MONTREAL - The Conservative government has spent almost $90 million on Atlantic Canada since taking power more than double what the Liberals spent in the same period last year through a program they once decried as corporate welfare, a CanWest News Service investigation has revealed.
The accusation comes after MacKay was quoted telling Tory supporters at a Nova Scotia election rally May 19 that, once elected, the local Progressive Conservative candidate will have easy access to the agency's funding.
"There is money that the people in Preston are entitled to, and I can tell you he's going to come knocking and we're going to deliver," MacKay said at the rally.
MacKay's comments appear to have undermined the Harper government's pledge to "ensure that regional development agencies are depoliticized," opposition critics charge.
"You say you're taking the politics out of ACOA, but you're giving the impression you're going the other way," Newfoundland Liberal MP Scott Simms said in a recent interview.
CanWest reviewed the funding commitments contained in hundreds of little-noticed news releases on the websites of the ACOA, the economic development agency of Quebec and the Western Economic Diversification program.
All together, Harper's Tories have doled out $196.5 million in the four months since the prime minister swore in his cabinet on Feb. 6.
Forty-five per cent of the funds $88.2 million have gone to Atlantic Canada, while the West has received $62 million and Quebec $46.3 million.
Monday, June 12, 2006
Posted by David MacLean at 3:39 PM
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