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Politics

Liberals continue spending frenzy on eve of election call: $2.8B last week

WATCH: Liberals spend summer committing cash ahead of election

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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NOTEBOOK: How we use Twitter to keep track of thousands of federal government spending announcements

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.

READ MORE: ANALYSIS: N.B., P.E.I. most recent winners of Trudeau government pre-election spending

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:

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WATCH: Liberals make the most of travel ahead of federal election
Liberals make the most of travel ahead of federal election
Liberals make the most of travel ahead of federal election
In addition to the $1.2 billion commitment for Quebec City transit, the other big-spending commitment made last week was by International Development Minister Maryam Monsef, who announced that Canada would contribute $930.4 million to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for 2020-2022.
The Global News Ottawaspends database also tracks spending by riding where applicable and the score for the last week on that front was:
  • 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.
The spending announcements are set to continue Monday with nearly two dozen cheque handouts. Liberal MPs and ministers have press conferences where they will announce new funding commitments scheduled Monday in Ottawa, Montreal and Vancouver as well as Cornwallis, N.S., Wolfville, N.S., Indian Brook, N.S., Antigonish, N.S., Chipman, N.B., Shediac, N.B., Alma, N.B.,  Macamic, Que., La Sarre, Q.C., Mississauga, Ont., Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., Emerald Park, Sask., Surrey, B.C., Saanichton, B.C, and Burwash Landing, Yukon.
Editor’s Note: The data on this page has been updated to incorporate a spending announcement made late on August 25 with commitments to fund several arts and culture projects in Alberta.
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