The Sixth Estate Pork Barrel tracks government spending across the country, by region, political party, and riding. This allows readers to judge for themselves where the government’s priorities may lie, based on where it elects to spend its money. I started this project so that I could check up on regular media reports that the Conservative government was unfairly channelling government project funds into their own ridings rather than distributing funds equitably across the country as a whole.
Although this government is described as hyper-partisan in most of the media, one way it really doesn’t appear to be hyper-partisan at the moment is in how it disperses money around the country. The Pork Barrel averages government spending out per riding across the country, minus core Indian Affairs and health funding to First Nations. As you can see, in the first three quarters the government has been quite even-handed:
Bear in mind that these numbers, and especially the high Liberal number, reflect the fact that the opposition holds several key downtown urban ridings which soak up massive amounts of subsidies to NGOs and trade associations. As a result, what’s more interesting is how key high-profile funding and granting programs play out, and on this the government’s track record is considerably murkier than the above chart would suggest.
Grant Program Audit
Sixth Estate is currently beginning an audit of major granting programs under the Harper regime and the results are as follows. So far only two audits have been completed, both of which showed disproportionate channeling of funds into Conservative ridings. Once enough audits have been completed to show some statistics, I will do so.
Programs Which Show No Evidence of Favouritism (1): Atlantic Innovation Fund (ACOA)
The program is being put together quite slowly, and a list of my audit reports can be found here.
As I discuss here, this material is primarily based on the government’s Proactive Disclosure database, which releases information about contracts over $25 000, every three months. My data is also released with every update, and can be found here. The above figures include all grants and contributions with the exception of core operating and health funding for First Nations. Including these figures would result in a more Conservative-biased chart, because most reserves are in rural areas dominated by Conservative MPs.Tweet