404 Project XS: Wasteful Government Spending

government-wide spending on advertising more than tripled since the Conservatives first won power, growing to $136.3-million in 2009-10 from $41.3-million in 2005-06  [source]

Published Jan. 04, 2012 on the Globe & Mail

The country’s finance minister confirms what just about every other economist in the country already knew.

originally posted here

Well, we can officially scratch one campaign promise off the Conservatives’ list: Finance Minister Jim Flaherty said it will take longer to eliminate the country’s deficit than the party had pledged just six months ago. During the election, the Tories had said they would eliminate the deficit by 2014-2015, in time for the next federal election. But Flaherty told the Calgary Chamber of Commerce that that projection was a little rosy, as the ongoing debt crisis in Europe and sluggish growth here in Canada means the deficit won’t be eliminated until 2015-16 at least. Parliamentary Budget Officer Kevin Page had earlier said it could take until 2017-18 to complete that goal, but we’ll give Flaherty the benefit of the doubt until he inevitably takes the stage some months or years down the line to let us know that, yep, that deficit’s gonna be sticking around longer than anticipated. The NDP has charged that the Tories’ fixation on cutting government spending will just exacerbate Canada’s economic problems, such as unemployment and sluggish growth.

We know talks of debt and deficit lead to government spending cuts; we know most times these ‘unnecessary’ services are essential: healthcare, education, social services to mention a few. We also know that corporate tax cuts have reached new lows while employment insurance premiums increased. We have experienced and will soon face more attacks on labour and workers by a neoliberal government never considering alternatives to imposing Back To Work Legislation in favour of a ‘healthy economy’.

The average Canadian has not been experiencing prosperity. Numerous reports have indicated the historical gap between the haves and have-nots as well as national poverty rates. Canadians live through the increase of inequality in Canada where top CEOs are reported to make an average Canadian’s salary in a matter of hours.

The math just does not add up. We have paid our fair share of taxes. We are not growing wealthier. We are growing poorer and more financially unstable. And now, as our rights as students, workers, patients, etc… are being stripped by unjust regulations, the same government speaks of a rhetorical deficit crisis leading to the well rehearsed assumption that ONLY cuts on wasteful government spending would save our country.


1. To redefine wasteful government spending.

2. To identify wasteful government spending through collection of data, news articles, reports, etc.

3. To challenge the Federal government’s position on corporate tax cuts by providing evidence against the claim that tax cuts create jobs.

4. To discuss implications of government social service cuts in specific sectors and communities.

5. To start organizing a breakdown into municipal, provincial, and federal wasteful spending records.

Join us. Send us links, articles, news stories that are relevant to this projects.


References | Evidence | News Articles

G8/G20 fake lake slammed by opposition: Ignatieff calls summits ‘world’s most expensive photo op’  June 8 2010 | CBC

PM defends G8 fake lake pavilion: Ignatieff: waste of taxpayers’ money for summits ‘astonishing’  June 8 2010 | CBC

IISD report estimates value of subsidies to Canada’s oil industry at $2.84 billion in 2008  November 2 2010 | IISD

Harper government to spend $6.5-million to promote tax-cutting record  February 2 2011 | Globe & Mail

Harper government’s ad buy costs taxpayers $26M  March 13 2011 | CTV

AG slams government over secrecy on G8 spending  June 9 2011 | CTV

Prison costs soar 86% in past five years: report  July 18 2011 | National Post

Security spending after 9/11 tops $92B  September 7 2011 | CBC

Tories hire $90,000-a-day consultant to help cut spending  September 20 2011 | Globe & Mail

Harper government spent upwards of $100M building a Palestinian security force to protect Abbas from his main rival, Hamas  September 22 2011 | Rabble

Emails reignite furor over G8 Muskoka spending  September 26 2011 | The Star

The government has spent at least $1.6-million on a panel of three retired judges vetting thousands of secret documents at the centre of the detainee torture allegations in Afghanistan—but none of the censored information has yet been made public   October 2 2011 | Ottawa Citizen

