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

Thursday, January 26, 2012

About that "infrastructure strategy"

Over the past few years, this corner has tried to quantify a very obvious pattern of pavement politicking, using data drawn from a couple of sources.

The first source was the former Danny Williams-Government's own press releases, passim, announcing funding under the Provincial Roads Improvement Program.

The second, interestingly, a most useful table which was provided after requesting the "analysis" referred to in a 2005 press release issued by former Minister Tom Rideout:

Minister Rideout says he offers no apologies for addressing transportation issues in government districts throughout the province. "When the previous administration was in power, opposition districts were highly neglected," said the minister. "This neglect now needs to be addressed, and that is exactly the action our department is taking.

"I had an analysis completed for the last five years that the previous administration was in office. Statistics from this analysis clearly indicate that the largest percentage of the allocated funding for roads went to government districts.

"I make no apologies now for addressing areas that were neglected when the previous administration was in power."
Asking for this "analysis" yielded a printoff of a simple Excel spreadsheet, years in columns, district names in rows, dollar amounts in cells. When pressed as to whether this constituted the whole of the analysis, Senior Official replied:

I will have to retrieve single page I sent you to confirm but I believe it lists the name of each electoral district as well as the expenditures. Any provincial politcian would know simply by looking at the district names which ones are Government seats and which are not. The Minister would not have required any further analysis by officials to make this distinction.
Well and good.

Of course, the former Danny Williams-Government liked to do things on a go-forward basis. No further proof was needed of this, than the fact that the "analysis", referenced in 2005, and so helpfully provided by DW-G, included data up to 2008.

So, by 2010, curiosity being what it is, this corner inquired again of Senior Official:

Has the table referenced below been updated with more recent data, including from the 2009 PRIP?

We have not updated the table yet.

Will it be updated?

Eventually, but we do not update on regular basis just as need arises. We are tied up on other priorities right now.
On a totally unrelated measure, after years of making a great show of them, starting in 2009 Danny Williams-Government completely stopped including dollar value figures in its district-by-district PRIP funding announcements, and has continued to omit them on — wait for it — a go-forward basis.



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