Liberal policy killing jobs

Last week, I outlined the concerns I had with expanding CPP at the present time that resulted in my opposing it. 

The CBC has since uncovered and released internal documents from the Finance Department that parallel my concerns. 

In fact, internal finance projections reveal that expanded CPP will be a drag on the economy until 2030 and is also expected to adversely impact employment until 2035. 

In other words, the Liberal Government is knowingly committing to a policy that will harm jobs and our economy for the next 15-20 years. This remains a serious concern.

This week, the Liberal Government also announced an economic update that is intended to reverse the current trend of declining economic growth projections and lack of any net new job creation. 

The key announcement was the Liberal Government intends to borrow more money and increase deficit spending by an additional $31.8 Billion over the next five years. 

This means the total amount of Liberal deficit spending will now exceed $114 billion over the Liberals term. It also means the promise to run “modest” $10 billion a year deficits and return to a balanced budget in the 2019/2020 fiscal year will not be met.

One curious announcement is plans to borrow $35 billion to create a new Federal Infrastructure Bank that in turn will also see the creation of a new branch of Government or Government agency that will have a mandate to attract private investment into the Infrastructure Bank. 

The NDP has already expressed strong opposition to this plan suggesting it will result in the wholesale privatization of Canadian infrastructure.

I question the need to develop yet another federal agency as well an expensive new federally run bank.

My concerns around this $35 billion Infrastructure Bank are as follows:  

while I am not ideologically opposed to public-private partnerships in infrastructure, in this case one of the advantages of Government borrowing money is that it can do so at rates much lower than the private sector can. 

In order for the Infrastructure Bank to gain any private sector investors, the bank will need to pay competitive rates of return. These interest rates will be higher than the rates that the Government can borrow.

In effect, this new Infrastructure Bank could ultimately end up subsidizing private investors who would enjoy lucrative and guaranteed rates of return, which is not the role of Government.

My other concern with the Federal Infrastructure bank is that like any bank it will carry administrative costs — wages, leases, leasehold improvements, legal, etc.

All these costs will mean there is less money for infrastructure as these overhead costs will come out of the bottom line. 

Currently, federal Infrastructure funds are paid directly to provinces and municipalities and are not filtered through an expensive administrative process like this one being proposed by the Liberals. 

My final concern over an Infrastructure Bank is who is ultimately accountable for the projects that are approved and rejected.

Currently, elected officials are held to account however if this becomes unelected and appointed bankers potentially chosen from Bay Street in Toronto what input would there be for British Columbia and Western Canada? 

I welcome your views on the idea of a Federal Infrastructure Bank and any other subject before the House of Commons. I can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free 1-800-665-8711. 


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About the Author

Dan Albas, Conservative member of Parliament for the riding of Central Okanagan-Similkameen-Nicola, is the shadow minister of innovation, science, economic development and internal trade, and sits on the standing committee on finance.

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.

In British Columbia, Dan has been consistently one of the lowest spending MPs on office and administration related costs despite operating two offices to better serve local constituents.

Dan is consistently recognized as one of Canada’s top 10 most active members of Parliament on Twitter (@danalbas) and continues to write a weekly column published in many local newspapers and on this website.

He can be reached at [email protected] or call toll free at 1-800-665-8711.

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

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