This day in (blog) history

It was ten years ago today I took pathetic leftists apart for their brain-dead claim that the Harper Government "lost $3.1B".

Look, we all know the Toronto Star dreams of returning the Liberal Party of Canada into the halls of power. The Adscam boondoggle is still haunting that party, and the Red Star just dreamed of catching Stephen Harper in his own version of the story. This one even raises the stakes: $3.1 billion dollars! Where could money of that magnitude have disappeared to?

Unlike, say, the current Liberal government which blows $6,000 on a hotel room, or $54M on a web app or half a million on spyware or $100M on a single advocacy firm or $44M for the fake charity that also pays the PMs lunatic mother or $1.2B in mistaken CERB payments or $35B -- ten times what Harper supposedly "lost" -- on a bank that gives out dubious business loans with 60 year repayment plans...one of the problems was that it wasn't even sure the money had been spent let alone spent incorrectly.

Unlike "real journalists" I actually spent 15 seconds reading the report.

For all the talk about the "missing" billions, there's no indication that this money was even spent. After all, the government can announce money spent today, and then not spend it tomorrow. The second option is similarly delicious, we'll examine that in a moment. The final one, you note, is almost the same as the first except it explicitly noted as I did that the federal government is already spending a metric shit-ton of cash right now, and worrying that $3.1B didn't get wasted on Program X but rather was kept in general revenues which are already funding Program Y with more money than the taxpayer has actually provided seems silly (even for a liberal). The "$3.1B tax refund cheque" gag is the biggest offender in this nonsense: this is notably different than Adscam which was a misuse of government money actually physically provided to people.

Indeed the auditors couldn't find the money being spent anywhere and while losers like Sproule whined that it was "lost" the reality was that money (but not "the money", a key distinction) was spent exactly where the government figures said it was.

When the repairs to CFB Shilo's living quarters were announced, what was the amount funded? Say the repairs cost $15 million dollars, to pick a wild number. Was it announced as part of the anti-terrorism initiative? Or was it "Standing on Guard For Thee" on the podium, and this was about funding upgrades on military bases? Was it perhaps "Building a Better Canada", and an announcement for infrastructure upgrades on federal government buildings? See what I mean? Now we see that $9.8B may even be an exaggeration of what was spent on "The Initiative" as the auditors (who may have been busy watching reruns of Nikita) described it. The $15 million dollars could be quoted three different times: $45M earmarked for the project and $15M spent.

The missing money was just an accounting quirk. It's the big budget version of that old "missing dollar" riddle:

To further illustrate how the original method of adding up the guests' payments is flawed, let's change the riddle a little. Let's say that instead of realizing that the guests only owed $25, the clerk discovers that he should have only charged them $10. The clerk therefore gives the bellhop $20 to return. The bellhop gives each guest $6 and pockets the remaining $2, so each guest effectively only paid $4.

$4 + $4 + $4 + $2 = $14.

So where has the missing $16 gone? This version makes it more obvious that the question is flawed.

Not to leftists, apparently.

Contrast to December 2022, when an auditor report about Rat Bastard's government didn't talk about accounting quirks that made $3.1B seem to disappear until you thought about it a little harder, it was too busy talking about money spent on people who weren't supposed to get it:

“We found that overpayments of $4.6 billion were made to ineligible individuals, and we estimated that at least $27.4 billion of payments to individuals and employers should be investigated further,” Hogan said.

Among the individuals who received money they shouldn’t have, $1.6 billion went to people who quit their jobs, $6.6 million went to people who were in jail the whole time, $3.3 million went to people who don’t live in Canada and $1.2 million went to dead people.

That’s just a taste of the waste.

There was also $15.5 billion paid out of companies who claimed to have lost a certain amount money to qualify for benefits but who submitted different numbers on their GST/HST claims.

You'd think a party keen to tax "the rich" would be paying attention to that last bit.

That's of course just stuff covered in auditors reports, which wouldn't include, say, spending $4.5B on a pipeline that was already being built for free (and indeed would generate revenue), or wasting billions murdering babies overseas.

The auditors do say that the Liberal Government wasted $1.3B on the homeless

And you want the real kicker? Rat Bastard 2.0 cut the AG's funding, and they do half as many audits as they did under the Conservatives despite a vastly ballooning slew of federal outlays. It speaks to, as I wrote ten years ago, the different attitudes between different ideologies when they are shown evidence of bad accounting practices and/or bad spending initiatives:

What was the Prime Minister's response, as quoted in this equally laughable story from Southam?
The auditor general has made some suggestions on how we can be more clear in our tracking in the future. We will do that.
Again note the massive differences between this audit and, say, the response from Chief Dances-With-Burrito on the (far more devastating) audit of her band's funds last year. The online Harper-haters freaked out when an audit of the incompetent Indians running the show at Attawapiskat had actually spent money (unlike in this audit), that they had no justification that any of the money actually spent had been spent properly (unlike this audit), and that money had been spent without paperwork to account for it (unlike in this audit).
Remember back when the worst problem with federal spending was that less money was being spent than was being claimed? Those were fun times.