Federal Liberal ministers and MPs continued their cross-country spending announcement tour last week, making 330 spending commitments on everything from fixing up bus stops in London, Ont., to building new dressing rooms at a hockey rink in western P.E.I., to funding a youth exchange program to be run by Tides Canada.
Those 330 spending commitments made from Aug. 19 to Aug. 25 total $2.85 billion.
For the week before that — Aug. 11-18 — Liberal MPs and ministers made 595 spending commitments worth a total of $4.9 billion.
Under Canada’s fixed-date elections law, the earliest Prime Minister Justin Trudeau could call this fall’s election would be Sept. 1 and the latest would be Sept. 15. Once he calls the election, all those spending announcements would stop.
That pace and scale of the spending announcements by the Trudeau government is significantly greater than a similar spending announcement program the Harper Conservative government engaged in just before the 2015 general election.
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In the entire month before former prime minister Stephen Harper called the election on Aug. 2, 2015, Conservative ministers and MPs made 604 spending commitments worth a combined $1.4 billion.
This data is generated by a database maintained exclusively for Global News that has tracked more than 28,000 federal spending announcements since 2011, through three Parliaments. The data is culled exclusively from government press releases and does not include projects or programs funded by Ottawa for which no press release was issued. There are no “re-announcements” in the database.
While the Liberal government put a heavy focus on spending commitments in New Brunswick and P.E.I. for the week of Aug. 11-18, there was a broader geographic focus for the week just ended, Aug. 19-25:
- The government was most active last week in Ontario with 110 projects funded for a combined $253 million.
- Quebec was the second most active region, with 67 projects funded for a total of $1.29 billion. That included a $1.2-billion commitment Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made on Aug. 19 to fund the development of a transit network in Quebec City.
- In British Columbia, Liberal ministers and MPs announced 29 spending commitments worth a combined $34 million.
- Prince Edward Island was the fourth most active province for spending announcements, with 22 announcements worth a combined $13.3 million. Veterans Affairs Lawrence MacAulay, alone, was responsible for 16 of those commitments worth $5.3 million — every single one of which will be spent on infrastructure projects in his eastern island riding of Cardigan.
- 176 of the funding commitments announced last week, worth a combined $244.8 million, will be for projects or programs in ridings where the Liberal party is the incumbent.
- 65 commitments worth a combined $57 million are for projects in Conservative ridings.
- 41 commitments worth a combined $82 million are for ridings held by New Democrats and 4 projects worth $4.5 million are in ridings held by the Bloc Quebecois.