Justin Trudeau’s giant corporate giveaway

Justin Trudeau’s giant corporate giveaway

Postby Oscar » Thu Nov 24, 2016 2:50 pm

Justin Trudeau’s giant corporate giveaway

[ https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... away#img-1 ]

A privatization spree in Canada could cost regular people billions, erode democracy and undermine the fight against climate change.

Martin Lukacs The Guardian Tuesday 22 November 2016

While prime minister Justin Trudeau flogged our public assets last week, he had a soothing message: rest assured, we’ll be well-served by the private sector. Bankers and billionaires lined up to sound a note of confidence. “I think it’s unprecedented,” exclaimed Canada’s top business lobbyist John Manley. “A once-in-a-generation opportunity,” enthused Trudeau’s economic advisory council.

These corporate figures are rubbing their hands because Trudeau is about to put one of our great crises in their hands: the need for historic investment in the country’s infrastructure, for so long the domain of the state.

No one will deny the urgency. Roads and bridges are crumbling and congested with traffic. Subways and buses overcrowded and underfunded. We need a roll-out of emissions-reducing initiatives to avert catastrophic climate change, and a build-up of defences to protect ourselves from floods and fires already locked in.

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[ https://www.theguardian.com/environment ... away#img-1 ]
Oscar
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Re: Justin Trudeau’s giant corporate giveaway

Postby Oscar » Wed Jun 07, 2017 8:35 am

Halton chapter to challenge Trudeau's proposed Canada Infrastructure (privatization) Bank

[ https://canadians.org/blog/halton-chapt ... ation-bank ]

May 30, 2017 - 7:30 pm

Read the report by Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) economist Toby Sanger that warns against the Canada Infrastructure Bank. [ https://cupe.ca/creating-canadian-infra ... c-interest ]

The Council of Canadians Halton chapter is planning to challenge the Trudeau government's proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank.

During the October 2015 federal election campaign, the Liberals promised in their platform: "We will establish the Canadian Infrastructure Bank to provide low-cost financing for new infrastructure projects. The federal government can use its strong credit rating and lending authority to make it easier and more affordable for municipalities to build the projects their communities need."

But by November 2016 the government opted instead to pursue global capital to finance infrastructure projects. The government is now seeking $20 billion from private investors for this bank. The Canadian Press has reported, "[Prime Minister Justin] Trudeau is hoping to persuade some two dozen representatives of large international pools of capital - including central banks, sovereign wealth funds, insurers and pension funds whose combined assets are worth a staggering $21 trillion - that Canada offers a stable economic and political environment in which to safely invest."

The Globe and Mail adds, "Provincial and municipal governments have long pursued public-private partnerships – or P3s – for projects such as hospitals and highways, but observers say they have never seen such a concerted and direct appeal from the federal cabinet for private investment in infrastructure."

Those P3s could also include, among other public assets, toll bridges, rail lines, energy grids, ports, airports and water systems.

In February, Trudeau named Jim Leech as his special advisor for the new bank. Notably, Leech, when he was the president of the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP), approved OTPP investments in private, for-profit water systems in Chile.

In early May, The Globe and Mail reported, "The University of Ottawa’s Institute of Fiscal Studies and Democracy argues that the Liberal government has yet to make a compelling case for why it would be better to work with private investors seeking higher returns when Ottawa has the ability to finance projects itself at much lower rates."

That article adds, "Authors Azfar Ali Khan and Randall Bartlett argue that with yields on 30-year Government of Canada bonds currently sitting at 2.2 per cent, Ottawa can borrow at much lower rates than what is available in the private sector."

And the article higlights, "NDP finance critic Alexandre Boulerice said his party agreed with the view – as expressed in the Liberal Party election campaign – that it was a good time to borrow money for infrastructure spending given the historically low interest rates. But he questioned why the government is now looking to reach infrastructure deals with private partners at higher rates."

CUPE economist Toby Sanger has previously argued, "There’s no shortage of low-cost public financing available to Canadian governments. Ottawa can now borrow at 0.6 per cent over a year and issue 30-year bonds at 1.8 per cent, with provinces a percentage point higher. Long-term borrowing rates have never been this low. Meanwhile large private infrastructure investors expect 'stable, predictable returns in the 7 to 9 per cent range'...It doesn’t take an economist to understand it makes no sense to finance projects at seven to nine per cent when you can do so at two per cent."

Yesterday, The Globe and Mail noted, "Since the budget legislation was introduced in April, the provisions creating an infrastructure bank have faced criticism on several fronts. From a procedural point of view, critics have said that an initiative as large as this should have been introduced as a stand-alone bill, for more detailed study, rather than as part of an omnibus budget bill." Despite that, Liberal MPs have indicated that they will not be proposing amendments to the Canada Infrastructure Bank.

The federal government intends to launch the bank by the end of this year.

The Council of Canadians believes that for public infrastructure to be truly in the public interest it must be publicly owned and operated.

The Canada Infrastructure Bank would mean higher private financing costs, more privatization, increased profits for global investors, bigger executive salaries, lower workers' wages, higher user fees, and greater inequality.

