Infrastructure bank concerns MP

North Island-Powell River NDP MP Rachel Blaney takes issue with a multi-billion dollar project intended to attract money from large investors for major new infrastructure projects.

Rachel Blaney, MP for North Island/Powell River, introduced a bill that would add the right to housing to the Bill of Rights.

Rachel Blaney, MP for North Island/Powell River, introduced a bill that would add the right to housing to the Bill of Rights.

North Island-Powell River NDP MP Rachel Blaney takes issue with a multi-billion dollar project intended to attract money from large investors for major new infrastructure projects.

In a media teleconference Wednesday, Blaney said the Liberals’ infrastructure bank “will generate potentially huge profits for wealthy friends” while Canadians will be flipping the bill for new tolls, service fees and privatized infrastructure that won’t necessarily support communities across the country.

Because the infrastructure bank has been put into the annual budget bill, she feels public funds need to be separated from the bill.

“The concern is, if we’re going to invest in public infrastructure and ask private investors, they’re going to be looking for significant returns, which is what investors do,” Blaney said. “But what is that going to mean for everyday Canadians?”

Regarding the issue of electoral reform — on which MPs were to vote Wednesday in the House — she notes Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “abandoned his plan” to have the 2019 election the last to use the first-past-the-post system.

“There’s a lot of concerns because the decision was not made in a transparent way. It seems shameful that, again, we’re seeing a system where Canadians aren’t asked what they want.”

Blaney serves as the Critic for Seniors, and deputy critic for Infrastructure and Communities. She says a group is advising the Veterans Affairs Minister about the Liberals “continued refusal” to fulfil a promise to reinstate lifetime pensions for veterans.

“There’s been an increase in one-time payouts,” she said. “For people who are veterans, some with severe health issues, making sure they have a meaningful pension as they age is so important. This leaves a lot of our veterans in a vulnerable place.”

Comox Valley Record