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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Justice denied?

The federal government left almost half of a fund for victims of crime untouched last year, because it did not have enough staff to disburse the money, or so they claim. According to a National Post report, the Justice Department revealed it had planned to spend $8.8-million for the Victims of Crime Initiative in 2009-10, but only spent $4.9-million. The tough-on-crime Conservatives are apparently tough on the victims of crime.

What sort of justice is that?

Again from the National Post, I read with raised eyebrows that the B.C. government spent more than $102.8-million on investigating and prosecuting serial killer Robert Pickton. And that alarming figure does not include the federal share of the RCMP services—about $30-million. The Post also notes that taxpayers have to date paid $737,000 to keep Pickton in jail.

Hmm, we can routinely find $130-million to convict and house a serial killer, but we can’t find the resources to fully disburse the 2009-10 allotment set aside for support of victims of crime. Now, one might quibble that there are two levels of government involved here. But I say, who cares? Perhaps the federal government could have bummed the money off the B.C. government. Or, if Ottawa can’t do a simply administration function such as this, then pass it off to the provinces—along with the allotted money, of course.

In a federal civil service of 263,000 staff (2008 number), one would think Ottawa could have found someone to write a few cheques. But I suppose they’d first have had to hold an inquiry, then set up a special committee with appropriate legal and support staff, hired consultants to tell the committee what to do and held public hearings to hear from the more than 5000 registered lobbyists in Ottawa. Heck, there goes another $1-billion.

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

16 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. We seem to have stingy Civil servants in Veterans affairs too.

    Perhaps the accountability act and AG reports have some validity.

    You could have been cheesy with "who said crime does not pay?" did not include the Federal Government.

    Yesterday our MPs spent the day debating the short title on Bill C-22. How much did that cost?

    ReplyDelete
  2. ''In a federal civil service of 263,000 staff''

    staying home, taking a 40% increase in time off,
    may be your issue ....


    "..Over the past decade, the average number of days off taken per year by each federal employee, excluding vacation days, has ballooned by 40 per cent, according to a Postmedia News analysis of data obtained under the Access to Information Act..."



    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Stressed+civil+servants+staying+home/3823419/story.html#ixzz15TNs1uWw

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ah, but the Conservatives do have the time and resources to make sure the government spends more on advertising the program than the program paid out to victims of crime.

    Where's our federal Rob Ford??????

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  4. Poor Ted,

    Do you remember the Auditor General Shiela Fraser EVERY giving the Liberal any praise in their decade of darkness?

    It is amazing Liberals can actually raise objections after their track record. Feel free to ask the Liberal party your support why they chased Helena over an Airport security breach instead of less spending.

    Ask them why they can't show up to block the spending they object too. The Bloc and NDP are not asking the MPs to go on Hall duty during actual votes.

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. Fair enough, Russ. Comment deleted and replaced:

    What has that got to do with anything CS? Get real.

    I am a citizen and a taxpayer and I'm entitled to demand and expect good government that doesn't waste money. Period. And this is proving to be the most wasteful government in our entire history.

    (And by the way, yes, the AG had loads and loads of great things to say about the Liberals. What does that matter if they were also squandering money or what does it matter now when they are out of government and the current government is spending our money and wasting more of our money on self-promotion and ads than services?)

    We really do need to Rob Ford this government.

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  7. Ted,

    Your words: " And this [Conservative] is proving to be the most wasteful [federal] government in our entire history."

    Really?

    Liberal misdeeds: Adscam/sponsorship scandal $100-million +, Gun Registry $2-billion +, cancelling contract for much-needed helicopters $500-million, Shawinigate ($750-thousand +), Jane Stewart HRDC Scandal: $1 Billion to name only the more publicized ones are legend. I'd be giving them the most wasteful federal government crown, they certainly earned it.

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  8. Ted,

    welcome to the Conservatives?

    I look forward to your revised views on raising EI rates and home care, national daycare, education policy being proposed by the LPOC.

    Those entitlement programs look rather costly don't you think?

    I would be interested in you think the review by Stockwell Day will have the support of the Liberals.

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  9. Well, Russell, that is certainly an opinion. One I partly share: I was not the biggest fan of the Chretien Liberals, though I became a supporter.

    But a couple of factual corrections:

    1. Adscam/sponsorship scandal: $40M of which some was stolen from the Liberals not the government. And that was over many years. Which is in no way a defence of that corruption.

    2. Shawinigate - why is this on the list? What was the cost to taxpayers or waste in government?

    3. Jane Stewart HRDC Scandal: $1 Billion - This being on the list irks me. There was no scandal. As the AG noted, there was no paper trail for $1B so she could not say what had happened to that money. The Liberals were sloppy but they cleaned it up and all but $10,000 of that $1B was fully accounted for, as the AG noted in her next report. There was no Billion Dollar Boondoggle. At least with the Liberals: the Conservative Two Billion Dollar Boondoggle during the G20 is still under investigation.

