Bank without infrastructure

With so much Canadian media reporting on the recent appointment of a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, many Canadian stories got lost in the shuffle. 

One story I suspect few have heard about is the progress of the Trudeau Liberals vaunted $35-billion Infrastructure Bank.

I first raised concerns about this bank when it was introduced by the Liberals in 2016.

I questioned the move to develop yet another expensive federally funded agency where none was needed. In a subsequent MP report in 2017, I raised the concern that the Infrastructure Bank doesn’t actually build any infrastructure. 

The Liberal government has stated that the purpose of the Infrastructure Bank is to attract international investors who would invest privately and ultimately build infrastructure here in Canada.

This raises the question as to where the Infrastructure Bank is today, in late 2018. 

CBC recently reported the Infrastructure Bank has only been involved in one project since it was created.  

The project in question is committing a $1.28-billion loan to help build a $6.3-billion transit project in Montreal.

What is interesting about this particular project is that it in no way was instigated by the Infrastructure Bank.

This Montreal light rail project was already in progress before the Infrastructure Bank was created.

Another interesting aspect to the Montreal light rail project is that it is being constructed by a French construction firm with the rail cars being built in India.

That single project aside, my earlier concerns about the Infrastructure Bank being an expensive and unnecessary waste remain.

Access to information requests have revealed some staggering costs to run this new Infrastructure Bank. 

Almost $11.4 million has been spent on salaries, compensation and other administration expenses while close to another $ 1.4 million has been spent on capital expenses.

The Liberal government has now spent close to $12.8 million, which could have been used building infrastructure instead of paying for expensive administration.

On a different note, earlier this week the Liberal government announced it was providing $1.44 million to a “near net zero” private grocery store in an Liberal cabinet minister’s riding in Ontario.

This project was not funded through the Infrastructure Bank, but rather through Natural Resources Canada.

My question this week is:

  • do you believe the Infrastructure Bank is a good investment of $35 billion in tax dollars or is it an expensive, wasteful and unnecessary abuse of resources?

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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