Monday, September 25, 2006

A Look At Conservative Spending Cuts

Well, it looks like the Conservatives have been doing a few small cuts to save about $1,000,892,000. The thing is that I don't like to jump to conclusions (mostly), so I decided to have a look at the document released here detailing the spending changes.

The changes are separated into four sections: Efficiency, Unused Funds,Non-Core Programs, and Value for Money. I intend to have a quick look at all four, summarize them, and bring out what I think are the highlights.

Efficiency

According to the document, Efficiency is supposed to be savings as a result of streamlining or consolidating program activities.

The first thing that leapt out at me was the cuts to advisory, consultation, and outreach programs. Now, I'll admit that I'm don't know all of the details of these programs, but my concern is that by doing such cuts, the government is reducing its ability to get input from and talk to citizens, which is necessary for a 21st Government. Remember, sometimes democracy at its roots is inefficient.

Here are the numbers for you:
Agriculture and Agri-Food
Reduction in Number of Advisory Groups
$1,000,000

Canada Revenue Agency
Elimination of Advisory Committees
$1,396,000

Foreign Affairs & International Trade
Reduced funding for public diplomacy
$11,878,000

Foreign Affairs & International Trade
Elimination of Foreign Policy Consultation, Research and Outreach Contribution Program
$1,309,000
The $11,700,000 Elimination of Unused Funding for Previous Mountain Pine Beetle Initiative concerns me only because I don't think that money will be coming back where it is needed, to help combat the Pine Beetle.

The funding for the Law Commission of Canada was also eliminated. Apparently it's mission is to modernize Canada's laws with consultation with the public.

Other things that leapt out for me were the reductions to museums and status of women.

I thought it was sorta funny that a "smaller cabinet" counted as a reduced expense.

The total amount of spending cuts in this section are $265,062,000.

Unused Funds

This section is made up of money saved because the money was not spent in the program that they were assigned to. I can't complain about this one.

The total amount of savings in this section are $379,563,000.

Non-Core Programs

This section refers to cuts made to programs because the programs didn't not "meet the priorities of the federal government or Canadians". Well, that is really relative.

The $4,000,000 elimination of funding for the Medical Marijuana Research Program I think is fair - after all, it is still an illegal drug (through I don't think it should be), and the law should be respected by the government.

The $10,200,000 elimination of funding for the Youth International Internship Program I think is unfortunate, as it does give an career opportunity for youth and helps improve conditions in other countries.

The total amount of spending cuts in this section are $99,620,000.

Value for Money

It sounds like this section refers to cuts to programs that are ineffective at their mission for some reason.

The $78,800,000 Elimination of the Visitor Rebate Program makes sense to me. For one, tourists can pay our GST. Secondly, I have the suspicion that most tourists don't take advantage of it anyways.

The $5,604,000 Elimination of the Court Challenges program is a little concerning because it is a program that helps average Canadians fight in court for the enforcement of Charter Rights. I don't think that enforcement of the Charter should be only available to the rich.

The $13,900,000 Cancellation of the High-Frequency Surface Wave Radar Project does not make sense, as it is can be useful militarily, in detecting movements of other countries in our waters, and economically, in detecting ocean conditions.

The total amount of spending cuts in this section are $265,647,000.

2 comments:

Mike said...

You can post your concerns on this issue to MP's here - http://prax.ca/pine_beetle

Shawn Rennebohm said...

Norther BC Dipper,

From CBC: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2006/09/27/northwest-passage.html

Harper has promised the addition of three heavy-duty armed icebreakers. He also planned to set up a network of underwater sensors to listen for foreign vessels, and put aircraft and unmanned drones in the skies over the North. The total cost of the Arctic commitments made by the Conservatives is about $5.3 billion over five years.

Quite possibly the reason why the radar program was cut from the funding was that there was already funding set aside in another place here; duplication, maybe?

Shawn