Monday, September 25, 2006

Knives out

There's been no lack of discussion about the Cons' arbitrary spending cutbacks. But let's take a look at a few which haven't received much press:

$4.6 million in assistance to museums.
Remember that Canada's museum system is already in a precarious state due to funding which has been stagnant at the $9 million level for the past 35 years. Rather than putting any additional investment into Canada's historical institutions, and contrary to their own campaign promise to increaser funding to museums, the Cons are instead hacking away even at the small amount already made available.

Elimination of $9.7 million in support to Canadian Volunteerism Initiative.
Is it me, or are right-wingers usually the first to claim that volunteers should be taking the place of everything government does? But for PMS and company, even investment in encouraging Canadians to get involved in their communities is considered wasteful.

Elimination of $10.8 million First Nations/Inuit tobacco control strategy.
I'm not sure whether the Cons figure they'll make enough in tobacco donations to justify cutting this program...but considering that First Nations health is an area of federal responsibility, the tiny amount of money saved now is far too likely to result in huge additional expenses later on.

Of course, in the final analysis it should be kept in mind that not a single cent of the funding cuts had to happen: the Cons chose an arbitrary number to slash from an already-balanced budget, and included the above among the issues where they wanted to show their lack of support. The question now is whether Canadians see value that the Cons don't in heritage, volunteerism, health, and all the other areas which the Cons have deemed unworthy of their funding. And if they do, then it should be a simple matter to remember the Cons' unwillingness to fund those ends when PMS goes to the voters to ask for the opportunity to do even more damage.

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