The Tournament Capital of Canada is quickly turning into the announcement capital of B.C.
In the last four weeks, there have been five government announcements in Kamloops:
* A 10-point plan to streamline the justice system.
* A small-business consultation.
* Extension of a highway maintenance contract.
* Upgrades for the TRU law school.
* A trades and technology program for NorKam.
On top of that, Premier Christy Clark made a couple of announcements at the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention that have an impact on Kamloops:
* Acceleration of four-laning between Kamloops and the Alberta border.
* Power for the Yellowhead Mines project in the North Thompson.
And also from the UBCM convention:
* Confirmation of funding for Phase 2 of upgrades at Royal Inland Hospital.
That’s an impressive amount of attention for our fair city by any standard. So what’s going on? Well, there is an election coming on Tuesday, May 14, 2013.
Would the Liberal government really be so cynical as to shower us with goodies in the hopes of getting its MLAs re-elected? Of course they would. So would the NDP if it were in the same position.
But there may be more to what’s going on than this simple explanation. Kamloops has long been known as a bellwether riding in provincial politics. Few governments have been formed without at least one MLA here.
Even so, let’s keep in mind that every recent poll shows the NDP is a shoo-in come May.
It could be that the Liberals are planning for a worst-case scenario in which they are able to hold onto a few key MLAs capable of doing battle with an NDP government.
Terry Lake and Todd Stone would both make good fighters in an opposition.
Finally, all these announcements could wind up working against an NDP government. If they find there isn’t enough money to pay for them, they’ll be placed in the awkward position of explaining why Kamloops’ wish list is not being fulfilled.
Kamloops is in the eye of the hurricane that is B.C. politics, and it looks like we’ll benefit regardless of which way the winds blow.
We Say editorials represent the viewpoint of The Daily News and are written by editor Robert Koopmans, city editor Tracy Gilchrist, news editor Mike Cornell or associate news editors Dan Spark and Mark Rogers.