House of Commons Hansard #146 of the 38th Parliament, 1st Session. (The original version is on Parliament's site.) The word of the day was infrastructure.

Topics

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I am sure the hon. parliamentary secretary who has been listening very attentively has heard the hon. member's representation on this matter and will deal with it accordingly.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Conservative

Greg Thompson St. Croix—Belleisle, NB

Mr. Speaker, I have one little point left. We also are working on this liquid natural gas issue on which I just presented a petition.

The member knows this issue inside out and backwards. This information is critical as well because this issue still has not been resolved by the Government of Canada in terms of allowing those very dangerous tankers through Canadian waters.

The parliamentary secretary's father would know this issue inside out. Could the parliamentary secretary please get on with the job of answering and providing us with those documents necessary to making the right decisions?

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Dominic LeBlanc Beauséjour, NB

Mr. Speaker, I know you will appreciate that the government answers all Notices of Motions for the Production of Papers and Questions on the Order Paper with great haste and great accuracy.

You may remember, Mr. Speaker, with respect to these LNG tankers, the same member for New Brunswick Southwest was on his feet, in what was in fact debate, with a similar kind of comment with respect to Questions on the Order Paper and he insisted that these questions with respect to LNG tankers needed to be answered immediately and that they were very important.

I was informed when I left the Chamber that day that in fact the questions had only been received by the government that very same day. While we are speedy and while we are prompt, I think all members will understand that they need to be patient because we want the answers not only to be prompt but also to be accurate as they always are.

Motions for Papers
Routine Proceedings

3:40 p.m.

The Speaker

I thank the hon. parliamentary secretary for his reminder that patience is such a virtue and one I know that is well-known to all hon. members.

The House resumed from October 31 consideration of the motion that Bill C-68, An Act to support development of Canada's Pacific Gateway, be read the second time and referred to a committee.

Pacific Gateway Act
Government Orders

November 2nd, 2005 / 3:40 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

I wish to inform the House that because of the ministerial statement, government orders will be extended by 18 minutes.

Pacific Gateway Act
Government Orders

3:40 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Carr Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, when we last met on this issue, I was talking about the Government of Canada's commitment to fully developing the Pacific gateway. I spoke not only about transportation but also about some of the infrastructure. I also talked not only about the impact of the Pacific gateway on transportation but the effectiveness of the gateway and how the Canadian economy would take advantage of it. Not only will the fine province of B.C. benefit from this, but all Canadians will benefit.

China and India are often referred to as the Asian tigers. They are becoming an emerging market with which we need to deal.

The Pacific gateway transportation advisory committee will consist of individuals from municipalities, which is very good because municipalities have an active stake in infrastructure in our great country. The committee also will also include representatives from the transportation sector because it needs to be an integrated strategy.

Aboriginals also have been included on the committee as well as environmentalists. It is extremely important that aboriginal issues be taken into consideration as well. Environmentalists must be involved because we are talking about major infrastructure programs. Emergency preparation experts will be included as well.

The Pacific gateway transportation advisory committee will consist of individuals offering their expertise on the opportunities of the gateway and how Canadians can take full advantage of this potential.

Without the funds to operate the advisory committee, it would be difficult for it to do its job. As a result, up to $35 million over five years has been identified for the work of the council and for the federal departments. We will be interacting with the council to make the delivery of the Pacific gateway strategy a success.

The stakeholders in the transportation sector have long advocated for a more integrated approach to transportation, and I stressed that point in my earlier statements. This approach should address the inter-connections, and I am sure the stakeholders will ensure that happens. Canada's Pacific gateway council will fulfill this need.

The home of the council will be located in the Vancouver area, which is fitting recognition of the critical role that this region will play in Canada's Pacific gateway.

As a result of this initiative, I believe Canada will be able to take up the opportunities and the challenges of the changing Asian marketplaces. We all know that will be a growing area, and the government fully supports it.

As I said in my earlier discussion, the impact of the Pacific gateway strategy reaches well beyond the Pacific. The result of this initiative will yield benefits across the country. All Canadians will benefit from the initiatives, particularly as they relate to the fact that Canada is a trading nation.

We have been successful as a result of our trading. Up until now it has been essentially with the United States, upwards of 86%. The government is trying to diversify that. Canada's closeness to the world's largest market, the United States, has been a blessing. However. there is a famous saying, “Don't put all your eggs in one basket” and it can be applied here. If there is any type of downturn, we need to ensure we are diversified.

