Canada’s Liberal Party government will add $60 billion to planned infrastructure spending over the next 12 years, beyond the $90 billion announced in last spring’s budget, to boost a sluggish economy and create jobs, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced in Ottawa on Nov. 1.
Morneau called the added infusion “unprecedented” in Canadian history, says an online Reuters report.
He also said Canada will set up an infrastructure bank with access to $26 billion in seed funding that he said would attract up to $4 in private capital for every tax dollar invested. Observers had predicted the government would accelerate announcing the new bank from original plans to do so next year. But Morneau also cut economic growth forecasts from last spring and said budget deficits would continue longer than predicted.
The announcement comes two weeks after Public Policy Forum, a federal think-tank, released a report noting the need for a long-term national spending strategy that observers say also would lure pension fund cash and other outside infrastructure investors who want assurances of a healthy pipeline of projects.
“There is no term more dangerous than ‘shovel-ready’ when it comes to infrastructure,” said the report, whose lead author is Drew Fagan, a former Ontario deputy minister of infrastructure. “In other words, if we do infrastructure better at home, we can turn it into a lucrative, exportable industry abroad.”
Global asset management giant Blackrock will host major global investors in Toronto on Nov. 14 for a daylong infrastructure investment conference, say media reports. Among those set to speak are Morneau, Premier Justin Trudeau and Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi.
The policy paper also calls for more user fees to pay for new infrastructure—a measure Canadian media said the Liberals rejected in cancelling planned tolls on a major multibillion-dollar bridge replacement in Montreal.