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Tony Clement & Conservatives still can't get their stimulus stories straight.

It’s been said by some political observers that the Conservative Party and Harper are most effective when they can say and do stuff from scripted moments. When they get into unexpected crises and trouble that crops up unexpectedly however, they go off-message and make blunders. That appears to be the case here with the Conservative government trying to deflect criticism of themselves favoring Conservative held ridings over opposition party ridings when doling out stimulus funds. You see another example of that today, with cabinet minister Tony Clement getting his “facts” just plain wrong:

Last week, Industry Minister Tony Clement attempted to deflect questions about the amount of spending on hockey arenas and other recreational projects by claiming that the downtown Toronto riding of Trinity-Spadina, held by the NDP, had received 66 projects through the program and more money than any other riding in Ontario…Host Tom Clark, who was holding the correct numbers, contradicted him: “According to your figures, Mr. Minister, it’s actually Kenora, which received $6.6 million.”

“That includes First Nations reserves, which is a very special case,” said Mr. Clement. “In terms of actual recreational infrastructure for municipalities, Trinity-Spadina, an NDP-held riding in the centre of Toronto, got the most money.” In fact, figures later released by the Prime Minister’s Office showed the government funded only 12 recreation projects, worth $2 million, in Trinity-Spadina. The Conservative riding of Kenora got 35 projects, worth $6.6 million. Many are in First Nations communities, but they were delivered in exactly the same program, and MP Greg Rickford campaigned to improve federal funding in those communities. Mr. Clement’s own riding got 33 projects worth $3.2 million, numbers from the Prime Minister’s Office show.

Actually, research by the Ottawa Citizen and the Halifax Chronicle-Herald shows Clement’s riding got a lot more money and goodies then what the PMO claims, but continuing on the current theme of this particular blogpost, the Prime Minister’s Office is also contributing statements and “facts” that are anything but:

Even the list of recreation projects sent out by the Prime Minister’s Office contained at least one mistake. It listed $1 million in funding for an upgrade to a YMCA-YWCA outdoor education centre in Ottawa-South, a riding held by Liberal David McGuinty. In fact, the project is located far from the city, in the Eastern Ontario riding of Carleton-Mississippi Mills, held by Conservative Gordon O’Connor. As a result of the error, Mr. Clement was able to claim in the House that more million-dollar recreation projects took place in Ontario opposition ridings than in government ridings, which isn’t true.

Last week, Mr. Clement argued that a university project that got $5 million in federal funding ought to be listed in a neighbouring Liberal riding because the university’s main campus is there, although the project is being built in his riding. The Prime Minister’s Office declined to comment Monday, and officials in Mr. Clement’s office could not be reached.

They aren’t commenting because they know they got caught peddling a mistake or a fabrication, and they haven’t been able to cherry-pick anything to offer up a defense, as Impolitical shows at her post today they’ve been attempting to do with selected projects.

On a related note, more Conservative troubles to do with ethics here and here. This is an issue that needs to be kept hammered on. It will take a few weeks for it to sink into the public and to make a dent in public opinion polls, but it’s something that will pay long term dividends if attention to all this partisan pork-barreling the Conservatives are engaging in continues. My understanding from talking to a prominent Liberal is that is indeed what will continue.

3 comments to Tony Clement & Conservatives still can’t get their stimulus stories straight.

  • The Conservatives must be laughing in a continual fit of glee. They have broken every rule in the book, flouted all their own principles, and they get more popular by the day. Soon they will have a majority and then we will see the even uglier side of Harper and his bullies. And when they are outlawing homosexuality and rounding up dissidents and suspending habeas corpus (and still maintaining their popularity from the unbelievably ignorant voters of this country) non of us we be allowed to say any of this on the internet. Have fun all. . . .

    • Mark Watson

      @kirbycairo, BUT, they promise to eliminate the long gun registry and firearms restrictions, don’t they… The key opposition to a dictatorship is a revolutionary spirit!

      Not ALL of us are sheep… some just want to avoid being skeet shoot targets.

  • Big Winnie

    The depths to which the CONs will go to deceive/conceal their spending habits, is beyond belief.

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