|BE CAREFUL WHAT you wish for…
Liberal and even conservative economists have been urgently pressing governments to invest in infrastructure to boost employment and growth.
The new Trudeau government in Canada was seen as a poster child for this effort when it took office last year.
Donald Trump has made infrastructure spending the centrepiece of his extravagant promise to create “millions and millions” of jobs - derided by many as an empty boast unlikely to win the support of congressional Republicans.
But, as the recently unveiled Canada Infrastructure Bank demonstrates, what the Canadian program calls “asset recycling” is a euphemism for a massive new push to privatize airports, highways, ports, utilities, treatment plants, and other public assets in the guise of public-private partnerships.
Currently, most Canadian infrastructure is publicly owned and operated, and could be repaired and expanded at record low interest rates. Instead, private investors will be offered a huge majority stakes in these facilities and guaranteed high returns in the form of user fees, tolls, subsidies, dividends, and other payouts.