Let’s Start Building Today!
When COVID-19 has passed and life resumes to normal, the Canadian economy is unlikely to grow without further stimulus. At that point, the federal government may resort to typical stimulus tactics during recessions of infrastructure funding. I believe this is Canada’s big opportunity to build large infrastructure projects such as pipelines and public transit, but it should also be bold and fund the construction of new hospitals and schools.
The Trans Mountain Pipeline is one of two major pipelines which are currently under construction with funding commitments from governments. The Coastal Gaslink Pipeline is also being built while the Keystone XL Pipeline was stopped by Joe Biden and appears dead.
There are countless public transit projects across Canada that require federal funding to be built and will stimulate our economy if they receive funding. Edmonton and Calgary’s LRT expansions have funding and construction has already begun. Toronto’s subway lines and LRT will likely all receive funding. Montreal’s Metro along with Ottawa and Hamilton’s LRT won’t be far behind and could begin construction very soon.
But governments also need to provide funding for the construction of new hospitals and schools. Although healthcare is primarily a provincial responsibility, the federal government does have some responsibility as well and should take the opportunity to build new hospitals across the country. The construction of new hospitals will increase our capacity so that we are better prepared for the next pandemic if one comes in ten or twenty years. Education is clearly a provincial responsibility, but both the federal and provincial governments should work together to fund new school construction. This will stimulate the economy and give our children the spaces they need to learn. Far too many students are learning in portables or classrooms requiring significant repairs. Federal and provincial elections are coming soon, and what politician wouldn’t want to have a photo op of them putting a shovel in the ground in their riding to build a new school for their community? I’d vote for that!
When the post COVID-19 period will begin, and what it will look like is far from clear. I believe Subways, LRTs and pipelines are logical projects for our federal government to deliver the stimulus and stabilize the post COVID-19 Canadian economy. But I also want them to provide one time funding for new hospital and new school construction. Let’s start building Today!
Ken Lister is a former TDSB School Trustee