Infrastructure - an all encompassing word used to describe just about anything that is for use by the public at large. Mass transit, roads & highways, hospitals, schools and sports/leisure facilities are the things that spring to mind. Sunny Ways promised to deliver these things for Canadians, to stimulate economic growth and put in place the foundations for a better future. Sounds good, doesn't it?
Infrastructure is also the assets in place, built with public funds and owned by the public, administered by all levels of government. Real equity in tangible developments used by all. Airports. Highway systems. Water ports. Educational facilities. Health care facilities. For decades, the public financing model worked. It still does but it's not satisfactory for neoliberals. Mulroney opened the door and airport privatization was an issue in the 1993 election. That led to the "Airport Authority" model that introduced user fees, improvement levies and for-profit ventures on Federal lands. Water ports followed suit within a decade.
The Advisory Council on Economic Growth now wants to continue what the CPC started, on steroids. Harper made piles of money available, the only catch being it had to be a P3 project thereby preventing public ownership and transparency. Bay Street darling Minister of Finance Bill Morneau will set up the Canadian Infrastructure Development Bank, a P3 clearing house by any other name. Previously announced public funding will now be a minority stake in new projects, with institutional investment funds becoming the de facto owners. Morgan Stanley was brought in to advise on airport privatization. Credit Suisse AG was asked to study water port privatization. They want to sell what we paid for and own to entice more privatized ownership of new projects. Asset Recycling is a trojan horse and guess who will pay? Not the investment fund managers on the Advisory Council. Can you say taxpayers
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