I’m happy to report some good news in my latest update to the Sixth Estate Pork Barrel, which tracks government spending by riding across the country using the quarterly Proactive Disclosure reports theoretically issued by every Department (some departments haven’t bothered to meet the schedule this fall).
Since the last update, I’ve removed Aboriginal Affairs spending. I’ve also removed the Ottawa ridings. The reason is because there are such a large number of Aboriginal reserves in Western rural areas, and such a large number of government-funded NGOs and quasi-NGOs in the Ottawa region. These funding areas are important, accounting for billions of dollars a year, but they both bias the results in misleading ways: every government has a massive Indian Affairs budget and most of that goes to Conservative ridings because that’s where a lot of Aboriginal people are, so a Conservative government would look more unfair on my Pork Barrel ranking, and a (hypothetical) NDP government would look much fairer, in both cases purely because of a single funding envelope. It also saves me a lot of time, since there are thousands of entries on the Aboriginal Affairs disclosure list and nobody’s paying me to process them.
The result is that, among non-Aboriginal spending, actually the trend is surprising and interesting. It seems that in every region of Canada, funding was relatively equally distributed during the second quarter after the election. In fact, in no region (Western Canada, Ontario, Quebec, Maritimes) did Conservative ridings receive more funding than Opposition ridings, on average. The Liberals do well in the following charts because they tend to control the downtown cores, and the downtown cores are full of NGOs soaking up grant money:
The following charts compare spending in the first quarter, during which the election was held (ending in June), and the second quarter of the new government, ending in September:
To be honest, these were not the findings I was expecting, because it is the opposite of what previous analyses have shown, but I am happy to see them. As austerity programs deepen their cuts, we should expect government MPs to be exerting more and more pressure to ensure that the dwindling funds get directed to their ridings.Tweet