Where is the Stimulus?

By Ben Bull
Published August 13, 2009

While most of us wonder where the economic stimulus money has been hiding, since the $12 billion package was announced earlier this year, at least one politician is earnestly trying to figure it out.

"Because no one else is doing it, Liberal MP Gerard Kennedy and his staff of four are attempting to track the $12 billion in new infrastructure funding in the government's January budget," reports Carol Goar in today's Toronto Star.

It seems they are not having much luck:

Kennedy estimates that between 15 per cent and 25 per cent of the money has actually flowed. The rest has been promised, approved, allocated or announced - but municipalities don't have it.

Kennedy is, not surprisingly, critical of the Conservative government's reluctant release of the funds. But he goes on to detail his own criteria for supplying stimulus cash, and the means by which his party might supply it.

He (Kennedy) believes federal infrastructure funding should serve two primary purposes: to make Canada's cities more sustainable and to renew the quality of life in northern and remote communities.

This would make Ottawa less open to proposals to widen highways and accelerate road-building in urban areas and more open to proposals to find new uses for public buildings in towns struggling with depopulation.

He thinks the gas tax fund, through which Ottawa transfers a portion of its gasoline tax revenue to the municipalities, should be the principal vehicle for distributing infrastructure money.

Sounds like a smart politician to me.

Ben Bull lives in downtown Toronto. He's been working on a book of short stories for about 10 years now and hopes to be finished tomorrow. He also has a movie blog.


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By Borrelli (registered) | Posted August 13, 2009 at 13:10:03

This might be a blessing in disguise--perhaps the Conservative government is holding back on the cash so they can have some good budgetary news for once instead of estimates of $60B deficits. As someone young enough to be holding the bill for the vast expenditures the feds have pledged to keep the economy afloat, I'd be sort of happy if I learned that the 'stimulus' was really a psychological trick to get people into acting as though the sky wasn't falling, and in the end we made it through the recession without a lot of the spending that every Keynesian said we'd absolutely need to avoid collapse.

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By Really? (registered) | Posted August 16, 2009 at 16:02:02

Canada was lucky, and I'm not convinced the $12B 'stimulus' was really all that necessary either; more of a subconsience thing.

But the fact is that there SHOULD be $12 Billion that Cities could use for SUSTAINABLE projects (such as LRT, or an LRT Manufacturing Plant) which we don't even have an opportunity to use as the 'Stimulus' was clearly meant as a PR stunt with a ginormous dollar amount attached.

That 20% that was used can be seen right now filling John Street with tar, paying those who already had well-paying, unionized jobs and neglecting those who actually lost jobs due to the downturn.

The Canadian Stimulus Package was, and still is, a joke. But hey, at least King & Main Sts' potholes are all filled... OH WAIT, the roads are still sh*t!

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By woody10 (registered) | Posted August 19, 2009 at 19:22:18

I think any money coming our way will have to wait until we see if the Pan-Am games bid is won or not.

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