Monday, June 15, 2009

Almost all economic stimulus cash would keep flowing during election

Stephen Harper says an election would stop stimulus money from flowing. Stephen Harper is wrong. From CP:

More than 90 per cent of the economic stimulus planned for this fiscal year will continue to flow whether or not opposition parties defeat the federal government and force an election on Friday.

And that fact blows a big hole in Prime Minister Stephen Harper's best argument for avoiding a summer vote.

``I think it's largely bogus,'' says Allan Maslove, public policy and administration expert at Carleton University.

``Governments don't shut down (during an election), they continue to spend money. So all of those programs that were approved can go forward.''

Out of $22.7 billion in infrastructure and other stimulus measures announced in the January budget, Treasury Board officials confirm that parliamentary approval has already been received for
$21.1 billion.

Some $1.6 billion in stimulus, to be voted upon as part of the estimates Friday, would be stalled though by a summer election.

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Barcs said...

I didn't know you could admit that without simultaneously admitting that stimulus money is in fact flowing despite the liberal protestations to the contrary.

I am confused.

Is it not flowing? or is it flowing and the tories are incapable of stopping the flow??

A BCer in Toronto said...

I'll try to explain it slowly. But first, could you explain the contradictions in the Conservative position. They say 80% of the money has flowed, but they also say an election would stop it. How can an election stop it if it has "flowed" or has it not really flowed?

While you ponder that, back to the Liberal position. What we have said, and what this article backs up, is that the money has been authorized. Namely, the money (with the exception noted in the piece) has been authorized by parliament, and is available to the government to spend.

So that money hasn't "flowed" but it is available. The only thing an election would hold-up is the authorization of spending, but the bulk HAS been authorized. Meaning, government can spend it even during an election. Which destroys the Conservative argument that an election would stop the stimulus money from spending.

Our issue is that the Conservatives are too slow getting that authorized money out the door to municipalities. It's not flowing from the government down, that's what we're protesting. That's a failure of the Conservative government, and it has nothing to do with parliament or with elections.