Following the publication of an article by Globe and Mail journalist Bill Curry, that noted that in a context of "government-wide restraint", the budget of the Correctional Service of Canada was "projected to rise 27 per cent from the 2010-2011 fiscal year to 2012-13, when it will reach $3.1 billion" (read 29 March 2010 article), I conducted additional research to compare how much the Government of Canada was spending on prisons (read 31 March 2010 post) and victims of 'crime' (read 6 April 2010 post A).
At that time, I had noted that CSC's budget had increased to $2.46 billion, up 54% from $1.597 billion in 2005-2006, the last year the Liberals were in power. I also found that while the overall budget for victims of 'crime' had increased from $13 million in 2009-2010 to $16.3 million in 2010-2011, the Conservatives made cuts to some portions of the victims portfolio, that - according to Steve Sullivan, the first Ombudsman for the Victims of Crime - were earmarked for frontline service provision (read 6 April 2010 post B).
Today, Curry was at it again, having combed the newly released 2011-2012 Main Estimates to find that, in the context of massive government deficits, the Conservatives had still managed to set aside some penal bacon and gravy, with a 21% increase in CSC's budget (read article; also see articles by John Ivison and David Akin). While the non-fiscal Conservatives pegged CSC's expenditures for 2011-2012 to be $2.926 billion in last year's budget (read CSC Report on Plans and Priorities, section 1.4), it looks like they missed their mark by $55.5 million, having set aside $2.981 billion in the 2011-2012 Main Estimates for their federal penal fiefdom. It also appears that they have again increased funding for some victims programs and decreased funding for others, or that at the very least some victims budget shifting has occurred that requires further explanation. See below to judge the federal government's main estimates for yourself.
Total Budget = $2.98 billion
UP 21.2% from $2.46 billion (2010-2011)
UP 86.7% from $1.597 billion (2005-2006)
Capital Expenditures = $517.5 million
UP 57.1% from $329.4 million (2010-2011)
UP 374.5% from $138.2 million (2005-2006)
* Source: 2011-2012 Main Estimates, page 299.
Office of the Ombudsman for Victims of Crime = $737,543
UP 4% from $712,271 (2010-2011)
* Source: 2011-2012 Main Estimates, page 229.
Child Advocacy Centres = $1.4 million (new money)
Victims of Crime Initiative = $4.8 million (new money)
* Source: 2011-2012 Main Estimates, page 230.
Grants for the Victims of Crime Initiative = $350,000
DOWN 30% from $500,000 (2010-2011)
DOWN 142.8% from $850,000 (2009-2010)
Contributions for the Victims of Crime Initiative = $4,736,566
DOWN 10% from $5,250,000 (2010-2011)
DOWN 60.4% from $7,598,000 (2009-2010)
* Source: 2011-2012 Main Estimates, page 231.
Budget Figures You Can Trust?
The figures above do not match the rhetoric of a government that claims it is strongly committed to meeting the needs of victims that, as noted by Steve Sullivan, "are very complex. They're not easy solutions. It's not about a tag line about building more prisons or getting tougher on criminals. Their needs are complex and they're very in-depth and they're long-term" (read 6 April 2010 post B). For the non-fiscal Conservatives, the needs of victims is just another issue that can be dealt with by increasing our reliance on incarceration - a failed approach to reducing victimization, at a hefty price tag.
Since Conservative MP Shelly Glover stated "I have to disagree with some of the numbers" that I had presented on CBC's Power & Politics with Evan Solomon on 31 March 2010 concerning CSC's budget pulled from the 2010-2011 Main Estimates (read 1 April 2010 post), this time around I encourage you to download the 2011-2012 Main Estimates for yourself (click here). From there, use the search function and type "Correctional Service of Canada" (see pages 17, 38, 290, 299, 302, 377, 392, 403, 501 and 502). Repeat the same exercise by typing "victims" (see pages 144, 229, 230, 231, 301, 460, 480 and 502 for the results). If you find the same figures that I've outlined above, don't be fooled by a Conservative MP should one again deny their own budget figures when presented with them. Yes, they do exist - as inconvenient as that might be.