Speaking to reporters after QP, the Transport Minister tries to explain what his government is saying when it says 90%.
Hon. John Baird: I’ll give you an example. We don’t – you know, for example, the equity of the Home Renovation Tax Credit. Has the money been paid out? No, but people right across the country are keeping their receipts for tax time. So while no money has gone out, Canadians have got the green light to go and spend money on infrastructure. We pay our invoices within 30 days. On the tax measures, which when we talk about 90 percent done we’re not talking about exclusively infrastructure. We’re talking about the tax measures. We’re talking about the credit facilities that the Minister has put in. We’re not exclusively talking about even the infrastructure stimulus with the provinces and municipalities. We’re talking about the knowledge infrastructure. I made an announcement in Kingston with respect to the Lasalle Causeway. The project’s starting this week. Obviously is all the money spent on the first day? No, you spend it as you go along, day by day. Things are really going like a snowball around the country and they’re happening.
Question: What’s the word when you say hit the rubber? What does it mean?
Hon. John Baird: When monies begin to be spent.
Question: Money that came out – so you’re saying that 90 percent of the money came out —
Hon. John Baird: No. If you – I’d encourage you to read the report because the 90 percent number is for the Economic Action Plan, not exclusively stimulus.
Moderator: Last question.
Hon. John Baird: Well, that’s not evident by the question. Because it’s not – it’s about tax measures, not just infrastructure.
Question: So if we get to stimulus, because this is what the Liberals criticized, I mean they say 12 percent only of the stimulus has flowed so when you – so how do you answer the question about stimulus? Last week you said 70 percent –
Hon. John Baird: I say, for example, 75 percent of the projects that were slated to begin in 2004 (sic) as of September 1st had begun. That’s good news. If you’d look at the totality of the Economic Action Plan it’s even higher, it goes to 90 percent. The good news is we’re making progress each and every day. For example, if an election would have been called two weeks ago, we wouldn’t have been able to make more than $700 million of investments in British Columbia so it’s literally September will be our biggest month yet. Substantially more things have happened in September than two or three months ago. It’s going – we’re – it’s really snowballing.