Hamilton East-Stoney Creek MP Bob Bratina says he is pleased that the Parliamentary Budget Officer has notified Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna that he plans to examine the funding of programs being funded under the Investing in Canada Plan, the plan that is being tapped to provide the Federal $1.7 Billion share towards the cost of the Hamilton LRT project. Responding to the news Bratina said, “I’m pleased that my request regarding Hamilton’s LRT project has resulted in a broad examination of how this ministry accounts for its spending decisions. The public has a right to know how its money is being spent and whether costs are based on sound and accurate estimates, because government mistakes are paid for out of tax-payers’ pockets.” Bratina had called for the probe shortly after he announced his intention to not seek re-election because of the way the LRT funding issue was handled by McKenna and Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas MP Filomena Tassi, who Bratina said, brushed aside his objections to federal intervention in the issue.
In a letter to Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna. Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux asks for “ the breakdown of actual, committed, and planned funding of projects/programs being funded under the Investing in Canada Plan profile.” The letter requests that the information be delivered by July 26. Giroux adds. “If access to the requested information cannot be granted by that date, a response must be provided by you or your deputy minister as soon as possible.”
The letter concludes, “Providing timely and effective analysis to the Senate and House of Commons and promoting greater budget transparency and accountability are the PBO’s primary objectives. The degree to which this is possible depends, to a large extent, on free and timely access to quality information held by government departments.”
Earlier this month Giroux was in a disclosure battle with McKenna’s ministry over the PBO’s efforts to get her department to provide proof of her claim that there were 52,000 public works projects either underway or completed. According to the PBO there were 20,000 projects that could not be verified.
“There are projects that CMHC funds related to housing for which there are privacy and security concerns with relation to women’s shelters,” said McKenna.
“The government claims they’ve spent $10 billion a year on infrastructure, the Parliamentary Budget Office says there are only lists adding up to $5 billion a year,” Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said at a government operations committee meeting last week where Giroux had testified.