Today we lean that “Transport Minister John Baird met Toronto’s application for streetcar cash with a blunt, and profane, dismissal” of "They should f--- off.", on the basis that Toronto’s application was not filled out properly. If that’s not a quintessential government excuse then I don’t know what is. Ditto for the response from John Baird, in telling Canada’s largest urban center to f--- off.
Does John Baird tell Toronto residents to f--- off when they send their massive payments of taxes to Ottawa, only to see more money being sent to Ottawa than ever gets returned in program or infrastructure spending?
As for the art of filling out government forms properly, was Flaherty’s application for $17 million in a freebie grant for his wife’s school filled out properly? Was Dean Del Mastro’s application for a choo choo train to Peterborough filled out properly? Was the CAW’s application for a pension bailout filled out properly? How about GM Canada’s? Where do I get the forms necessary to bail out my RRSP with taxpayers’ dollars?
Car makers get bailouts, but Toronto as Canada’s largest city doesn’t get mass transit funding because their application is improperly filled out and are told to “f--- off” by the Transport Minister.
Seems completely non-partisan to me? The West wants in. Meanwhile, Toronto can f--- off, because they apparently filled out the government’s forms improperly?
Like Stephen Harper himself, It seems no one in the Harper government has the proper temperament to deal with matters of public interest. Not Jim Flaherty, Not Lisa Raitt. Not Gerry Ritz. Not Gary Lunn. Not John Baird. What form do I need to fill out (properly) to rid ourselves of these buffoons in office?
Top Tory curses Toronto
Transport Minister John Baird meets city's application for streetcar cash with a blunt, and profane, dismissal
June 09, 2009
WESTERN CANADA BUREAU CHIEF
WHISTLER, B.C. – Toronto's only application for money under the federal government's $4 billion infrastructure stimulus fund was met with a profane dismissal by Transport Minister John Baird yesterday.
In an unguarded moment, Baird told aides Toronto stood alone in not meeting the technical criteria for federal cash, yet was complaining about Ottawa dragging its feet.
"Twenty-seven hundred people got it right. They didn't. That is not a partnership and they're bitching at us," he said.
"They should f--- off."
The federal minister overseeing the infrastructure program was overheard by a Star reporter after he mistakenly walked into a media room at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities convention at this British Columbia resort.
When his words were read back to him, he acknowledged his remarks.
Toronto made a calculated move to seek money to replace its aging streetcar fleet by submitting just one application while most municipalities submitted long lists of projects ranging from bridge repairs to sewer upgrades.
Mayor David Miller said Toronto only wants funds to buy 204 streetcars from Bombardier, to be built at a cost of $1.2 billion. The proposed deal will expire June 27 and will collapse if federal and provincial money isn't forthcoming by then.
The city said, based on its population, its share of the stimulus announced in January's budget would be about $312 million.
Miller said last night Toronto's proposal fits the federal criteria.
He said his meeting with Baird at the convention was "amicable and frank" and that the minister "didn't say that to me" when asked if Baird used the obscenity.
But Baird said Toronto's was the only application among 2,700 submitted that wasn't done properly.
He said Toronto's submission is ineligible because it doesn't focus on job creation within the next two years in the 416 area.
Later, Baird said his remarks were off-the-cuff and he presumed private because he didn't realize he was in the media workroom.
He said he's had frank discussions with the city about its bid and has been talking to Finance Minister Jim Flaherty, the GTA's federal representative, about projects eligible for cash.
"This project, while it fits into Toronto's vision of what they want to do, it doesn't fit into our vision of moving quickly. We don't want to see Toronto left out of infrastructure stimulus," said Baird. "What I don't want to see is a year or two from now people say that the federal government plans aren't creating jobs in Toronto."
Councillor Linda Rydholm of Thunder Bay, home of the Bombardier plant, said the project needs approval. "Our workers need the contract to continue or start."
Miller said Toronto's bid will help the overall economy in Ontario and create immediate jobs.
At the Federation of Canadian Municipalities meeting, Baird identified the country's most significant infrastructure project as the $4 billion to $5 billion access road to a new border crossing near Windsor and said he is making it a personal priority.
The project "has the attention at the highest level. The province and the federal government are on the same page. The time for action is now."
Delegates at the meeting began the three-day event with a call from big city mayors for Ottawa to speed money for infrastructure projects.
The government promised money to municipalities in hopes of creating thousands of jobs, with the caveat that a major component of the projects must be completed by March 2011. Mayors said that, while announcements were made, the actual money has not materialized.
But Federation of Canadian Municipalities president Jean Perrault said Baird has since shown a commitment to co-operation and flexibility, especially with the federal commitment that one-third of any costs incurred by municipalities will be paid before April 1, 2011.
"We have an understanding now of better communication," said Perrault.
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Posted by Fillibluster at 8:36 AM