That's an excellent question. We have a paper we'll be publishing soon that looks at this. It was done at the request of Minister Sohi.
The International Monetary Fund identifies important practices around transparency. You want to have good planning up front. You want to have coordination.
I gave a speech this morning on health care and the question was, “How do you get collaboration?” I said, “Well, look to infrastructure.” You want federal, provincial, and municipal governments actually working together.
As a first step this is excellent. I think now the challenge is how we get the outcomes we want out of this. How do we ensure that the transfers that are going from the federal government to the other orders of government come back as information on performance? In the past we've had challenges at the federal level where transfers were made but the information didn't always come back. It gets very hard to assess whether the transfers have been effective.
I think this is the important challenge when the federal government is making historic allocations to infrastructure. I think they have an opportunity as a quid pro quo to get that data and to ensure that they have the right planning information, that the right due diligence is being done, and that there are metrics around performance, whether financial or non-financial. The financial metrics are rates of return that contribute to the economy, but there are also things like GHG reduction, the reduction of congestion, and an increase of commutable distances. These are important metrics around infrastructure that can address not only the economic concerns of a sluggish economy but important policy considerations that the government advances in the Speech from the Throne.