Well, we had hardly finished British Columbia’s annual flower count when “thank you” notes from Ottawa started arriving.
We don’t get many of those out here in the golden west; not even when we send bunches of freshly picked daffodils to friends and families still locked in ice and snow. Sometimes, especially from old friends or loving family members, the thanks are strangely expressed in photos of a single finger threateningly extended.
This year, on the day the capital city Victoria celebrated the old Queen’s birthday, a chap from Ottawa, Marc Miller, flew into town and handed us a cheque for $15.3 million. Mr. Miller was introduced as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations.
He said the money came from the Disaster Mitigation and Adaption Fund and would be used to update, replace and refurbish water, sanitary sewer and storm drain collection systems. With existing systems up to 100 years old and climate change and global warming in these parts accelerating at twice the speed of the global average, there is an urgency to the project.
Mr. Miller never did say how Crown-Indigenous Relations came to be supervising the hand-out. But, wait for a few more paragraphs before rushing to judgment because on the day Mr. Miller handed over the $15.3 million, Tourism Minister Melanie Joly was in Montreal announcing a cash transfer of $58.5 million to help Canada programs designed “to boost international visits to Canada during non-peak seasons.”
We haven’t seen this amount of “gold” flashed around in these parts since the great gold rush when Victoria was the main city of supply for the dreams of Klondike.
And, hey, pay attention. That crazy early spring flower count with millions of golden daffs crowding eastern flower shops is reasonably solid evidence that BC, from Whistler to the gardens of Vancouver Island – amateur and professional – will have claim to funding from the $58.5 million funds.
Then, there was another bonanza confirming the arrival of the handout season. This one from the man himself – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – announcing an $11.7 billion (yes, it’s a “B”) to build a brand-new Coast Guard fleet. That will see 18 ships built at Seaspan, Vancouver, and Irving Shipbuilding, Halifax.
Time now for full confession on Victoria’s flower count and its influence on monetary decisions in Ottawa, which is – none. So what else could spark the sudden generous, money launch?
Simple. There’s an election due in October, and they’ve just brought out the honey wagon a little earlier than usual. Expect more in the coming weeks as the government disperses all the sweets it can while the opposition cries foul and responds with promises it can’t keep.
Two things to remember as we dream on summer beaches of National Government philanthropy. (1): the only money government has is money donated with heavy complaint by the people. It now, to stay in power, offers back bundles of cash we once owned.
And (2) we politely say “thank you” as we recall one of the few President Ronald Reagan quotes that deserve replaying when politics are front and centre as they are now until October: “Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.”