Answer: Liberals know that investing in infrastructure is vital to creating middle class jobs today and sustained economic growth for years to come. Every dollar spent on public infrastructure grows and makes our economy more competitive, while also creating jobs, strengthening our cities and communities, and improving our health, well-being, and quality of life. That is why we will double investment in infrastructure over the next ten years—the largest investment in Canadian history. For each of the next two years, a Liberal government will double current federal infrastructure investment to $10 billion per year from $5 billion. For every new billion dollars invested in infrastructure, 9,000 jobs will be created. This means that our plan will immediately create 45,000 jobs in the first year and 90,000 over the first two years.
In addition, a Liberal government will create more job opportunities and make it easier for Canadians to improve their skills. After a decade of Harper, Canadians have seen their personal debt rise and their job prospects shrink. They want to find better opportunities, but cannot get access to the training they need. We know that in today’s changing economy, it is critical that Canadians have the opportunity to improve their skills and work credentials. This not only ensures a labour force that meets the needs of a modern economy, but that Canadians have good-paying, middle class jobs well into the future.
The federal government has an important role to play, in collaboration with the provinces and territories, to invest in job training across the country. Yet without consultation, Stephen Harper cut funding to the provinces for training – all while imposing a new program that places costs on provinces and businesses. Harper’s cuts also reduced training opportunities for workers who do not qualify for Employment Insurance or are not currently employed.
There are too many hard-working Canadians who are looking to upgrade their skills and find better jobs, but do not have access to the training that they require. A Liberal government will make it easier for adults to get the additional skills they need to acquire and retain good jobs throughout their working lives.
In addition to our plan for youth jobs and opportunities discussed elsewhere in this questionnaire, a Liberal government will increase investment in skills training, through a $750 million annual increase in funding for training programs delivered in partnership with the provinces and territories. This will include:
- A $500 million annual increase in funding to the Labour Market Development Agreements with provinces;
- A $200 million annual increase in funding to be delivered by the provinces and territories and focused on training for workers who are not currently eligible for federal training investment. This will undo Stephen Harper’s cuts in 2014 to the Labour Market Agreements, which help Canadians outside the labour market get the basic literacy and numeracy skills they need to find a decent job;
- Working with employers and workers to determine an appropriate apprenticeship ratio for all federal infrastructure projects;
- Renewing and expanding funding to the Aboriginal Skills and Employment Training Strategy (ASETS) by $50 million;
- Investing $25 million per year in training facilities, partnering with labour unions so that more facilities have the equipment they need to train workers across the country; and
- We will work with employers and workers to determine an appropriate apprenticeship ratio for all federal infrastructure projects.
Question: What are your party’s policies regarding the energy sector? Do you support the construction of pipelines to connect Alberta’s oil and gas to markets in other parts of Canada and for export overseas?
Answer: Pipelines are an important part of the infrastructure necessary to move Canada’s energy resources to domestic and global market. We believe each project must be judged on its own merits. Pipeline applications must pass rigorous review and include meaningful community consultation and engagement. As well, there must be adequate plans in place to mitigate risk and respond to unforeseen circumstances. In approving any resource projects, the federal government has a crucial responsibility to balance economic development, energy security, environmental and socio-economic factors to arrive at a decision that is in the best interests of Canadians.
Liberals recognize that without public trust, Canada’s environmental assessment processes are increasingly paralyzed. That means not only are we not doing a good enough job at protecting our environment, but we are not getting our resources to market. We need clear and efficient processes that have reasonable, even-handed rules, clear beginning and ending points, and decisions that can be relied on. We will launch an immediate, public review of Canada’s environmental assessment processes. Based on this review, a Liberal government will replace Mr. Harper’s changes to the environmental assessment process – with a new, comprehensive, timely, and fair process that:
- Restores robust oversight and thorough environmental assessments – which have been gutted by this Conservative government – of areas under federal jurisdiction, while also working with provincial and territorial governments to ensure that processes are not duplicated;
- Ensures decisions are based on science, facts, and evidence, and serve the public’s interest;
- Provides ways for interested Canadians to express their views and for experts to meaningfully participate in assessment processes; and
- Requires project proponents to choose the best technologies available to reduce environmental impacts.
As part of this review, we will modernize and rebuild trust in the National Energy Board. We will ensure it has broad regional representation and sufficient expertise in fields such as environmental science, community development, and Indigenous traditional knowledge. We will also stop the practice of having federal Ministers interfere in projects while they are being assessed.
Question: Does your party support the development and adoption of a National Transportation Strategy?
Answer: The Liberal Party has a plan to improve transit from coast-to-coast-to-coast. We know that the need for reliable efficient public transit is only going to grow. Our urban centres are growing at a rapid rate; roughly seven out of ten people now live in one of Canada’s 33 census metropolitan areas. Half of Canada’s GDP is generated in the six largest metropolitan areas alone, and the populations of our cities will only continue to grow over the next 25 years. With this ever-increasing urbanization comes challenges that need immediate attention. Chief amongst them is gridlock. The economic impact of gridlock cannot be overstated. The C.D. Howe Institute has estimated that traffic congestion costs Metro Vancouver between $500 million and $1.2 billion per year. In the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, it estimates the costs could be as high as $11 billion per year. This loss of economic activity translates directly into lower wages for Canadian workers and lower standards of living for families.
To address this, a Liberal government will quadruple federal investment in public transit over the next decade by investing almost 20 billion more dollars. This is in addition to all existing public transit commitments already made by the federal government. Our funding will be flexible to municipalities' priorities and requirements, in order to maximize the number of public transit projects that are built in Canada. A lack of federal support will no longer be a road block to action.
Question: How will you diversify Calgary and Alberta’s economy?
Answer: For far too long, Calgarians and Albertans have been told they must choose between the environment and the economy. The Liberal Party has a plan that will ensure that Canada can tap into the economic opportunities of our environment and create the clean jobs of tomorrow. It will undo the damage done by Harper and give to our children and grandchildren a country even more beautiful, sustainable, and prosperous than the one we have now. Liberals will create clean jobs, grow our economy, and protect our environment. That is real change.
Canada’s natural resource sectors can be world leaders in innovation and sustainability – and the federal government can help. We will invest $200 million more annually to create sector-specific strategies that support innovation and clean technologies in the forestry, fisheries, mining, energy, and agricultural sectors. These strategies will be developed in collaboration with the private sector, government, and research institutions, with the objective of producing real innovations that can be deployed in our natural resources sectors, commercialized, brought to scale, and exported. We will also invest $100 million more per year in organizations that have been successful at supporting the emergence of clean technology firms in Canada, including Sustainable Development Technology Canada.
Question: Good decisions are based on good data. What is your party’s position on the long-form census?
Answer: A Liberal government led by Justin Trudeau will ensure the federal government rebuilds its capacity to deliver on evidence-based decision-making and will release key information that informs that decision-making.
A Liberal government will also make Statistics Canada fully independent with a mandate to collect data needed by the private sector, other orders of government, not-for-profits, and researchers, in order to support good decision-making. We will consult broadly and work with a strengthened Statistics Canada to make available additional data needed by businesses, municipalities, the not-for-profit sector, and the public. We will also immediately restore the mandatory longform census.
Canadians expect their government to embrace fair, evidence-based policy. Without evidence, government makes arbitrary decisions that have the potential to negatively affect the daily lives of Canadians.