There are many indicators, but none so clear as the novelty cheque. It's long been an election season tradition to speed through communities announcing zeros to fanfare, and Squamish this week reaped some of that bounty as West Vancouver-Sunshine Coast-Sea to Sky Country MP John Weston and West Vancouver-Garibaldi MLA Joan McIntyre took to a malfunctioning mic at the Adventure Centre, where they each announced hundreds of thousands of funding dollars.
"This is about elections," cracked a member of the elbow-to-elbow audience, moments before McIntyre's mic sent horrific feedback into all corners of the room.
Weston came with an oversized, blue-striped cheque stamped with $375,000 in the amount owing field. The money comes from the Towns for Tomorrow fund and will be used to build a new pavilion in Stan Clarke Park, where the old one was razed after its structural integrity was deemed a risk to homeless people seeking shelter beneath it.
For her part, an unplugged McIntyre, occasionally hard to hear over the good times din, announced just over $282,500 in monies transferred from traffic violations, this not long after a recent budget spending survey in which a few community members lamented the traffic-obsessed RCMP.
She also announced $280,196 for infrastructure, these funds coming under the auspices of the province's Small Communities program.
Far from finished, she reimbursed the district $4,530 from the carbon tax, which she termed a levy. She also threw dollars at the Lions Club, pledging over $80,000 for roof and laundry room repairs. Finally, she announced playground funds for both Squamish Elementary and Cedar Valley schools; the latter gets $18,000 and the former $20,000.
The provincial election is May 12, and the Liberals enter the fray with a seven-seat majority in a politically charged environment.
Meanwhile, the federal budget passed in record time, though that Liberal party is gearing up for an election with an upcoming and secretive policy convention.