Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Liberals go after Tories on government waste

I am not going to make a habit of posting Liberal Party press releases, but I have been calling for them to do this and am impressed. Surely no one disagrees with what is going on do they?

For Immediate Release
August 15, 2006

Campaigning on Taxpayers’ Dime Undemocratic and Unacceptable
Liberals call on Premier to immediately ground government plane and freeze ministerial expense accounts

FREDERICTON – Liberal Party President Greg Byrne, along with MLA Victor Boudreau (LIB-Shediac-Cap-PelĂ©) expressed their concern today regarding Premier Lord’s decision to continue spending taxpayer dollars on campaign-style spending announcements.

“Many people are speculating on why the Premier pre-announced the election date prior to dropping the writ and now the answer has become painfully obvious. The Premier is using this time to campaign on the taxpayer's dime” said Byrne. “It's unprecedented for a Premier to “pre-call” an election. It's an affront to our parliamentary traditions and an insult to the Office of the Lieutenant-Governor.”

Since announcing his intention to call the election for September 18th, the Lord government has been on a multi-million dollar spending spree, with upwards of $121 million dollars in spending announcements in the past two weeks alone.

“You would think that a Premier would have the strength of character to at least admit to the truth. Instead, he continues denying that these announcements have anything to do with the imminent election call. It’s outrageous.” said Boudreau. “The government plane should be grounded immediately and all ministerial expense accounts frozen immediately. The people of New Brunswick should not be footing the bill for the Progressive Conservative Party’s pre-writ campaigning.”

The director of the Canadian Taxpayer’s Federation, John Williamson, stated in a media interview today, “I think it’s cheeky and a misuse of public money… he's [Lord] really jumped the gun here, and, frankly, he's playing fast and loose with the spirit of elections.”

To use government resources such as Communications New Brunswick staff, communications services, vehicles, and even the Government plane to make these announcements is costing the taxpayers of New Brunswick, not assisting them.

“This kind of undemocratic and unacceptable behaviour must stop, and it must stop today,” said Byrne. “This is an unprecedented abuse of taxpayer's money. The Premier is using the physical, financial and human resources of the Government of New Brunswick for purely political purposes.”



Anonymous said...

Without even reading the press release we all know that Bernie constantly screws taxpayers. Africa, France, New York, New York..., Washington D.C, Ottawa, Montreal and on and on. Please do not tell me it is all official business. Lot of it, majority of it, is self-promotion.

Now he and his ministers are using taxpayers’ money for campaigning. It makes sense now why he wants to announce the actual election next Friday. For one week he and his ministers want to screw the province. It makes me so mad.

Enough is enough. We can take it no more. He took us for suckers far too long.

I cannot be polite to this man. He is a disgrace to Premier's office. I have lot more respect for Spinks than for this creep.

Alvy Singer said...

I wrote about this in my blog today. It really is a little silly: Tories use their resource (the government) to get their message out; Liberals use their resource (the print media) to get their message out.

Additionally, the Tories tried this strategy in the Saint John Harbour by-election and it failed miserably.

Anonymous said...

Alvy Singer, but bernie is not learning from his blunders.

nbpolitico said...

Alvy - checked out your blog and read your full post there. I am a little confused. I think that the Tories have both the government and the print media behind them. I certainly haven't seen any bias towards the Liberals from the print media, though we need look no further than the Times & Transcript to see blatant bias.

Alvy Singer said...

Really, you don't think that the TJ has been very Liberal as of late?

I completely agree with you on the Times & Transcript, though.

nbpolitico said...

I think the DG and the TJ tend to be "fair" towards the PCs and Libs.. they certainly have been pretty nasty to the Libs before and the TJ is printing some pretty ridiculous stuff coming out of Rick Meyers mouth without the opinions of any other political scientists to contrast it.

Spinks said...

I agree with you nbpolitico and maybe there needs to be some legislation or something to not allow this but can we be honest here? Does anyone think if the Liberals were in the same situation they wouldn't do the same thing and in fact have in the past? That doesn't make it right. Just pointing it out.

