Fed­eral dol­lars ar­rive in time for elec­tion

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - EDITORIAL -

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.

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