Local member of parliament Brad Vis is sharing his concern with the country’s Investing in Canada Program, after the auditor general released a report outlining issues with the program.
Vis, who represents the Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon riding, called the newly released report “devastating,” as it outlines some of the key flaws of the 12-year, $188 billion infrastructure funding program. To date, the program has put more than $81 billion into projects.
The House of Commons voted in January 2020 to have the Auditor General of Canada move forward with an audit of the investment plan, which was first started in 2016.
In the debate around that motion on Jan. 28, Vis said that “the mishmash of programs, red tape and bureaucratic hoops is incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for small and rural municipalities to navigate.”
“How can infrastructure programs supposedly designed to provide immediate economic stimulus take over a year to process?” he asked during the debate. “Just what exactly are the federal and provincial ministries doing? How many times are applications being shuffled from a desk in Victoria to a desk in Ottawa and back again?”
Auditor General Karen Hogan released her report on March 25. It found that Infrastructure Canada, the lead department for the program, didn’t provide enough information on the progress and results of the plan, particularly when it came to existing programs that were funded with Investing in Canada Infrastructure money.
The report as noted that funds were not being spent as quickly as planned, and each year partner organizations moved planned spending into later years.
“We have shovel-ready infrastructure projects waiting in every corner of Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon,” Vis said in a release.
“Since my first weeks in office, I have advocated to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities for funding to support the expansion of … Highway 1 and continue to push the government to release funding they have pledged to support green and social infrastructure for projects in Mission, Kanaka Bar, Lillooet, Bralorne, and more.”
In a news release sent out by Vis, the Conservative MP said the “scathing report outlines the government’s big promises and little deliveries.” He said the Conservatives, if elected in the future, would scrap the Infrastructure Bank, which is one of the organizations helping to deliver the Investing in Canada program.
The auditor general’s report recommended that the government work to improve the monitoring, tracking and reporting for the Investing in Canada objectives, which Infrastructure Canada has agreed to do.