Conservatives loudly trumpet stimulus spending—just not in Toronto

Conservatives loudly trumpet stimulus spending—just not in Toronto

Stephen Harper (Image: WEF)

Yesterday, Conservative MPs streamed out of Ottawa and across the country to tout the spending they’d done under the Canadian Economic Action! Plan (or CEA!P, in Kady O’Malley’s preferred abbreviation). As announcement after announcement was made, we couldn’t help but notice a not-so-curious hole in their plans: there were no events in Toronto proper. According to lists compiled by both CBC’s O’Malley and Sun Media reporter David Akin, there are a few announcements from the GTA—Mississauga, Newmarket, Milton—but bupkis for the 416.

There is, of course, an election angle here.  The Globe and Mail reports:

Pollster Dimitri Pantazopoulos said the eventswhich were largely in Conservative ridingsare about getting Conservative MPs’ attention in the local media, reminding local voters what they’ve delivered for the riding.

“This will give them increased profile during an election,” said the Praxicus Public Strategies pollster, who has worked for the Harper government.

Now, these events are all part of winding down Ottawa’s recession-era stimulus spend-a-thon, highlighting projects that got the green light more than a year ago, in most cases. To put it another way, the ball started rolling on this stuff well before the Conservatives’ chances of winning a seat in Toronto got upgraded from “snowball’s chance in hell” to “some other analogy to signify an unlikely outcome, but slightly less so.”

Now, between Julian Fantino and Peter Kent having their profiles elevated, plus inevitable chatter about whether Rob Ford makes the Conservatives more appealing here, the government is charging hard to win seats in the GTA, and may even be dreaming of seats in Etobicoke or North York. We wonder: if Stephen Harper had a time machine, would he go back to 2009 and spend more money in Toronto? And, can we tell him that the money would be just as welcome today?

• Harper government opens wallet to hype its stimulus package [Globe and Mail]