Opinion: And so it begins

The flurry of recent funding announcements come against a backdrop of aggressive campaigning that began months ago

If the rumours are right, one of the longest federal election campaigns in the nation’s history will launch this weekend.

Prime Minster Stephen Harper is expected to visit the Governor General on Sunday, putting into motion an 11-week campaign leading up to an Oct. 19 election.

Typically, campaigns are 37 days. However, the recent Fair Elections Act changed that. Now, with greater flexibility on election spending, political parties can run longer (and ultimately more expensive) campaigns.

Voters in Chilliwack, however, could be excused for thinking the campaign started months ago.

The flurry of recent funding announcements come against a backdrop of aggressive campaigning by candidates hoping to unseat incumbent Mark Strahl. Twitter feeds, Facebook pages, and email in-baskets have been filled with electioneering and hype.

The drip-drip of government announcements reached a torrent this week. Since Monday, more than 55 announcements were made, ranging from support for smoking cessation programs, to support for seniors, veterans and First Nations. There was money for municipal infrastructure programs, contract extensions for airports and improvements to seaports and dock facilities.

In Chilliwack, nearly a quarter-million dollars in federal money was presented on Tuesday for upgrades to the Landing Leisure spray park. More money was dolled out Wednesday for salmon research and habitat enhancement.

The funds follow another cheque, delivered two weeks ago for a portion of the Vedder Bridge replacement.

Next week, the campaign will take on another tone. Once parliament is dissolved incumbent MPs are free to tap their own war chests and begin campaigning in earnest.

It promises to be a long 11 weeks.

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