On Wednesday, as I was in the air en route from Ottawa to Davos, Switzerland, to cover Prime Minister Stephen Harper's appearance at the World Economic Forum, Infrastructure Minister John Baird was trying to make some news by noting that Wednesday was the one-year anniversary of the government's Economic Action Plan.
The EAP, as its known in government circles, is indeed a massive spending program, amounting to an additional $62 billion of unplanned spending over two years.
The government's political opponents claim that the Conservatives have a) used the extra spending to gain partisan political advantage by doling out the money mostly in Conservative ridings or b) have failed to get the money out the door where it can do any good at all.
For the record, here is what Baird says are the results of that first year of the EAP in action (I make no claim as to the accuracy of these numbers; this is simply what the government says it has done):
— Job Creation. Funds have been committed to more than 12,000 projects
across Canada, with over 4,000 projects under construction and thousands
more ready to begin.
— Support for Canadians who need it most. By extending Employment
Insurance, nearly 400,000 Canadians are receiving additional EI
— Training for workers. As of December, more than 90,000 Canadians were
receiving training through funds flowing to provinces and territories.
— Consumer confidence. An estimated 4.6 million Canadian families will
benefit from the Home Renovation Tax Credit, which expires on January
— Tax Relief. Since January and through to 2015, Canadians will receive
more than $20 billion of tax relief.