Thursday, October 8, 2015 5:35 pm ·  0 Comments
Due to the number of federal candidates for the Federal Riding of Oakville North Burlington, the questions that the Region of Halton asked will be broken down into each question. The first question deals with Infrastructure.
Currently, the federal government does not provide sustained, long-term investment into Halton’s municipal infrastructure. Improving our roads, bridges, water and wastewater systems is one of the best ways to create local jobs, keep goods moving, help businesses succeed and maintain a high quality of life for the growing Halton community. By 2031, the infrastructure needs in Halton (including state-of-good-repair programs) are expected to reach approximately $5.6 billion.
What would you and your government do to ensure a long-term, predictable and sustainable investment in local infrastructure to ensure that Halton residents are not burdened with the cost of growth?
Janice Best – New Democratic Party
The NDP is committed to supporting the infrastructure priorities of provinces and municipalities. We also share an interest in having a high quality and productive transportation system, based on improving commute times for residents and ensuring the efficient movement of goods throughout the entire region. That’s why Tom Mulcair has proposed to substantially increase transfers to municipalities for core infrastructure and transit projects.
Increasing existing transfers by $1.5 billion annually for core infrastructure and $1.3 billion annually for public transit by the end of our first mandate will provide, predictable, dedicated federal funding for important projects in the years to come. We are the only federal party to present a plan to adequately fund both local infrastructure and public transit.
We are also committed to funding important provincial and municipal infrastructure projects through the $14 billion New Building Canada Fund where provinces submit their priority projects. We will be a collaborative federal partner in that process.
David Clement – Libertarian Party of Canada
First off, it needs to be stated that it is upsetting that there is an infrastructure shortfall both locally and regionally. Core infrastructure needs are obviously important, as they often lay the foundation for our economy. That being said, I do not think that local and regional projects are an appropriate use of federal funds. My reasoning for this is that every time the federal government seeks to develop infrastructure locally, it does so by taxing people across Canada to do it. Thus, we literally have people being taxed in Alberta and Newfoundland for road expansion in the Halton Region. I don’t think it’s fair, nor do I think it is right, to move federal dollars around like this. I don’t want to be taxing people across Canada for local projects, and I don’t want to be taxing people in Halton to fund projects in other provinces.
Local and regional infrastructure projects absolutely have to be funded at the local and provincial level. We need to move away from the idea that we want to expand infrastructure locally, but have other people fund it. If we, as a region and community, want long term investment from government for infrastructure, we should be looking at our members of provincial parliament and municipal councillors for such funding. Focusing on local and regional solutions to local issues ensures that problems are dealt with by those who actually experience the problems, which makes the created policies far more responsive to the needs of residents.
Pam Damoff – Liberal Party of Canada
For Canadian communities to succeed, funding for infrastructure will need to be substantive, predictable, and sustained. A Liberal government will not only significantly increase the scale of federal transit investment; the plan will provide provinces, territories, and municipalities with an unprecedented level of long-term predictability in funding as well. This will be done in full respect of provincial jurisdiction.
This historic, new influx of federal money into public transportation projects – along with the money committed directly to public transit in Budget 2015 – will allow the existing New Building Canada Fund to focus more on other parts of Canada’s vital transportation system, such as roads and bridges.
Investing in a sustainable future is a critical priority for the Liberal Party of Canada. We are committed to growing the economy and middle class incomes. As part of that commitment funding to municipalities will quadruple to $6 billion over the next four years, and to almost $20 billion over ten years. A Liberal government will develop bilateral agreements with the provinces and territories, similar to those created for the successful gas tax transfer to cities and communities.
To help foster innovative business strategies, The Liberal Party of Canada will create a new Canada Infrastructure Bank to provide financing at affordable rates to municipalities and other partners investing in new infrastructure projects. We believe that municipalities need these initiatives to plan for and have the infrastructure for growth to occur.
We will make sure that no money intended for investment in communities is allowed to lapse.
Too often, Stephen Harper budgeted funds for use in our communities, then let those dollars go unspent. We will make sure our communities are not shortchanged.
Near the end of the fiscal year, we will automatically transfer any uncommitted federal infrastructure funds to municipalities, through a temporary top-up of the Gas Tax Fund. This will ensure that no committed infrastructure money is allowed to lapse, but is instead always invested in our communities.”
Adnan Shahbaz – Green Party of Canada
Due to neglect, our massive municipal infrastructure deficit is now estimated at $123 billion. The federal government must find innovative financing solutions to our infrastructure problems, to ensure Canada reaps the enormous economic and employment benefits that will come with building and maintaining world class infrastructure.
The Green Party has a longterm vision to create good local jobs, and build vibrant, safe, and livable Canadian towns and cities. We will invest an additional $6.4 billion in infrastructure to combat the infrastructure deficit. Through the Council of Canadian Governments, municipalities will be full partners in allocating the funding in this infrastructure program, including transit expansion, streets, parks, water systems, schools, and community centres.
We would also establish a federal Infrastructure Bank as an independent Crown Corporation to provide low interest loans to municipalities for community brownfield remediation, water and waste treatment facilities, sports, cultural and recreational facilities, public transit, cycling and pedestrian promotion, and community housing. As long as the Infrastructure Bank recouped its borrowing and administrative costs, there would be no incremental impact on the federal government’s budgetary balance. Infrastructure requires long term planning, and all governments must collaborate to come up with workable approaches to the massive investment required.
Effie Triantafilopoulos – Conservative Party of Canada
Over the last decade, the federal government has provided sustained, long-term investment into Halton’s municipal infrastructure. In fact, over the last 10 years a record amount of federal funding has been invested in municipal infrastructure in Halton Region.
Across Canada, federal funding of $33 billion has been provided for over 12,000 provincial and municipal infrastructure projects. This was not always the case; until a decade ago, the federal government funded very little municipal or provincial infrastructure.
One example of our record investment into local infrastructure is the Gas Tax Fund. Through the Gas Tax Fund, the Conservative government provides stable, predictable annual funding for local municipalities. This funding is not application based, thus eliminating the need for paperwork and allowing for stable budget forecasting. This year Halton Region will receive $14.3 million, Oakville $5.3 million, Burlington $5.9 million, Milton $2.4 million and Halton Hills $1.7 million, a total of $29 million in federal gas taxes this year.
Looking forward, Conservatives will continue to work with provincial and municipal governments to build on this record of investment. Last year, the Conservative government announced a record new investment of $70 billion for public infrastructure over the next decade, which includes $53 billion for municipal and provincial infrastructure projects.
Conservatives are proud of the federal investments in municipal infrastructure in Halton Region. Our prudent, fiscal management – based on low-taxes and balanced budgets – means that our commitment to deliver on the $70 billion in new infrastructure spending over the next decade can be counted on.
Adnan Shahbaz, Conservative Party of Canada, David Clement, Effie Triantafilopoulos, Green Party of Canada, Janice Best, Liberal Party of Canada, Libertarian Party of Canada, New Democratic Party, Pam Damoff