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Why have there been so many funding announcements in Saint John this week?

Click to play video: 'A look at sudden funding influx to Saint John region' A look at sudden funding influx to Saint John region
WATCH: Travis Fortnum takes a look at why several more funding announcements have been made in the Saint John region – May 27, 2022

Residents living in the federal riding of Saint John-Rothesay have seen a lot of their member of Parliament this week.

Friday alone, Wayne Long spoke at three announcements where federal cash was doled out.

“It’s been a week like I’ve never had,” said Long.

“And if you want to go back two weeks, we’ve announced over $100 million for southern new Brunswick.”

Most notably, Long served as master of ceremonies for a nearly $85-million announcement alongside Saint John’s harbour Wednesday – about half of that federal cash.

Read more: Over $84M announced for upgrades to port, rail in New Brunswick

Provincial ministers Arlene Dunn and Trevor Holder also taking part, with their team chipping in about $17 million.

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Friday, Long started the day at an announcement in Quispamsis with New Brunswick Premier Blaine Higgs.

The feds contributed $227,000 for playground improvements. The provincial government nearly matched that with $220,000 earmarked.

Quispamsis Mayor Libby O’Hara also spoke at that announcement, with the mayor of Saint John speaking at Wednesday’s.

It’s been a big week for political voices in the area – with representatives from all three levels speaking up at some point.

The thing is, it’s not like residents in the Saint John region are heading to the polls any time soon – so is it unusual to be hearing from elected officials this much?

J.P. Lewis, associate professor of political science at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John, says not really.

“Nowadays more than ever governments always seem to be in campaign mode,” Lewis said.

He said one of the reasons politicians may be seizing the opportunity to announce every bit of funding is that they can for the first time in a while.

“Maybe part of it has to do with things opening up a bit more at this stage of the pandemic and governments feeling more comfortable making these announcements and getting together with other levels of government,” said Lewis.

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“But at the same time, governments are always campaigning.”

Read more: Satisfaction with N.B. government under Blaine Higgs on the decline, survey finds

One campaign that is ongoing, the federal Conservative Party’s leadership race, has not shied away from the Saint John region either.

Frontrunner Pierre Poilievre will stop by the city for the third time as candidate this weekend – Lewis not surprised by that either.

“If the Conservatives want to form a minority in the next election, this is the type of riding that they need to win,” he said.

Conservative leadership hopeful Pierre Poilievre, seen here speaking in the city in March, returns to Saint John this weekend. Travis Fortnum / Global News

The federal riding is no stranger to the blue. Long has held the seat since 2015, but it belonged to the Conservative Party for seven years before that.

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And in the early 90s, Elsie Wayne sat comfortably as MP for a decade.

“The Conservatives have always said, ‘This is our riding, you’re doing a good job, Wayne, but you’re just visiting and it’s our riding,’” said Long.

He adds that part of the reason he’s been able to make so many announcements in the riding this week is that he’s actually been here – though he’s headed back to Ottawa soon into the summer.

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