The State of Canadian Infrastructure

The centrepiece of Justin Trudeau’s 2015 campaign was his promise to invest $180 billion over 12 years in infrastructure. However, the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) found there was no additional infrastructure built in Canada over and above what would have otherwise been built. In fact, the Liberals allowed one-third of the infrastructure funding for their Investing in Canada Plan for 2016-2019 to sit unused. The PBO found that the infrastructure plan touted by the Liberals “does not exist.” 

The Canadian Infrastructure Bank (CIB) was also a key platform pledge for Justin Trudeau in 2015, promising that it would be operational by 2017 with a clear mission to invest $35 billion of federal funding in revenue-generating infrastructure projects. The PBO also found the CIB has had a limited impact since it was not successful in securing private investment and has failed to invest the billions of dollars set aside for its mandate. To date, the CIB has invested only $4.3 billion of its $35 billion budget. In fact, the CIB has made more headlines for the exorbitant bonuses it has paid its executives than for actual project investments.

Unleashing Canada’s Infrastructure Spending

Canada’s Conservatives will refocus Canada’s infrastructure spending on getting money out the door for shovel-ready projects. Through Canada’s Recovery Plan, Canada’s Conservatives will immediately invest in key projects that will create jobs, cut commute times, improve quality of life for Canadians, and reduce emissions. 

A Conservative government will make historic investments in nationally significant projects across the country, such as the SkyTrain extension to Langley (British Columbia), Ontario’s GTA transit plan, Quebec City’s Third Link (Quebec), the Calgary Green Line (Alberta) and VIA Rail’s high-frequency rail project. 

Canada’s Conservatives will also ensure that our infrastructure spending benefits Canadian workers by requiring that equipment and materials for federally funded infrastructure projects be purchased from Canadian companies, or from countries where there is a mutual agreement to allow workers to supply each other’s infrastructure projects.

Supporting Northern Infrastructure

Conservatives realize that infrastructure spending is not only needed in our urban centres, but also in our northern and rural areas. Canadians from coast to coast to coast rely on infrastructure like roads, bridges, and ports to get around, including ensuring these projects can weather the harsher conditions in Northern Canada.

A Conservative government will ensure that the territories receive their fair share of infrastructure funding by reserving a funding envelope for them that accounts for the high construction costs and weather conditions in the North. Conservatives will address the Northern infrastructure gap in housing, telecommunications, transportation, energy, and climate change preparedness. Connecting more communities concurrently to the power grid, road and broadband networks will also reduce reliance on diesel fuels and improve the quality of life for residents in these communities. 

The Conservative plan for northern infrastructure includes:

  • The Grays Bay Port and Road Project
  • The Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Line
  • Completing the Tuktoyaktuk road and port
  • A large-scale project to provide clean power to the Yukon, developed in partnership with the Government of the Yukon

Bridging the Digital Divide

The Trudeau government set up eight different federal funding programs for broadband, including the Universal Broadband Fund, Connect to Innovate, Connecting Canadians, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) Broadband Fund, rural and northern economic development funds, and funding available through the Canada Infrastructure Bank. 

The Liberals made numerous big-dollar broadband announcements, but like the rest of their infrastructure announcements, few projects have been funded and built as they don’t coordinate with other levels of government, or even among themselves. They also require private sector companies to jump through many regulatory hoops to get projects built. Some rural broadband projects take three to five years to get approved.

Canada’s Conservatives are committed to connecting all of Canada to high-speed Internet by 2025. A Conservative government will consolidate all rural broadband programs and work with telecommunications companies to immediately begin a massive investment in rural broadband access and increased network capacity. Canada’s Conservatives will also work closely with the provinces to coordinate federal investments and ensure money goes out the door to shovel-ready projects.