Don't bank on Liberal idea

I was asked recently if it is difficult to come up with a different topic every seven days for my weekly MP report to citizens.

The challenge is not finding new topics to discuss but rather narrowing down the many subjects available to one or two that can be briefly covered with the limited space available in my reports.

This week, I would like to reference the Liberal government's efforts to muzzle the Parliamentary Budget Officer however a more pressing concern is the Liberals plans for a proposed $35-billion Infrastructure Bank.

Why is the $35-billion Infrastructure Bank a serious concern?

Canadians pay taxes to the federal government for a variety of different purposes and uses. One of the important uses of your tax dollars is building infrastructure.

The challenge here is that $35-billion in funding and guarantees that could be building Infrastructure in communities like Kelowna, Peachland, Penticton, Merritt or elsewhere will instead be diverted to create the new Infrastructure bank in the Liberal stronghold of Toronto.

The concern is that this Infrastructure Bank doesn’t actually build any Infrastructure.

The role of the new bank is to attract international investors to invest and privately build Infrastructure in Canada. In order to attract sophisticated and often international investors the government will be paying lucrative rates of return on large-scale projects with a minimum price of $100 million or more.

Why is this a concern?

For starters, the Liberal government is borrowing money it does not have at lower rates of interest solely to subsidize higher rates of return to largely private investors.

With a minimum project threshold of $100 million, many rural communities and even smaller to mid-size cities will not be able to afford projects of this magnitude.

Despite this fact the taxpayers who live within these areas will be saddled with paying part of the borrowing debt and high rates of interest even though they do not directly benefit from the projects.

Paradoxically this also comes at a time where new capital requirements put in place by a government regulator significantly limit the ability for sectors like Canadian insurance companies to invest in Canadian infrastructure.

There are other concerns however this summarizes some of the more significant.

This week the NDP will table a motion to remove the Infrastructure Bank from the Liberals' omnibus budget bill so that it can be debated and opposed on a stand-alone basis.

It isn't just the Opposition parties that oppose the bank. The former Parliamentary Budget Officer has also has serious concerns and questioned the need for a costly new level of bureaucracy to create a bank that borrows funds at relatively low interest rates to pay high rates of return to international investors.

It is my intent to oppose the Liberals new Infrastructure bank however I welcome your views on this topic.

Do you support the Liberals $35-billion Infrastructure Bank?

More Dan in Ottawa articles

About the Author

Dan Albas is the Member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola which include the communities of Kelowna (specific boundaries), West Kelowna, Peachland, Summerland, Keremeos, Princeton and Merritt.

Before entering public life, Dan was the owner of Kick City Martial Arts, responsible for training hundreds of men, women and youth to bring out their best. For his work on child safety and awareness, Dan was the recipient Penticton’s ‘2005 Young Entrepreneur of the Year’ award. Dan served as campaign chair for the United Way of the South Okanagan-Similkameen in 2006-7 and 2010-11, both times surpassing their fundraising goals.

On June 28 of 2012 Dan became one of the first MP’s in recent history to have a Private Members Bill (Bill 311) C-311 become law with the unanimous all party support of both the House of Commons and the Canadian Senate.  Bill C-311 “An Act to amend the importation of intoxicating liquors Act” amended a prohibition era law to prevented the free trade of wine over provincial borders.

Dan’s parliamentary record includes being recognized by the Ottawa Citizen in 2015 as one of only five Members of Parliament in Canada with a 100% voting attendance record.  Locally in British Columbia,  MP Dan Albas has been consistently one of the lowest spending Members of Parliament on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

 MP Dan Albas is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top ten most active Members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and also continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

In October of 2015 MP Dan Albas was re-elected to Parliament representing the new riding of Central Okanagan Similkameen Nicola.  Dan is currently the Deputy Finance Critic, serving with Finance Critic, MP Gerard Deltell and sits on the Standing Committee on Finance.

Dan is honoured to serve the residents of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola as their Member of Parliament.

MP Dan Albas welcomes your input, so please contact him by e-mail, phone or mail.

He can be reached at:

Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola's MP office
2562-B Main Street
West Kelowna, B.C. V4T 2N5
Email: [email protected]
Phone toll free: 1.800.665.8711
Fax: 250.707.2153

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories