View From the Hill by Keith Beardsley – The Harper Pork Train Hits Canada! – February 25, 2011

Ottawa ON – It was almost obscene watching 116 Tory MPs and cabinet minister’s blitzing the country this past week bragging about how much of our taxpayer’s money they have spent. On one day alone some 70 MPs announced roughly a quarter of a billion dollars worth of spending.

And, before the Tory base jumps all over me, I really do understand their rationale. There is a potential election coming, they need to change the channel from the negative Bev Oda story to a positive one, they need to reinforce the positive aspects of their Economic Action Plan.

However, did their brain trust not stop and think for a moment how such a massive series of announcements could spin out of control in the media? They managed to make a positive story a negative one simply by being excessive. They took what should and could have been a series of positive local announcements, all of which could have been spread out over a number of months or weeks and turned it into a negative national story.

Like most Canadians and Conservatives, when the recession hit I understood the need to spend money and invest in saving as many existing jobs as possible and also the need to help create new jobs. I knew the country would carry a large deficit and I knew eventually we would all have to pay the price to get back on track.

So far the opposition has been unsuccessful in convincing Canadians that the Conservatives mishandled the economy or that they spent our money unwisely. Most of us have grudgingly accepted that it was necessary and filed it away at the back of our minds giving the government and the Prime Minister a win on this one.

Then some “bright light” comes up with the idea to blitz the country with millions of dollars of announcements. Really, who dreams up this stuff and why didn’t someone in authority say no to what really is a dumb idea?

Like most Canadians, I don’t want someone waving a fistful of my money in my face, reminding me about how much they have spent. I don’t need to see stories comparing spending in Liberal versus Conservative ridings. I don’t need to see what looks like a last minute pre-election Conservative spending spree.  Frankly, I didn’t need to see any of this.

Keith Beardsley is a senior strategist for True North Public Affairs in Ottawa, as well as a blogger and political analyst. He can often be found running or cycling on his favorite bike trails.

Framed Photography Cornwall Free News Schnitzels



  1. I think many Canadians DO want someone waving money in their face, indirect buying of votes has been around for along time.
    A problem is with how little disposable income we have because of taxes, service charges and fees.

    Have of any these handouts been recorded on napkins? LOL

  2. Author

    geez I don’t get any of those hand outs – heck the government doesn’t even advertise with us – they send me Christmas cards, but I’d rather have ads 🙂

  3. I take offense at the picture at the top of this piece. Pigs are intelligent, loving, and loyal animals. Comparing pigs to Reformatories is a serious affront to all Porcines.

  4. “[B]rain trust”!!? Neither brains nor trust in this lot. As Furtz implies, they are an affront to pigs.

  5. admin, you get those Christmas cards because you are on Guy Lauzon’s A-List…

  6. It’s an insult to those those pigs in the picture above that they have to compared with the Harper conservatives.

    Such shows of Strength help, help the economy, the confidence of the people, the voters knowledge, the project awareness, and MP’s attachment to the community.

    It was prudent for the Gov’t to get out there, to hammer a message to bolster not only their Image, but the economy, the Hope etc. which translates into people feeling free to spend, to step out in business.

    You don’t always have to be on the negative. And I understand why a Liberal or NDP would engage in Mudslinging on anything Conservatives do, I understand, you want to make it look like it was a bumpy ride for Canadians, but actually, it was only bumpy for you.

  8. May I remind you we are in a Bubble, Our Bumpy ride, if you can call it that is nothing close, to anything seen in 90% of the countries in the world. The USA just miles away, is suffering, as is England, France etc..
    Its No small matter that we are out of Recession gaining jobs one year earlier than past recessions under other Gov’ts.

  9. Scott_G: You’re much too modest about your Conservatives. Don’t you appreciate that thanks to Harper & Co we have a massive structural deficit, and the Harperites are reigning world champions in mudslinging?

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