Liberal Party Platform on Infrastructure – Deficits to Spur Growth

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau has released his party’s plan to stimulate the economy and create jobs via infrastructure spending to the tune of $125 billion over the next 10 years— about twice the amount the Conservatives have so far committed to as a government. This plan would mean the Liberals would run upwards of $10 billion in deficits each year for the first three years of their term if elected. Trudeau has said his plan includes dedicated investments to provinces that would focus on three areas: public transit, social infrastructure, such as affordable housing and seniors centres, and “green” projects like clean energy infrastructure. He also says his party will help fund public infrastructure projects with the creation of a new Canada Infrastructure Bank.

This announcement is in contrast with the federal New Democrats who have committed to balanced budgets in the first year of an NDP government. The NDP’s plan to pay for its election promises such as child care spaces come through eliminating income splitting and cutting subsidies currently received by oil and gas companies, among other mechanisms. The NDP have yet to release a full platform but have said that under an NDP government, an additional one cent of the existing 10-cents-per-litre of federal gas tax would be applied to roads, bridges and other core infrastructure. This additional funding would increase incrementally to reach $1.5-billion annually by the end of an NDP government’s first term, on top of almost $2.2 billion in existing annual gas tax transfers to municipalities.

Not surprisingly, Stephen Harper has come out criticizing the Liberal leader, calling into question Trudeau’s ability to manage the country’s finances and both leaders have criticized the NDP on its proposed spending platform. The Prime Minister has not made any infrastructure-related announcements yet during the campaign but continues to promote the commitments made while in office under programs like the $53 billion-New Building Canada Plan.