Sunday, February 25, 2024

For Everything Else, There’s HarperCard

By Kaisha Thompson, Contributing Columnist

The Harper government never ceases to amaze me. This week they have gone above and beyond. The federal government has invested almost $2 million into an “Experience Canada” pavilion.


This tourism pavilion will be used for journalists covering the G8 and G20 summits. It is equipped with a NFL sized jumbo-tron screen that will play Muskoka nature scenes. There will be docks, canoes, a bridge, a floating city and an indoor lake.


This is not a good use of our tax dollars nor does it create an impression of responsible government and financial stewardship to the world beyond our borders.


The cost of the indoor lake being built is $57,000 which is more than the annual income of 40 per cent of Canadian families, Liberal MP Mark Holland stated in the House of Commons on Tuesday.


And that is just the cost of the lake itself- when the labour and material costs as well as the cost for dismantling the fake-lake after the dignitaries and journalists have gone home are factored in, we are talking over $200,000.


Prime Minister Harper has justified the indoor lake, and Muskoka simulator, by asserting that it is a marketing opportunity and will boost the journalist’s impression of Canada.


In my opinion, if Mr. Harper needs to create a fake Canada in order to boost Canada’s image perhaps there are better places that $1.9 million can go.


Not only is the price tag for this indoor Muskoka getaway hefty but it is also unrealistic. The pavilion cannot hold even 150 of the 3,000 journalists coming to the summits.


Although, those who are fortunate enough to get into the “Experience Canada” pavilion will no doubt appreciate the chance to marvel at Harper’s excess.


This brings me to the conclusion of this sad tale:


Fake Lake: $208,187.


Build a Fake Bridge: $218,000.


Floating Fake Cityscape: $292,000.


Labour that could be put to better use: $398,000.


Consulting Fees: $407,000


Having a government that is frivolous with OUR money, well that’s priceless.

Kaisha Thompson is a Meaford resident. She studies Canadian Studies and Political Science at Carleton University in Ottawa. During the school year she works at Parliament Hill, in addition to her political involvement at home in Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound.


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