Free money for everyone.

I’ve seen two federal elections since moving to Canada from Boston a couple of years ago. Oh sure people claim that there isn’t an election going on but it certainly seems like it is.

Elections start without any date having been announced, but it seems that you can tell because all governing Liberal MPs are flying around the country at taxpayer expense giving out money to anyone they can, without any kind of plan. After billions of dollars (yes billions of dollars) have been promised to everyone, then an election date is set and the parties campaign for about a month. For the Liiberals, it’s really impossible to tell campaigning from “before campaigning”.

Both elections were preceded closely by federal budgets, and in both cases promises and funding announcements made during the election campaign bore no relation to the previously announced budget. Amazingly this works because it seems that Canadians’ votes are easily bought with government (read “their own”) money. Though would forgiven if you believed that the money belonged to the Liberal party, given the ease with which they spend it.

For example, their recent four-day tally, from The Globe and Mail:

From Monday until 3 p.m. yesterday, the federal government announced projects, grants and funding for various programs totalling $409,608,979.* Amounts by province or territory:

Quebec                        $48,970,018
Ontario                        $29,498,009
Manitoba                     $12,759,395
Nova Scotia                  $11,109.195
Prince Edward Island      $6,957,819
New Brunswick               $5,760,599
Saskatchewan               $4,663,513
Alberta                        $4,399,627
Yukon                           $1,400,000
British Columbia            $867,365
Newfoundland               $718,000
Northwest Territories      $305,439

-*Included in that total is $282,200,000 in national programs that are not broken down by region.

SOURCE: GOVERNMENT OF CANADA

Actually it isn’t Canadian votes they are after; just Ontario and Quebec, and the spending shows.

Including their little $4.6 billion gift to the NDP, that brings their total new spending this week to about $5 billion. $5 billion that wasn’t important enough to include in the federal budget a couple of months ago, but seems so important that they must fly across the country to announce it. If it was so important, then why not include it in the budget?

The other thing about these federal elections is the fact that the promises sometimes fail to materialize.

The one really strange thing about giving money to Ontario is that you aren’t supposed to ask for it:

Ontario is playing a “dangerous” game and adding fuel to separatist fires by claiming it is treated unfairly by the minority federal government, National Revenue Minister John McCallum said Thursday.

Perhaps that’s because only the federal Liberal party is allowed to use taxpayer money to buy votes.