Canadian Consulting Engineer

Commons’ Finance Committee cites ACEC submission

January 1, 2003
By Canadian Consulting Engineer

After months of pre-budget consultations, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance produced its report, which quotes ACEC's position on infrastructure. The report's section on infrastructure...

After months of pre-budget consultations, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance produced its report, which quotes ACEC’s position on infrastructure. The report’s section on infrastructure begins with the following excerpt from the ACEC fall Submission to the Committee:

Canadians need clean water, safe disposal of wastes, reliable highways and a more efficient national rail system. Canada’s infrastructure deficit and cumulative infrastructure debt should be seen as equally crippling as the national fiscal debt and should be tackled with the same level of priority and urgency because they directly affect people’s lives. In fact, the infrastructure deficit potentially has a greater impact on the health, safety and wellbeing of Canadians.

The Standing Committee made recommendations that are very much in line with the ACEC position and asked for the expeditious development and implementation of a long-term, adequately funded infrastructure plan, with an initial focus on transportation and water and sewage deficiencies.

ACEC presentation to Committee

On October 22, a delegation from ACEC met with the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance to present its submission for the federal government’s pre-budget consultations. The focus of ACEC’s written brief was on the need for major investments in infrastructure. In its oral presentation, ACEC delivered the following key messages: (1) Canada has an out-of-control infrastructure deficit; (2) this cumulative infrastructure deficit is in reality Canada’s second national debt; (3) the infrastructure debt has a greater impact on the lives of Canadians than does the fiscal debt, so, it should be paid down with the same level of urgency as the fiscal debt; (4) the infrastructure deficit is growing by about $2 billion a year and, consequently, urgent action is needed; (5) Canada needs a well-funded, permanent national strategy that will give Canadians what they deserve and expect: clean water, safer disposal of wastes and reliable highways and transportation systems

The ACEC was represented at the Standing Committee hearings by Board Chair Pierre Shoiry, ing. and ACEC President Claude Paul Boivin. ACEC pointed out that although the federal surplus last year was almost $9 billion, none of this money had gone to paying down our infrastructure deficit. ACEC said that it welcomes the government’s promise in the Speech from the Throne for a 10-year program for infrastructure but stressed that the appropriate level of funding commitments must accompany this promise. The Standing Committee is chaired by Ms. Sue Barns, a Liberal Member of Parliament for London West.


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