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“My first priority is getting things built quickly that matter to the lives of Canadians,”

Posted in Talking Politics

Published on November 28, 2019 with No Comments

Infrastructure and Communities Minister Catherine McKenna has said that her top priority as the country’s new infrastructure minister is to get projects built quickly.

The Liberal government has committed more than $180 billion over 12 years to improving roads, bridges, public transit and other needed infrastructure across Canada, but it has been criticized for failing to get the money out the door and shovels in the ground.

McKenna, in her first speech since being named to the job last week, told municipal leaders that accelerating the pace of projects is the first of three main priorities as she settles into her new role.

“Let me just be clear about my priorities,” she told the Federation of Canadian Municipalities. “One: My first priority is getting things built quickly that matter to the lives of Canadians.”

McKenna underscored her point by donning a white hard hat, emblazoned with the government of Canada logo. “I look forward to working with all of you to get to work to building a better Canada for all Canadians all across this great country.”McKenna said getting projects off the ground quickly will require all levels of government — federal, provincial and municipal — to work together. “We’re all partners in this. It’s our job, everyone in this room, to ensure that all orders of government work for people. Otherwise, we’ll see the continued erosion of the faith of Canadians in all of us.”

It vowed that a re-elected Liberal government would require all provinces and territories to identify and approve their long-term infrastructure priorities within two years. Federal infrastructure funding that hasn’t been designated for specific projects by the end of 2021 would be given directly to municipalities, through a top-up of the federal gas-tax fund, to spend on projects they choose.

McKenna made it clear that such a measure would be a last resort, repeatedly emphasizing the need for collaboration and co-operation among all levels of government.

 

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