Response from the Liberal Party of Canada (Sept 29, 2015)
Q1. What is your party’s approach and commitment to supporting the infrastructure challenges faced by municipalities in building sustainable communities that are resilient to potential impacts of climate change?
The Liberal Party recognizes that much of the infrastructure that we have now was built for a climate that no longer exists. We also know that when it comes to adapting to climate change, there is a direct connection between readiness and resilience. If we don’t make it a priority to build more resilient communities, we are putting our citizens, our environment and our economy at risk.
It’s time the provinces, territories, and municipalities had a partner in Ottawa willing to both acknowledge this issue, and get serious about preparing for tomorrow’s climate, today. We will work with the other levels of government to develop comprehensive action plan that allows us to better prepare for – and respond to – weather-related emergencies.
We will back up this commitment by providing municipalities with the reliable, stable, substantive funding they need. We will boost investment in green infrastructure by nearly $6 billion over the next four years, and almost $20 billion over ten years. A Liberal government will provide dedicated funding to invest in a broad range of projects including, but not limited to, climate resilient infrastructure. We will also support efforts to prepare for changing weather patterns, such as: protections against wildfires, improved storm water systems to diminish the impact of urban floods, additional dams and dikes to prevent overland or coastal flooding, the reinforcement of energy systems in the face of possible ice storms, and the reinforcement of infrastructure to confront melting permafrost in our North. These and other efforts will be undertaken in partnership with other orders of government and based on the best available science.
Please see below for more information on the Liberal Party’s commitment to infrastructure investment.
Q2. What is your party’s funding commitment for (municipal) infrastructure?
Investing in infrastructure is vital to creating middle class jobs today and sustained economic growth for years to come. Every dollar spent on public infrastructure grows and makes our economy more competitive, while also creating jobs, strengthening our cities and communities, and improving our health, well-being, and quality of life. Liberals believe the timing has also never been more critical. Interest rates for new investment are at historic lows, our current infrastructure is aging, and Canada is in immediate need of a boost in economic growth.
Each year over the next decade, we will steadily increase federal infrastructure investment. At full implementation, this will represent an annual additional investment of $9.5 billion per year. This will almost double federal infrastructure investment to nearly $125 billion – from $65 billion – over ten years, which will be the largest new infrastructure investment in Canadian history.
Our plan will:
• Nearly double federal infrastructure investment to $125 billion – from the current $65 billion – over the next decade, reaching an additional $9.5 billion by year ten;
• Make an immediate down payment to kick-start job creation and economic growth by doubling the current federal infrastructure investment in each of the next two fiscal years;
• Provide new, dedicated funding to provinces, territories, and municipalities for:
o Public transit infrastructure,
o Social infrastructure – including affordable housing and seniors facilities, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure,
o Green infrastructure – including local and wastewater facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, and
• Increase the transparency of the New Building Canada Fund by providing clearer project criteria and faster approval processes that will now prioritize investments in roads, bridges, transportation, ports, and border gateways; and
• Help fund public infrastructure projects with the creation of a new Canada Infrastructure Bank.
A Liberal government will also develop bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories, which will be similar to those created for the successful gas tax transfer to cities and communities. We will not only significantly increase the scale of federal infrastructure investment; our plan will provide provinces, territories, and municipalities with an unprecedented level of long-term predictability in funding, as well. This will be done in full respect of provincial jurisdiction.
A Liberal government will automatically transfer any uncommitted federal infrastructure funds near the end of any fiscal year to municipalities, through a temporary top-up of the Gas Tax Fund. This will ensure that no committed infrastructure money is allowed to lapse, but is instead always invested in communities across the country.