban ridings.

    2. Either way, I’m sure that there are urban projects that are “shovel ready.” You said yourself that work needs to be done “tearing up a main arterial road to get to the pipes underneath.” There may be more digging to do, but that does not make such projects any less “shovel ready.”

    3. I’d like to set aside that question for the moment. (Toronto is not the only area with fewer Conservative ridings). I think that you are right insofar as more persons will benefit, dollar for dollar, in a densely populated area than a sparsely populated area. But I am not sure that you can say that the sparsely populated areas have and/or require more roads, pipes etc in absolute terms.

    Below are two images from the ridings I referred to in my first post. They are not completely arbitrary, or chosen to suit my purposes. Both images are from the same altitude, and on each image I can pinpoint somewhere I have lived before. Creepy.

    My from my current riding:,-77.016143&sspn=62.805408,144.140625&ie=UTF8&ll=43.652721,-79.387379&spn=0.029188,0.070381&t=k&z=14

    From a previous riding:,-77.016143&sspn=62.805408,144.140625&ie=UTF8&ll=43.962612,-77.161102&spn=0.029037,0.070381&t=k&z=14

    It appears that there is far more infrastructure here (which would be used far more often, and be more likely to require repairs sooner). There are also, I suspect, more tax dollars generated here.

    4. My point is not to inflame urban/rural tensions or exacerbate urban/rural divisions. As my choice of images suggests, I am attached to both regions. (And though I spend little time there these days, I very much miss the rural setting).

    Also: to have the money distributed “equally” between all of the ridings—which seems to be what many are calling for—would be wrong. Given the vastly different histories, needs, conditions, and contributions of each riding, a simple formulaic equality of distribution would be very unequal in terms of what counts (people).

    If most of us can agree on that point, the question then becomes: how do we distribute the money fairly—in ways that take these regional differences into account (including differences in the ways money was distributed in the past under the Liberals)?


    Please let me know if the links don’t work. I was having some problems with them... In the meantime, I'll should stop procrastinating and get back to work...

  • At Fri Oct 23, 05:37:00 p.m. EDT, Blogger Christian Conservative said…

    Good points. Just for clarity, the whole fiasco with Toronto was that they submitted just ONE project... funding for new subway cars, which weren't even going to be built in Toronto.

    And the time criteria was more along the lines of projects that were ready to get started within a very short timeframe... a lot of MAJOR urban projects take more time than was available to get them underway.


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