Canada's Pacific gateway will connect to markets across North America and beyond, thereby strengthening Canada's position in the competitive world of international commerce. That is a priority of the government. Up until now, we have done that very well. Members will know the statistics of how well this country is doing in its economy versus our G-7 partners. We cannot rest on our laurels and it is up to the government to provide the infrastructure needed to ensure our businesses thrive.

Whether small, medium or large businesses, our business is to compete with anyone in the world. We have the finest labour and trained people in all parts of the country, but we also need the infrastructure. All small, medium and large companies need to have the infrastructure in place so they can compete and ship their products to other parts of the world.

Our labour force is the best in the world without a doubt. It is highly skilled, but it also needs to ensure we have the infrastructure. I see that as a vital part of government. It is one of the reasons we put together, before the last election, the infrastructure program dealing with municipalities. As businesses say, it is up to the government to put these infrastructures in place.

I am very confident of our success. We have the best labour force and the best companies. We now have a great infrastructure. We also have been blessed with having a lot of raw materials. We have a lot of oil, minerals, water and wood. Those are blessings that came to our great country. When that is put together with the people and the infrastructure the government will put in place, it will definitely ensure that our high standard of living continues. If we are unable to compete or trade, particularly with emerging markets, our standard of living and quality of life will deteriorate.

Canada's Pacific gateway strategy is an important part of the efforts of the Government of Canada to secure and enhance Canada's prosperity for years to come. We are doing other things in the areas of health care and the economy. We also have been very blessed with having a great success over the last while. We have money coming in and no deficit.

We are the only country in the G-7 that does not have a deficit position. We have had eight straight balanced budgets. When all this is put together, along with the new deal for cities and communities, the government has clearly committed to helping ensure that we maintain the prosperity for which we all are looking.

We will break new ground by confirming and addressing a broad range of interconnected challenges and opportunities.

On behalf of the good people of Halton, I am proud to participate in this debate and I look forward to some questions from my colleagues.

This is a very good initiative. I would encourage all members of the House to support the bill and I want to commend the government and in particular the minister for an excellent bill.

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Government Orders

3:50 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I have two comments and two questions coming out of the member's presentation. The first is on prosperity. He mentioned something about the current government having brought prosperity to Canada.

The member must be aware that the latest Statistics Canada figures show that since 1989, four of the five quintiles, in other words, when we divide the Canadian population into income sectors, the lowest 20%, the second lowest 20%, the middle 20% and then the two upper 20%, have seen a decline in real income.

In other words, the poorest, the lowest income Canadians, have seen their income drop by about 10%. The second quintile and third quintile, the middle class and working class Canadians, have seen their real income, the percentage of family income, drop by an equivalent of three weeks of salary a year.

Even the upper middle class, the second highest quintile, have seen an erosion of market income of a few days of pay a year.

The only group of individuals in Canada that have been prosperous since 1989 are the highest income level of Canadians. They have seen their incomes skyrocket. Corporate CEOs and corporate lawyers are doing very well.

How can the member talk about prosperity when the government has an 80% failure rate since 1989, where 80% of Canadians have seen their real incomes go down, not go up?

My second question is on his very apt observation, that when 86% of our trade is put into one country, we leave ourselves extremely vulnerable. That is has happened. What we have had over the past few years is that concentration of exports, now 86%, to the United States.

As any small business can tell us, when 86% of its trade is done with one client, there is trouble. We have seen in the last two months absolutely no action from the government on softwood lumber, aside from one phone call, but no concrete action and, indeed, various signs that the government is ready to negotiate when we won under the current dispute settlement mechanism.

First, how can he see the country as being prosperous when 80% of our families are seeing lower income?

Second, does he not feel it was a mistake for the government to put all the eggs in one basket and to concentrate our exports, when we should have over the past decade diversified to protect the interests of Canadians?

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Government Orders

3:55 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Carr Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I will have to disagree with my hon. friend. Canada has had the highest standard of living of all the G-7 countries over the last few years. He will know that the G-7 countries include the United States, which has a far larger disparity in terms of rich and poor than Canada. I believe this is a result of the social programs that we have talked about. I believe it is because of the health care programs and the $41 billion we put into health care.

As members know, the United States does not have a health care system. Thirty-five million people do not have any health care system. It has larger disparities. It has the very rich, like Bill Gates, but it also has the very poor. Because of its social network, I believe, Canada has a better standard of living across the total population.

