Mulcair, Clement clash on FedNor funding

On a tour through Northern Ontario earlier this week, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair was calling out the Harper Conservatives for slashing funding to FedNor, the federal government program that provides economic development help for northern Ontario. That prompted Tony Clement, the minister responsible for FedNor to fire back at Mulcair. Clement’s comments were echoed by Jay Aspin, the Conservative MP for the riding of North Bay-Timiskaming. Aspin’s salvo was the lead story today in the North Bay Nugget:

"Aspin Perplexed" North Bay Nugget

On Friday, The Sudbury Star reported that Mulcair said:

“Unfortunately, the Conservatives’ cuts, the planned cuts of tens of millions of dollars from the budget of FedNor, will have a devastating effect in the whole region, particularly in centres of excellence,” he said. “(The cuts will be) 20% this year and 25% next year — those are the actual cuts to FedNor.

If Tony Clement says anything otherwise, he’s not telling the truth. This is not a matter of ‘he said, she said’ — these are facts, they are printed on a piece of paper. Tony Clement should start telling the truth to people in Northern Ontario. If he’s got the guts to cut, let him have the guts to admit what he’s doing and stop playing word games.”

Clement promptly issued a statement on Friday, a statement which included the following:

“Mulcair decried magical funding numbers for FedNor he seemed to make up on the fly. …the numbers pure fiction. Its core funding remains virtually unchanged. If Mulcair understood financial documents – or cared to actually look at them – he would see a 0.43% decline in funding, not the 10%, 20%, 26% or any other number he is pulling out of his hat.”

So who’s right? Well, I care to actually look at financial documents and, if I don’t understand them, I ask what they mean. And after looking at the documents both use to support their claim/attack, one is right on the broad point — that would be Mulcair — and one is right on the narrow technical point about FedNor funding — that would be Clement.

Continue reading Mulcair, Clement clash on FedNor funding

Pools, arenas and other "modern and efficient public infrastructure" spending

 Economic Action Plan

The federal budget of last week included a commitment to a 10-year $53-billion infrastructure spending program, “a new infrastructure plan focused on projects that create jobs and economic growth,” the budget documents said.

The purpose of the multi-billion dollar infrastructure programs that are just wrapping up as well as the decade-long one ahead of us is to build “modern and efficient public infrastructure in every community.” Continue reading Pools, arenas and other "modern and efficient public infrastructure" spending

Budget 2013: $8 million for Toronto's iconic Massey Hall

TORONTO – Canadian legend Gordon Lightfoot in performance in November, 2012 at Toronto’s Massey Hall, a venue he’s been playing every year in the fall for 45 years. The federal government, in its budget last week, promised $8 million to fix the place up. (Jack Boland / Toronto Sun)

From Budget 2013, tabled Thursday by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty: Continue reading Budget 2013: $8 million for Toronto's iconic Massey Hall