It sounds nutty, but it's true: Premier Dalton McGuinty's personal ministry is spending $150,000 to study the sex lives of northern flying squirrels.
McGuinty, who is also Minister of Research and Innovation, a department he created last June, is the government's point person on scientific and technological funding.
The ministry website says the province is bankrolling an exhaustive examination of northern flying squirrels' habits at Laurentian University in Sudbury to the tune of $150,000 over five years.
"How do environmental influences, things like food availability, predators and climate changes affect wild animals and their ability to procreate? That's a question Dr. Albrecht Schulte-Hostedde at Laurentian University hopes to answer," the website says.
It's easy for us to sneer at what appears to be a frivolous waste of taxpayers money to see how and why flying squirrels f**k.
But the advance of scientific knowledge is a worthy endeavour at the public expense, however recondite the subject matter might be to the general public.
There are far more egregiously wasteful line items in the budget to complain about, but they don't have the same instant headline cachet as this.