Other G-7 countries include France, Germany, Britain and Japan. We have had the best standard of living and job creation. When this government took over, the unemployment rate was heading toward 12%. We have almost cut that in half. That is a good thing.

As members know, in the last budget we helped some low income people, particularly seniors, by increasing to about $10,000 the amount that they do not pay any taxes on. This will mean that literally hundreds of thousands of people will pay no taxes. I think that is a good thing.

I say to my hon. friend that we will have to disagree, because I believe the standard of living and the quality of life over the last few years have indeed improved. That is not to say that we cannot do more. That is what this government is all about. That is what this bill is all about: ensuring that we have the money and the income to do it.

On the second point, I think it would be agreed, going back decades, as I said in my speech, that we need to diversify, plus we have the U.S., the largest market in the world, right next door. We need to diversify. That is what Bill C-68 is all about. In order to diversify and to help the great people I talked about in terms of labour and the companies, small, medium and large, it is the government's responsibility to put the infrastructure in place.

As members know, through this period we have done it with the cities and communities. That is what this bill is all about. Even though the member may have been critical in that regard, I think we are both saying the same thing. We are trying to diversify so that when the downturn comes, which will inevitably happen in all countries and in the United States, we are able to compete.

When it comes to some of the trade disputes, this government has been very strong with the United States. In the cases of the softwood lumber and the BSE, when we have felt that the U.S. has not acted in the best interests of our country, this Prime Minister and our ministers have been very strong in terms of dealing with the United States.

I believe, as has been said, that Bill C-68 will enhance and help us go into the emerging markets.

I will note one thing last thing as we wind down. Because of these emerging markets in Asia, and the two I talked about in particular were China and India, we need to focus on the west coast. I know that there have been some discussions about what we are doing on the east coast. I am sure that my hon. friend, coming from that area, will give his full support to this piece of legislation because it is a good piece of legislation which will help companies right across this country in regard to competing in markets.

When we do this, I know that it will increase our standard of living and quality of life. I know that is the goal of all members in the House. All of us hope that at the end of the day we will be able to achieve that for the constituents we are here to represent.

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Government Orders

4 p.m.

Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca
B.C.

Liberal

Keith Martin Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Defence

Mr. Speaker, I want to tie something in to the Pacific gateway. It is with respect to some of the comments that have been made here, our productivity, what we are as a nation, and our abilities.

Some have suggested that we are simply a nation of hewers of wood and those who fish and give up our raw products to foreign markets, but nothing could be further from the truth. We are a nation that exports, to be sure a nation that has to export because of the small size of our population but our large size in geography.

Having said that, let me note that we are also a nation of extremely talented and well educated people who have been able to use our resources as a nation to export much more than wood, minerals and other raw products. We are a nation of exporters of value added products. Indeed, we are leaders in technology in various parts of the world. In fact, from a public perspective, our government has made our country one of the biggest investors in research in the entire world. Our government invests on a per capita basis in research just about as much as any other country in the world.

My question for the hon. member gets down to productivity. The Pacific gateway strategy is a part of something that has to be dealt with and is being dealt with in regard to our economic capability and competitiveness in the world, and that is the issue of productivity.

I would like to ask my hon. friend whether he will support the initiatives to continue to reduce taxes, to remove rules and regulations, to work with the provinces to invest in education and develop products and initiatives nationally to fill the deficits that we have as a country with respect to our professional capabilities in the trades, for example, and in other areas. I think that is fundamentally important. I know that the Minister of Finance is working on this.

Does the member for Halton support this notion of improving our productivity so that our private sector can continue to compete internationally with its competitors, so our country will move forward to be on the cusp of being a world leader in a broad array of arenas, and so we will be able to provide value added, high paying jobs here in Canada?

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Government Orders

4 p.m.

Liberal

Gary Carr Halton, ON

Mr. Speaker, I agree entirely with the hon. member. Members of this caucus will continue to push for more programs in that area. I have spoken on a number of occasions about the standard of living and the quality of life of the next generation. I have three children. In fact, my youngest met the hon. member last night. I firmly believe that the standard of living and the quality of life of the next generation will be in direct proportion to the skills and training we give them today.

Not just the physical natural resources but the skills will ensure that the next generation will have the prosperity that my generation has had. The generation previous to mine worked to ensure that many of my generation could get the skills and training through universities and colleges. I am certain that we will continue to work with the government on this. I could not agree more that the standard of living and the quality of life will depend on the skills and training we provide. We cannot rely just on the natural resources. That is part of what this is all about: ensuring that we diversify into these markets.

