Crumbling roads: 33% of Canadians satisfied with national infrastructure, Ipsos poll finds

Click to play video 'Canada’s growing infrastructure gap' Canada’s growing infrastructure gap
WATCH ABOVE: Canada's growing infrastructure gap – Oct 31, 2016

When it comes to our roadways, railways and broadband internet just one third of Canadians say they are ‘satisfied’ with the national infrastructure, according to polling results released Monday.

The poll, conducted exclusively for Global News, found that while just 33 per cent of respondents said they are ‘satisfied’ with the country’s infrastructure, 26 per cent said they are ‘dissatisfied’ and 37 per cent said they are neither satisfied nor dissatisfied. Four per cent said they simply do not know.

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Canada can handle increased debt from more infrastructure spending: Poloz – Oct 23, 2016

Monday’s poll comes as Finance Minister Bill Morneau is preparing to deliver his fall economic update Tuesday in the House of Commons. Morneau’s announcement comes as the Canadian economy has been stuck in a slow-growth period of disappointing labour numbers and downgraded forecasts.

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 “Canadians do recognize that we have issues with things like railways, hospitals, airports,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos. “There is a sense that we are not seeing things built or maintained to the degree that we need them to be given that our population is growing.”

He is also expected to touch on the $120 billion in public money the Liberals have promised for infrastructure spending over the next decade.

When asked what types of infrastructure should be made a priority for investment, Canadians said roads, highways and water supply management should be the focus.

  • 53 per cent said local roads
  • 51 per cent said major roads and highways
  • 42 per cent said water supply/sewage treatment
  • 30 per cent said new housing supply
  • 26 per cent said rail
  • 21 per cent said high speed broadband

“Canada has been cursed with too much geography,” said Bricker, borrowing a line from former prime minister Mackenzie King. “As a result you have to drive to get around, and the roads are becoming more and more crowded.

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“Maintaining them given our weather conditions is a lot of work and people are looking at the quality of these things and saying I think we need [more investment].”

How should we pay for infrastructure projects?

Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s advisory council on economic growth released a report Oct. 20 calling for the creation of a new infrastructure bank that would combine public and private money to build major projects across the country.

READ MORE: Ontario reaches agreement on $7B transit funding plan for Toronto

The report outlined how an investment of at least $40-billion from Ottawa could lead to at least another $160-billion in private capital.

When it comes to how the governments approach infrastructure spending Canadians are divided according to the recent poll numbers.

Thirty-one per cent of respondents ‘agree’ that they are fine with foreign investment in new infrastructure if it means it gets built more quickly, while a similar 30 per cent ‘disagree.’ Another 28 per cents neither agree or disagree and 11% don’t know.

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WATCHBig city mayors discuss when they will see returns from infrastructure funding

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Big city mayors discuss when they will see returns from infrastructure funding – Oct 19, 2016

And when it comes to the feds borrowing money to fund new building, 32 per cent ‘supports’ the idea, 28 per cent ‘oppose’ it. One in three (32 per cent) neither support nor oppose and eight per cent don’t know.

“Foreign investment is always viewed with a bit of a dodgy eye by Canadians,” said Bricker. “Canadians do support the idea of improving infrastructure. But the way you do it – through foreign investment – will get noticed. But when it will really happen is when [foreign money] comes in from someone people find objectionable, like the Russian government.”
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Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.”

This Ipsos poll on behalf of Global News was an online survey of 1,000 Canadians aged 18-64 conducted between Aug. 26 and Sept. 9, 2016. The results were weighted to better reflect the composition of the adult Canadian population, according to census data. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.