The answer to Justin’s prayer.

Just started reading Linda McQuaig’s 2019 book; The Sport & Prey of Capitalists. I have always been a fan of Linda’s. We might lean towards different parties but we seem to think alike. Somewhere in my bookshelves there is a copy of Linda’s earlier book about the quick and the dead. It includes Linda’s very gracious endorsement and encouragement to some of my writing.

But I was not into the second page of the first chapter her new book and I realized she was showing the way to a solution for which I have been searching. The one thing I can be sure of is that the prime minister has never read my committee’s report on public-private partnerships that I did for the federal government in the early 1980s.

Yet Justin Trudeau is searching for capital investment to pull us out of the pandemic slump that can work with government support. Linda makes the point that Trudeau would dearly love to get some of Larry Fink’s Blackrock billions involved in Canadian infrastructure building to help get us out of the covid-19 pandemic slump.

The problem is simple. Blackrock needs profitability and the prime minister needs the low-cost borrowing from today’s banks. This is not an incompatible situation. It could be Canada’s solution if it is ever to have the high-speed electric trains it needs from coast to coast. There are two components—there is the infrastructure which includes bridges, overpasses and land acquisition and which government does best. The other part is putting together the stations, roadbeds, track and rolling stock, which a for-profit operation can do best. If the government does its part, the private sector will find it can do its part and reap substantial profits down the road. The government gets the taxes, the right-of-way return, as well as the many years needed to pay for the infrastructure.

And it would be a far more open and acceptable deal than the shenanigans of Sir John A. Macdonald when Canada built its first national railway. It would certainly beat the Americans relying on private sector funding to build the high-speed train networks that country is planning.

The one thing we are sure of is that if we are ever going to save our planet, we have to stop polluting on our roads and in our skies. We better wake up to the needs very soon.


Copyright 2021 © Peter Lowry

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