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Blue Blogging Soapbox
...rambling rants, thoughts and musings on mostly political topics - from your late night blogger.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Public fleecing ending, special interest groups rage 
(en francais)

Academic research is a valuable asset in the realm of public policy debate.

Special interest groups funded by the taxpayers are a completely different issue. Political parties of all stripes have increasingly been using these groups to support their own agendas.

We have a federal Public Service to assist governments in researching and drafting policy. If further research is desired or required, then academic institutions can be called upon.

If special interest groups wish to provide input, then they should derive their funding from those that share the same interests, not the public purse.

Lets stop funding the special interests and start funding the issues.
Alarm bells ring over Tory cuts
Interest groups feel abandoned

Child-care researchers, aboriginal communities, affordable housing advocates, environmental activists, artists and the CBC all have something in common these days.

For more than a decade they built bridges with the federal Liberal government to negotiate grants, funding and subsidies. Now they are at odds with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Conservative promises to lower the GST and send out new family-allowance cheques to parents for child care could cost them hundreds of millions of dollars in public funding.

“There’s a preference (in government policy) for financial transfers to individuals, therefore directly to citizens,” said Christian Rouillard, the Canada research chair in governance and public management at the University of Ottawa. “As for everything that supports civil society, different community groups and the social movement, they are at risk of seeing their transfers diminished or in some cases, eliminated.”

The government has already confirmed it would eliminate 15 programs dedicated to the fight against climate change, prompting an outcry from the groups affected.

“I think it’s fine for a new government to come in and say we want to look at things a little bit. We want to rejig things a little bit, but that’s not what they’re doing. They’re cutting everything,” said Greenpeace spokesman Steven Guilbeault.

“So basically we’ll have bureaucrats sitting around doing absolutely nothing, because they have no budget. There will be no programs, there will be no incentives, there will be nothing.”

With a budget expected within weeks, the next likely targets are childcare advocacy groups, researchers and academics who have gotten hundreds of millions in research grants and subsidies over the years.

Human Resources Minister Diane Finley has said all programs are under review in her department.

Meantime, Harper complained last week about “the armies of academics, researchers and special interest groups” who are taking Ottawa’s childcare money away from parents.

Public child-care advocates are furious since they have not been able to meet with anyone in the Harper government, while Conservative-friendly interest groups are regularly consulted and invited to participate.
If you want to 'advocate' on a position or cause, do it on your own dime, not the taxpayer's.

WE Speak at 2:30 p.m.    | en francais | Go to Top|

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