Green Party of Canada response to Question 1

Question:  What are your party’s plans to fund public transit in Canada and in Calgary?

Answer:  Transit ridership is growing in Canada. Federal investments in transit infrastructure simply are not keeping up. We have a funding gap of almost $18 billion. The growing demand for transit is an opportunity to build the livable communities that we want. Investments in transit pay off economically. They will help us meet the challenge of an aging population. And, investing in transit is absolutely essential to reducing our carbon emissions.

Canada is the only Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) country without a National Transit Strategy. Our funding gap and inconsistent coverage is what we have to show for a lack of leadership and coordination. To facilitate federal leadership in transit, a Council of Canadian Governments – representing the provinces, territories, municipalities and Indigenous governments – will meet to draft a comprehensive strategy. We will work with municipalities to focus zoning to encourage more family-friendly housing development close to transit stops, tying land use and density to transportation capacity. The solutions to our transit challenges are multi-jurisdictional. We need to work together to coordinate funding to build and operate transit nationwide.

This Council of Canadian Governments, chaired by the Prime Minister, would include provincial Premiers, territorial leaders, representatives of the municipal order of government, and representatives of Indigenous leadership. It would not be a formal part of the legislative process, nor would it have any governmental powers or constitutional status; instead, it would supplement First Ministers’ Conferences. The Council’s role would be to initiate, develop, and monitor the implementation of policy reforms that are of national significance and require action by all Canadian governments. The focus on collaboration would bring more direction and coherence to governance.

The Green Party will invest in transit. In addition to the Gas Tax Fund, the Green Party is committed to dedicating one percentage point of GST (approximately $6.4b per year) to municipal infrastructure, including public transit. We will also create an infrastructure bank as an autonomous Crown Corporation to leverage the federal government’s expansive access to credit at the lowest possible interest rates on behalf of all municipalities.

In addition to supporting municipal transit, we will expand VIA Rail to provide more modern, efficient, and frequent passenger rail service. We will invest in VIA Rail: $600 million in 20162017, building to $764 million by 2020. We will support innovative transit proposals, including light rail between Edmonton and Calgary, if provincial and municipal governments wish to move ahead with them.

Question:  Should your party form government, will you honour the Federal Government’s commitment of July 24, 2015 to fund The City of Calgary’s Green Line LRT project?

Answer:  A transition to efficient light rail transit will take cars off our roads, breaking the cycle of an increasing number of cars on increasingly crowded roads to make our cities more livable. We will maintain the funding commitment for the City of Calgary’s Green Line LRT project.

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