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View Stephanie Kusie Profile
View Stephanie Kusie Profile
2020-01-28 17:19 [p.609]
Mr. Speaker, I will be splitting my time with our fantastic member for Langley—Aldergrove. I certainly look forward to his comments.
I wish I was starting this speech on a better note. It is a very sad time in the world. Of course, this week we lost a great in the sports industry, Kobe Bryant, and his daughter, and the world mourns this.
Upon reflection of this, I got to thinking about the sports world and this speech ahead of me in the House of Commons. I began to reflect on one of my favourite sports movies, indeed, one of my favourite movies. It is a movie from my earlier times called Jerry Maguire.
I like this movie very much. It is about an individual who is a sports agent. He makes the decision to leave his big firm to start his own firm because he is concerned about the ethics at the big firm. Unfortunately, he only gets one client, and members may know this client. It is the character played by Cuba Gooding Jr., a very gregarious and bold character. There is one line that he is known for, and this comes to mind as we discuss this opposition day motion, “Show me the money.”
Certainly, Canadians have given their money in record deficits. The federal debt as of 2017-18 budget was $671.3 billion, not a small amount. I wish I could say that it stopped there, but unfortunately in 2018-19 it went up to $696.5 billion.
The federal deficit in the 2019-20 budget is expected to be $19.8 billion, as noted not by the Fraser Institute but by Maclean's Those are huge numbers. As a result of that, what do we expect of the government from taking all of these taxes? We expect it to show us the money.
Let us first give some consideration to where the money is not. I think that is pretty evident by the PBO in its findings.
In 2017, the Parliamentary Budget Officer found that the Liberals had spent only half of the promised infrastructure money. In 2018, when the Parliamentary Budget Officer requested the Liberals' infrastructure plan, it found that in fact the plan did not exist. In 2019, when the Parliamentary Budget Officer requested a list of all specific project commitments under the investing in Canada plan, the Liberal government was unable to provide the data. It is a $186.7 billion plan and the government cannot show us the money. I think Canadians are asking for that. They want the government to show us the money.
The PBO has shown that the Liberals have failed even to get their own infrastructure money out the door and that infrastructure money lapses at 60% per year for the first two years, which is terrible. When the former minister of infrastructure was asked in the House of Commons how he was spending $187 billion on infrastructure, he said that he had bought a few buses.
The Liberals claim that their infrastructure spending would increase GDP by an average of 0.3% per year. In fact, at best, the PBO estimated that it fell short by 67%.
The truth is that nobody even knows how much the government spends on infrastructure. The Prime Minister does not even know. The Parliamentary Budget Officer does not know. The Department of Finance does not know. Even the Department of Infrastructure does not know.
Our offices asked the PBO to reach out to the Department of Infrastructure and ask how much the government spent on infrastructure. Even the department could not answer the question.
The Parliamentary Budget Officer said that the government's infrastructure plan did not exist, thus proving that the investing in Canada plan is hopelessly mismanaged and improvised and, therefore, the reason and the need for this motion today.
The PBO analysis shows that despite all of the Prime Minister's spending, there was no incremental increase in infrastructure in Canada. According to the Parliamentary Budget Officer, 40% of the Prime Minister's infrastructure spending lapsed both in 2017 and 2018. This is promised money that never flowed out the door. The PBO estimated that 40% of the funding allocated for infrastructure from 2016-17 to 2018-19 will lapse unused. That is why I am asking today, on behalf of Canadians, for the government to show us the money.
Statistics Canada's infrastructure economic account shows almost no increase in infrastructure spending. However, between 2015 and 2018, the most recent years available, annual inflation-adjusted infrastructure investment went from $70.7 billion to $71.5 billion. There was only a tiny $0.8-billion annual increase in infrastructure, despite a staggering $35 billion in infrastructure spending allocated by the Prime Minister over all these years. Again I ask the government to show me the money.
I thought that perhaps, if we are not seeing it in these grand offices of Parliament and the Government of Canada, I could look closer, in my own backyard, to see some evidence of spending. Unfortunately, I cannot see the money there either. I looked, for example, at a $4.4-billion pipeline, which my province is desperately in need of at this time. I understand there were some shovels in the ground as of December, but if we look ahead to the future, far into the future frankly, Q2 or Q3 of 2022 is the best-case scenario completion date. That is three years. That is another three years lost in Alberta. Again I ask the government to show me the money.
Let me look harder in my backyard. Let me look to a project that is very dear to all Calgarians: the Green Line. After many years of humming and hawing and toing and froing, we finally get a commitment from the federal government. However, when is this implementation expected to be completed? It will be in 2026. I will be over 50. Hopefully my son will have a learner's permit by then. Again I ask the government to show me the money.
I can say there are two places where we can see the money. The first is in the cost of the administration of the infrastructure bank. There is nothing built, but there is some money there. In 2019, there was $11.376 million, which includes staff compensation, professional fees and travel, but not a single infrastructure project. Someone please call the member for New Brunswick Southwest and get the waste report going again, because we see the money is there, but there is no infrastructure.
There is one place we are seeing the money, but unfortunately it is not in Canada. It is in Asia with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. With a $256-million contribution over five years, we are actually 1% shareholders, which is pretty impressive. There are three pipelines there. There are none here, but three there. Also, as my colleague from the lovely riding of Calgary Shepard indicated today, this money is moving from gift to investment, so we are not even being transparent about how we are recording it, much less how we are spending. I do not even want to talk about the belt and road initiative around the world that we are contributing to as a result of these investments.
The government has continued to be a tax and spend—oh, I cannot even say “spend”, because we have not spent the money. I wish it were at least a tax-and-spend government, but it is just a taxing government. It continues to take our money through taxes, debt and deficits, as I indicated at the beginning of my speech.
In the end, on behalf of Calgarians, Albertans, the good people of Calgary Midnapore and Canadians, I would ask the government to show me the money.
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