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Trudeau expected to unveil B.C. spending plans during his next western campaign tour

Trudeau expected to unveil B.C. spending plans during his next western campaign tour
 

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau greets patrons during a campaign stop at a coffee shop Tuesday in Gatineau, Que. Details of his infrastructure spending plan are expected to be announced during his next B.C. visit.

 

Details of how B.C. might benefit from Justin Trudeau’s proposed billion-dollar infrastructure plan could be released during the Liberal leader’s next campaign tour out west, a B.C. candidate hinted on Tuesday.

Jonathan Wilkinson, the Liberal candidate in North Vancouver, dropped the hint during a wide-ranging media event in downtown Vancouver relating to Canada’s dip into recession during first half of the fiscal year.

The Rhodes scholar, who is taking his first shot at federal politics, offered no specifics when asked if any local projects had been identified within the plan, but did suggest Trudeau might have more to say on that front in the weeks ahead.

“Mr. Trudeau will be in B.C. over the next little while and will probably have more to say about that,” said Wilkinson, who has no relation to the Liberal MLA and cabinet minster Andrew Wilkinson, who is also a Rhodes scholar.

“But what I can tell you is in my riding … traffic congestion is a huge issue,” he added, noting that affordable housing and construction of a new waste water management plant are also hot-button issues for his North Vancouver riding.

“The current Conservative government has mandated the construction of a new waste water treatment plant but has not come to the table with any funding to actually deal with that,” he said.

Unveiled last week, Trudeau’s plan — which hinges on his party wining the October general election — calls for the doubling of federal infrastructure investment over 10 years, from $65 billion to $125 billion.

The new money is to be divided into equal thirds between public transit infrastructure, social infrastructure (i.e. social housing, seniors housing) and green infrastructure (i.e. waste water facilities, clean energy projects).

The news was welcomed by Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson, who issued a news release in his capacity of chair of Canada’s big city mayors caucus, expressing his hope that the other parties would offer similar commitments.

Wilkinson also fielded several questions relating to Vancouver’s hot real-estate market and the role foreign ownership is suspected of playing in the city’s skyrocketing home prices.

Last month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper promised that a re-elected Conservative government would spend $500,000 to track foreign ownership of domestic real estate and even consider implementing some measures to keep housing affordable.

Wilkinson said a Liberal government would also consider collecting data on foreign ownership of local real estate.

“The idea of actually gathering data to understand the extent of the problem is a good idea,” he said. “I think that what you will hear from us is that we are prepared to spend what needs to be spent to collect the data.

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