Thanks, Mr. Chair. I appreciate the witnesses making the time to be here today.
I couldn't help but note a comment that was made by the Liberal member, Mr. Kennedy, in his remarks. I'm paraphrasing here, but basically what he said was that there's a difference between making an announcement and delivering on a project. I certainly couldn't agree more with that. That's why I'm so proud of the unprecedented, very quick action that's been taken by our government on this municipal funding for the infrastructure projects.
I look over a list of projects and I know there are a number from B.C. in it. Just to highlight a couple of areas that I really enjoy holidaying in, I see that one of them is Tofino, with some highway work that is 100% completed. Another area I enjoy going to, to hit the links, is the Radium–Fairmont area. I notice a project in Radium: some trails, which are 100% completed. There are dozens and dozens of examples.
I look to my own province of Alberta and to projects in my riding. There are Highway 1A improvements near Cochrane. I look at work on Highway 1 near Banff and on Highway 27 near the Olds area. I have a number of other projects: roadworks in Airdrie and rinks in places such as Olds and Airdrie, and waste water infrastructure in places such as Crossfield and Didsbury. In my riding, and everywhere else, I hear that people are very impressed with how quickly these projects are rolling out and how quickly they're being completed.
Obviously, that's to the credit not only of our government but of the provinces and the municipalities as well. We can all take great pride in the work we've done together to make this happen as quickly as we have.
I contrast that with other times when you would see programs drag on for years and years with very little progress. We've certainly seen that in the past. A great example of it was the Liberals' infrastructure program, called the municipal–rural infrastructure fund. That was a program, a billion-dollar fund, that they announced in their budget in 2003. It took them three years just to negotiate and sign agreements with all the provinces. It took until 2006 to do it. The amount of money spent on the first year of their program was zero dollars; the money spent in the second year of the program was zero dollars again; and the amount spent in the third year of the program was very insignificant—we're talking about less than one-tenth of one per cent of the announced funds.
When you look at examples like that, I guess I would ask the panel today, is there anyone who thinks that is the kind of example they would want to see us follow on infrastructure funding?
I note a complete lack of support for the Liberal approach to infrastructure funding among the panel.
Maybe we'll just look at another question that I have for you. I'll ask you. In terms of our infrastructure stimulus program, obviously we had a number of unique features that ensured quick rollout of some of the funding. For example, there were very short—in some cases one-page—applications, streamlined environmental assessment processes, and of course reliance on attestations from the project proponents.
I'd ask anyone who'd be interested in answering: overall, do you feel that these new features we've included have been helpful in advancing the funding? If so, why?