Monday, December 7, 2009

RVH Expansion: Who's paying and who's just taking credit

On page 2 of Barrie MP Patrick Brown's Fall 2009 newsletter, under the heading GETTING RESULTS FOR BARRIE, there is a section titled Construction Begins on RVH Phase 1 Expansion. In this section there is an artist's rendering of the expanded hospital, a photo with the caption "MP Brown and members of RVH at the sod turning..." (Note there's no mention of the other government representatives in the photo.), and a description of the new facilities that the expansion will bring. The section also mentions the cost of the expansion: $400 million.

Politicians are seldom shy when it comes to being recognized for government spending, and Mr. Brown is no exception. In fact, Mr. Brown devoted the entire front page of his newsletter to tallying the federal government's contributions to local projects. One item you won't find among Mr. Brown's list of federal government largesse is a contribution to the cost of the RVH expansion. The lion's share of the hospital expansion project is being funded by the province, while the City of Barrie has committed $52.5 million. The County of Simcoe has promised to contribute $20 million, and $34 million has been raised through local fund-raising efforts. The only level of government not contributing to the cost of the project, it seems, is Mr. Brown's. That doesn't seem to have stopped Mr. Brown from using the taxpayer's funds to try to associate himself with the project.

In his communications, Mr. Brown likes to point to increases in transfers to the provinces for healthcare spending but fails to tell you that the increases are set out in a law that was passed before his government took office.

After the 2008 Hockey Night in Barrie fund-raiser, Mr. Brown sent out glossy full-colour newsletters in which he claimed that _he_ got the idea for the fund-raiser after attending charity hockey games in Brockville and Peterborough.

Excerpt from 2008 newsletter
© 2009 CC BY-SA 4.0

Brown fails to mention that a fund-raiser for the RVH featuring NHL players called Hockey Night in Barrie took place on November 19, 2004, long before he had attached his name to the event.1 Brown himself participated in a hockey fund-raiser for the RVH dubbed "Go for the Goal" that was held at the Molson Centre more than two years before _his_ first Hockey Night in Barrie. 2

1 Pucks for Buck, Cheryl Browne, The Barrie Examiner, November 13, 2004, p. C2
2 Royal Victoria Hospital fundraising takes centre ice, Nicki Cruickshank, The Barrie Examiner, April 15, 2006, p. A3

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