Consevatives, Nova Scotia, Rodney MacDonald

I really want to follow the money…

…but the local media makes my life difficult.

I’ve checked every story written recently on the meat-headed idea by the Province to buy 66 kid-sized ATVs. I wanted to see a) who bought them (which was pretty easy: it’s coming out of the Health Promotion Budget, headed by Barry Barnet) and b) who they were bought from.

Part b) is proving to be a difficult question to answer. We know who manufactured them, but not which dealerships they were purchased through. 19 of the ATVs are Bombardier, 18 are Suzuki, 18 are Honda, and 11 are Arctic Cat. That’s nice information to have, but I want to know who made money on this ridiculous idea. Did individual local dealers have any connections to Mr. Barnet? To Mr. MacDonald? This kind of stupid spending can usually be traced to someone (or a group) who has the “ear” of government, and I really want to know if that’s the case with the ATV purchase. Neither the Herald nor the Metro has asked or answered this question.

PS – the purchase does not appear on the NS Procurement website when I use the search term “ATV” (whereas several older ATV purchases do appear).

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14 thoughts on “I really want to follow the money…

  1. Just throwing this out there – are there any Liberals in the province right now that can possibly look in the mirror in the mornings having supported Rodney Dangerfield here and Harper in Ottawa at every turn? If so, Liberals, let us know, let me know how you do it? I’m curious, because you never know when the ability to turn off self-loathing will come in handy.

    I mean, in the future I might commit a heinous crime or turn to a life of sales or something and “finding Jesus” isn’t really me.

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  2. The Chronicle reported that the ATVs were purchased directly from the manufacturers, but were delivered to the dealerships. That doesn’t sound right, but this being the unofficial long holiday, no one is returning my calls.

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  3. I’m of the opinion that the point of origin is probably more of a side issue here. I’m much more interested in knowing if this was a case of ATV groups with an in with the conservatives using tax money to further their agenda or, as seems more likely to me at least, was this just Rodney MacDonald trying to score some points with his rural NS base and then when it backfired, denying all knowledge and throwing a minion under the wheels of of his new ATVs to save his own ass. Apparently cabinet ministers provide good traction when you’re stuck in the mire.
    Now that I think of it though, if this is just a case of a cabinet minister with lousy judgement, I’m even more troubled by the idea that there’s such a lack of oversight that the health promotion budget of all things, can be used to purchase kiddie sized ATV’s which are then handed over to whatever group is currently favoured by the conservatives. There’s all kinds of potential for troublesome issues here, isn’t there?

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  4. It was interesting to hear today on CBC at noon(ish), a doctor involved with health promotion via the use of “mixed-use” trails chastise the outlandish notion that promoting, even *allowing* ATVs on the trails promoted the use of the trails. After all, if you knew that ATVs used a trail with any regularity are you more or less likely to go out their with your dog/bike/kid? Thus, the ATV presence has a negative effect on trail usage overall. And how exactly does driving an SUV differ from driving a minivan in health benefits? (Except of course, when the beast breaks down two hours in the woods.)

    There are several stories here, and while I agree with Doug that exactly who is involved from the private sector is a side-story, it is indeed interesting that no details have come out about it. I’m thankful that we’ve got guys like Tim on the inside that can (sometimes) get calls answered.

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  5. Kevvyd– check out the Health Promotion budget:
    http://www.gov.ns.ca/finance/site-finance/media/finance/EstimatesSuppDetail.pdf
    (page 15.3) for programs. In two years, we’ve seen the budget for addiction services go down $2.7 million, the budget for Chronic Disease and Injury Prevention go down $3 million, while the budget for Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation go *up* $13 million the first year, then down $8 million the second, for an overall increase of $5 million.

    Of course, the provincial side of the Commonwealth Games and the just-aborted ATV program came out of Physical Activity, Sport and Recreation side of things.

    All this calls for much greater scrutiny. I’ll be dropping FOIPOPs later this week…

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  6. It’s more than likely that I just missed it but can anyone tell me if the reason for this purchase coming out of a health budget has been covered in the media? I’ve looked at the info Tim provided and it’s interesting but it doesn’t really show us how they justify purchasing ATVs for training courses programs as a legitimate concern for a health budget. Wouldn’t using the DMV and driver trainers be less controversial. I think like I’m missing something here and I’d like to know what it is. And since I’m here and it hasn’t been specifically mentioned yet, wouldn’t it make a hell of a lot more sense to not let small children play in the woods with motorized vehicles? From a keeping the little brutes healthy perspective, I mean. NB has already managed to do it and it’s a province with a much more rural viewpoint than NS’s. It wasn’t a popular move amongst the ATV community but they were louder than they were numerous and never really clued into the optics of the “child endangerment” aspects, so it’s now a long dead issue there. If Rodney’s government is as concerned about kids dying on ATVs as they say they are maybe they should grow a pair, go to their rural supporters and tell them that just as their ten year old can’t drive the family car, he can’t drive a motor vehicle without benefit of protective superstructure and safety features either.

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  7. But Doug, their rural supporters are their *only* supporters. You can’t piss off your entire electorate and expect to get back in office, pair or no.

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  8. Update: Two of the companies were listed in the latest Herald story by Amy Smith: The Cat Shack and Shore Cycle. The Cat Shack is owned by Peter and Chris Nelson in Elmsdale. No word on the ownership of Shore Cycle.

    Can anyone help me look up a political donors list?

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  9. I just quickly ran through the contributions list I linked to above and there is no reference to Cat Shack or to Peter and Chris Nelson in any party’s donation list.

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