Federal dollars arrive in time for election
You don’t need a calendar to know how close the next federal election is. All you need is a newspaper. Almost every day there is another announcement in the newspaper of more federal dollars for projects in P.E.I.
The projects range from relatively small ones in the grand scheme of things to a $24 million facelift for the National Park that will see improvements made to roadways, campgrounds and buildings owned by Parks Canada.
Egmont MP Gail Shea has been on hand for many of these funding announcements.
This week alone Ms. Shea has attended five funding announcements and there are at least two more planned before next Tuesday.
And she’s not the only one flashing federal cash.
Conservative MPs all over the country have been rolling out podiums to announce federal funding for all manner of projects and initiatives.
Getting a major influx of money from Ottawa is a good thing right?
Most people would likely agree on that point.
But it would be foolish to believe that all of these announcements are being made because the federal Conservative government just happened to glance down from on high long enough to see there were things that needed to be done here.
Ms. Shea admits the pace of these announcements has accelerated and that the reason is the looming federal election, scheduled for Oct. 19.
But she rejects the notion the increase in funding announcements is an exercise in vote buying.
Ms. Shea may reject that notion but there are likely a good number of Islanders who truly believe that that is exactly what is happening.
Some can’t help but question why money that has been available to Ottawa since the federal budget was brought down this spring is only flowing out of the nation’s capital now, when the federal NDP are soaring in the polls.
Malpeque MP Wayne Easter is one of them.
Mr. Easter said this week these federal investments are welcome but many of them should have been made months or even years ago.
Easter charges that the Harper government has been holding out on announcing this money so they could dole out millions in federal cash just as the country heads to the polls.
And it’s not just the timing of these announcements that rubs some people the wrong way. It’s the manner in which they are made. There’s no such thing as simply picking up the telephone and informing the lucky souls on the other end of the line that Ottawa has decided to fund their project.
No MP showing up on your doorstep like the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes team with an oversized cheque.
These announcements are full-blown media events, major photo ops in which everybody gets a chance to smile and thank Ottawa for giving them back their own money. They also come with a price tag of their own. It isn’t cheap to fly people around the country to make these announcements. But hey, it’s an investment in the future. Yes, perhaps it is. But it’s as much an investment in their future as yours. But no, they’re not trying to buy your vote. Wouldn’t think of it. In the case of Prince Edward Island one can’t help but wonder though if there would be so many federal dollars flowing to this province if the Conservatives were not hopeful of making inroads here in the next election.