Canadian government hires US company to create signs
Large new road signs have been seen all over the West Kootenays that describe the Federal and Provincial government’s partnership with the title “Canada’s Economic Action Plan”. The plan boasts of investing $8 million in infrastructure projects throughout BC. According to the federal government press release, the projects funded are supposed to provide work opportunities for small and medium sized BC businesses.
Ironically, Kootenay West MLA, Katrine Conroy and BC Southern Interior MP, Alex Atamanenko received information that shows that the signs were made by Zumar Industries from Tacoma, Washington. The Provincial Ministry of Transportation has a contract with the American company to supply the signs for the province. The signs are of a standard construction that most local sign shops can reproduce however these local small businesses cannot expect to benefit from this project.
MLA Conroy questioned the Minister of Transportation in the Legislature last week and received no satisfactory reply. Conroy asked “in the last four years, Zumar Industries in Tacoma, Washington has received over a million dollars in contracts from the BC Government-over a million dollars of BC’s taxpayer dollars. We know that sign companies here in BC can produce exactly the same signs as the minister has contracted with them. So how can the minister condone this?” Minister Bond simply replied that the Ministry of Transportation has a sign shop and “wherever possible and whenever possible, we look at the best competitive advantage.”
MP Alex Atamanenko wondered if the Conservative Government of Stephen Harper understood that the signs used to tell the Canadian public about the investment to Canadian small businesses were in fact made in the US.
Both Conroy and Atamanenko have called on the BC and Canadian governments to end the hypocrisy and to start real investment in small businesses by allowing local sign shops to produce these signs.