Infrastructure bank needs more review
This appeared in the Halifax Chronicle Herald:
It’s not that the government’s proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank is a bad idea. But given that the bank is supposed to plow $35 billion into the economy, this is certainly a proposal that justifies more than a cursory review by Parliament.
The governing Liberals, it seems, would like to rush the enabling legislation through a single, two-hour committee meeting and pass it through Parliament as part of an omnibus budget bill. This is wrong-headed on at least two counts. First, a leaked KPMG study raises concerns about the public acceptance and operational efficiency of the proposed bank, which would operate at arm’s length from government as a Crown corporation. The bank would work by leveraging private sector investment to get new infrastructure built.
KPMG also zeroes on the issue of privatizing water utilities through an infrastructure bank. “Catalyzing private capital to invest in Canada’s water utility industry is challenging and would require a transformation of the industry as a whole,” the report says.
The Liberals should introduce standalone legislation to create the bank and test the idea through full Parliamentary hearings.