Mr. Speaker, the so-called uncommited funds from Conservative legacy programs were accumulated without raising taxes and when the federal budget had been balanced.
When the Liberal Party took office in November 2015, there was $837 million available for transfer to municipalities across the country. According to the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, less than five months later, on budget day, $805,887,514 had disappeared. This left $30.1 million, which was transferred to the federal gas tax fund on March 31, 2017.
My question for the minister was this: Where did the money go? The talking point claimed, without answering the original question, and I quote from Hansard, March 10, 2017:
We have fulfilled that promise to transfer over to the gas tax funds the appropriate amounts allocated.
In fact, the federal government's own press release announcing the transfer of $30.1 million is dated March 31, 2017. The March 10 response was clearly intended to mislead the House, as the transfer occurred after I asked my question. More important, it did not address the question of the missing $805 million.
How else is the government misleading Canadians about infrastructure spending?
In response to an Order Paper question, the Liberal Party said, in November 2015, that $194,164 was available to be transferred to Prince Edward Island through the gas tax fund. By May 5, 2017, that figure had been changed to $12. By the government's own figures, the March 2017 transfer figure was then changed to $228,652.
Newfoundland and Labrador figures contain the same discrepancies. The original figure provided by the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities was $1,404,252. That figure was then changed in response to another Order Paper question to read $1,012,269. It then claimed that $380,931 was available for the gas tax transfer, a substantially reduced figure from the $1,366,972 number that had already been provided by the federal government on a different document.
The figures provided by the Minister of Infrastructure for the Province of Quebec showed $208,416,418 available for transfer. This figure had been reduced down to $6,014,015 on the day of the federal budget.
In another sleight-of-hand response to another question to the government, the $208 million was changed to $104,783,324, with $5,844,612 the now revised amount available for transfer to municipalities through the federal gas tax fund.
Do members see the pattern? None of the figures add up.
Now we get to Ontario. The first figure provided as being available to transfer to municipalities through the federal gas tax transfer was $558,678,458. Four months later, the figure is $13,327,279. By the following year, the first figure had been reduced to $548,900,914, and the amount on budget day had been changed to $13,778,243.