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View Tako Van Popta Profile
View Tako Van Popta Profile
2020-01-28 17:36 [p.611]
Madam Speaker, I rise to speak in favour of the motion.
In 2015 the Liberal Party ran on a platform of increasing infrastructure spending, and together with that there was going to be a series of small to medium-sized deficits. The objective was to implement infrastructure spending and projects that would improve efficiency and economic productivity and ultimately strengthen Canada's economy and create well-paying jobs. There were going to be three years of small to medium-sized deficits, and in year four, 2019, the Liberals were going to balance the budget. It seemed like a plausible story, and the Liberal Party won a majority government.
However, fast-forward to 2020. Rather than looking in the mirror that Canadian voters have given them to perhaps examine their presuppositions, the Liberals are saying they do not care about balanced budgets anymore. In fact, they are saying yes, we did not meet our objective of balancing the budget in year four, 2019; we have just moved the goal posts. They say they do not measure deficits in real dollars anymore; they now measure deficits as a ratio to gross domestic product. Under that new measure, they say they are looking way better.
As a matter of fact, the truth to the story is they are not looking better. They just do not look as bad as some of our trading partners.
I wonder what would happen today if there were a global financial crisis of the kind we had in 2008. Canada, unfortunately, is not in the good, safe, sound position that it was in at that time under the then-Conservative government. Canada weathered the global financial crisis very well because of the sound economic policy that was the core of the Conservative government. If the government cannot balance its budget in times of full employment with many people paying taxes in an environment of good tax revenue and low interest rates, then it is no wonder that many Canadians are concerned and worried about the future of this country.
If this debt financing actually went for the stated purpose of increasing and improving infrastructure spending, it would not be so bad, but the government has mishandled the infrastructure file and there is a lack of transparency, so we are looking for more transparency. That is why I speak in favour of the motion:
That...the House call on the Auditor General of Canada to immediately conduct an audit of the government’s Investing in Canada Plan, including, but not be limited to, verifying whether the plan lives up to its stated goals and promises....
I am convinced that the Auditor General, when he reports, will say that the government has not.
I have heard members from the other side say that they are having trouble spending the money because of lack of co-operation from provincial governments and municipal mayors. I can say that there are a couple of projects in the Fraser Valley for which people there would love to have a commitment from the federal government.
I have spoken with the mayors in my riding in Langley, but my riding also extends into west Abbotsford, so I have spoken to the mayor of Abbotsford as well. They are fully in support of expanding Highway 1. I thank my neighbouring member of Parliament for speaking in favour of that great project. Many people are tied up in traffic every day and every morning there is a long lineup of people going into metro Vancouver, so it is high time for Highway 1 to be expanded.
It was pointed out by the member for Surrey—Newton that Conservative and Liberal governments have supported the expansion of Highway 1 as far as exit 264, but that only tells half the answer. That is now where the bottleneck is going to be. Highway 1, the Trans-Canada Highway, was built in the mid-1960s, and beyond exit 264 there has never been any expansion. It is still a two-way highway, a core transit corridor, and it is high time for it to be expanded.
I also want to talk about the SkyTrain expansion. The western part of my riding is in metro Vancouver, and all 21 mayors there are fully in support of the SkyTrain expansion. There is a funding commitment from three levels of government to bring the SkyTrain to the Fleetwood area in Surrey, but we are looking for another $1.6 billion to complete the project and bring it all the way to Langley. I would point out that $1.6 billion is less than 1% of the total $186.7 billion that has been committed to infrastructure spending. This is one project with full support from all the mayors of metro Vancouver and the members of the legislative assembly as well, both Liberal and NDP.
There are a couple of projects that have full support from my constituents, the mayors and the members of the legislative assembly. Those are shovel-ready. We are looking for the federal government to come forward and support those two projects.
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