    They cut spending. They undertook a complete review of all program spending to find the pennies. They had a tight vetting program that examined every new spending measure.

    They were a lot of things that weren't good, but they were not wasteful and certainly, inarguably not as wasteful as Harper:

    - Two Billion Dollar Boondoggle of the G20 with fake lakes, luxury accomodations for staff, sidewalks to nowhere, etc all for a 72 hour photo op with world elites

    - record breaking spending on the PMO, 30% increase

    - record breaking spending on polling, after promising to do the opposite

    - more spent on advertising the victims of crime fund then spending to victims

    - the pork and stimulus

    - record breaking spending on the 10% and mailings - a complete and appalling abuse and waste of taxpayer dollars for partisan gain

    - $9 billion on prisons for "unreported crimes"

    They get the pennies wrong, they get the dollars wrong. I'm happy to defend the statement that they are the most wasteful government in our history.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Russ: I respect your view on Chretien. I wasn’t a big fan of the Chretien Liberals at first, and they were certainly many things, but wasteful is not one of them.

    Some corrections:

    - Adscam/sponsorship: definitely a misdeed but not $100M. It was about $40M over many years and some of it stolen from the Liberal Party itself

    - Shawinigate: correct me if I’m wrong, but while corruption was alleged (i.e. the profits Chretien may have made), but I didn’t think there was a waste of taxpayer dollar question here. Besides $750K when Harper throws billions around on whatever he wants only proves my point.

    - Jane Stewart HRDC Scandal: Yeah, this one irks me because it was so false. There was no Billion Dollar Boondoggle. The AG said the paper trail for $1 Billion was missing. The Liberals then provided the paperwork for all but $10,000 in receipts. The AG confirmed this cleanup was satisfactory in her next report.

    The Chretien Liberals were many things, but wasteful was not one of them. They actually cut spending from the budget and kept growth at about inflation. They did a full services and program review to count the pennies. They had a spending filter process implemented that shaved excess spending on new programs and new spending measures.

    By contrast:

    - Harper’s Two Billion Dollar Boondoggle for the G20: $100K tables, fake lakes, sidewalks to nowhere, luxury accommodations for staffers, repaved highways and new gazebos where no one will be going… all for a 72 hour photo op among world elites.

    - record breaking spending on the PMO, 30% increase during a recession

    - record breaking spending on polling, when he promised to do the opposite

    - pork to Tory ridings in amounts unheard of before, that would make Trudeau jealous

    - $10 billion for prisons for “unreported crimes” when the number of convicted criminals is going down

    - increased spending on the CHRC

    - record breaking spending on regional development agencies, which he himself said were just regional welfare and nothing but waste before he got elected

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  11. CS:

    I make a distinction between big spending and waste.

    One of the biggest part of our federal budget is on the military and security issues. Is that waste? Canadians want this big spending up to a point. Just because it is a big ticket item doesn't mean it is waste.

    Where I difer from what conservatives claim they believe is that I do believe there is a role for government, and that its best role is providing safety net type services which ensure that we do not lose the value and benefit of our best and brightest and most productive because of circumstances beyond their control. Like a sudden layoff. Like a major family illness. Like a sick and aging parent.

    I pay a lot of taxes, personally and in my company. I don't have a problem paying for roads and hospitals and EI and CPP and police and military and prosecutors and judges, and power grids, etc. I think we are all better off with that, our business are more productive and focused on growth.

    Waste though is something different. It is spending with no discernible gain or, worse, where there clearly is no gain, like the Two Billion Dollar Boondoggle, like 30% increases on Harper's office when he is telling the rest of us to tighten our belts, like $300M because he got in a personal tiff with the UAE (which also adversely affects our troops), etc.

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  12. Ted,

    Kevin Page has refuted the claims about Summit costs from the cheap seats.
    This government did not block audits into Crown Corporations by AG.

    Your argument loses because you fail to use $ but revert to % to raise alarm.

    Has the PMO grown?

    Yes G8, G20, Olympics communications.

    Did we have H1N1 and other issues that required more communication? Yes.

    You suggest the Liberals were adept at the budget. They rode the boom, traded on a cheap dollar. They refused to invest in Canada.
    CRU-Isotopes Chalk Rivers-Maple reactors their watch.
    3rd World Conditions including water on Reserves being fixed by this Government.

    I could go how many programs and lack of investments by the Liberals resulted in missed opportunities.

    Feel free to review the Kevin Page concerns regarding the Big Ticket items. Equalization Payments, Transfers to Health, Education, Social Services above rate of inflation)

    It appears this government is trying to repair the decade of neglect by Liberals.

    Paul Martin in 2005 started to open the purse strings, too little too late. Read his book he blamed JC too.

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  13. Ted, you make some good points. However, most of your last comment consists of vague generalities and unabashed CPC bashing, so I'll not bother to respond to them.

