Conservative favoritism measurements for stimulus funds

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Sean in Ottawa
Conservative favoritism measurements for stimulus funds

I see that the Globe is comparing Conservative ridings with opposition ridings based on which riding gets the most funding.

The assumptions appear to be that whatever is located in the riding is for the use of the riding; that there are similar numbers of people in each riding and that the ridings have similar amounts of infrastructure that is needed or that needs work.

All those assumptions are wrong or at least need some examination. And when you consider the differences then you see that the problem of favoritism is much worse than is being claimed.

1) Infrastructure in a city centre is used for and by a wider community. The downtown is used by the entire city and even other nearby cities. What is in downtown Toronto, for example, is not just for the people of the downtown but all the others who use the downtown core. This of course includes people who work there but do not live and vote there. By definition, downtown areas serve wider communities. The burbs generally only serve their own residents and voters. Looking at the ridings we see that the Con ridings tend to be the burbs and the downtown ridings tend to be the opposition -- those downtowns are used by the Conservative burbs as well but not visa versa. So for example-- if you want to serve your conservative voters well then you might place some infrastructure in the opposition ridings because that's where your conservative voters work.

2) Conservative ridings may or may not average the same number of people as opposition ridings-- this would have to be examined by someone else as I do not have the time-- it is easy to do this however-- as the information is there. I don't know how close this is but would not assume anything here without measurement.

3) Conservative ridings tend to be newer places with newer infrastructure -- the opposition tends to have won in older neighborhoods for the most part-- the need for infrastructure would be more likely in the older neighborhoods than the newer ones that just were built a few years ago.

As well, the opposition controls many of the ridings with the lower employment that need the stimulus.

And we should consider which Conservative ridings are getting the infrastructure-- the ones who have a lot of suburban votes or the ones who are more rural? Seems so far that the real rural places that might need extra help are not getting it either. For example, I have heard nothing about major agricultural stimulus spending -- these may be in Con ridings but they need the bucks more than some suburban folks need a rink.

I write this to challenge one the contention that things are as close as they appear according to the Globe and that the money should be provided evenly in the first place-- the money should be spread based on need. For example-- let's compare the highest unemployment areas to the lowest ones and see how much is going to help areas hit with high unemployment. Let's look at need. If we wanted it to be even for every voter then the we would have just sent them all a coupon to spend the money in their own riding.

Another question not being asked is the real big one-- what is the economic impact of each expenditure-- how many jobs?

I have a lot of trouble with the comparison in the Globe and feel it is a cheap lazy and misleading headline-- I also think things are much worse than that headline shows and some responsible journalism could dig that up but it would take a bit more effort.

George Victor

For those that missed it, the Globe headline  says that $2.1 million is the "average amount for recreational infrastructure in Tory ridings in Ontario"  and $1.5 million is the average for "recreational infrastructure in opposition ridings in Ontario" (i.e. ice rinks). Tory ridings got an average of 38 per cent more, and it may indeed be a 'conservative" estimate.

Sean in Ottawa

thanks George-- Ishould have clarified that-- its the biggest political story of the day I think.

Problem is dollars spent per riding I'm arguing is not the most relevant--

We could also produce a look at the projects by estimating would use the projects-- and then come up with a $ benefit per Con riding rather than just what is spent where-- so a rink at the edge of a Liberal riding seerving people across the border in a Con riding is really for Liberals or Cons?


This is only one teeny part of the story. 

Sean in Ottawa

Yes, it is, but can you elaborate? Add more?