Liberal MP Sukh Dhaliwal is defending his government’s spending record in Surrey-Newton following a recent news report indicating it “appears to have received the least amount of federal love since Trudeau took office.”
Global News developed a database on spending announcements from the Harper and Trudeau governments revealing that Trudeau’s Liberal government has made almost 9,000 spending announcements in just over two years.
In comparison, the Tories made 7,300 spending announcements during Harper’s four-year majority government, the report noted.
Dhaliwal landed at the bottom of Global’s list with federal financial support for one project since November 2015 — an $800 cheque toward funding an Aboriginal Day celebration and a local prison. The report came with a caveat that the database doesn’t track every federal grant, contribution or loan but rather tracks spending announcements and related press releases.
“I’m not one of those that brag about that we invested this much money,” Dhaliwal explained, concerning Surrey-Newton’s bottom-of the-heap ranking in the report.
“That’s why we didn’t keep a track.”
Dhaliwal told the Now-Leader that “over $10 million has come into the riding in 2017 alone.”
Last February $7.3 million went to Kwantlen Polytechnic University to renovate and add a building at Surrey’s Newton campus, and $2.4 million was provided by Employment and Social Development Canada “for diversity for the skilled link funded future leader program to help immigrant youth,” Dhaliwal said.
He added $500,000 went to replace a roof at the Newton Wave Pool last year and the feds sent $46,441 into the riding for a seniors’ program.
“Basically, when we got elected the main focus was the middle-class families and I personally take it very serious when it comes to supporting my constituents,” Dhaliwal said. “That has been the priority for me, whether it is to providing good service in my constituency office or delivering investments for the projects in the riding, or attending the events.”
Dhaliwal said more than $8 million in Canada child benefits to families comes into Surrey Newton each month. “This is the highest ever, that number.”
The MP said Surrey Newton receives the highest amount in child care benefits “in all of Canada. This shows that there’s more young middle-class families living in Surrey-Newton, and that’s where the priority of the government, and that’s where the priority of the prime minister and the cabinet has always been there. I will continue to fight.
“And on the top of it,” he added, “LRT is going to come, right. The Surrey light rail transit, that funding has gone into — it’s not the one riding, it goes into every, it comes into Surrey Newton as well, right. We have invested that money into the LRT as well, right.”