A turning point in Justin Trudeau’s successful campaign to become Prime Minister of Canada was the Liberal leader’s Sept. 10 appearance outside the City of Vancouver’s engineering offices. He endorsed the proposed Broadway subway and Surrey light rail transit projects as part of his promise to spend $20 billion over a decade on transit infrastructure.
Trudeau appeared later that day for a photo opportunity on a pier at West Vancouver’s John Lawson Park. He was asked whether his pledge to give provinces and municipalities the power to choose transit technology and the companies to provide it would put public money at greater risk of cost overruns and corruption.
Here is what Trudeau said:
“Canadians are troubled every time they have to wait longer than necessary to cross the Lions Gate Bridge to get to work or to get home to their kids. Canadians know that our refusal to invest in strong infrastructure, that our economy needs to create jobs and growth is hurting our economy. Indeed Mr. Harper’s unwillingness to invest in the future of our country over 10 years has led to the slow growth and the great difficulties that Canadians are facing in terms of getting ahead.
"I have tremendous faith in our municipal and provincial partners to respond to the needs that Vancouverites, and, indeed all Canadians, are facing and removing politics from the equation in terms of how we decide what goes on a map where. The federal government shouldn’t be in the business of picking or choosing projects or micro-managing bids. The federal government needs to be in the business of being a real partner, putting money on the table, so provinces and municipalities can get the infrastructure that Canadians need to be more productive and have a better quality of life built.”
GS: The question is about money going to waste through corruption and bribery. What is the Liberal Party going to do to make things better in Canada to prevent companies like SNC-Lavalin from getting into the trouble it did, to make sure taxpayers’ [money] goes to where it is… If taxpayers’ money is going to waste on infrastructure and transportation, that’s taxpayers money that can’t go into health and education and protecting oceans.
A: “The Liberal government is committed to openness and transparency. We have taken new measures that raise the bar on openness and transparency through disclosure of parliamentary—expenses that the NDP actually drag their heels on—through disclosure, through open data, through a commitment to restoring Canadians’ trust in politics, in politicians and in the service they offer to Canadians. Our government will be transparent and open with its procurement policies and demanding the same of our partners and that’s what we’re committed to.”
GS: You haven’t talked about any efforts to crack down on corruption. This is a big problem across the country, especially in Montreal where you’re from.
A: “Openness and transparency is what Canadians expect of their governments, they’ve had 10 years of the most secretive government in Canada’s history with Mr. Harper and that’s why sunshine being the best disinfectant means that we’re actually going to be answering Canadians’ call for better government through openness, transparency and integrity. Having a Prime Minister that tells the truth will be a nice change.”