Our Canadian correspondent forwards us this from the Great White North. Justin Trudeau writes a Mandate for his new Minister:
As Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, your overarching goal will be to begin to rebuild Canada for the 21st Century. This will require significant new investments in public transit, green infrastructure, and social infrastructure like affordable housing, as well as key strategic infrastructure that will increase trade and economic growth. You should undertake your work in a collaborative way, with an appreciation that provincial and territorial governments are key partners in successful infrastructure projects. I expect you to re-engage our municipal governments as key partners in the development of our plans and to ensure that across our government we collaborate with municipalities on issues that affect them. I also expect you to align our efforts with existing provincial, territorial and municipal priorities, so long as these are in the long-term public interest.
In particular, I will expect you to work with your colleagues and through established legislative, regulatory, and Cabinet processes, including our first Budget, to deliver on your top priorities:
- Develop a 10-year plan to deliver significant new funding to provinces, territories and municipalities. This plan should ensure both immediate increased investments in infrastructure and long-term, predictable funding should support provincial, territorial and municipal priorities, improve access to, and governance of, existing infrastructure programs, increase data collection capacity and promote better asset management of infrastructure in Canada. The plan should focus on:
- public transit;
- social infrastructure, including affordable housing, seniors’ facilities, early learning and child care, and cultural and recreational infrastructure;
- green infrastructure, including investments in local water and wastewater facilities, clean energy, climate resilient infrastructure like flood mitigation systems, and infrastructure to protect against changing weather; and
- making changes to the Building Canada Fund so that it is more transparent and approval processes are sped up, which would include removing the P3 screen for projects. It should also be more focused on strategic and trade enabling infrastructure priorities, including roads, bridges, transportation corridors, ports, and border gateways.
This process should result in bilateral agreements with provinces and territories on infrastructure investments. You should also work with the Minister of Finance to ensure any unspent infrastructure funds are automatically transferred to municipalities through a temporary top-up of the Gas Tax Fund.
No “new federalism” up north.