25 February 2005

The Government of Canada: Working for you!

No, I am not being sarcastic.

Here's a release today from provincial health minister John Ottenheimer announcing $16.8 million in new money for early learning and child care.

Here's the lead sentence:

"Investing in the province’s children today will help them realize their promise for tomorrow," said Health and Community Services Minister John Ottenheimer as he today unveiled new investment plans for three areas in early learning and child care."

At last, a modest but very important investment by the provincial government in a social program that is much needed. Must be part of the big January offshore dividend.

Not frickin likely.

You have to get to the third paragraph before you realize this is all federal government money.

Three provincial cabinet ministers are quoted in the release praising the program.

Maybe the words Government of Canada are in some kind of invisible ink that you need a secret decoder ring to see.

As the last paragraph states:

"The $16.8 million supporting this initiative is Newfoundland and Labrador’s share of the 2003 federal-provincial and territorial framework for early learning and child care aimed at improving access to affordable, quality, regulated early learning and child care services for children under six years."

Never forget that federal politicians have been complaining for years through umpteen administrations of both red and blue stripe that Ottawa never gets credit for the money it spends.

Read this release and you will have no problem figuring out Ottawa's image problem.

With all the nationalist and separatist sentiment coursing through the province in the wake of the offshore deal, you would think the feds would be anxious to have a flag tattooed on every available rump in the province. An investment like this in our children solely by the Government of Canada surely warrants some acknowledge of the feds' role in it all.

It doesn't require a big advertising campaign, a bunch of neckties and some fridge magnets to get the word out that "Government of Canada" is not just a Figure 11 target.