How much are the Conservatives spending to win the “fiscal responsibility” vote?

Here’s the news from the folks at iPolitics, courtesy of today’s Morning Brief:

“The great Conservative giveaway slows today after more than $250 million in ribbon cuttings and novelty cheques over the past two days. In fairness, a big chunk of that, about $155 million, was for a naval helicopter station on Vancouver Island, but for a government ostensibly laying the groundwork for an austerity budget, the spectacular frenzy has caught even Conservative supporters by surprise.”

I don’t have a full account of how that “more than $250 million” has been allocated. At the very least, though, the $155 million budgeted for that helicopter station is government spending – and if it’s government spending for the sake of improving the party’s image prior to an election, as many seem to suspect, then that’s pretty distasteful.

To be fair, it isn’t exactly shocking; Harper’s Conservatives have played variations on this theme time and again. Also, it’s not like the Conservatives or any of the other parties are actually gearing up for an election – or willing to come right out and admit they are, at any rate.

“The Conservatives have to be hoping something will shake the Canadian voters from their intractable resistance to a majority government led by Stephen Harper,” the Morning Brief continued. “A Globe and Mail poll gives high marks to the Conservatives, but it seems Canadians still draw the line at giving Harper the carte blanche that comes with a majority government.”

Meanwhile, Liberal defense critic Dominic Leblanc “wants to know why the government insists on keeping so much of its spending a secret. Leblanc will be holding a press conference in Ottawa [today] to highlight what the Liberals see as the problem of ‘Conservative secrecy surrounding financial information before the House of Commons.’”

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