Conservative Infrastructure Critic, Dianne Watts, and Deputy Critic, Luc Berthold, today expressed their concern and frustration with the Liberal government’s decision to remove infrastructure planning from the Standing Committee on Transport, Infrastructure, and Communities’ fall agenda. They issued the following statement:
“Before the House rose in June, the Committee agreed that the study of infrastructure and trade corridors would be a priority on the fall agenda. Over the summer however, the Minister of Transport sent a letter to the Committee instructing that it review the provisions of the Navigable Waters Act that were changed in 2014 instead.
“Before the Committee met to discuss these instructions, a Transport Canada spokesperson announced that the Committee would provide the government with a report on this matter by early 2017. The Parliamentary Secretary, who is not a member of the Committee, also confirmed this timeline publicly.
“The Liberal government previously indicated that committees would function independently from Ministers and their Parliamentary Secretaries. The Liberal government has also claimed that infrastructure is their top priority for job creation and growing the economy. So it is shocking that Minister has instructed the Committee to focus on the Navigable Waters Act instead of infrastructure planning. The Minister, in his mandate letter, was already instructed by the Prime Minister to undo the previous Conservative government’s changes to the Navigable Waters Act. So what exactly do the Liberals expect the Committee to study?
“To date, the Committee has not undertaken any substantive infrastructure work. Given that the Infrastructure Minister is currently holding consultations on Phase 2 of their Infrastructure Plan, it would be far more beneficial for the Committee to assist with those consultations.
“It is extremely concerning that the Minister of Transport is interfering in committee business and trying to tell members what they must study. Committees are clearly not functioning as independent bodies, as promised by the Prime Minister.