As I said earlier, and I know the member agrees, we have the best people in the world and we have the best companies in the world. With the government supporting them, I fully believe that the next generation will have the prosperity that our generation has had. That is the goal of every member of the House.

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Government Orders

4 p.m.

NDP

Peter Julian Burnaby—New Westminster, BC

Mr. Speaker, I am pleased to rise on Bill C-68, an act to support the development of Canada's Pacific gateway. I will begin by saying that we in the NDP support the bill in principle, but we have serious concerns about the government's overall approach.

The bill itself is innocuous. It appoints another advisory board. In a moment, I will come back to concerns about the appointment process by the Liberal government. The reality is that the issue of the Pacific gateway is linked much more clearly to broader issues around the infrastructure deficit that we have had over the past two decades under both the Conservatives and the Liberals. Clearly there is a neglect of our infrastructure across the country.

The reality is that the funding, coupled with the advisory committee set up by the bill, is clearly inadequate to meet the needs and objectives of what we in British Columbia have to do to repair the infrastructure after decades of neglect, but also inadequate for us as the province of British Columbia and also as the country of Canada to respond to the need to diversify our trade markets, because very clearly the trade strategy of the current government has been a failure.

With NAFTA, we have seen the dispute settlement mechanism being basically ripped up by the Bush administration. There has been no reply from the government. There has been some posturing and there have been some speeches. The NDP put forth a three point action plan in September and none of those actions put forward in September have been undertaken by the government. It is very clear to me that this shows the Bush administration the government is not serious about defending Canadian interests.

If the trade policy has been a failure, one of the key things we have to do is diversify our markets. In order to do that we have to repair the neglect of our infrastructure over the past two decades and start to respond with broader infrastructure maintenance and broader infrastructure construction.

As for the bill itself, we will be supporting it in principle, but we have five concerns. I will start with the actual administration of the moneys that are attached to this particular bill.

We are talking about $190 million that has actually been allocated, both to infrastructure programs in British Columbia and in connection with transportation in and out of British Columbia. At the same time, about $35 million has been allocated to the advisory committee.

We are talking about $190 million when we know that for infrastructure needs the federal government's share should be at least $2.5 billion. While the government has allocated an additional $400 million for photo ops during the election campaign, this much needed money has not been allocated and very clearly is being kept in reserve so that when an election comes, sooner or later, members of the government can go forth and be present at the funding announcements.

However, $190 million has been allocated when we need $2.5 billion. I will come back to that in a moment. Very clearly, that is short-sightedness on the part of this government.

I will also talk a bit about the overall neglect of infrastructure. That is a key issue that the NDP, in this corner of the House, has been concerned about for some time. There is the issue of the neglect of infrastructure. There is the issue of the inadequacy of the funding that is attached. There is the actual role of the advisory committee, which has no clear governance role, as it basically advises the government and the government makes the decision.

Primarily this is an issue of the overall mismanagement of governmental programs. I will touch on that at the end of my presentation, but I would also like to start by quoting the Gomery report on who is responsible, those major findings by Justice Gomery, because it is important for the record to hear the concerns that have been raised about programs run by the government. We have $190 million that ostensibly has been allocated and $400 million that has not been allocated.

What did Justice Gomery say? What did the commission of inquiry find in terms of Liberal management of programs?

The commission of inquiry found clear evidence of political involvement in the administration of the program, insufficient oversight, and a veil of secrecy surrounding the administration of the program and an absence of transparency in the contracting process. The inquiry also found a reluctance for fear of reprisal by virtually all public servants to go against the will of a manager who is circumventing policies. It found gross overcharging by communications agencies, inflated commission and production costs, and the use of the program for purposes other than those for which it was intended. It found deliberate actions to avoid compliance with federal legislation, including the Canada Elections Act, the Lobbyists Registration Act, the Access to Information Act and the Financial Administration Act, as well as federal contracting policy and the Treasury Board's transfer payments policy. It found a complex web of financial transactions involving kickbacks and illegal contributions to a political party in the context of the program, five agencies that received large contracts, regularly channeling money via legitimate donations or unrecorded cash gifts to political fundraising activities, and certain agencies carrying on their payrolls individuals who were in effect working on Liberal Party matters. It found the existence of a culture of entitlement among political officials involved with the program, and the refusal of ministers, senior officials in the PMO and public servants to acknowledge their responsibility.

