Hon. Marty Klyne: Minister, since 2012, we have seen consistent declines in Canada’s world infrastructure rankings from tenth to thirty-second. The good news, as I understand it, is that Infrastructure Canada is already working on a major national infrastructure assessment and assessing infrastructure priorities.
Something that remains a concern, however, is that our trade competitors are already making investments improving their logistics infrastructure. As a result, our Canadian exporters are increasingly feeling the challenge to retain customers. As we know, transportation infrastructure enables trade, which accounts for 65% of Canada’s GDP annually and, therefore, is worthy of our attention. The good news on that front, as you’ve identified, is that a National Supply Chain Task Force report was recently released which recommends steps to improve the competitiveness of Canada’s trade corridors.
Minister, is there a plan to coordinate these two major federal infrastructure initiatives and formally engage the provinces, territories and industry to participate in a national effort to improve our trade corridors?
Hon. Omar Alghabra, P.C., M.P., Minister of Transport: Thank you, senator. The short answer to your question is yes. I’ll expand on that.
The issue of infrastructure deficit has been talked about in Canada as long as I’ve been involved in politics, and that’s almost 16 years. Our government has made a historic investment in infrastructure for over $120 billion, and that includes $5 billion that is set aside particularly for a national trade corridor. Let me also clarify that the broader investment fund can and has been supporting infrastructure funds that facilitate further trade.
Indeed, this is something that we’re seized with. This is something that we are reminded of during the pandemic disruption, during climate change and during extreme weather events. We are committed to being informed by the various initiatives that the government is working on and cooperating together to ensure that we not only build more but build better.