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Accountability & Democratic Renewal

Just the Facts: Harper’s Record on Infrastructure

Posted on March 5, 2009

• Budget 2007 allocated $4.653 billion to infrastructure (Budget 2007, Table 5.3, 167).

• Subtracting allocations for the Gas Tax Fund and the GST rebate, Parliament approved $2.9 billion for infrastructure projects in 2008-09.

• According to Infrastructure Canada’s proactive disclosures, between April 1 and December 31, 2008, the Conservatives have flowed less than $900 million of that funding, leaving $2 billion unaccounted so far this fiscal year.

• Additionally, beginning in April 2005, the Gas Tax Fund was allocated $5 billion over five years. At the end of the 2007-08 fiscal year, the Fund had delivered $1.1 billion to the provinces, leaving an additional $1.9 billion available and approved for 2008-09.

• In total, according to the government’s own reports, within the 2008-09 fiscal year—which ends in 26 days—the government has $ 3.9 billion in infrastructure funding approved by Parliament and at its disposal.

• Public Accounts records confirm that since coming into office, the Harper government has already let over $2 billion total infrastructure money lapse (money approved but not spent) between 2006 and March 31, 2007.

On the Conservatives’ $3 Billion ‘Demand’

• The Conservatives have not yet introduced the actual Interim Supply bill that would allow the government to spend $3 billion in April, May and June, and they have yet to give the required notice that such a bill is forthcoming.

• Even if the Main Estimates or Interim Supply were approved today, the government could not spend a single penny of the $3 billion “emergency fund.“ Vote 35 of the Main Estimates makes it illegal for the government to spend that money before April 1, 2009.

• In response to the Liberal motion for greater accountability on these funds, the Prime Minister`s Office yesterday balked at providing a list of specific projects where these funds would be spent, even though the Liberal motion calls only for the programs through which this money would flow.

• The PMO subsequently admitted that they did not read the Liberal motion before criticizing it.

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