IN THE HOUSE ~ Question ~ on the crisis in infrastructure development

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    Mr. Peter Julian (Burnaby—New Westminster, NDP): Mr. Speaker, the member talked about infrastructure and there is no doubt we are in crisis after six or seven years of Conservative government. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities evaluates that crisis in infrastructure development at about $170 billion. There is no doubt there is huge economic fall-out from that.

    It means a lower quality of life for Canadians. It also means bridges with cracks that cannot be used anymore like the Champlain Bridge. There is a whole range of places across the country like the city of New Westminster, for example, where the railway bridge which needs to be replaced and has needed to be replaced for years, is not being replaced. So $170 billion deficit and we have a government that very cynically put forward a budget and, wait for this, the sum total of the infrastructure funding provided for this upcoming fiscal year is $200 million. That means when we look at the overall scope of needs, the government is spending money on its pet projects rather than spending money where it counts, developing infrastructure and contributing to economic well-being.

    My question is simple. When we see the tragedy of the Champlain Bridge and the impact on the greater Montreal area, when we see the railway bridge in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia is not being replaced, and we see Conservatives wanting to withhold all that infrastructure funding to make some announcements during the election campaign but only providing $200 million in the next fiscal year, how can the member support that cynical approach to budgeting which leaves Canadians far short?