The Saanich News asked the candidates in Saanich-Gulf Islands the question: How would your party address the need to strengthen Canada’s infrastructure and what project would you say is the highest priority for your riding?
Tim Kane – Liberal
Liberals believe 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 creating jobs, strengthening our communities, and improving our health, well-being and quality of life. Interest rates are at historic lows, our infrastructure is crumbling and Canada needs economic growth to come out of recession.
Liberals will make the largest new infrastructure investment in Canadian history. Our plan will: Nearly double federal infrastructure investment to almost $125 billion – from the current $65 billion – over the next decade, reaching an additional $9.5 billion by year 10; 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 and green infrastructure; 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 by creating a new Canada Infrastructure Bank.
Robert Boyd – Conservative
Since taking office in 2006, our government has invested heavily in Canada’s infrastructure, in partnership with provincial, territorial and municipal governments. We have worked to build modern and efficient public infrastructure across the country, and right here in Sannich.
Some of our accomplishments include: Creating the Building Canada Fund and the New Building Canada Fund – the largest infrastructure investment in Canadian history; Invested significantly in infrastructure through the Economic Action Plan; Made the gas tax transfer to municipalities permanent; Created the new and innovative Public Transit Fund, investing $750 million over two years, and $1 billion thereafter, to modernize public transit infrastructure in Canada’s large cities; and launched the Canada 150 Community Infrastructure Program to help fund the renovation and improvement of existing community infrastructure in honour of the 150th celebration of Confederation.
Elizabeth May – Green Party
Our economic plan invests in strong communities as the foundation of a strong country, and will provide the necessary funding for infrastructure to make that vision a reality.
The gap between the infrastructure funding our cities and towns need, and the funding they receive, is reaching crisis levels – Canada’s infrastructure deficit is estimated to be upwards of $350 billion. We will work to close this gap by committing $6.4 billion per year, one point of the GST, to municipal infrastructure – providing stable, long-term funding to Canadian municipalities, creating good local jobs, and building vibrant, safe and livable Canadian towns and cities. (Please note: we do not raise the GST; we allocate one point of existing GST to infrastructure investments.)
We will create a Canadian Infrastructure Bank to provide more robust and innovative financing and investment partnerships, in order to build safer bridges, better roads, world-class water treatment facilities, affordable housing, efficient public transportation and expanded broadband access – putting thousands of Canadians to work in the process.
Alicia Cormier – NDP
An affordable home, a reasonable commute and modern municipal services and amenities are a top priorities for Saanich Gulf Islands.
The NDP will increase gas tax transfers to municipalities by $1.5 billion to enable stable investments in core infrastructure and $1.3 billion per year to get cities moving with new, multi-year funding for transit. We will also invest in affordable housing and create 10,000 new rental units. Appoint a minister for urban affairs to speak for cities and towns at the cabinet table.
The NDP will also inject $9 million into natural disaster prevention and relief as Western Canada reels from one of its worst wildfire seasons on record and is committed to restoring $7 million in annual funding to a Joint Emergency Preparedness Program to bolster training and equipment against natural disasters. Funding will also provide for adding 2,500 new RCMP positions across the country.