Da Legal Stuff...

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Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Let's Spend a Dollar a Second for a Few Hundred Years

Have you ever wondered why the Federal Government has such a problem providing much needed funds to the provinces? Ontario is upset because they are running a deficit while sending millions to Ottawa, Health Care services are in critical condition throughout the country and Newfoundland and Labrador is about 10 minutes away from bankruptcy, yet there never seems to be enough Federal money to meet the needs. Well, perhaps the following will enlighten everyone to some of the facts.

In reality the Federal Government must deal with priority items first and even though individual provinces may have their own priorities, so to do the Feds. Here are some of the priority items they have been ear marking money for over the past few years and going forward.

1. $300,000 for Federal MP's (from all parties) to travel to beautiful Australia and to England to look at political reform. This while reams and reams of documents and studies currently exist on the issue and its impacts.

2. $200,000+ for Federal MP's to travel to certain countries to study legal whore houses and prostitution. This junket will end with the team spending some time in Las Vegas.

3. A Federal business subsidy (or business welfare) program that is costing about $4 Billion. Over the time this program has been in place, the government has recouped about 5% of the money supplied to corporations. Money lost: $3.8 Billion

4. Last year, the Governor General expenses ran to $41 Million dollars, including her use of government jets to fly to her summer retreat.

5. About $4 Billion dollars have been spent to date on selling Kyoto to Canadians, but the greenhouse gasses involved in the Kyoto protocols have continued to rise and are now much higher than they were at the start of the exercise.

6. Spending on the Canadian Gun Registry (to keep guns out of the hands of law abiding citizens?). This program was initially expected to cost a few million; instead the costs are now soaring to the $2 Billion mark. The killer is that the system doesn’t even work since criminals don't tend to register their guns.

7. Over the past 3 years, the government has spent in excess of $200 Million managing the claims of aboriginal abuse victims which happened in government run agencies over the years. Much of this money, about 1 third or $65 to $70 Million has been paid to lawyers. Meanwhile the total payout to the victims of this abuse has only been about $38 Million.

8. $2.2 Billion dollars for the year ending March 2005 for losses due to mortgage loans forgiven. I may be mistaken, but people pay a percentage of the cost of their home to the CMHC for this insurance. If, in addition to this money, they need another $2 Billion a year, then obviously they are either not charging a high enough percentage or they are insuring high risk clients that they should not. (I read a recent article on mortgage fraud that is being hidden by the major banks because their losses are covered by CMHC anyway. Could this be a factor?)

These are just a few examples. I dug up by spending about 20 minutes on the internet scanning news articles and the like.

As you can see, the needs of the provinces are not necessarily at the top of the priority list in Ottawa. While the First ministers have fought for a few extra health care dollars and Newfoundland and Labrador / Nova Scotia battled for months to retain revenues that belong to us in the first place, this is the type of spending that Ottawa has been engaged in.

If you add up the numbers I have presented, and these a just a small fraction of the waste, the total is a staggering $12,000,000,000.00. That’s over $12 Billion in tax payer’s money for what? Certainly not the things most Canadians would choose to spend their money on.

I know it's hard to fathom numbers of this size, but let’s try to put them into perspective.

The cost of a kidney dialysis machine is approximately $120,000; this money could buy 100,000 of them.

The good folks in Grand Falls-Windsor have been lobbying for a new cancer treatment center at an estimated cost of 3.5 million. This money could pay for nearly 3,500 such clinics.

If each dollar of the $12 Billion was equated to spending $1 per second for 24 hours a day, it would take you 380 years to spend it.

Now that's something to think about.

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