Canada’s largest union vowed to continue challenging the Liberal government’s infrastructure bank of privatization, and making the case for fully public infrastructure. On June 22, the government’s budget implementation legislation was passed in the Senate without amendments, despite repeated warnings from CUPE that the Canada Infrastructure Bank will lead to more privatization and higher costs for Canadians.

“Justin Trudeau and his government ignored criticism that crossed the political spectrum. The Liberals also doubled down on a broken election promise, burying the legislation creating the bank in a 300‑page omnibus bill. CUPE and many others demanded that the bank legislation be studied and debated as a separate bill, so it could get the scrutiny it deserved.

But the Liberals didn’t want to disclose or dwell on the details – with good reason. Documents released through Access to Information show private investors, including global giant BlackRock Inc., played a key role in designing the bank. Their influence is clear – the bank puts private interests first.

“Justin Trudeau didn’t campaign on making Canadians pay more for clean drinking water, to keep the lights on at home, or for transit that gets them home faster. But that’s what he’s rammed through Parliament under cover of an omnibus bill,” said CUPE National President Mark Hancock. “The infrastructure bank’s private investors expect high returns on their investments – and it’s ordinary Canadians who are going to pay that price.”

CUPE will be working with our members to strengthen and expand local anti‑privatization campaigns and alliances, starting with members who work in municipalities.

“The bank makes no financial sense. You’d never sign a mortgage at nine per cent, when you could get one at two per cent. Private lending could double the costs of infrastructure projects. Municipalities will be paying more, to build fewer facilities,” said CUPE National Secretary‑Treasurer Charles Fleury. “The Liberals promised low‑cost financing for cities and towns, and that’s what they should deliver.”

Lifting the veil of secrecy surrounding the bank and its projects is another key priority. The bank’s structure, and restrictions on access to information, will hide essential financial information from public scrutiny. Yet the Liberal election platform commits to more openness and transparency in government.

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