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Dianne Watts

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OTTAWA, ON – Dianne Watts, Critic for Infrastructure, Communities and Urban Affairs, and Member of Parliament for South Surrey-White Rock, said a report released by the Parliamentary Budget Officer today reveals that the Liberal government’s ballooning deficit and plan to create new jobs through infrastructure spending isn’t working.

Between Q3 2015 and Q3 2016, the Canadian economy created only 96,000 net jobs – a figure that is just half the average job creation rate over the past five years, which typically generated gains of 192,000 per year. Even more disappointing, the job gains were part-time, with full-time and public sector employment contracting.

“The Liberals promised Canadians that their massive deficit and increased infrastructure spending was going to create jobs and grow the economy,” said Watts. “Today’s PBO report demonstrates that it’s not working, and the Liberals really have no plan to get Canadians back to work. New infrastructure dollars announced in Phase 1 concentrated only on road repairs, maintenance, and data collection, and these projects created minimal jobs.

“Furthermore, last week a report commissioned by the Finance Minister revealed that the Liberals are looking to spend $40 billion to create a new Canada Infrastructure Bank,” added Watts. “Communities are worried about where this money is going to come from and who is going to pay for it. Will the Liberals burden working Canadians with even more taxes, or will communities not receive the important infrastructure funding they were promised?”

Watts added that the Liberals promised that $48 billion in Phase 2 funding would be provided for community infrastructure projects. Now, this report is suggesting that the Finance Minister use that money to create this bank instead.

“So far, the Prime Minister has announced over $7 billion in overseas spending,” noted Watts. “He has also committed Canada to the Chinese-backed Asia Infrastructure Development Bank that will cost Canadians $2.9 billion for infrastructure projects in Asia. Meanwhile, here at home, Albertans are still waiting on the bulk of the $700 million for infrastructure that the Prime Minister promised he’d fast track in February. So far, the Liberals have only managed to approve four projects worth just two percent of the funds promised to Alberta, despite having a list of proposed projects since March.”

The Minister of Finance will be providing a Fiscal Update early next week that is expected to include new infrastructure measures. “Clearly what they’re doing is not enough, and I look forward to seeing a plan that will invest in the kind of infrastructure projects that our communities need, and that will get Canadians back to work,” said Watts.