The B.C. government began its Friday afternoon by going on a large spending spree, publishing 20 news releases within two hours.
In total, the government had sent out 29 news releases on Friday by 3 p.m., with the majority containing funding announcements. All notices combined, the province announced over $2.33 billion in spending over a period of seven hours.
The biggest chunk of change — $2.2 billion — was directed to funding phase two of the 10-year Metro Vancouver transportation plan.
While that announcement came early Friday morning, the province sent out 20 news releases between 1:30 p.m. and 3 p.m., totaling another $67.6 million in spending.
Before the spending splurge began at about 1:40 p.m., the government had already committed over $64.5 million to projects across the province, bringing the day’s spending announcements to a total of $2,332,129,453.
Norman Ruff, a political scientist at the University of Victoria, says all the funding announcements just 39 days ahead of the provincial election is “shameless.”
“Putting cynicism to one side, you could also say that this is democracy at work. The government is using public funds for expenditures they should have engaged in long ago. It’s the pressure of the ballot box that is getting them to loosen their purse strings,” Ruff told Global News.
But he adds that while the government is likely relying on the electorate to be grateful for the new projects, voters may be turned off by how long it took.
Despite hundreds of funding announcements over the last month, Ruff maintains, “Sometimes people can’t be bought.”