Mark Twain famously said, “Everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.”
The same could be said about infrastructure in Canada today: “Everyone – on all points on the political spectrum – talks about infrastructure but nobody suggests serious, coherent policies on how
to deal with Canada’s vaunted ‘infrastructure deficit.’”
Let’s examine the policy terrain: The recent Liberal Party convention passed a resolution
that called for a “transformative Canadian infrastructure investment plan” that would significantly expand the funds “invested or facilitated” by the federal government up to a level of 1 per cent of GDP a year. Given that Canada’s current GDP is about $1.8-trillion, that would mean dedicating $18-billion a year to this plan. Nothing was said about by whom
this money would be administered.
The Department of National Defence says its decision to hold back spending $3.1 billion on new gear over the next four years will not affect or delay a single equipment project.
Defence analysts and industry representatives are incredulous at the claim DND is making. They say the department and Canadian Forces are downplaying any impact caused by budget cuts or funding delays so as not to embarrass the Conservative government.
The Ottawa Citizen requested a list of equipment projects that would be affected by the temporary removal of the $3.1 billion from the department’s procurement budget, announced last month by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty. In response, DND sent an email stating: “No planned procurement projects will be affected or delayed as a result of this $3.1 billion reallocation.”
Industry and trade association Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) is urging the federal government to level the playing field for Canadian manufacturers and maximize employment opportunities for Canadians in procurement decisions related to the more than $53 billion in infrastructure investments planned over the next 10 years.
In testimony given on March 6 before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, federal Minister of Transportation, Lisa Raitt could not confirm that Canadian economic benefits would be taken into account in a project estimated at over $5 billion to replace the Champlain Bridge in Montreal, according to the association. [Read More…
It was supposed to be a simple and timely transition to a new long-term spending plan to build roads, bridges and commuter rail, and plenty more below the ground.
But Canadian communities have discovered that planning and funding infrastructure projects is not as easy as picking up a shovel after deciding who picks up the tab. It’s also a matter of when and where the money gets spent.
Despite assurances by the federal government that its new $14-billion construction program will be up and running by April 1, the national group representing local governments says recent talks with Ottawa have left “important questions unanswered.” [Read More…
When: Thursday, April 24, 2014 & May 1, 2014
Where: Marriott Bloor Yorkville, Toronto & Delta Edmonton South, Edmonton
To Learn more visit: www.CanadianInstitute.com/Procurement