Those temporary Economic Action Plan signs promoting federal stimulus projects have proved so popular with Conservative cabinet ministers that some want to make them permanent. Documents obtained by The Canadian Press reveal that a formal recommendation for a “permanent signage” program went to Prime Minister Stephen Harper last Dec. 17 — at the request of his ministers.The proposal was rejected, but they got around it by opting for plaques instead, like this one in Tony Clement's riding. A permanent reminder that he paved roads to nowhere.
“Interest has been expressed by ministers in the placement of permanent signage at selected, completed Economic Action Plan (EAP) project sites,” says the opening line of a 12-page memo to the prime minister dated Dec. 17, 2010. “If you agree, we will work with departments and your office to ensure implementation of the guidelines.”
But what the plaques don't tell you is that the Harper government handled the planting of signs like the Gestapo.
The federal government is taking flak for its extensive use of "Canada's Economic Action Plan" signs marking infrastructure projects Ottawa has supported. Halifax NDP MP Megan Leslie spoke out against a sign the Harper government had installed on an uninhabited island in Halifax Harbour. "There's no one over there," Leslie said Wednesday. "This government is obsessed with, 'We need to get credit for this.' It's all about political games."And despite the fact that the funding came from three levels of government, no Harper sign, no tax dollars.
The signs, which are seen at a range of projects across Canada, only acknowledge federal support, though it is often the case that other levels of government have contributed. Cathy McCarthy, a member of the Friends of McNabs Island Society, said they had to install the sign, take a photograph of it and note the GPS coordinates to get the $73,500 in federal funding.
So what next? No public funds unless you name the project after King Steve?
The Harper Highway to Texas? The Harper School for the Ignorant Masses?