Answer: Harper’s plan has failed. Canadians have experienced year after year of broken promises, failure to make promised investments, and fights with provinces, territories, and municipalities – instead of the partnerships we need to move forward. Harper’s flagship New Building Canada Fund for infrastructure has been stalled by unclear criteria and cut by nearly 90 percent. He has also stopped investing in early childhood education, is winding down contributions to affordable housing, and has ended all meaningful federal investments in building a cleaner, sustainable economy.
This election is a choice between jobs and growth or austerity and cuts. Liberals have a track record of making the right kind of investments, and through economic growth and job creation we have been able to balance the budget. We will do it again.
A Liberal government will make the largest new infrastructure investment in Canadian history. Our plan will:
- Nearly double federal infrastructure investment to $125 billion – from the current $65 billion – over the next decade, reaching an additional $9.5 billion by year ten;
- Make an immediate down payment to kick-start job creation and economic growth by doubling the current federal infrastructure investment in each of the next two fiscal years;
- Provide new, dedicated funding to provinces, territories, and municipalities for:
- Public transit infrastructure,
- Social infrastructure – including affordable housing and seniors facilities, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure,
- Green infrastructure – including local and wastewater facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, and clean energy;
- Increase the transparency of the New Building Canada Fund by providing clearer project criteria and faster approval processes that will now prioritize investments in roads, bridges, transportation, ports, and border gateways; and
- Help fund public infrastructure projects with the creation of a new Canada Infrastructure Bank.
A Liberal government will also develop bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories, which will be similar to those created for the successful gas tax transfer to cities and communities. We will not only significantly increase the scale of federal infrastructure investment; our plan will provide provinces, territories, and municipalities with an unprecedented level of long-term predictability in funding, as well. This will be done in full respect of provincial jurisdiction.
A Liberal government will automatically transfer any uncommitted federal infrastructure funds near the end of any fiscal year to municipalities, through a temporary top-up of the Gas Tax Fund. This will ensure that no committed infrastructure money is allowed to lapse, but is instead always invested in communities across the country.