In one of their usual bait-and-switch manoevers, the Conservatives slashed the previous Liberal Summer Career Placement Program, then replaced it with a plan of their own that included revised criteria for funding. Stephane Dion maintains that the new program was underfunded to the tune of $11 million dollars relative to its Liberal predecessor (although Solberg denies this). In any case, dozens upon dozens of worthy community organizations across the country have, for the first time in years, found their funding requests denied. Some of these undeserving organizations included the "Yes I Can" camp for autistic children, the Fredericton Sexual Assault Crisis Center, and a little league baseball league for disabled children.
Happily though, Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor was able to find $1.3 billion dollars to fund the purchase of 100 'gently used' Leopard 2A6 battle tanks. If that figure seems a little high, thats because it is - roughly twice as expensive as the Conservatives' initial public estimate. But hey bleeding heart Taliban-lovers, used tanks cost money! So even though its been a bad week for a number of disabled and disenfranchised Canadians, Stephen Harper can sleep easy knowing that he's at least put a big smile on the face of his number one fan, General Rick Hillier.
Addendum: So as not to end this post on a sour note, there is a little bit of good news to report. The Government of Ontario has decided to intervene on behalf of the "Yes I Can" camp for autistic children.
Mary Anne Chambers, Ontario's minister of children and youth services, said she was moved to act after reading in yesterday's Star that Ottawa had rejected the camp's funding request..."We, the government of Ontario, will invest the $38,000 that they have lost in order to ensure that these kids can continue to have a summer camp," she said.