This is the time of year when federal department's spending estimates become public. Here's the situation at Library and Archives Canada for the fiscal year just started.
In the organization 2008-2009 Main Estimates LAC plans current fiscal year total expenditures of $158 million. This is a major increase over the expenditures foreseen in the Main Estimates a year ago. Then total expenditures for 2008-2009 were a forecast $101 million.
Full credit to LAC managers. When many of us were lamenting the prospect of reduced funding to LAC for this year, as shown in last year's estimates, down to $101 million from $119 million in 2007-2008, I was told that such a decrease was highly unlikely. How right they were.
The table below shows that the Estimates for three years, the rows, consistently show the current year, in red, as having a peak expenditure with a forecast reduction in subsequent years.
But is there more to the story? A large part of the increase from last year is accounted for by the budget for the component "Making the Documentary Heritage Known and Accessible for Use" which includes funding for ongoing public services. That budget goes from $42 million to $69 million.
It would be nice to think we can expect 64% more public service. Unfortunately, Doug Rimmer, ADM responsible for this area informs me that "Much if not all of the variation that you point out is due to capital projects, IT projects or other special funding and is not a reflection of changes to our operating dollars - which is what funds our day-to-day operations."
If I were on the parliamentary committee reviewing these estimates I'd be asking for clarification on exactly where the increased finding is going.