Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Your PST cash now funds PR

  • Print

Any politician can attest there is no project too small to qualify for public funding, disbursed with party colours or a local representative's name on a banner. The provincial NDP has perfected the art now by funneling cash to be raised by the PST hike into community kitchens, spiritual gardens and music studios for youth.

Among the deluge of provincial government spending announcements of late have been grants from the "new" Winnipeg Community Infrastructure Program. This program is much like the Building Communities Initiative fund, except the latter is cost-shared with the city of Winnipeg. The new "infrastructure" program was created with the April budget, when the NDP announced it was hiking the PST to eight per cent, due to financial pressures on its capital priorities from the 2011 Assiniboine River flood, and a 2012 flood that never materialized.

The new infrastructure spending, drawn from PST revenues, would go to "long-term" "critical infrastructure needs" -- a range of projects, including items classically known as infrastructure (municipal roads, highways), and pet provincial capital spending (hospitals, schools). That list was expanded subsequently to include projects such as day care centres.

But the NDP has stretched the definition of infrastructure such that items no one would have called infrastructure projects now qualify. The latest round of news releases from the NDP shows the cash has gone to installing a commercial kitchen in a community centre, buying new studio equipment for a youth music program, new Red River carts, painting a mural and benches and greenery for an interfaith garden.

These non-profit organization projects are traditionally the realm of community grants from city councillors. An opportunity to plaster the city with thousands of self-congratulatory placards, they also are a fine way to ingratiate the party with hundreds of community groups and the people they serve.

The projects may all be worthy in their own right, but "critical infrastructure" they are not. Nor are they justification for a one-percentage-point hike to the PST, not when municipalities and a host of business groups have for years appealed to the province for a dedicated fund, derived from PST, for the multi-billion dollar deficit in roads, sewer and water pipes, highways and bridges.

The NDP is striving to defend its decision to break balanced-budget legislation to ram through a PST hike that does nothing to whittle away at the critical infrastructure deficit. Their near-daily media releases extolling the virtues of laying down sod, planting shrubs and installing basketball courts are a reminder to all Manitobans just how unnecessary was this tax increase that now bankrolls the self-serving PR agenda of the spend-thrift NDP.

Editorials are the consensus view of the Winnipeg Free Press’ editorial board, comprising Catherine Mitchell, David O’Brien and Paul Samyn.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 23, 2013 A12

History

Updated on Friday, August 23, 2013 at 7:09 AM CDT: adds image

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Tree remover has special connection to Grandma Elm

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.
  • Jia Ping Lu practices tai chi in Assiniboine Park at the duck pond Thursday morning under the eye of a Canada goose  - See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge Day 13- May 17, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Which of Manitoba's new landlord-tenant rules are you looking forward to most?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google