Politics
Federal Tories spend $46.5M on small projects including gluten-free bakery

A young couple browses for gluten-free donuts.

Credits: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

JESSICA HUME | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA - A gluten-free bakery in Alberta received more than $1 million in federal money Wednesday as government MPs scattered across the country to announce funding for more than 50 initiatives the Conservatives say are the most "important government spending."

Other highlights include a $90,000 cheque to a Quebec club for snowmobile grooming machines. This was the second funding announcement for the machines in Quebec in two days - on Tuesday $108,885 was handed over. Tennis court upgrades in Saskatchewan netted $22,900 from the government purse.

Despite Finance Minister Jim Flaherty's bad-news announcement Tuesday that the deficit is higher than anticipated and our economy is at the mercy of a severely unstable U.S. economy, Tory MPs have made funding announcements totalling $46,305,293 over two days.

Apparently the government also has enough extra cash to send support to Colombia, where Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Diane Ablonczy announced $1.6 million for that country's land restitution efforts.

Greg Thomas, director of the Canadian Taxpayer Federation, said voters could be forgiven for mistakenly thinking they actually voted the NDP into power.

"Instead of holding an urgent meeting in Ottawa to figure out what they're going to do about their growing budget shortfall, Conservative cabinet ministers and MPs are pork-barrelling their way across the country on the taxpayers' dime, handing out borrowed money for tennis courts, snowmobile grooming and pet food," he said.

NDP finance critic Peggy Nash couldn't help but notice the ridings where most announcements were made were Conservative.

"For average Canadians there are cuts and austerity measures, but for friends of Conservatives or potential supporters, there seems to be lots of dollars to sprinkle around," she said. "This is a very, very odd juxtaposition here."

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