This last couple of weeks local politicians have embarked on a non-stop, self-love fest that has included bus tours, podium posturing and a barrage of press releases that all end in not-so-subtle musings about the very generous helping of tax dollars being returned to the people.
At each turn, municipal governments say thanks. The feds kick in their part and sing their own praises. And everyone is intended to leave feeling like their government is working for them.
Funding isn’t bad of course. That’s what a government does with the money they collect and there are some very obvious infrastructure needs in this region.
The humblebrag isn’t even that strange.
What feels wrong is that these projects aren’t announced until an election is clearly in sight, and the content of these announcements isn’t always forthright.
In a fit of glorious self-aggrandizing, someone in the press-release-writing pool always bundles the new with the old to make every announcement pop with a dash of deception.
Take Thursday’s local school funding announcement as an example.
The provincial press release went as so: “Students in the Central Okanagan School District will benefit from $3.8 million in provincial funding for a school upgrade project, classroom supplies and nine new school buses.”
It makes it sound like $3.8 million in new funding is being announced right that second, doesn’t it?
Read a little closer, however, and it’s not quite the case.
The district will extend the life of George Elliott Secondary school with $1.5 million in School Enhancement Program funding to upgrade the plumbing lines — that’s new.
Then there was $1.2 million for School Bus Replacement Program funding — that’s also new.
We’re up to $2.7 million.
Last but not least, the province highlighted the new Student Learning Grant, which will see the district receive $1.1 million to purchase classroom equipment and supplies such as textbooks, lab equipment and art supplies.
Wonderful news to schools that have been feeling the squeeze for a long time, but it’s not new.
Back on Feb. 21 2017, the Capital News reported this very same back-to-school-boost for B.C. classrooms.
So why is it in the announcement? Why does the government continually re-announce funds?
Do they have cognitive issues that need to be addressed or is it because they didn’t get enough credit the first time around?
Or are they banking on the men and women at local news desks being so overwhelmed that they won’t be able to clarify the messages they’re pumping out?
It’s not quite dishonest, but it’s sketchy and it’s insulting to the electorate who are not stupid and deserve a clear picture of what their government is doing for them.
After all, they’re already busy working more for less in this province. They shouldn’t have to wear a PR decoder ring each time a local politician embarks on the inevitable self-love tour.