Canada CRISIS: Trudeau economic plan for Canada called into question amid scandal

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Justin Trudeau is still embroiled in a political scandal from within his own administration due to accusations levelled by his former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould. She testified in February in front of a Parliamentary committee, saying the Prime Minister’s administration had put pressure on her to come to an agreement with Canadian company SNC-Lavalin. SNC-Lavalin is a Montreal-based engineering firm which is accused of international bribery and fraud, including paying out millions of dollars to former Libyan dictator Moammar Gaddafi. Mr Trudeau’s former advisor Gerald Butts had testified he had never acted in an improper fashion towards Mrs Wilson-Raybould, and Justin Trudeau chalked up the accusations as an “erosion of trust”.

Now, Mr Trudeau is facing a number of economic crises, including dwindling oil sales, and most recently a report disputing the success of a valuable infrastructure plan.

A new report from the Canadian Parliamentary Budget Officer (PBO) has raised questions about a huge £106 billion ($188 billion) infrastructure plan.

Findings suggest the economic benefits from the plan are far below party estimates.

A major forfeit in spending on provincial government infrastructure has been found despite extra funds at the federal level.

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Provincial spending on infrastructure has fallen by £2.1 billion ($3.8 billion), which largely contradicts a separate report made by the Liberal party just three years ago.

A 2016 report from the party said provincial spending would rise with spending on a federal level, which ultimately has not come to pass.

Instead, the PBO found while the provincial spending has been steadily rising, it is at a much slower pace than the Canadian government was aiming for.

In the fiscal years of 2016 and 2017, spending was supposed to reach £75 billion ($100 billion) but instead was closer to £48 billion ($85 billion) after the plan was introduced.

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Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux said: “This reduced the stimulus that the government was expecting — or at least it reduced it from what it could have been had provinces kept up with their initial capital plans.”

The original $100 billion came as part of a Trudeau campaign promise in 2015, which was meant to add to the £52 billion ($92 billion) already set aside by their government predecessors.

The first plan was meant to correct the path of the faltering Canadian economy by expanding roads, bridges, rail lines, social housing facilities and other projects.

Matt Jeneroux, Conservative shadow critic to the Infrastructure Minister used the findings to highlight weaknesses in Justin Trudeau’s government planning.

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He drew particular attention to the policy’s lack of attention to evidence and research.

Mr Jeneroux said: “They developed an infrastructure policy with zero evidence or research on the economic benefits.

“They stand up constantly in the House of Commons and say this is driving the economy.

“But if the provinces aren’t doing their part and also investing in infrastructure, what is it really accomplishing?”

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