With Conservatives like these:
Today, Lawrence Toet, Member of Parliament for Elmwood—Transcona, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced federal funding, under the Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund (CIIF), to the Transcona Playground Renewal Association for playground upgrades at the Oxford Heights Community Centre.
"I am thrilled that residents of Oxford Heights will benefit from a new playground, thanks to our Government's investment," said MP Toet. "Community centres play a key role in uniting communities and this investment will improve the Oxford Heights Community Centre while creating jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity."
You read that correctly. The federal government of Canada is spending money, about $63,000, to "upgrade" playgrounds in the east end of Winnipeg. There is no meaningful understanding of federalism that includes federal monies being spent on jungle gyms. By the strangest coincidence, for politics is filled with strange coincidences, Lawrence Toet won the riding of Elmwood-Transcona by a whopping 300 votes.
I'm sure it's nothing. No doubt Stephen Harper, when serving as Preston Manning's lieutenant twenty years ago, dreamed of implementing a national playground strategy. All Canadian children should have monkey bars as sturdy as the ones young Stephen played on in idyllic Leaside. Tommy Douglas had his bad leg, Stephen Harper had his tire swing. We all get into politics for a reason.
According to the 2011 Census the riding of Elmwood-Transcona has 83,002 residents. If each of those residents had contributed 78 cents the $63,000 could have been raised without any federal involvement. Had a few hundred residents petitioned their local councillor it's likely the money would have been found in municipal coffers. If the local business association had gotten together, with each member contributing a few hundred dollars each, perhaps in exchange for some advertising, taxpayer funds might have been saved for better uses.
Canada was founded as a nation of limited government. The powers of the provinces and the federal government were defined and enumerated in the BNA. There is no stretch of the historical imagination possible where the Fathers of Confederation ever intended that the federal government would engage in such ridiculous micro-management. John A Macdonald might not have been keen on provincial rights, but it's unlikely he ever dreamed of federal funds building playgrounds A Mari Usque Ad Mare.
The Elmwood Transcona Playground upgrade is pork. More than this it is pork that is being delivered under the absurd guise of western economic diversification. Does anyone in the Tory caucus, from Lawrence Toet right on up to the Big Guy himself really, in their heart of hearts, think building slides is going to diversify the economy of western Canada? Does Stephen Harper, MA in Economics, truly believe governments know how to diversify an economy? Or how government engineered diversification is economically sustainable? This is pork which insults the intelligence of the Canadian electorate.
Sadly it seems that the electorate likes to have its intelligence insulted, or at the very least is too eager for free stuff to bother asking how it is delivered. Over the last century and a half our governments have transformed themselves away from their limited remit to meet the electorate's unlimited demands. No problem is too small, like playgrounds, or too large, like health care, that the federal government cannot fund and ultimately bend to its will. With federal funds comes federal influence and then federal control.
Along with weakened local control comes weakened local and individual responsibility. Individuals turn to the municipalities, the municipalities turn to the provinces and the provinces turns to Ottawa. At the center is the PMO. Mother, father and rich uncle to 34 million very spoiled children.