Wyant says Trudeau unfair to suggest province won’t sign deal
The Saskatchewan government is crying foul after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau introduced an unsigned infrastructure funding deal worth almost $1 billion over 11 years into the ongoing federal-provincial spat over climate change and carbon pricing.
Saskatchewan is the only province that hasn’t yet signed a bilateral agreement with Ottawa intended to guide the delivery of $896 million, announced last summer and earmarked for a wide range of major infrastructure projects over the next 11 years.
But deputy premier Gord Wyant said it was unfair for Trudeau to suggest the Saskatchewan government is refusing to play ball with Ottawa over infrastructure funding. He said he’s confident he’ll be able to commit to signing a deal within about two weeks.
“The province of Saskatchewan has never said, ‘We’re not signing this agreement,’ ” said Wyant, who last month became the minister responsible for SaskBuilds, the provincial Crown corporation tasked with managing major infrastructure projects.
Part of the federal government’s $180-billion Investing in Canada plan, Saskatchewan’s share includes $416 million for green infrastructure projects, $307.8 million for public transit, $115.9 million for rural and northern projects, and $56.2 million for recreational projects.
The federal government’s infrastructure plan is separate from its carbon-pricing proposal.
Asked about western alienation stoked by a controversial climatechange plan and the stalled Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Trudeau appeared to suggest the Saskatchewan government was refusing to sign the agreement to deliver the money.
“We have $900 million allocated at the federal level for investing in infrastructure here in Saskatchewan. … The only thing we’re waiting for is for the province to actually step up and sign the bilateral agreement,” Trudeau told reporters in Saskatoon on Thursday.
Pressed on why Saskatchewan has taken longer than any other province to strike a deal, Wyant pointed to Saskatchewan’s “unique” needs and said the government wanted to ensure flexibility of the various funding pools.