Liberals’ $187B infrastructure program to face scrutiny of auditor general

Interim Auditor General of Canada Sylvain Ricard prepares to appear before the Standing Committee on Public Accounts to discuss the spring report of the Auditor General on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, May 16, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA — The Trudeau government’s massive $187-billion infrastructure program will be scrutinized by the office of the auditor general of Canada.

Interim auditor general Sylvain Ricard says his office will endeavour to complete its investigation and report to Parliament no later than next January — as requested in a Conservative motion passed by the House of Commons late last month.

The government said at the time that it supported an audit, but most Liberals voted against the motion because it was critical of the government’s lack of transparency and accountability on the file.

A promise to undertake massive infrastructure investments was a centrepiece of the Liberals’ election platform in 2015, intended to boost the economy and create jobs.

Story continues below advertisement

However, several reports by the parliamentary budget officer have since found that the money is not getting out the door as quickly as intended.

And a Senate committee warned in 2017 that the sprawling program is unfocused and overly complicated, with 31 different departments responsible for doling out funds.

In a statement Friday, Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna said the government is proud of the “historic investments” it is making in infrastructure and welcomed the auditor general’s decision to examine them.

Click to play video: 'Federal Election 2019: Trudeau calls Liberal’s infrastructure investment plan ‘most ambitious’ in Canadian history'
Federal Election 2019: Trudeau calls Liberal’s infrastructure investment plan ‘most ambitious’ in Canadian history

“Under our Investing in Canada Plan, we have approved and committed funding to more than 52,000 projects from coast to coast to coast for a federal contribution of more than $57.5 billion,” she said.

McKenna said she’s committed to getting projects built quickly and encouraged some provinces that she said “have been slow to bring projects forward” to work with the federal government to speed things up.


Sponsored content