"We can't allow things that are inaccurate to stand." — The Word of Our Dan, February 19, 2008.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The other slush fund? (II)

A follow-up to a posting from May, which quoted the following statement in the House of Assembly by Municipal Affairs Minister Dave Denine:
When the money is dealt with in multi-year capital works, it is not done to a district. It is done to a municipality. In terms of the municipality, there could be one or two in each municipality and it is done to the municipality.
It's a good thing that Multi-Year Capital Works funding isn't "done" to a district.

Increasingly, though, every other provincial spending program seems to be. Take, for instance, this most curious report by Kent Burton in the July 10th edition of the Grand Falls-Windsor Advertiser:
Grand Falls-Windsor's parks and recreation department recently applied for three grants to help fund a number of projects it has in store over the next few months.

First off, the town has applied for two recreation capital grants - one from both of the town's MHAs, Susan Sullivan and Ray Hunter.

Parks and recreation director Dave Nichols explained each MHA has so much allocated for their district and may grant a project up to $3,000.


Any funding granted from Sullivan's Grand Falls-Windsor-Buchans district would be used to purchase portable spectator barriers and some portable staging and skirting to help with trade shows.


In Hunter's Grand Falls-Windsor-Green Bay South district, the town plans on using any money allotted towards the department's rainy day program at Windsor Stadium.


The third grant is the community capital grant, which allots up to $15,000 for a project.

The selection process works differently for the latter grant. While the recreation capital grants are decided by each MHA individually, the community grant is rated by an administrator in St. John's and is generally reserved for bigger projects.
Hmmm. See, Pasadena?

(Curiously, there doesn't seem to be any mention of a program called Recreation Capital Grants anywhere on the website of The Most Open And Accountable Government In The Galaxy. Odd.)
Anywho... back over at Denine's shop, while the announcements keep rolling out for the Multi-Year Capital Works projects — which are "done" to municipalities — the same stream of press releases yields a different policy for the Municipal Capital Works program... a program which is very clearly "done" to electoral districts:
Terra Nova Communities Receive Funding for Infrastructure Improvements

Communities in The Straits-White Bay District Receive Funding for Infrastructure Improvements
And no, Dave, you're not fooling anyone by swapping out the word "district" and plugging in "area", as in "Terra Nova area" or "The Straits-White Bay area"... Especially not when the local MHAs are hitching their wagons to the gravy train.

Similarly, over at Tourism, Culture and Recreation, Clyde Jackman and Heather May are deceiving no one but themselves when the thumb a little further down in Roget's Thesaurus and start "doing" money not to recipients, but rather to the "Terra Nova region" or the "Trinity North region".

Up-diddley-date: Money is done to the Bonavista North region and the St. Barbe area; a region and an area which just happen to share names with electoral districts; whose MHAs just happen to be in on the announcements. And the latter gets bonus points for Williamsgovernmentiness.


At 12:39 PM, July 21, 2008 , Blogger Edward G. Hollett said...

Wait a minute.

If I follow these comments correctly, project spending by line government departments is actually being determined by members of the House of Assembly.

What used to be program spending allocated by departments according to merit criteria are now assessed by MHAs according to some unspecified set of crtieria.

How long as this been going on?

Doesn't it sound suspiciously like the old constituency allowance scam?


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