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Pork barrelling – deuxième partie – spas and schools…

There are some great observations out in the blogosphere about how some of the Harperite’s crazy cash (aka Economic Stimulus Funding) is being doled out.

I wrote a note about this last week with regards to Clement’s refurbishing of public washrooms in Muskoka. One commenter to that post rightly pointed out that it is the habit of politicians to roll out the ol’ pork barrel when they have the opportunity. I agreed but noted that the ReformCons seem to do it more than the Grits did while in power.

Happily,  we (as in you and I) are giving the spa industry a much needed massage:

The Honourable Christian Paradis, Minister of Public Works and Government Services, today announced the awarding of $200,000 in repayable funding to Spa Le Montagnais under the Community Economic Diversification Initiative – Vitality to undertake the work necessary to establish a Nordic spa… The coexistence of a Nordic spa with other local attractions is bound to attract novelty-seeking visitors.

But giving 4 million smackeroos to a private christian school? Well that takes the cake and it strongly offensive for a hell-bound(1) atheist like me.
I thought we were a secular nation… you know… all that separation of church and state and stuff.

If so, why are Canadian taxpayers footing part of the bill for this project? IMO, this is clearly a case where the religious right is being thanked for its unwavering support for the Harperite socially conservative agenda.

Thanks to Paulitics for pointing this out.

Question – who goes to these schools? There does seem to be a lot of them. Especially out west.

Anyhow, we’re gonna see a lot more of this crap, so I am already planning out the 3rd pork barrelling post, and the fourth and the fifth….

1. As an atheist, I obviously don’t believe in the existence of a heaven or hell, or valhalla… or leprechauns either. But christians sure think I’m destined for fire and brimstone!


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  1. […] have written before about the flagrant vote buying that the Cons are famous for, and someone always comments that […]

  2. trashee says:

    Well put Matthew – but I (predictably) disagree.
    The separation of church and state is very clear. It matters not whether the institution/organization is well-run, accredited by someone, of value to a portion of the community. It represents a religious organization front and centre. And there should be no (as in zero) funding of any non-secular group using public funds. There is no grey area in that way.
    I, as an atheist, take exception to the public funding of something that is clearly not part of the public good. Public monies are to be used to finance organizations or buildings or whatever regardless of religious affiliation.

  3. Matthew says:

    Newman Theological College is a Roman Catholic private college. The provincial government required the land of their old campus, so they need to rebuild. Even after the $4.18 million from the feds, they are still $11 million short of their goal. All of this is beside the point, however: The gov’t isn’t funding the Roman Catholic Church as opposed to anyone else. They are funding a private college on the grounds that it requires money to be able to fulfill its goals.

    The questions that go into this sort of funding should not include “Is the college religious?” If answer of, “Yes,” means they shouldn’t get funding, then we have a problem; the gov’t is supposed to avoid favouring one religion over another; to never fund anything religious, therefore, to cast a vote against religion as a whole.

    If a private college asks the gov’t for money, the questions should be, “Is it accredited?” “Does it have a good reputation?” “Does it help prepare people for their jobs and life in this country?” If the answer is, “Yes,” as I understand it is for Newman, then fund them. Fund them if they’re Catholic, fund them if their atheist, fund them if they’re Hindu, fund them if they’re Capitalist, fund them if they’re Communist, fund them if they’re secular. To fund regardless of religion is a proper division of church and state, rather than never to fund religious organisations at all.

  4. In the first link I saw this: But, I guess it’s less controversial for the Conservatives then funding gay and lesbian festivals (even when their economic benefits to a city are well known)

    Based on the performance of festivals in Ottawa since I’ve lived here (21.5 years), and using that guy’s own words, the government is SPOT ON not funding festivals. They’re a losing venture from the get-go. If festivals were so damn awesome, people would fund them without support from any government because profit could be made.

    Personally, I don’t want the government funding ANY festivals. We need a lot more important things than bread and circuses for the mob.

  5. >>I agreed but noted that the ReformCons seem to do it more than the Grits did while in power.

    Not really. The cons just do it openly. The libs try to hide it and maintain a false air of legitimacy but creating cool scandals for the media. It’s the same shit, really, just different piles.

    It’s wrong to give money to fund religious buildings though. The government doing that opens the door to any religious asshole who thinks he’s deserving of some government money. We may not have an entrenched separation of church and state in Canada, but it saves a lot of bullshit and presents an appearance of equality and fairness if we act like we do.

  6. trashee says:

    I don’t agree. While it is true that the money has to be spent, I don’t think it unwise to at least exercise some discretion and not pass out the $$$ like a buncha drunken (and christian) sailors! Public money should NEVER be used to fund ANY faith-based school, building, institution or whatever.
    Don’t get me started on Ontario’s catholic school system!

  7. Ken says:

    While I’m with you on the whole separation of church and state, I’m looking at this from an economic standpoint:

    A building needs to be built. People need to work. How and where those people work shouldn’t be dependant upon their religious convictions, and how and where our government, who represents everyone in this country, spends the stimulus money shouldn’t be dependant upon religious convictions.

    It might not taste good going down, but it’s a bitter medicine we all must swallow if we want this country to come out of this economic slump better than other countries.

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