Today's discussion:

Actually, minister, Canada needs more roads

The task of connecting Canadians is vital for our economic health and well-being. As is the task of connecting us with the world. This isn’t easy in a country with relatively few major cities spread out over vast distances, but it would be impossible without trucks and major roads.

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Comments (13)

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The Hub Staff

Thank you for contributing to Hub Forum. If you are interested in reading more from Trevor Tombe, check out his article on Canada and the United States:

22nd February 2024 at 1:50 pm

The Minister’s Freudian slip should come as no surprise. He merely reflected the reality that nothing big gets built in Canada these days. His party and their burgeoning bureaucracy have seen to that.

And what manages to slide through their grasp will be dragged through the courts.

22nd February 2024 at 7:52 am

The pandemic halted most building, and now we are facing lack of skilled labour. What has needed to happen for decades, is, getting the Provinces to act responsibily and hammer out their differences. I am from the North, where billions in resources are extracted, without the Province’s acknowledgement that this extraction comes at the price of our roads, farmland, water. We must begin by pounding the provinces.

22nd February 2024 at 12:02 pm
Michael F

Typical partisan hyperbole from you. A few blocks from my home in Vancouver there is a huge new subway line being built. There is also the Site C dam, the Coastal Gaslink pipeline and the Transmountain Pipeline to name a few projects in BC alone.

22nd February 2024 at 12:44 pm

I have no doubt that loyal Liberal enclaves like yours, Michael, do exceptionally well when your party is in power.

22nd February 2024 at 11:11 pm
Ian MacRae

A recent article in the National Post noted that Justin Trudeau likes to focus on the section of our Constitution that lists provincial responsibilities. At the same time, he frequently ignores the section that lists federal responsibilities (like transportation).

Perhaps he’d rather be a provincial premier than Prime Minister.

While I agree with the discussion in this article, it is , like many other suggestions for improving Canada, whistling in the wind. Our current government has an ideological focus, quasi-religious in practice. If you disagree, you are a heretic. Only once the government is changed will we be able to proceed with the good recommendation contained in this article.

22nd February 2024 at 9:50 am
Alfred Napolitano

Very well said. I don’t believe late passports or affordability is why we feel broken. Issues such as the Federal Government getting involved with but not being responsible for provincial matters is what makes it all feel broken. Add in special treatment for certain provinces and disdain for other provinces just makes it worse.

22nd February 2024 at 10:35 am
Kim Morton

While basic math skills has never been a socialist strong suite, even a kindergartener should be able to figure out that if we import a million more people a year we must expand both the infrastructure and resource development to feed, house, and employ all these new residents.

22nd February 2024 at 11:38 am
Brian Tiessen

I’m not sure we will necessarily spur the ecomony with new road construction but we will certainly strangle ecomonic growth if we fail to build adequate roads.

22nd February 2024 at 12:06 pm
Paul Attics

We obviously need to move goods, internally and for export markets. Currently, roads are the primary way this is done (at least by value). Even if the government were to try to shift this transport mode balance, it would take a decade to begin to change the mix. Until then, if were to happen at all, we need to invest in roads to meet the need.

Perhaps the minister was thinking more about city roads, and the incentives for commuter/commercial sprawl and badly laid out urban areas when roads are expanded in/out of cities?

Lots to consider. Great article, appreciate the supporting data!

22nd February 2024 at 8:16 am
Michael F

Yes that’s exactly what he was referring to. In urban areas poorly planned infrastructure has only resulted in worse congestion. Take the GTA for example. Constantly expanding the 400 series highways did nothing.

22nd February 2024 at 12:47 pm

Great article. So, what happened to the lapsed funds? What is worrisome is lapsed funding for critical infrastructure each year could have been allocated, due to broad terms and conditions aproved by Treasury Board, that incentivizes a bureaucracy to delay or avoid projects during each fiscal month until the authority to spend late in the fiscal year on other broad objectives kicks in and then there is a means to support a “pet project”, whether good or bad in terms of public interest does not matter, just that the funding’s original objective is sidelined intentionally. This is why the Auditor General and Offices of Audit and Evaluation across Federal Departments/Agencies must look for other ArriveCan projects and not just IT ones. Why? There are likely other examples like this where transparency is needed to ensure rules are followed and if they are followed because of broad authorities to redirect lapsed funds, it is critical that accountability exists for the management and outcomes of these monies so that secret treasure chests are understood by Ministers, Parliament and the Public. Just because something is legal does not mean it is in the public interest and/or ethical. Again, the Parliamentary Budget Officer has recently reported that over 50% of federal department and agencies are not providing timely or any data and information on their mandated objectives and outcome commitments derived from Parliamentary statutes or approved asks derived via Cabinet MCs and Treasury Boards Submissions. In the latter, the broad authorities are often created to enable moving lapsed funds around. It just takes an effort to look more closely.

22nd February 2024 at 11:30 am
Xiaoming Guo

Look at the 401 traffic, with so many cars burning so much gas on a dozen lanes of 401, in addition to the insurance, maintenance, and emissions. If there is a high-speed train every 20 minutes, in two directions, connecting 401 from Windsor to Toronto, our dream of a 401 economic corridor can be realized. Convenient public commutes will reduce the overall cost of our economy. Of course, the transit in every city should also be able to efficiently connect train stations to every corner of the cities. Low fares or even free commutes will make people prefer public commutes to private cars, so to make the high-speed train scalable and efficient. If Highway 401 is free to the public, free high-speed trains may be less costly and save more farmlands. Is the sunk cost of the present system preventing us from changing the paradigm?

22nd February 2024 at 10:58 pm