Harper government slammed for news conference spending  October 6 2011 | Postmedia

Rideau skateway gets 7 new chalets  November 13 2011 | CBC

Rideau Canal huts go upscale, at $750,000 each  November 16 2011 | Ottawa Citizen < No longer online

Federal spending rises 22 per cent under Harper government  November 18 2011 | Postmedia

Government spending review could mean cancellation of entire programs: Clement  November 24 2011 | Global

Clement under fire for spending: Paid millions for consultants  November 25 2012 | Postmedia

Canada to spend $7.5-million on celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee  December 6 2011 | National Post

Parliament Hill barricades to cost $9M  December 29 2011 | CBC

Fender benders in government vehicles cost Ottawa millions  January 2 2012 | The Star

Tories spent $2.8M to tout action plan  January 2 2012  | Ottawa Citizen

The above article is no longer available online.

Bureaucrats flying on taxpayer dime  January 3 2012 | National Post

Yaffe: $600K spent in bid to close injection site underscores Tory stubbornness  January 3 2012 | Postmedia

Above story no longer available online. Screenshot:

Advanced Leadership Program: School Of Public Service Initiative Under Fire For Pricey Bureaucrat Travel  January 3 2012 | Huffington Posts

Hospital execs’ big bucks contracts now public January 3 2012 | Sun News

Ottawa Hospital CEO salary tops $517,700: Ontario hospitals disclose top executives’ salaries  January 4 2012 | Ottawa Citizen < No longer available online

Tory government hiked ad spending to promote stimulus projects  January 4 2012 | Globe & Mail

PM should investigate London lockout  January 4 2012 | The Spec

Fender Benders In Canadian Government Vehicles Cost Feds Millions, Analysis Shows  January 4 2012 | Huffington Post

Wacky office games used as morale boosters in prime minister’s department  January 6 2012 | Vancouver Observer

Feds hire consultant to inject some war into annual Canada Day party  January 8 2012 | The Star

Flaherty’s tax credits costing Ottawa billions  January 9 2012 | Globe & Mail

Edmonton transit riders to be scanned for explosives  January 10 2012 | Edmonton Journal

Above article no longer available through link. Story below retrieved here

EDMONTON — Train riders validating their tickets at an Edmonton transit station will also have them scanned for explosive and radioactive materials this spring.

Under a federally funded pilot project, ticket machines at the light rail station will be modified to sniff out potential terrorist threats in a test of technology aimed at boosting safety for commuters without slowing them down with airport-style holdups.

San Diego-based Cubic Security Systems announced this week it and Canadian company Mobile Detect will install radiological and explosives detection sensors inside ticket vending and validation machines at Churchill Station, in downtown Edmonton.

The ticket validators will scan and read changes on polymer coatings on the tickets that signal the presence of dangerous substances. Another detector will sense radioactive materials.

“A silent alarm triggers video surveillance of the person suspected to be carrying threatening materials, and authorities such as police and transit security are immediately notified,” said Walt Bonneau Jr., president and general manager of Cubic Security Systems.

Staples: LRT bomb sensors waste of money  January 12 2012 | Edmonton Journal < No longer available. Brief intro can be found here

Counterterrorism technology to be tested on Edmonton transit riders  January 11 2012 | Globe & Mail

Critics pan terror-fighting transit program January 11 2012 | Sun News

Bomb-sniffing technology a waste of taxpayer funds  January 13 2012 | Postmedia

DND Spends $374,000 To Renovate Offices Of Two Top Officials  January 16 2012 | Huffington Post

RELEVANT:  Nuclear device in your pocket? Avoid Churchill LRT  June 19 2012 | Edmonton Journal

RELEVANT: Transit security test program  June 20 2012 | CBC

EI financing agency spends millions doing nothing  January 19 2012 | CBC

Tories eager to outsource more ad work  January 19 2012 | Globe & Mail

Lawful Access Legislation: Police Misusing Funds Lobbying For Spying Powers, OpenMedia Says  January 18 2012 | Huffington Post

