20 September 2015

#50 Say “Cheesy”

A picture is worth a thousand words, right? But are 2,483 photos worth $2.3 million?

While cutting some budgets and just not spending others, it has to come as a surprise and a disappointment to learn that so much money has been invested in what is essentially the glorification of government announcements. No, $2.3 million is not a huge part of the federal budget, but the symbolism of the expense, and the fact that it seems to have doubled in the last election year (2011) and increased exponentially in recent years make it something that ought to be questioned.

A couple of examples underscore the vanity of it all. The Prime Minister generally has an official photographer on the public payroll. Mr. Harper has three (and they are not in the total, either). Veterans’ Affairs just got caught out returning unspent money to the Treasury while cutting the number of Veterans’ Affairs offices and nickel-and-diming the disability supports offered to wounded and traumatized veterans. The photography bill for Veterans’ Affairs? Over $118,000.

There are other costs to this need to document spending — whether it happens or not. On at least one occasion, someone compromised the security of Canadian forces abroad by publishing clear photos of them, and, in the photo above, firefighters in the Okanagan were pulled away from the fire and stood in a parking lot for an hour waiting for the Prime Minister and the BC Premier to show up for the photo op. Note that this has absolutely nothing to do with the federal jurisdiction. The amusing part of this photo is that a member of the local media, annoyed by the lack of opportunity to ask questions of either politician, captioned the photo “Man in blue suit thanks firefighters”.

As usual, it’s all about image and message and not about substance. Probably a good idea when you get to the substance of what they have done.

Further reading here and here.

The photographer
will be done and paid before
the money’s unspent

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