Hey 6:41, do I take that as a compliment? :)

Cooker Boy said...

Turns out that all these announcements were in the budget and the announcements are simply "making it official"/photo opts since the Libs wouldn't let them outside the legislature this past speing and early summer. Seems like Shawn knew that all this good news would be trouble.

I do agree however that it does look phishy.

nbpolitico said...

Spinks - other parties have done this sort of thing before but this is a little bit nonsense.

The old expression, "in an election year, if it moves hire it, if it doesn't pave it" did come from somewhere but this is RIDICULOUS.

Lord has essentially called the election. When an election is called, the government does not make funding announcements. The party writes news releases, the government does not. The party rents and runs a bus, the government doesn't use its plane. And so on.

Lord has all but said that the only reason election the election hasn't been called yet is because he doesn't want to hold it on September 11. Fair enough, but if the election call is delayed due to a formality (and it didn't need to be delayed, he could have called a long campaign) then he should not be acting as though there is not an election on.

For Lord to say this is government business as usual because the writ hasn't been dropped is like me saying the results of the election don't matter because Hermiglide Chiasson will still be LG and chief executive and appoint whatever cabinet he likes.

nbpolitico said...

cooker boy - the only problem with that analysis is that the Liberals actually agreed to fast track legislation and the House adjourned the earliest it has since before the last election.

Cooker Boy said...

Don't shot the messenger! ;-)

That being said, this isn't new money. It has been set aside previously in the budget. Govt typically makes announcements on the BBQ circuit to announce the budget items. I agree it's convenient, however since the election has not been formally called they have every right to do so. The premier and cabinets schedules are booked months in advanced and I do not beleive that Lord knew Mesheau would be quitting in Sept. If so, he would have called an election early in the summer after the polls.

I think it would have been more tastefull to have the LG make the annoucements.

Anonymous said...

cooker boy, politics and especially Bernieism works in a strange way. Who knows Mesheau did indicate to quite earlier and Bernie asked him to stick around until August.

Yes that is an age-old excuse that it was already scheduled. Sure, sure. No matter what way you cut it Bernie and gang are digging into public money to make political gains including travelling and all the expenses. It is a shame. NBers will not buy it this time.

Hey, Paul Martin tried the same argument. Did not work. He was more popular nationally than Bernie is in NB.

nbpolitico said...

cooker boy - wasn't meaning to shoot, just responding to your comment.

It seems awfully convenient that the cabinet just happened to have sparse announcements scheduled in July but all of a sudden, after the news of Mesheau broke, the number goes through the roof.

Moreover, I think Elvy Robichaud even admitted that they had rejigged and accelerated the announcements because of the imminent election call.

Cooker Boy said...

I agree, it's very convenient. Just being a Devil's advocate.

nbpolitico said...

No you aren't being the Devil's Advocate, you were being the Lord's advocate :p

I know, I know.. bad pun

Anonymous said...

And just because a government did it in the past doesn't mean anything about the present, or the future. If McKenna did it, that doesn't necessarily mean that Graham would do it.

I think if you go check newspapers and press releases of previous summers you won't find nearly these levels of announcements.

I suspect like in all politics, they are taking advantage of an unusual situation. Nobody has any idea why they do what they do, Lord swore up and down that fixed election dates were a mantra from God, but something changed that. They are simply using the 'wiggle room' to get their message out.

Whether that's good or bad we don't know, whether its useful or not we won't know til mid September.

However, I'll hopefully get that election website up soon and I think its a good idea to post ALL press releases from ALL parties so they can be de deconstructed. In a small province like NB this could maybe be the first election with a viable alternative for election information-and that's a GOOD thing.

Anonymous said...

I earlier posted a site NBandCanada. My sincere apologies to the host of this blog here and others who might have visited NBandCanada. I did not realize what was the latest post. First time I visited I did not see the picture, as it did not open first time. I hope it is not sabotage of some sort.