A decade of taxpayer abuse … from politicians and bureaucrats alike

Ottawa - Tuesday, October 20, 2003 - by: Walter Robinson, Federal Director, Canadian Taxpayers Federation


While the leaves are still changing colours and the snowblower is still in the garage … pundits, activists and voters alike are already casting their eyes past the harsh winter to the promise of Spring 2004 and an all but certain federal election call.




Paul Martin will seek a mandate to implement his “change” agenda. Jack Layton and his NDP will trot out their big government, high tax agenda. And it appears that small-c conservative voters will have a viable electoral vehicle through which to make their views known.




From the perspective of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, the record of abuse — political and bureaucratic — perpetuated on taxpayers over the past decade should not be overlooked as this record also leads one to propose constructive policy driven solutions.




On the political side, the pillaging of taxpayers includes:
  • $500 million in cancellation penalties for military helicopters that the government will now buy anyway;

  • $500 million in cancellation penalties for Pearson airport in Toronto which has now been privatized and modernized anyway;

  • Over $7 billion stashed away in arms-length foundations outside the reach or view of parliamentary scrutiny;

  • $1 billion for cost overruns in the politically motivated gun registry (slated to reach $2 billion by 2012); and probably the most egregious of all

  • The documented plan, revealed through Access to Information, of Technology Partnerships Canada (TPC) — the Liberal government’s flagship corporate welfare program — to hand out $6 billion through to 2020 and at best, recoup $2 billion in loan and royalty repayments: A plan to squander a net $200 million per year for 20 years running to fatten the bottom lines of some of Canada’s most successful companies.




On the bureaucratic side, the disregard and disrespect for the hard earned tax dollars of Canadians is equally appalling. Successive auditors general have found:
  • In 1998, that one-third of Canadian Heritage multiculturalism grants was approved with little or no examination of outcomes or attention to duplicate programs in other departments.

  • In 1998, the finding of four million more Social Insurance Numbers in circulation than adults over the age of 20 and the follow-up in 2002 that the bureaucracy’s attempt to “fix” the problem resulted in five million more SIN numbers in circulation resulting in a massive potential for welfare and entitlement benefit fraud; and

  • Public servants breaking almost “every rule in the book” in the administration annual $40 million politically motivated federal sponsorship program.




These are just a few of the hundreds of findings — tallying billions of dollars — in over a decade of reports published by the Auditor General. The last (or is that lost?) decade is clearly one of waste and missed opportunities to further reduce taxes and pay down our national debt. And let’s not even get started on the expense account abuses perpetuated by the likes of Mssrs. Weatherill, Boyer and Radwanski.




In the next federal election the party that promises to end corporate welfare, get serious about our national debt, offers real tax relief, innovatively addresses the aboriginal file, and pledges to implement comprehensive whistleblowing legislation has a real shot a governing.




These are just some of the key issues the Canadian Taxpayers Federation will raise in the leadup to and during the next federal election campaign.



Walter Robinson
Federal Director



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