Mind the infrastructure gap - Macleans.ca

Mind the infrastructure gap

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Daryl Copeland argues the federal government’s priorities have left little room to deal with national infrastructure needs.

At a time of robust economic growth, Canada’s federal government cut personal and corporate taxes, and reduced the GST by a few percentage points. These actions eliminated several tens of billions of dollars per year in revenue, and, with that, the government’s capacity to raise and retain funds that could later be deployed in support of the public interest. At the same time, the government dramatically increased spending on the armed forces, accumulated the large ancillary expenses associated with going to war in Afghanistan, and presided over the unprecedented militarization of Canadian society.

Meanwhile, Postmedia finds that the $3.1 billion spent to upgrade water treatment plants in recent years may not bring such infrastructure up to new federal standards—standards that may require another $20 billion in upgrades. Municipalities put the total infrastructure deficit at $123 billion.