The reason I raise this is that we are experiencing the exact same problems now around the issue of the Toronto Port Authority and $35 million that was allocated for a bridge that was never built. It is unbelievable. Some $35 million has disappeared from the federal coffers through the Ministry of Transport, and despite repeated requests under the Access to Information Act, and despite repeated questions, no answers have been forthcoming as to why it would cost $35 million not to build a bridge.

Very clearly what we have here is an ongoing pattern of mismanagement, the veil of secrecy that Justice Gomery referred to so clearly, where moneys that are public funds, paid for by the taxpayers of this nation, go forward and the ministry, in this case the Department of Transport, has sent that money away without any receipts, without any sort of production of documents to ensure that we are getting good use for those moneys.

I raise that because here we have another incident where the federal Liberal government wants to spend $35 million for an advisory committee, but since the practices that Justice Gomery has identified, that are current today and that we have seen not only with the David Dingwall affair but also very clearly with the Toronto Port Authority, have not been cleaned up, how can any of us in this House be fully assured that we are going to get the proper accounting for taxpayers' dollars that is a necessary obligation of the government?

Justice Gomery identified clear issues. The government has not responded to them. Other issues are coming forward, the Toronto Port Authority and other examples of the allocation of funds without the appropriate due diligence, yet the government continues to stonewall legitimate questions that are raised about the allocation of those funds.

That culture of entitlement is the first of the concerns we have about Bill C-68. Clearly if moneys are being allocated and very clearly if we have funds of $400 million that remain unallocated and obviously will not be allocated until a potential election campaign, it is important to raise those legitimate concerns about what is going to happen to that money. The government has not cleaned up its act, so there are legitimate concerns that the opposition, like the NDP, can express about whether or not those funds would be allocated properly.

The second concern is around the issue of the advisory committee itself. The deck presentation around the gateway bill talks about an innovative new governance structure. The innovative new governance structure is an advisory body, and the advisory body has only the mandate to advise governments. The advisory committee itself does not have the power to actually push forward projects. All it can do is advise the government.

One wonders about this, perhaps cynically with an election coming up. The transportation infrastructure in British Columbia has not been dealt with for decades under the Conservative Party or under the Liberal Party. The infrastructure in British Columbia has been completely ignored, but now we see an advisory committee that will be coming forward that has no power to actually implement anything. All it can do is advise the government. One can say that perhaps this will be an advisory committee that is set up primarily for electoral purposes. I hope that is not the case, but it is a legitimate question and we are asking that question.

There is another question that stems from this. Given that the appointment process has not been cleaned up in any way by the government, similar to the financial transactions identified by Justice Gomery, a couple of weeks ago the hon. member for Ottawa Centre presented a clear seven point plan for cleaning up government, cleaning up Parliament, ending the appointments of political cronies that we have consistently seen from the government. There has been no response.

Creating another advisory committee will put us in the same situation. The government seems to be attracted to cronyism. Will the advisory committee actually be composed of legitimate individuals, or will it simply be another place where the Liberal Party appoints its cronies? This is my second legitimate concern.

I have a third concern. It is over the allocation of funding for this particular group of projects. I mentioned earlier that we are talking about $190 million that has been allocated. Some $125 million has actually been allocated to transportation infrastructure, including the Pitt River bridge on Mary Hill in the tri-cities area of British Columbia, the Deltaport road rail grade separations, and North Portal, Saskatchewan which is the same thing, road rail grade separations. Deltaport is allocated $30 million and $3 million goes to North Portal.

These are projects that are important, but it is a drop in the bucket to what the actual infrastructure needs are. The infrastructure needs have been identified at over $5 billion. The federal share of that would be $2.5 billion. Because of the neglect around infrastructure and transportation infrastructure over the last 20 years by the Conservatives and the Liberals these needs must be fulfilled. At the same time, over the last 20 years the population in greater Vancouver has grown by three-quarters of a million. We clearly have a gap between what the needs are and the government stepping forward to actually meet them.

Some $190 million has been allocated, and $125 million has actually been allocated to transportation infrastructure projects, and another $400 million has been kept in reserve, obviously for the next election campaign. The needs are many times what the actual allocation has been. That is the third concern with this bill and the allocation that goes with it.

