The Harper government’s ability to announce impressive-sounding numbers apparently exceeds its ability to use those impressive-sounding numbers.
The Green Infrastructure fund provides a good illustration of funds getting backlogged despite Canadians being told they would get it. The fund was announced in the 2009 budget as an initiative that would support projects such as sustainable energy. It was supposed to push $200 million out the door every year for five years. In two years though, it has spent $50 million.
By the end of this year, the program is expected to use $104 million, not the $600 million planned, according to the government’s books. In an email, a spokeswoman for Infrastructure said it is “normal for there to be smaller expenditures in the early years” of larger-scale projects. She didn’t respond to a follow-up, however, asking why the forecasting doesn’t reflect that.