Nice to know I have a government that will spend my tax money on giant, unnecessary signs that advertise to me other ways the government is using my tax money.
I wonder if there’s a similar sign outside Canada’s sign-making factories, saying the government is “investing” in them too.
The flip side, of course, being that if such signs weren’t present, there is a certain segment of people who would complain that either (a) they don’t know where their money is ostensibly being spent; or (b) complain that they don’t see any concrete results of where their money is ostensibly being spent.
It is axiomatic that you can’t possibly satisfy both groups of people, and not everyone pays attention to press releases, except for a certain segment of ‘journalists’ who like to quote from them, verbatim, when composing their news stories.
Unless, of course, you have an elegant, yet undiscovered solution that has eluded professional PR people for all this time.
The problem, to me, is that the only way we really know how our money is being spent is through self-congratulatory press releases.
You’re right that this problem is as much about the media as it is about the government. Neither seems particularly interested in giving citizens a clear perspective about where the government is spending its money.
But this sign, despite its largeness, doesn’t include any details about how much money is being spent and where. It only says the government is investing in post-secondary education.
Well, when you are dealing with (tens of?) billions of dollars, it is notoriously difficult to get hard details on where that money is going because, as you point out, government (regardless of its partisan stripe) isn’t particularly interested in transparency, and the media isn’t particularly interested in investing in the resources necessary to report on a story like this unless they think the end product will be really salacious, like economic stimulus money going to renovate a swingers’ club or something absurd like that.
Now, interestingly enough, by going to the Web site listed on that sign board, I found without much heavy lifting that $5.42 million was spent on McGill’s Douglas Mental Health Institute and $12.3 million is allocated to renovate the Macdonald Engineering Building at McGill, both through the Knowledge Infrastructure Program administered by Industry Canada. Additionally, through this same program, $14.4 million is being spent on upgrading facilities at McGill’s Otto Maass chemistry building, and $15 million to renovate the McIntyre Medical Building.
Down the street, at UQAM, they’re spending $1.2 million on something called the kinanthropology department (I’ll confess that I have no idea what ‘kinanthropology’ is); and another $1.2 million on replacing some electrical transformers with non-PCB transformers at UQAM’s main campus.
Additional projects at Concordia’s downtown campus, and a $6.3 million project to renovate classrooms at HEC, on the other side of the mountain.
…I could go on, since that Google map, while not exactly a ‘wealth’ of information, certainly does have enough info to get an enterprising journalist started in his/her research.
Obviously, since I don’t know the provenance of the sign above, I couldn’t discern exactly which project it might (or might not) correspond to, but it might be a not-entirely-unreasonable suspicion that it could be found on the map of projects in the Montreal area.
For one’s reference, the map is here: http://actionplan.gc.ca/eng/map.asp
And, as one additional piece of info, this should no means be construed as a defence of the current Conservative government, who I think are mean-spirited and petty and focused on wedge issues and, in my opinion, are just generally disagreeable people. I’m just saying that a decent amount of basic info is there to those who choose to avail themselves of it.
It’s more depressing to see the cost of the project. I remember when those de-merged cities spent a few years throwing up the price tags for every two cm piece of road they were re-building. All I remember thinking every time they post one of those $650,000 “investments” to re-pave a block of street isn’t “great, my tax money being investment” but “how the ***k are they wasting $650K to fix a stretch of road that some driveway paver would do for a tenth of that.” (well, one who doesn’t know that you can hose a government by colluding with your fellow bidders in the tender process).
Aha. Custom-printing each sign would increase their cost.
Silly, this is, ironically, for the purpose of preventing people from going mental over “wasted big government stimulus money” (they get to see where & what is being done through the aid of signs & websites). Also, given the blue, garish typeface, it’s a subtle an ad for the current government.
Correct that error post-haste!
There’s also a sign out of nowhere in front of a house on De Chambly, between Ontario and Hochelaga (in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve, duh) that has been there since at least last fall. Always wondered exactly what they were doing.
Dude, you’ve obviously never driven through Hull. The road improvement signs are necessary to distract from the painful jostling caused by impressively-sized potholes. Those potholes cost 600,000$!