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Pre-writ vows nearly $140M

Conservatives roll out big funding announcements

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/8/2015 (1472 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Conservative government went into an overdrive of infrastructure funding announcements in Manitoba in the few days before Sunday's election call, promising nearly $140 million for projects around the province.

The bevy of announcements sent Conservative ministers and MPs, especially those running for re-election, to public events where they unveiled funding packages under a handful of signature federal infrastructure plans.

The Conservatives hold all but three federal seats in Manitoba, so a lot of the funding went into Conservative-held ridings. But the announcements had the added benefit of putting Conservative MPs seeking re-election front and centre, all on the taxpayers' dime.

An analysis of government announcements from last week shows more than 70 scattered projects across Manitoba got funding, all announced from July 27 to Aug. 1. The election was called on Aug. 2, and no further funding announcements can be made after that.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 6/8/2015 (1472 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The Conservative government went into an overdrive of infrastructure funding announcements in Manitoba in the few days before Sunday's election call, promising nearly $140 million for projects around the province.

The bevy of announcements sent Conservative ministers and MPs, especially those running for re-election, to public events where they unveiled funding packages under a handful of signature federal infrastructure plans.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files
Provincial minister Drew Caldwell (left), MP Joyce Bateman and Mayor Brian Bowman  announce Waverley underpass funding.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS files Provincial minister Drew Caldwell (left), MP Joyce Bateman and Mayor Brian Bowman announce Waverley underpass funding.

The Conservatives hold all but three federal seats in Manitoba, so a lot of the funding went into Conservative-held ridings. But the announcements had the added benefit of putting Conservative MPs seeking re-election front and centre, all on the taxpayers' dime.

An analysis of government announcements from last week shows more than 70 scattered projects across Manitoba got funding, all announced from July 27 to Aug. 1. The election was called on Aug. 2, and no further funding announcements can be made after that.

In addition, the federal government announced it would contribute $165 million to a plan to mitigate flooding in communities close to Lake Manitoba.

The funding came from a range of programs, chiefly the Small Communities Fund, which is a part of the New Building Canada Fund. The fund includes $1 billion for projects in Canadian cities with fewer than 100,000 people. The provinces submit project proposals to the federal government and in many cases jointly contribute to the funding.

Since the Small Communities Fund targets smaller cities, and the Conservatives hold rural ridings that have small cities, the money ends up mostly going in to Conservative ridings in Manitoba. Last week, Conservative MPs announced nearly $60 million in funding under the Small Communities Fund.

The Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Fund, a boutique plan worth $150 million for upgrading community facilities across the country, was a smaller source of money but provided another opportunity for reaching out to many neighbourhoods. Small amounts of money went out to about 40 community centres, parks and schools for facility upgrades and gave Conservative MPs another chance to make announcements in their ridings. About $4.2 million in funding was announced under this program.

Here is a list of Conservative MPs and the value of funding announcements they made:

Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files
Tories James Bezan (left), MP for Selkirk-Interlake, and Lawrence Toet, MP for Elmwood-Transcona, made funding announcements before the election.

Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files Tories James Bezan (left), MP for Selkirk-Interlake, and Lawrence Toet, MP for Elmwood-Transcona, made funding announcements before the election.

Candice Bergen

The MP for Portage-Lisgar announced close to $25 million under the Small Communities Fund and Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Fund. She is minister of state for social development and was also on hand for the announcement of $165 million in federal funding for better flood protection near Lake Manitoba. She is running for re-election.

James Bezan

The MP for Selkirk-Interlake clocked in around $15 million in funding announcements under the Small Communities Fund. Bezan, who is the parliamentary secretary to Defence Minister Jason Kenney, is seeking re-election and was also on hand for the Lake Manitoba flood-protection announcement.

Joy Smith

Smith, the MP for Kildonan-St. Paul, is not seeking re-election. She did not feature prominently in last week's announcements, clocking in a mere $532,000 in funding packages.

Joyce Bateman

The MP for Winnipeg South Centre won her riding by a mere 722 votes in 2011. Prior to that, the riding was held by the Liberals. Bateman is seeking re-election and was on hand for funding announcements nearing $50 million last week. Most of that was the $46-million contribution to the Waverley underpass, which will bring serious traffic relief to people in her riding.

Larry Maguire

The MP for Brandon-Souris made announcements totalling $31 million in funding. In addition, he was on hand to announce a federal commitment of up to $19.2 million (final amount depending on the final cost of the project) for a new four-lane divided overpass in Brandon. Maguire is seeking re-election.

Lawrence Toet

Toet is another MP who faces a challenge in his riding. He won Elmwood-Transcona by only 300 votes, defeating Liberal Jim Malloway. He made announcements nearing $50 million in his riding, mostly small upgrades under the Canada 150 fund.

Ted Falk and Robert Sopuck

Falk, the MP for Provencher, clocked in announcements totalling $3.7 million, while Sopuck, MP for Dauphin-Swan River-Neepawa, announced $7.9 million. Both are seeking re-election in safe Conservative ridings.

inayat.singh@freepress.mb.ca

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