Billion Dollar Boondoggle

An irresistibly alliterative term bound to be bandied about by opposition parties at the first whiff of scandal.

The first “Billion Dollar Boondoggle” decried by opposition MPs was the “HRDC scandal” of 20001 – under the watch of the Jean Chrétien government and Human Resources and Development Canada Minister Jane Stewart. A preliminary audit revealed that millions of dollars in departmental funds had gone missing. Subsequent audits actually whittled the number down to a comparatively paltry $65,000 that could not be accounted for – but the damage was done.

The term has also been applied to the Firearms Registry2, another Chrétien initiative (abolished by the Harper government).

As often happens in politics, the term “Billion Dollar Boondoggle”, so gleefully wielded by the Conservatives in opposition, has boomeranged on them in office. The controversy of the costs for security at the 2010 G-7 and G-20 Summits was termed a “Billion Dollar Boondoggle”. So too was the Harper Government’s procurement of the F-35 fighter jet;3 though with estimates now that the procurement is a minimum $10 billion over budget, the term “Billion Dollar Boondoggle” for once seems like an understatement.

As with any proven political tactic, “Billion Dollar Boondoggle” is not confined to the Federal scene. Opposition members in the Ontario Legislature wasted no time in labelling the McGuinty [see Premier Dad] government’s decision to cancel – in the middle of the 2011 election – the construction of two controversial gas plants a “Billion Dollar Boondoggle”.

Image Source: Huffington Post

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