Justin Trudeau smiles from the cabin as he operates a crane at an Oakville campaign stop. (Photo: Paul Chiasson/CP)
Justin Trudeau makes an infrastructure announcement on the campaign trail. (Photo: CP)Those projects, he said, may not necessarily be the shovel-ready ones the government wants to target to get infrastructure funds out the door quickly. Although the paper doesn't go into detail about what projects the government should fund, it does recommend making "international gateways" that expand trade a particular area of focus. The government has promised to spend an extra $6 billion a year, on average, over the next 10 years on infrastructure like roads, bridges, water and sewer systems and green energy projects, as well as "social" infrastructure like child care facilities and affordable housing. By the end of the 10 years, the plan would see federal spending on infrastructure reach about $16 billion per year.
"They need to be thinking more of a bottom-up approach where the right projects with the highest rate of return."All that spending is meant to boost a lagging Canadian economy and, under the Liberal plan, create enough economic spinoffs and new federal revenues to help balance the budget by the end of the government's four-year mandate. Dachis said the government may have to relax its promise to split the increase in spending three ways, with one-third of the boost going to public transit, green infrastructure and social infrastructure. "They need to be thinking more of a bottom-up approach where the right projects with the highest rate of return, the highest long-term economic return gets selected and that means that they need to have a judicious, cost-benefit analysis across the economy." The Liberals should also place no conditions on spending grants because they force local governments to spend more on "low value for money projects" lest they lose federal cash, the report says. Loosening the strings on those grants would also make it easier for citizens to know what level of government is responsible for any tax changes — up or down — that arise from a project.