EAST CENTRAL — Randy Hoback, the MP for Prince Albert, is visiting communities in his riding to find out what their infrastructure funding goals are.
The Conservative MP said he’s challenging the communities in the riding to think outside the box on things that may become available for federal funding that weren’t available before, keeping in mind the governing Liberal Party’s infrastructure funding promises during the election.
“We go back to what they said during the election, they’re going to spend a lot of money on infrastructure and were shorted up by the NDP who wanted to spend even more money on a variety of things,” Hoback said. “What I want to do is make sure we get as much of that money right here in the riding for our constituents take advantage of.”
The Liberal Party, which won a minority government, promised to invest $100 million over four years in the Tourism Community Infrastructure Fund for local needs of communities that rely on tourism. They also promised to create a National Infrastructure Fund.
Hoback said that by visiting with the communities, he can advocate for them to receive funding for those projects.
“It also gets the municipalities talking to one another and there are synergies that can be created by the RM and the towns where they can utilize each other’s assets, share fire services, where it is beneficial for the region of the whole.”
As of Nov. 28 after his visit in Tisdale, he said he noticed some common themes of funding requests coming from municipalities, such as gravel roads, heavy haul roads and bridges for the RMs.
“We got some probably 100 plus bridges that need to be fixed in this region. That’s going to cost a lot of money and they need to be addressed.”
Al Jellicoe, Tisdale’s mayor, said projects the town would like funding for include water lines, a multi-use facility, airport upgrades, improvements to Highway #3 to Melfort, and expansion for gas and power infrastructure.
“Some of those things, it’s just like our water or sewage system,” Jellicoe said. “We had it upgraded because we were at capacity, just like our gas and power – we’re almost at capacity. To move forward, we got to start tackling these projects.”
Hoback said infrastructure funding is one of his two priorities going into the upcoming federal session – with the other being fighting against the carbon tax.
“The carbon tax is an example of a situation where you got a province it doesn’t work in,” he said. “We are not shying away from our commitment to climate change, we are not shying away from our commitment to greenhouse gases and reduction to greenhouse gases. We have to meet our international agreements and the province said we will.”
He said that the carbon tax isn’t enough to improve the environment.
“What I’m concerned about is people got it in their heads that the carbon tax is the only way to meet those requirements and four or five years from now we’ll look at the results at our next UN conference and say, ‘Canada isn’t improving.’ Well, if that’s the case, we’ve done nothing for the north, nothing for climate change and we’ve actually gone backwards. People get this false sense of security because they’re paying a carbon tax that they’ve done something.”
Hoback said he would rather see things that are “real action” and hold other countries accountable for their emissions.
When asked what real action he would like to see in the future, he pointed to past provincial projects.
“You look at our oil and gas sector, the way we extract oil and gas compared to other places of the world, if we took that technology to other parts of the world we would see a change in emissions,” he said. “We would see a huge change in emissions around the world.”
Hoback said that while he is going into the session with only two priorities, he expects others to arise while inside the session.
“I think as the session unfolds itself and once we see the throne speech and where the government plans to go we can adjust accordingly.”
Visiting some of the municipalities with Hoback was Fred Bradshaw, MLA with the Saskatchewan Party for Carrot River Valley.
“Just to see exactly how this is going, just around the same lines as Randy – where we can have the infrastructure money,” Bradshaw said.