Well known conservative mayor Rob Ford with keen supporter Don Cherry

Well known conservative mayor Rob Ford with keen supporter Don Cherry

2014 Tory budget names Don Cherry as inheritor of large portion of taxpayer money


OTTAWA—There has been a lot of speculation and concern regarding the Federal government’s upcoming 2014 budget scheduled for release on February 11. While Harper’s Tories have striven with gum and glue for an air-tight ship, closely guarding budget information, one item of interest has been leaked online.

The leak divulges an estimated $1Bn budget-spending initiative, which has critics skeptical about the Tory Government’s earlier-purported fiscal restraint. This earmarked money, almost entirely resistant to Access-to-Information and Privacy-Act requests, will allegedly be partially used to subsidize the salaries for Don Cherry and co-host Ron MacClean.

Cherry and MacClean, best known for their roles on CBC’s Coach’s Corner, will reportedly be promised high-dollar contracts as part of this secretive government initiative. MacClean, who has been the CBC’s go-to for Olympic coverage for over a decade has apparently been earning over $600,000 a year, as of a 2002 report. The price tag on his retainer and enthusiastic commentary will undoubtedly have risen sharply since. Entrenched industry experts anticipate the duo’s contracts costing taxpayers over $1Mn annually for undisclosed terms. If the recent outcry is an indicator, this controversial payoff will not go ignored by the opposition parties.

Cherry last dove into politics when he offered his keen support to conservative problem-child Rob Ford and his bid at re-election in Toronto.  Cherry, a well known conservative has snuggled up close with a number of high ranking members of the Conservative Party of Canada.  His relationship has forced many critics to question to motives behind this latest earmark.

The NDP and Liberal Party have grilled the Government in the House of Commons for its allegedly partisan media campaigns and promotions. The Conservative Government faced tough criticism for the estimated $114Mn it spent on promoting the Economic Action Plan, which ended two years ago, as well as for the Canada Jobs Grant, which was not yet viable while commercials detailing its benefits aired on television stations and radio networks nationwide. With the de-funding of hundreds of government science and research positions, including the near-closure of the Experimental Lakes Area, many have begun to question why the government is seeking to pay silver-spoon salaries to media personalities while their critical fields of research are being permitted to fall into neglect.

With the current challenges in the forefront of many people’s minds, the new earmarked dollars have plenty skeptical about the Government’s intents and fiscal responsibility. While few details are expected to be made public between now and the tabling of the new budget, the opposition will no doubt go nuclear in the interest of greater transparency.