Prime Minister Stephen Harper stands in front of a sign promoting Canada's Economic Action Plan. A contract to paint similar road signs was awarded to a U.S. company by B.C. ((Government of Canada))

A member of the B.C. legislature wants to know why the provincial government is paying a Washington state company to make road signs extolling Canadian stimulus spending.

The NDP's Katrine Conroy was so taken aback after seeing the signs in her Kootenay West riding she brought it up during question period in the legislature recently.

"They say 'Canada's Economic Action Plan'. Shouldn't it just be common sense that you'd spend the money bragging about this in B.C.," asked Conroy.

'That is part of the process of finding the best value for dollars.' —B.C.'s Minister of Transportation Shirley Bond

The signs promote the $8 million federal-provincial economic stimulus plan, which is supposed to provide work for small and medium sized B.C. businesses, said Conroy.

Instead the roads signs were made by Zumar Industries from Tacoma, Wash., which has received more than $1 million in work from the B.C. government in the last four years, she said.

"An investment in B.C. is more important than an investment in Tacoma, Wash. We could easily make these signs in our region," she said.

But Transportation Minister Shirley Bond made no apologies for spending the cash to promote the stimulus project in the U.S., saying the province uses four suppliers for signs, three of which are from B.C.

"There is a competitive bidding process and sometimes we go outside of British Columbia and outside of Canada. That is part of the process of finding the best value for dollars," said Bond.