Police chiefs spend tax dollars to lobby for warrantless online surveillance  January 19 2012 | Open Media via Rabble

Gilles Duceppe under fire over report alleging Bloc Quebecois misused taxpayers’ money  January 22 2012 | National Post

More information officers, less information  January 27 2012 | Globe & Mail

Costly federal appointments office has nothing much to do: Bureaucracy set up to support Public Appointments Commission, which was then scrapped  January 27 2012 | CBC

Conservatives have put Canadians in a hole  January 30 2012 | Vancouver Sun < No longer available

Canadian Psychological Association Submission  to the Senate Standing Senate Committee on Legal  and Constitutional Affairs – Omnibus Crime Bill   January 30 2012 | CPA

French company aims for $2.2 billion Canadian combat vehicle contract  January 31 2012 | Global

Controversial contractors paid $2.4M by Canadian Forces: Documents show Canadian Forces used former Blackwater training facility  January 31 2012 | CBC

Fantino took $5,900 helicopter “demonstration” flight between Ottawa and Petawawa  February 6 2012 | Ottawa Citizen

Vic Toews unveils wide counter-terrorism strategy  February 10 2012 | Vancouver Sun < No longer available

Harper personally approved $22,000 tab for visiting bureaucrats February 26 2012 | Globe & Mail

$42M glass dome approved for Parliament  February 18 2012 | CBC

Government will stick to F-35 budget: Fantino March 2 2012 | Sun News

Prison spending trumps seniors for Harper government  February 29 2012 | Vancouver Sun

MacKay ordered military staff to investigate critics  February 25 2012 | CTV

Feds pay $20,000 for oilpatch brochures, printing some in USA and others in United Kingdom  March 9 2012 | Postmedia

Time To Crack Down On Gross Government Waste  March 9 2012 | FAIR

MLA committee paid $870,000 for no work  March 8 2012 | Postmedia < No longer available

Relevant: Teddy award to Alberta 21 MLA’s paid $870,000 for non sitting committee; $1000/month for no work. Talk about pork barraling!  March 13 2012 | BevNDP

Relevant: Letter: Re $870,000 is a lot of money  March 14 2012 | Morinville News

Libya victory ceremony cost soared to over $800,000: documents March 12 2012 | Postmedia < No longer available

Harper had 94 staffers, 21 of whom earned $100,000-plus: Number of full-time PMO employees to be reduced to fend off criticism  April 13 2012 | Gazette

Canada spent $25 M bombing Gadhafi forces  April 18 2012 | Postmedia

International Development Minister Bev Oda apologizes for luxury hotel spending  April 24 2012 | The Star

Ottawa gave Shell $32-million tax refund last year   April 25 2012 | Globe & Mail

Taxpayers cough up $12-million for ads touting Flaherty’s budget  May 1 2012 | Globe & Mail

As public service girds for cuts, Ottawa’s personnel costs increase  May 4 2012 | Globe & Mail

Taxpayers on hook for Harper’s high-powered legal defence in Guergis case  May 8 2012 | Postmedia

Relevant: 404 Power Profile: Bennett Jones – working draft

Military ombudsman ‘welcomes’ probe into travel expenses, dysfunction  May 18 2012 | Edmonton Journal

Parliament Hill reno spending rises to nearly $600 million this year  May 18 2012 | Postmedia

Oda’s travel expenses cause dissent in Tory caucus  June 1 2012 | CBC

Tories redraw defence spending plans amid frustration over procurement  June 3 2012 | Postmedia

‘Embarrassment to government’ considered security threat at Toronto G20 summit: documents  June 10 2012 | Ottawa Citizen

Relevant: Toronto G8/G20 Summit Budget Document Collection

F-35: Peter MacKay photo op to announce purchase cost taxpayers over $47,000  June 5 2012 | Postmedia

