CUPE has been raising concerns about the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB) since the federal Liberal government first introduced it in 2017. The investor-driven bank was set up to help corporations profit from privatizing our public infrastructure.
The bank is involved in three transit projects, including a huge privatized light rail project in Montreal - the Réseau express métropolitain. Recently, the CIB has moved into the water sector, announcing plans to subsidize the privatization of the Township of Mapleton’s water and wastewater facilities.
The “innovation” in this project is that the CIB will lower the cost of borrowing for the private sector partner. What wasn’t considered in this project was the possibility of the CIB offering the township a low-cost, long-term loan. Why should we risk putting our water services into private hands where there is an incentive to cut corners for profit, when public options haven’t even been considered?
The NDP has promised that they would wind down the CIB, and that their proposed Climate Bank would offer public-public partnerships to help municipalities finance important projects.
Research and experience have shown that public services (like water and wastewater) are best delivered by the public sector. Our governments should be protecting public services, not delivering them to the private sector for profit!