Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Payback, Cutbacks, Kickbacks

Have you noticed that Jason Kenney has not been in the news as much lately? 

The Smiling Budha, Curry in Hurry, Minister of Citizen, Immigration and Multiculturalism, who is also considered to be a leadership candidate to replace Harper, failed to step up during the Senate scandal by dumping on Nigel Wright, leaving the heavy lifting in Parliament, to Baird and Moore. It would appear that this, along with Kenney's open dispute with Flaherty over Rob Ford, might not have gone unnoticed been Harper.

The governments multiculturalism budget which Kenney controls was reduced in 2013 by a third and is expected to be reduced further in the upcoming years. Kenney has also had his signature granting program, the Inter-Action budget cut back. Kenney's signature granting program was set up in 2010 to support events approved by Kenney's office that promoted intercultural understanding, respect for democratic values and/or civic memory and pride. 
In 2010-2011, about $14 million was spent under the program to fund 140 projects and events. In 2011-12, about $9.5 million was spent under the program to fund 30 projects and 202 events. For this year, the budget will be scaled back further by at least $2.5 million.
Unfortunately for Kenney, the former king of the local Conservative fundraising circuit, he may be in serious danger of forfeiting his crown. Out of province, political donations to Kenny, have dropped by over $125,000, a sixty four percent drop.
Jason Kenney's Calgary Southeast electoral district association (EDA) netted just $67,149 in donations last year.
The number of donors declined as well  — from 951 in 2012, to just 455 in 2013, of which just 93 gave more than $200, compared to 230 who did so in 2012.
Notably, all but a handful of this year's contributors hailed from the Calgary area
From 2007 to 2012, Kenney's riding raked in nearly $150,000 from outside his home province, including more than $93,000 from Toronto-area Chinese Canadians, augmented by the occasional burst of donations from other GTA South Asian ethnic communities, usually clustered around a single date.
That particular revenue stream appears to have dried up, at least for the moment.
One of the major criticisms of political funding in Canada is that political parties are only required to report the identities of contributors that have given a total of over $200 to one riding association or the central organization. For donations of $200 or less, receipts must be kept by the individual riding associations, but Elections Canada has no way to keep track of them.

And has been noted by Elections Canada, a corporation or an organization can make multiple $200 donations to a candidate by listing their employees or members as the donors.

It appears that the recipients of multicultural grants were, at least in the past, very impressed with the Minister of Citizen, Immigration and Multiculturalism and decided, independently to donate funds towards his elections.

To the tune of about ten percent.


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