The Council of Canadians first spoke against Trudeau's policy of asset recycling (the selling of existing public infrastructure to fund new public infrastructure) in this April 2016 blog. [ https://canadians.org/blog/will-trudeau ... -recycling ]

Prior to that, in November 2014, we highlighted in this blog that Trudeau had given a speech to the Canadian Council of Public-Private Partnerships where he promoted P3s as a solution to infrastructure needs. [ https://canadians.org/blog/what-kind-wa ... in-trudeau ]


Tags: chapters
[ https://canadians.org/tags/chapters ]


Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
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Re: Justin Trudeau’s giant corporate giveaway

Postby Oscar » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:17 am

Canada Infrastructure Bank's board of directors named; P3 privatization on the agenda

[ https://canadians.org/blog/canada-infra ... ion-agenda ]

November 18, 2017 - 7:46 am

(PHOTO: Christopher Hickman, David Bronconnier, James Cherry, Stephen Smith, Jane Bird.)

The Council of Canadians opposes the Trudeau government's to-be-launched Canada Infrastructure Bank and notes that its recently appointed Board of Directors is heavily slanted toward supporters of public-private partnerships (P3s).

In terms of background:


October 2015 - Justin Trudeau campaigned on spending billions on infrastructure over the coming decade.
November 2016 - Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the Canada Infrastructure Bank would be capitalized with $15-billion from existing programs and $20-billion in equity or debt tied to specific projects built with public and private partners.
November 2016 - Trudeau met with foreign investors with trillions of dollars at their disposal at a gathering in Toronto organized by BlackRock Inc.
February 2017 - former Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan CEO Jim Leech (who oversaw the OTPP investing in privatized water utilities in Chile) named special advisor to help with the launch of the bank.
July 2017 - Janice Fukakusa, a former Royal Bank of Canada chief financial officer, appointed chair of the board.
November 2017 - Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the bank was on track to be running by the end of the year.

Then on November 16, the Board for the Infrastructure Bank was announced:

1- James Cherry - the former president and CEO of Aéroports de Montréal, who has previously advocated for airport privatization; recently appointed to the Board of the P3 McGill University Health Centre.
2- David Bronconnier - a former municipal politician who was mayor of Calgary from 2001 to 2010; promoted the P3 ring road extension.
3- Jane Bird - Vancouver lawyer who led the development and construction of the city's P3 Canada Line rapid transit project.
4- Stephen Smith - First National Financial CEO, former board member of Metrolinx Inc.; major system expansions managed by Metrolinx have been P3s; sits on the Board of the C.D. Howe Institute; member of the Business Council of Canada.
5- Kim Baird - has past ties to Kinder Morgan Canada; was a registered lobbyist for the Woodfibre LNG project.
6- Christopher Hickman - chairman and CEO of Marco Group of Companies; currently serves on the boards of Nalcor Energy, Muskrat Falls Corporation.
7- Patricia Youzwa - former SaskPower president and CEO; has had policy advisory roles with the Canadian Electricity Association and the Energy Council of Canada; an Officer with the Canada West Foundation (which promotes mining, oil and gas).
8- Poonam Puri - Osgoode Hall Law School professor; on the board of Arizona Mining Inc.; previously on the board of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority.
9- Michèle Colpron - an international finance executive who has previously held senior positions with the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, Merrill Lynch Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank.
10- Bruno Guilmette - former public pension executive who managed infrastructure files for the federal Public Sector Pension Investment Board and the Caisse.

Last week, the Canadian Press reported, "The bank will take $35 billion in government funding and use the money to potentially leverage three or four times that much [about $105-140 billion] in private dollars to help finance infrastructure projects across the country. Eligible projects will have to generate revenue, meaning roads, bridges, water and transit systems where user fees help to defray costs." Infrastructure projects could also include hospitals, rail lines, airports, ports, and energy grids.

A CUPE media release has highlighted, "The plan for a Canadian Infrastructure Bank is a recipe for the cannibalization and privatization of Canada’s public infrastructure for profit by private institutional investors. The federal government should put the brakes on any move towards privatization and use low-cost public financing—instead of high cost private finance—for our public infrastructure."

CUPE economist Toby Sanger explains, "There’s no shortage of low-cost public financing available to Canadian governments. Ottawa can now borrow at 0.6 per cent over a year and issue 30-year bonds at 1.8 per cent, with provinces a percentage point higher. Long-term borrowing rates have never been this low. Meanwhile large private infrastructure investors expect 'stable, predictable returns in the 7 to 9 per cent range'...It doesn’t take an economist to understand it makes no sense to finance projects at seven to nine per cent when you can do so at two per cent."

The Council of Canadians believes that for public infrastructure to be truly in the public interest it must be publicly owned and operated. We share the concern of allies that the Canada Infrastructure Bank will result in higher private financing costs, more privatization, increased profits for global investors, bigger executive salaries, lower workers' wages, higher user fees, and greater inequality.

A CUPE media release on the bank's board of directors can be read at "Infrastructure bank board primed to privatize":
[ https://cupe.ca/infrastructure-bank-boa ... -privatize ]



Brent Patterson's blog
Political Director of the Council of Canadians
[ https://canadians.org/blogs/brent-patterson ]
Oscar
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