REGINA, October 6, 2020 – On Tuesday, Andrew Scheer, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure and Catherine McKenna, Minister for Infrastructure, spoke on the phone. The following is a readout of their conversation.
Mr. Scheer and Ms. McKenna both agreed on the importance of infrastructure projects as a way to get people back to work and improve the standard of living for Canadians.
Mr. Scheer highlighted the following points:
- Ending the “Ottawa knows best” approach: Mr. Scheer urged the Minister to ensure that infrastructure programs are flexible to allow municipalities to respond to the needs of their communities, instead of the priorities of Ottawa politicians. He expressed concern about recent statements by senior Liberals that indicate that the government plans on using the pandemic to force its ideology on Canadians instead of responding to their needs.
- Fast-Tracking Existing Private Sector Projects: Mr. Scheer drew the Minister’s attention to the billions of dollars worth of large scale projects that are simply waiting for Cabinet approval. Mr. Scheer highlighted the benefit of these ready-to-go projects that would provide a huge stimulus to the economy without adding to government debt levels. He asked the Minister to do all she could to speed up the process and end the unnecessary and costly delays.
- The Infrastructure Bank Boondoogle: Mr. Scheer expressed frustration at the inability of the Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB) to complete any projects. Despite existing for over three years and receiving a budget of $35 Billion, the Bank has been a total failure. Mr. Scheer also raised concerns about the independence and mandate of the Bank, given the political nature of the announcement last week.
- A Plan for the CIB’s new prioritie:. Mr. Scheer noted that the Chair of the CIB had stated “This plan is the result of a serious analysis of current and potential projects. In short, this plan is real” and asked with hopeful optimism if he could receive a copy of it. Ms. McKenna indicated that she was not able to provide Mr. Scheer the documents, and instead suggested he contact the CIB directly.
- Credibility over government claims: At last week’s announcement, claims were made about job creation and economic growth linked to the Infrastructure Bank’s proposed goals. Mr. Scheer asked for any modelling or audits that would substantiate those claims. Ms. McKenna indicated that she was not able to provide Mr. Scheer those documents, and instead suggested he contact the CIB directly.
Mr. Scheer ended the call by encouraging the Minister to focus the government’s programs on real projects with real timelines that will provide real improvements to the lives people actually live.
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For more information, please contact Kenzie Potter.
Phone: (613) 301-0917