A valuable lesson: if the G20 is coming to town, make sure you live in Muskoka

A valuable lesson: if the G20 is coming to town, make sure you live in Muskoka

What? Me worry? (Image: Tsar Kasim)

If this keeps up, we’re going to start continue to take it personally. An analysis of the spending in Muskoka in the run-up to the G8 summit—the one that preceded Toronto’s weekend of chaos and police powers known as the G20—shows that Tony Clement’s riding got stacks of cash dropped on it largely to make it feel better. Toronto’s ridings, none of which are represented by Conservatives, got bupkis. Predictably, the Toronto Star reports on the gap with an undertone of outrage:

Federal officials confirmed Thursday that much of the funding of a generous G8 “legacy infrastructure fund” was never meant for the summit but rather as payback to people in the Parry Sound-Muskoka region—a riding held by Industry Minister Tony Clement.

As Toronto cleaned up shattered glass from downtown streets and tallied up its lost business, residents across Muskoka were enjoying new sidewalks, bandshells, public washrooms, bridges and a resurfaced airport runway, all courtesy of the summit “slush” fund, opposition MPs charged Thursday.

And they questioned why Toronto—which played host to the larger G20 meeting in June and was ground zero for the protesters—has been denied similar largesse.

NDP MP Pat Martin is the representative for the riding of Winnipeg Centre, but that hasn’t stood in the way of him coming to Toronto’s defence. He berated federal bureaucrats for their spending, saying, “This legacy fund…has nothing to do with a legacy for the G8. It seems like a legacy to the minister. You did everything but build a statue to Tony Clement in the riding.”

It’s a shame that the Conservatives didn’t at least try to buy Toronto’s happiness with a “summit slush fund.” Hey, for the kind of millions they spent in Muskoka, we could have at least seen shovels in the ground for the Island Airport tunnel, right?

• Toronto shut out of G8, G20 spending spree [Toronto Star]
• G8 legacy fund in Clement’s riding never meant to support summit: officials [Winnipeg Free Press]