Friday, February 3, 2012

More Hands Found in Harper's Deep Pockets

In 2007, knowing that they couldn't ride Adscam forever, the Harper government put our tax dollars to good use, by hiring a private investigator to dig into the Liberal's polling expenses.

However, the firm he hired did not uncover the results he was hoping for.
An independent investigator hired by the Harper government to look into past Liberal polling practices has wound up shining an unfavourable light on the Tories' penchant for polling. Daniel Paille notes that the Conservative government has commissioned more than two polls per business day, a figure he calls "quite astounding."
His report shows that the government spent $31.2 million on opinion research in the last year - more than any previous year and almost twice the $18 million spent on average during the Liberal years. Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed Paille, a former Parti Quebecois cabinet minister, last April to conduct a probe of federal contracts for public opinion research between 1990 and 2003.  The objective was to determine whether a judicial inquiry into the previous Liberal government's polling practices was warranted.
Since it cost taxpayers $610,000 for the report, should there not have been a judicial inquiry into the Harper government's polling practices? Of course there should have been, but the whole thing got swept under their lumpy rug.

To avoid such dangerous transparency dinging them again, the conservatives limited their polling and instead hired a rash of "consultants" who do everything from monitoring the internet to "advising" elected officials.

And to keep them all employed, they create offices with lavish titles, making it appear that they are doing wonderful things on behalf of Canadians.  Unfortunately, many are not working at all.  Like the Appointments Commission:
Canadian taxpayers have shelled out more than $1 million for a federal appointments commission that has no commissioners and hasn't overseen a single appointment in four years. In fact, it isn't even supposed to exist.  Stephen Harper created the commission in 2006, and promptly scrapped it in a huff.  Yet the spending continues, and indeed the commission lives on, despite serving no apparent use.
In 2010 they were actually asking for a budget increase, despite being a phantom commission.

Harper's longtime friend Bruce Carson, was awarded $5 million to study something or other, though his studies appear to stop at escorts
The ethics czar had 50 pending ethics violations waiting to be investigated when she was paid $500,000 to just go away.

Recently another bogus office was uncovered by Greg Weston. 
A federal agency created by the Harper government with great political fanfare in 2008 is costing millions of dollars to achieve pretty much nothing.  The Canada Employment Insurance Financing Board has just about everything a budding government agency could want.  So far, it has spent over $3.3 million for new offices, computers and furniture, well-paid executives and staff, travel budgets, expense accounts, board meetings, and lots of pricey consultants.  All that's missing is a reason for it to exist at all.
The Harper government had already spent through the almost $9 billion surplus of EI funds, so there is nothing left to invest. That hasn't stopped the bogus board (run by Tradex) from demanding bigger offices. Guess where the surpluses went?

The conservative base allows this man to get away with anything.  Had the Liberals done this, they would have been all over it.
A columnist for a Western paper once wrote a piece praising Harper for not appointing staff based on patronage.  I promptly reminded him that the Harper government had just set a new record for patronage appointments, even beating out Brian Mulroney.  He demanded to see my sources.  After providing them, he never contacted me again.
Maybe it does just come down to the size of their brains.

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