It is important to mention the overall neglect of the government when it comes to infrastructure generally. Over the past decade we have seen the clear neglect of our infrastructure.

In the 1960s we actually had double the rate of public infrastructure investment to overall tangible capital. It was twice the rate in the 1960s than we are seeing now. That gap has led to the shortfalls that have been identified by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and by the Canadian Urban Transit Association. Very clearly our transportation infrastructure has not kept up with the needs.

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has estimated the infrastructure deficit at about $60 billion across the country. Those are funds that Canadians need because of the shortfall between what should have been invested by the government and what actually was invested.That deficit is growing at about $2 billion a year. We have a substantial infrastructure deficit that continues to grow.

We are talking about $60 billion across the country, and the government is putting $190 million toward some transportation infrastructure projects. For the most part that just starts to address the problem. It is so far short of what is needed. There is a clear gap between the rhetoric of the government to want to respond to the urgent needs that are occurring in British Columbia and the reality of actually meeting those needs.

The Canadian Urban Transit Association has talked about a deficit in terms of actual infrastructure funding between 2004 and 2008. We need about $7 billion to maintain our existing urban transit infrastructure and about twice that, $14 billion, to actually expand, which is what we need to do. As I mentioned, in British Columbia there are three-quarters of a million additional people over the last 20 years. We need $7 billion to maintain the infrastructure over that four year period from 2004 to 2008 and we need $14 billion to expand.

Not just my party but a number of parties in this House have raised the issue of the national highway program. We do not have a national highway program in place. Canada is the only country in the G-8 that does not have one. We have seen the deterioration of our highways across the country. It is another example of the infrastructure deficit that exists.

We are seeing a deficit in infrastructure. There are very clear needs that have to be met. The bill, and the relatively small amount of money that goes with it, does not in any way address the infrastructure deficit that has occurred certainly over the past 12 years of the Liberal government but even before that under the Conservative government.

I would also like to mention a number of examples of the mismanagement that we have seen around the overall issue of infrastructure and maintenance in British Columbia and elsewhere. Concerns have been raised about Ridley Island, the sale at the Prince Rupert port facility. A number of companies in the Mining Association of British Columbia have raised concerns that the transport minister should take a second look at a proposal to purchase Ridley Island because they are concerned about the actual sale that is being pushed through by the government.

Concerns have been raised about the Fraser River dredging. The Fraser River Port Authority has not been left with funds to actually do the required dredging in the Fraser River. This is another clear example of a need that is not being met.

In my riding, something that affects the entire greater Vancouver regional district is the Burnaby Lake issue that has come forward. The Burnaby municipal council, on behalf of the GVRD, made an application to the federal government to get funding for the Burnaby Lake revitalization. Mayor Derek Corrigan of Burnaby put together the financing on the municipality side. Harry Bloy, the MLA for Burquitlam, pushed the provincial government to provide provincial government funding for the infrastructure to revitalize Burnaby Lake, an important jewel in our community. We continue to wait for the federal government. We continue to wait.

In fact, the city of Burnaby was told that the infrastructure program did not finance Burnaby Lake renewal, but we know that the same program financed the renewal in Saskatchewan. Very clearly we have an issue around infrastructure. We raised those concerns. We have the provincial government on board. We have the city of Burnaby on board. Both sides who have put that allocation forward are waiting for the federal government to step in and make the commitment.

We have broad concerns with Bill C-68, although we are supporting it in principle. We have concerns over the overall financial mismanagement that we have seen and which was confirmed by Justice Gomery. We have concerns about the actual appointment process of the federal government. Despite the interventions of the member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, we have not seen a change to that appointment process. Any time we talk about a new advisory committee, that raises the alarm.

We are concerned about the inadequacy of the funding of $190 million when $2.5 billion is called for. We are concerned about the infrastructure deficit that we have seen over the past 20 years, particularly over the last 12 years. We are also concerned about the mismanagement of current projects that should have been resolved.

With all those caveats, I close my presentation.

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Government Orders

4:25 p.m.

Liberal

Karen Redman Kitchener Centre, ON

Mr. Speaker, I rise on a point of order. Discussions have taken place between all parties regarding the extension of government orders today as a result of the ministerial statement, and I believe you would find consent that notwithstanding today's ministerial statement, government orders shall finish at 5:30 p.m.

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4:25 p.m.

The Acting Speaker (Mr. Marcel Proulx)

Is there unanimous consent?

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4:25 p.m.

Some hon. members

Agreed.