Canada

Tory ridings get more stimulus money

Conservative ridings are getting more economic stimulus money than ridings held by opposition members of Parliament, a CBC News analysis suggests.

Conservative ridings are getting more economic stimulus money than ridings held by opposition members of Parliament, a CBC News analysis suggests.

According to the analysis of the Infrastructure Stimulus Fund, Conservative ridings have received about 60 per cent of the funding, compared with 40 per cent for opposition ridings.

The Tories hold 143 of the 308 ridings in Canada, or 46.4 per cent.

For example, the Saskatchewan riding of Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale, who has been a vocal critic of the stimulus spending, has received about $4.8 million. But the Conservative riding next door received about $6.5 million.

Crunching the numbers in a sample of other ridings across the country shows a similar pattern.

The minority government Conservatives have been defending themselves all week against allegations they are favouring Tory ridings with stimulus spending.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Stephen Harper said nearly half of the projects are in opposition ridings — and the largest projects are in such ridings, he added.

But Peter Donolo of the Strategic Counsel polling firm said the Tories' record is much better than it used to be.

"There’s this long tradition in Canada, a time-honoured tradition in Canada, of opposition roads not being paved and government-controlled roads being paved. That goes back decades."

But Donolo, a former communications director for former Liberal prime minister Jean Chrétien, said it's a dangerous game to play for political gain.

"It's probably more than offset by the bad odour, the bad optics that come from a government looking like it's playing politics with public money at a time like this," he said.

Chrétien was known to dish out government money to Liberal-held ridings. But Donolo said the problem for Harper is that he promised to do things differently.