THOMPSON-OKANAGAN – With a federal election less than three months away, local MP’s are ramping up their push to promote their accomplishments over the past year.
It’s not unusual for politicians to send releases to the media to show the work they do and the money they’ve secured for their areas, but a breakdown of recent announcements shows just how much of an impact an election has on the number of the releases sent out by campaign staff.
Earlier today the Canadian Press reported that federal cabinet ministers have made more than $1.4 billion in spending promises in the last two days. Conservatives have made 101 announcements of either new money for infrastructure or promises “recycled from the April budget.”
Add in 12 reminders the government put out about how much the provinces will receive in federal gas tax funding to pay for infrastructure this year and the total dollar figure for all the announcements to Friday afternoon totals almost $3.36 billion, CP reports.
Kelowna-Lake Country MP Ron Cannan sent just one release in January this year. He sent three in February, one in March, one in April, two in May, and three in June. But in the last week alone he sent out nine press releases.
Cannan is not the only MP blasting reporters with a flurry of releases at the start of campaign season.
Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo MP Cathy McLeod said relatively little throughout the spring, but she put ten releases on her website in the last two days. Only three of those had a direct impact on her riding.
Okanagan-Coquihalla MP Dan Albas rarely puts out news releases, but instead publishes regular newsletters touting his and his party's funding accomplishments. In the last week, however, he has sent two releases about two locally relevent projects.
The only MP not seeking re-election, Okanagan-Shuswap’s Colin Mayes, has sent out slightly more than his usual four to six releases per month since January. In July, seven releases were published to his website – four of those directly impacted his constituents.
Things are certainly worse in some other ridings.
On Thursday, July 30, Aaron Orlando of the Revelstoke Mountaineer reported that MP David Wilks announced federal funding for Mt. Revelstoke and Glacier national parks. The problem is that the $32.6 million in funds was “padded with projects from last year’s budget that were already underway.”
It is thought Prime Minister Stephen Harper will call an early election – perhaps even this weekend – which would allow him to spend more than the $25 million candidates were allowed to spend prior to the Fair Elections Act implemented last year. If the writ is dropped Sunday, it will make this the longest election in Canadian history. And likely the most expensive for taxpayers as well.
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