Who can be against infrastructure spending?
Justin Trudeau made a big promise on infrastructure spending and he did it in a way that might make you think he plans on spending a lot of money to fix Canada’s roads and bridges, start big construction projects -- the things most of us think of when we think about government infrastructure programs.
I mean, look, he’s at a construction site, he is surrounded by men and women in hard harts and orange vests, he is standing in front of heavy equipment and promising to spend lots of money.
Don’t buy it, it’s not happening. Why? Well first off because Justin Trudeau and the Liberals won’t win the election. But more because what he is promising isn’t more roads, bridges, the kind of things the federal government has historically been involved in as far as infrastructure goes, no, Trudeau is calling it infrastructure because he knows Canadians like governments spending on those kids of programs but it is mostly about new social spending.
Trudeau’s plan calls for spending in three areas, public transit, social infrastructure and green infrastructure. Most of the things he is promising to spend federal tax dollars on fall well outside of federal jurisdiction. Let’s look at some details.
“Public transit infrastructure: A Liberal government will more than triple federal investment in public transit over the next four years, and over ten years we will quadruple it.”
Public transit. That is a mostly municipal responsibility. The current Conservative government also fund local public transit, a mistake in my view, this should be left up to provinces and municipalities, they have the ability to raise their own taxes and they are constitutionally responsible for it. Under Trudeau’s new plan to spend $60 billion over 10 years, one third will go to public transit.
Another third will go to social programs, essentially.
Trudeau calls it social infrastructure.
Do you define child care and affordable housing as infrastructure or are they social programs?
Trudeau is hiding nearly $20 billion worth of social programs inside an infrastructure program. You can claim you are building the infrastructure for the daycare spaces but that just means the funding for running them on an ongoing basis has to come from somewhere else.
Then Trudeau promises to spend $19.7 billion on green infrastructure.
What does that mean? Well, let’s look at the documents.
“Green infrastructure: A Liberal government will provide dedicated funding to invest in a broad range of projects, including but not limited to: local water and wastewater facilities, climate resilient infrastructure, clean energy…”
You know what this sounds an awful lot like, the Ontario Liberal policies of Dalton McGuinty, they even promise to fund this by issuing Green Bonds and selling them to investors.
But the reason it sounds like Dalton McGuinty’s Ontario likely has to do with this man here, Gerald Butts, often called Trudeau’s right hand man. He designed the green energy plan for Ontario that saw companies promised 80 cents a kilowatt hour for solar and wind power when hydro and nuclear power was at pennies per kilowatt hour. He is the man responsible for pushing power prices through the roof in Ontario and he wants to do the same to the rest of Canada.
No surprise, after he left the Ontario government he went to work for the World Wildlife Fund’s Canadian office and called for an end to all oil and gas being used in Canada
Of course, that would actually mean also getting rid of plastics for things like the beloved iPhone Butts walks around Ottawa muttering into.
So this is sold to Canadians as an infrastructure plan, it is not. It is social engineering and it will not boost the economy without the ongoing influx of tax dollars.
Justin Trudeau says he will keep running deficits if elected but just until 2019.
Can you believe him?
In the 15 budgets presented while his father was prime minister there was one balanced budget and that was in 1969. In 1970 they promised a small short term deficit but by the time Pierre Trudeau left office the deficit was $32.4 billion dollars. Adjusted to 2011 dollars it works out to about $71 billion. The only prime minister to have a higher deficit was Brian Mulroney in the first year after he took over from Trudeau and then he started peeling it back. The mess Pierre Trudeau left Canada in terms of deficits and the expansion of federal social programs put us in deficit position until 1996.
Trudeau’s plan isn’t one for building Canada, for investing in infrastructure, it is a plan to pour a ton of money into big cities for public transit and spend the other two thirds of social engineering. To call it infrastructure spending would be a lie. To say it will get us out of deficit is to live in a dream world.
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