DRIC QUESTIONS NEED ANSWERS
Fundamental Economic Elements Unclear Despite Massive Public Investments
April 1st, 2014 - 3:00pm
[WINDSOR] The NDP Critic for the Canada-US Border Brian Masse has written Transport Minister Lisa Raitt urging the government to refocus on a project they have consistently referred to as “Canada’s top infrastructure priority”, the Detroit River International Crossing project (DRIC). The project has faced several setbacks including labour strife, non construction code compliance, lack of effective oversight and subcontractors refusing to pay local suppliers. Recently the question of who will finance the U.S. Customs plaza has emerged.
Masse is questioning the Harper Government’s execution of the project: “The Minister continues to say that DRIC is one Canada’s top infrastructure priorities but I see this project lurching from one crisis to another. This lack of leadership that has put small businesses in my community at risk, raised questions regarding the effectiveness of the model the government has chosen to deliver this project and now even the commitment of their bi-national partner—the US federal government is unclear.”
The funding questions raise further issues with respect to the specifics of the financing arrangements outlined in Crossing Agreement. Who is ultimately responsible for the build, what are the terms and scope of the loan Canada is offering to the US partners for this project; the Harper Government has never been forthright with respect to these fundamental questions with Canadians.
“The Crossing Agreement spells it out clearly that Canada is ultimately responsible for this infrastructure but the Harper Government seems either confused or unwilling to be clear about their obligations. How is the public expected to have confidence in a significant investment if we don’t even have the basic information required to make a decision. At this point we don’t even really know what we are being asked to pay for and neither does the Harper government.” Masse said.
Masse will continue to demand greater accountability and transparency as this project moves forward. “This is a government that has continuously struggled to be transparent and accountable; I have a duty to ask the tough questions about this critical project. This is a massive investment and at this point the Government is incapable of answering even the most basic questions about it notwithstanding the fact that we are well into the construction phase of the project.” Masse said.
For further details, please contact:
Darlene Dunn Mahler 519.255.1631 or Kieran McKenzie 519.980.6534