    But talking about "factual corrections," I'll correct your "facts." Sheila Fraser's Auditor General's Report 2004 stated that more than $100 million was paid to various communications agencies in the form of fees and commissions. In most cases the agencies did little more than hand over the cheques, Fraser found.

    Fraser wrote:

    "The sponsorship program was designed to generate commissions for private companies, while hiding the source of the funding, rather than providing any benefit for Canadians.

    "I think this is such a blatant misuse of public funds that it is shocking. I am actually appalled by what we've found."

    You should read the report to remind yourself of the terrible job the Grits were doing. Here's a link: http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/auditorgeneral/report2004.html

    You also wrote: "Two Billion Dollar Boondoggle of the G20 with fake lakes." Where did you get that figure? Fact is something under $1-billion according to the latest (Nov 2010) figures. Bad enough, so you don't need to pad the figure. As to your "fake lake" reference, you're intelligent enough to recognize hyperbole, so why repeat it? BTW, I noticed the most recent G-20 host also used a water feature, what derogatory named have you dubbed that?

    As to the Jane Stewart HRDC Scandal: $1 Billion and your contention that "There was no scandal." You MUST be kidding. Surely your research would have shown that, at least, 27 people were charged for fraud offences relating to this file. In Dec 2006, Canadian Press reported:

    "Police have made six more arrests in a long-running investigation into the HRDC boondoggle… A police task force previously charged 21 people for similar fraud offences." I've not looked further, but there may have been more charged--this was a very big deal.

    As a result of what you don't think was a scandal, HRDC was reorganized and renamed Human Resources and Skills Development Canada by the Liberals. The HRDC scandal and the sponsorship scandal were seen by most Canadians, as evidence of Liberal laxity with public money and by many coast to coast as Liberal tolerance for corruption. A view with which I agree.

    That's all I'll say on this matter, but thanks for your comments, I enjoyed reading them.

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  14. Russ:

    We'll have to agree to disagree and this is the last I'll drag out on this, but...

    "I think this is such a blatant misuse of public funds that it is shocking. I am actually appalled by what we've found."

    I agree. Totally. It was corrupt. But we're talking about waste. I don't equate the two. $100M was spent on those contracts but not all of it just went into a whole. A later forensic accountant found that only $40M of that spending disappeared. Services were provided. Again, corruption and waste are not the same thing. If someone steals from you, that is not wasteful spending.

    Billion Dollar Boondoggle: the media and the Conservatives mixed two things up, deliberately. There was the AG report on lack of accountability for about $1B and there were scandals. Two separate things. The first is about waste: they had sloppy practices and cleaned up, but almost all of the money was accounted for.

    Two Billion Dollar Boondoggle. Frankly, it was more like $1.89B. About +/-$1B was spent on security - which itself had some very questionable spend items - and about +/-$900M on the summits.

    Cheers.
    Ted

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  15. So Ted, your're only talking about waste? Why then make the point:

    "Two Billion Dollar Boondoggle. Frankly, it was more like $1.89B. About +/-$1B was spent on security - which itself had some very questionable spend items - and about +/-$900M on the summits."

    Or do you really believe that Canada's obligation as a member of the G-20 to host meetings are entirely a waste?

    Wow. I don't really know how to address that kind of thinking.

    BTW, the Auditor General as said of the sponsorship scandal:

    "The sponsorship program was designed to generate commissions for private companies, while hiding the source of the funding, rather than providing any benefit for Canadians. I think this is such a blatant misuse of public funds that it is shocking. I am actually appalled by what we've found."

    Sounds like waste to me.

    Also when money is spent in a fraudulent fashion as in the HRDC scandal/boondoggle it is wasted. Seems like simple logic to me.

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  16. Ted have you read ANY of the Reports from Kevin page on the Summit or big ticket expenses?

    If you did than your would stop citing fake numbers for a reflective pool. You ignore substance for small politics.

    If you read actual issues raised by Kevin or AG you would realize where the big numbers in government spending have taken place since 2006.

    It is sad Ted because I think you know the truth about the real big numbers but have put your political allegiance ahead of your country and the good work by the government and people who are NOT partisan that are trying to help.

    Many Conservative have ZERO difficulty in slamming wasteful spending on parades and fluff.


    EAP was reviewed by AG department. You have chosen to accuse the Civil Service of partisan politics after she found no support for your talking points.

    I don't care to quibble over small ticket items that like "Glow sticks" or Helena airport security breach.

    The accountability ACT has begun to clean up our Federal Government. The changes to the lobbying for all members in government will also help.

    The Liberal party of my parents is dead. There is nothing left but a shell of nerdy kids from college playing gotcha games in the war room.

    The best thing for the PC was to get wiped out. It forced the right of centre to change.

    The Liberals need to be reduced to forty seats so they can remove the rot and rebuild with the middle class and working families. It is sad you can't see it.

    ReplyDelete

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