LETTERS: MP’s criticisms contradictory
Re: Infrastructure plan lacking: MP, Feb. 10
We, the undersigned would like to take this opportunity to respond to an article in which South Surrey-White Rock MP Dianne Watts, the official Opposition critic for infrastructure, communities and urban affairs, strongly criticized the government of Canada’s infrastructure investment strategy.
We believe it is important to clarify several contradictory statements given by Watts.
Watts is quoted as stating the strategy was leading to “uncontrolled spending.” Several paragraphs later, however, she went on to advocate for a dramatic increase in the level of investments outlined in the Liberal government’s 2016 budget.
It is perplexing that Watts would call for $9 billion in increased spending above the existing total while simultaneously condemning the government’s critical investments in communities across the country as irresponsible.
While we’re sure this statement was not meant to be intentionally misleading; it points to questions about the fundamental priorities of the official Opposition.
Similarly troubling was Watts’ claim that 95 per cent of infrastructure projects approved since the Liberal government took office have not yet begun construction. This statement is plainly and simply false, which is clearly reflected in the government’s Open Government Licence.
Of the 1,342 projects approved between Nov. 15, 2015 and Feb. 15, 2017, 1,041 have started construction, representing just over 77 per cent of all projects. Furthermore, of the 1,073 new projects outlined in the Government of Canada’s 2016 federal budget, 603 have begun construction for a total of 56 per cent.
This reflects the time it takes for projects to be organized, planned and approved by municipal authorities, which must happen before any construction can legally commence. It is also common for federal funds to be disbursed last, toward the end of the project period.
It is worth noting that these statistics were provided by the Parliamentary Budget Office, which is a strictly non-partisan body meant to collect reliable facts and hold the federal government accountable. This information is publicly available and can be viewed by any Canadian wishing to do so.
In the 2016 budget, our government made a clear commitment to improve the state of our country’s infrastructure, which had suffered through a decade of deep cuts to beneficial investments. With Budget 2017 to be announced shortly, this government will continue delivering on its promise to revitalize federal assistance to both large-scale infrastructure initiatives, and valuable community projects.
MP John Aldag, Cloverdale-Langley City;
MP Sukh Dhaliwal, Surrey-Newton;
MP Randeep Sarai, Surrey Centre;
MP Ken Hardie, Fleetwood-Port Kells