Prioritize Economic Infrastructure: I will invest a majority of the Government of Canada’s infrastructure budget on economy-enhancing construction projects. In addition to roads, bridges and railways, this means ports, border crossings, regional airports and broadband connectivity. I will prioritize concrete trade corridors over abstract green experiments. Canada is a resource-rich trading nation. We need reliable, efficient public works to take our products to market.
Support Local Workers and Businesses:
I will include more criteria for youth, local businesses, Indigenous and small employers in project approvals and contracts, as applicable and appropriate for each project. Proposals that align federal funding to skills training, local workers and small business participation will receive higher scores than those that don’t. As more skilled tradesmen and women reach retirement age, we need to do more to get the next generation into high-skill, high-wage careers in the trades. To do this I would incentivize partners to include provisions for taking on first-year apprentices and create jobs specifically for individuals under the age of 25.
Deliver Construction Projects On-Time and On-Budget Using Public-Private Partnerships:
I will cover a higher percentage of public-private partnerships (“P3”) project costs to recognize the sometimes significant up-front cost some municipalities and provinces face when undertaking these types of value-for-money arrangements. These P3s transfer risk to the private sector, which has a better track record than Government for on-time, on-budget performance. This saves taxpayers money.
I will also knock down another barrier to municipalities using the P3 approach by putting the flexibility in our Federal programs to spread its share of the costs over the duration of a project (should the municipality choose to do so) as opposed to a one-time transfer. For example, a P3 may be a 30-year agreement, and for communities having those annual payments each year for 30 years can crowd out other spending, even though they are saving money over the long-term by doing a P3.
Make Firm Commitments:
I will put in place international best practices, such as a long-term infrastructure plan to create certainty for municipal and provincial planners as well as the private sector. This means entering into legally binding funding agreements to make it very difficult for politicians or future governments to reverse. Right now, infrastructure commitments are based on political promises, which is why they’re so often left undelivered. Pension funds and other investment funds invest in places like Australia and New Zealand because of the certainty of the treatment of infrastructure commitments. The Government of Canada has never provided the same degree of certainty.