Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Taylor Bacharach calls for refocus for Canada Infrastructure Bank and notes of many needs of the Northwest including Prince Rupert

Skeena-Bukley Valley MP Taylor Bacharach spoke to the
challenges of getting infrastructure built in Canada

The lack of much in the way of tangible benefits from the Canada Infrastructure Bank has caught the attention of the NDP in Ottawa these days, with Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach the latest MP to take note of the lack of timely progress for the government agency when it comes to delivering on infrastructure needs.

The Infrastructure Bank which notes of 39 partnerships to day deploying 35 billion dollars, a sample of some of that investment can be reviewed here.

Some of the projects are tangible developments, others somewhat far off projects with little heard since towards progress since they were announced.

As a result, t he government agency however has also been the focus of much opposition and media attention of late and on Tuesday, the Skeena-Bulkley MP became the latest to question the focus for the Infrastructure Bank, speaking to the introduction of Bill C-245 An Act to Amed the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

His comments reflecting on what the Bank has achieved and what it hasn't yet, as well as the needs of communities that aren't gaining access to those infrastructure funds that they need.

He observed of recent discussions towards the Infrastructure through the Transportation Committee; as well as the current call for the House is to revise it towards more effective use.

"I also want to note that just recently the Standing Committee on Transportation Infrastructure and Communities tabled a report in this House with a single recommendation and that recommendation was to abolish the Canada Infrastructure Bank altogether.

This Bill we're talking about today proposes a different route, it proposes to reform the enabling legislation so that the Canada Infrastructure Bank can recover from its many failings and its troubled track record and indeed meet the needs, the infrastructure needs of Canadian communities"

During the course of his ten minute review of the Bank and some of its failings for the House an dhow its focus on private-public partnerships is not serving  the public as best it could. 

Bachrach touched on a range of areas where the Bank's focus could be improved, offering four key elements to address

"It replaces the mandate of trying to leverage private capital and deliver private profit. It replaces that mandate with a focus on rural, remote and Indigenous communities because we know that their infrastructure needs are so huge right across this country.

Now the second thing that it does, is it explicitly sets the mandate of the Bank to focus on responding and tackling the climate emergency, probably the biggest threat to Canadian infrastructure that we face.

The third thing it does, is it reforms the governance of the Bank so that there's Indigenous representation, that's important I think for any of our institutions, but particularly for one that is going to focus on the needs of Indigenous communities.

And fourthly, it requires the Bank to report regularly to this place so that we can have accountability and so that we ensure that the Bank does not suffer from the many failings and shortcomings that we've seen over that past five years.

To close his overview of the suggested changes, the Skeena-Bulkley Valley noted of the vast expanse of his riding, noting of some of the needs in the Northwest.

"I represent Northwest BC, it's entirely a rural and remote part of this country, there are so many communities that have critical infrastructure needs. 

From the village of Klemtu that needs to replace its power lines, tothe Heiltsuk who need to build a governance building and have an ambitious climate action plan.

Smithers has wastewater and drinking water projects that it needs to build, in Tackla in so many Indigenous communities they're struggling to build housing. 

There's shoreline erosion  in communities like Old Masset, Skidegate has waste water needs."

Prince Rupert was not left off his list with the MP noting of the many infrastructure needs for this community.

"Prince Rupert, one of the biggest cities in the part of the world that I represent, has an infrastructure deficit in the hundreds of millions of dollars"

The MP's full presentation to the House can be reviewed below:

Bill C-245 is a private members bill introduced in February by Manitoba MP Niki Ashton, in currently is in the process of its Second Reading, though it should be noted that private members bills often don't have a successful navigation through the House of Commons towards becoming government policy.

The prospects of forward momentum for the bill in the short term will soon be slowed, that as MP's prepare for their summer recess with a return not antiquated until the late summer or early fall.

You can follow the progress for the initiative here.

More notes on the work of the Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP can be reviewed from our archive page.

1 comment:

  1. Follow the money, Federal transfers were at record levels during 2020.

    Prince Rupert received $7,744,574 from the feds in 2020, the most out of any city in our MP's riding.

    Prince Rupert municipal leadership replaced 61.2 metres of water main and paved 19,452 m2 of roads. Numbers proudly displayed as major achievement in their 2021 annual report.

    Rupert has 134 kms of water mains, and 97 kms of roadways.

    Is the infrastructure bank failing to deliver tangible benefits, or local government?