Relevant: Legion worries soldier deaths may rise after DND cuts  May 24 2012 | CBC

Defence Department can’t explain increase in costs  June 8 2012 | National Post

Conservatives draw fire for War of 1812 spending: Harper government praised for celebrating past, but also questioned  June 15 2012 | CBC

$20 Million on Harper’s Security in 2012: Tightened tactics breed dissent in Harper’s security detail June 23 2012 | Globe & Mail

DND spends millions on rent, food for CF members separated from families  June 24 2012 | Postmedia

Harper Government Rebranding: Taxpayers Spent Over $86,000 Helping Tories Rebrand Federal Government  June 24 2012 | Huffington Post

Visitors get $49-million welcome centre but fewer chances to tour Parliament  June 29 2012 | Globe & Mail

Flaherty photo op in city cost pretty penny  July 11 2012  | Winnipeg Free Press

Press Secretary: MP Bev Oda smoked in office, charged Canadians  July 12 2012 | Digital Journal

Gordon Campbell’s hospitality tab tops other diplomats: Former B.C. premier now Canada’s high commissioner in London  July 16 2012 | CBC

Army trucks project cancelled after DND added $300 million to price tag without permission  July 17 2012 | Postmedia

‘Clerical errors’ overstated Gordon Campbell expenses: Revised reports cut top diplomat’s claims in half  July 18 2012 | CBC

Military Chopper Used For Labrador Fishing Trip  July 20 2012 | Huffington Post

Defence spending in Canada: Booby traps. Problems for a much-vaunted modernisation  July 21 2012 | The Economist

Oda costs included $250 hotel smoking fine, files show  September 8 2012 | CBC

DND to pay $100 million to private firm to replace laid-off workers  September 11 2012 | Postmedia

Taxpayers on the hook for whopping $349,000: Government pays company to look after old migrant ship  September 15 2012 | Postmedia

Foreign Affairs paid $2M for study on threats to embassies  September 15 2012 | The Spec

Foreign Affairs paid $2M for study on threats to embassies  September 15 2012 | CBC

Magnotta’s trip home cost Canada $375,000  September 16 2012 | CJME

Conservatives spent record $130-million on advertising as deficit soared September 20 2012 | Globe and Mail

Feds spent more than $750K fighting veterans’ pension claim  September 23 2012 | CBC

Amid cutbacks, Conservatives commit $16M to ‘action plan’ ads  October 10 2012 | iPolitics

Conservatives overspent government ad budgets by 37%   October 11 2012 | CBC

War of 1812 ads during Olympic television coverage cost $1.64-million  October 13 2012 | Hill Times

Parliament Hill reno costs quietly soar above billion-dollar mark  November 1 2012 | Globe & Mail

Federal government legal spending hit record $500 million last year  November 8 2012 | Ottawa Citizen

Lawyers cost us half a trillion dollars: We pay for government lawyers, not Harper  The Monitor

Harper government spends ‘for partisan political reasons,’ retail politics, says How Ottawa Spends editor

Parliament Buildings to get a $9.8-million security upgrade, and another 13 years of Hill renovations: Electrical wires being laid for new security enhancements to Parliamentary Precinct entrances  November 19 2012 | Hill Times

Olympic advertising costs topped $4 million, Harper government says  November 24 2012 | Postmedia

Christopher Stoney says PM Stephen Harper’s government is focused on visible spending with a political payoff  January 14 2013 | Hill Times

Taxpayers paid tab for CEOs on Harper’s 2012 China trip: Delegation to 3 Chinese cities included 30 oil, agriculture and manufacturing executives  January 21 2013 | CBC

Shipping Harper limos to India cost $1 million  January 29 2013 | Ottawa Citizen

Government ad spending on economy balloons under Tories  February 4 2013 | CBC

How much did the Harper government spend on their Super Bowl ads?  February 5 2013 | Yahoo


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