Wynne proposes big infrastructure partnership


OTTAWA – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne is proposing a sweeping national infrastructure partnership between the provinces and the federal government.

Wynne says the so-called Canadian Infrastructure Partnership would amount to a collaboration aimed at investing five per cent of Canada’s GDP in infrastructure renewal.

She says experts estimate that governments in Canada currently invest between three and 3.5 per cent of GDP in public infrastructure.

In prepared remarks for today’s speech in Ottawa, Wynne says the provinces aren’t asking Ottawa to do it all, simply to do more.

She pointed to past major infrastructure projects — including the St. Lawrence Seaway and the Trans-Canada Highway — that transformed the country and put thousands to work.

And she says infrastructure is in dire need of help.

“I do not need to dwell on the state of infrastructure across our country today,” Wynne says in the speech. “We all know the reality.”

She’s calling for “large-scale, sustained, co-ordinated and strategically wise” infrastructure investments that would advance economic competitiveness for decades.

“We know the benefits that infrastructure generates in terms of economic activity,” she says. “But public infrastructure also reduces the cost of production in the private sector and increases productivity.”

The Ontario premier’s infrastructure proposal comes in advance of a premiers’ meeting in Ottawa next week.

Wynne recently invited Prime Minister Stephen Harper to attend the meeting after the two met on Jan. 5 for the first time in more than a year.

The Prime Minister’s Office has said Harper won’t attend, saying he meets regularly with the provincial premiers one-on-one.