by Michael Kram, MP for Regina-Wascana Michael Kram, MP for Regina-Wascana

I’m pleased to have this opportunity to report “behind the headlines” Ottawa updates to the members of the Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association.

Although all Saskatchewan MPs have a role to play in promoting construction in Saskatchewan, I have the duty and privilege to play a particular role. I sit on the House of Commons Standing Committee on Transportation, Infrastructure and Communities, which studies many of the federally funded or regulated infrastructure projects in Saskatchewan and elsewhere.

In this report, I’ll try to bring you the latest news on construction-related discussions going on in our nation’s capital.

Coming up in the transportation and infrastructure committee

Since the new year, much of the time of the transportation and infrastructure committee has been taken up with transportation issues, as we have grilled the transportation minister over pandemic threats to many of Canada’s airports, including Regina’s.

In March, the committee moved on to examine the Canada Infrastructure Bank (CIB), a Crown corporation mandated to manage federal infrastructure investments. This is actually the second time the Trudeau Liberals have attempted to start the CIB. They previously announced it in 2017 and gave it a budget of $35 billion. But, like many Liberal initiatives, it was long on press releases but short on actual accomplishments. After three years in operation, it had spent only $1.7 billion. With CIB 2.0, the Liberals have promised a more streamlined, less bureaucratic decision-making process. We’ll see how that turns out – the Liberals, after all, don’t have much of a track record for reducing bureaucracy.

A negative sign for the prospects of the new CIB is that the Liberals have given it a mandate to pursue a number of their favourite boutique issues, such as renewable energy. One mandated area of potential interest to Saskatchewan heavy construction is a priority to invest in large-scale agricultural irrigation projects. But again, we will have to wait to see if that goal gets beyond an announcement and into actual shovels in the ground.

In April, the committee will be studying the potential for targeted infrastructure investments in underserved or disadvantaged communities. At the moment, this is quite broadly defined although there is some talk that Liberal members will focus mainly on Eastern priorities, such as extending subway lines in Toronto. For my part, I’ll be advocating for projects that produce benefits for Saskatchewan, such as improving transportation connections to tidewater.


When I ran for office in 2019, I campaigned on three principles – pipelines, balanced budgets and an end to the carbon tax. It’s looking like I’ll be able to recycle those slogans in the next campaign, considering that the federal deficit is out of control, the carbon tax has gone up and the federal Liberals have failed to get pipelines built. In fact, pipelines are being shut down under their watch.

We all remember the ill-fated Transmountain Pipeline, which the Liberals bought for $4.5 billion after the previous developer pulled out due to never-ending protests and court challenges. Two years later, the project continues to be plagued with protests and delays as well as a near-doubling of its estimated construction costs.

In the two leaders’ first virtual state visit, officials familiar with the meeting said Biden told the prime minister that he understood the hardship the Keystone cancellation caused Canada but that he was simply fulfilling an election promise. In other words, “tough luck, Justin.”

Michael Kram, MP for Regina-Wascana

There was, for a time, great hopes for advancement of the Keystone XL Pipeline after it was approved by the previous U.S administration. Unfortunately, one of President Biden’s first acts in office was to cancel it. Despite Trudeau’s cozy relationship with Biden, there is little evidence that Trudeau is having much influence on this topic nor even that he’s making much of an effort. In the two leaders’ first virtual state visit, officials familiar with the meeting said Biden told the prime minister that he understood the hardship the Keystone cancellation caused Canada but that he was simply fulfilling an election promise. In other words, “tough luck, Justin.”

Much the same pattern has played out with the Enbridge Line 5 Pipeline in Eastern Canada. This pipeline, which ships oil and natural gas from Western Canada to Ontario, has been operating safely for over half a century. Recently, Michigan’s environmental activist governor ordered the line closed, causing a diplomatic furor not only between Canada and the U.S. but even among U.S. states. In response, the natural resources minister delivered chest-thumping rhetoric that sounded almost identical to the language the Liberals used with regards to Keystone…and we know how that turned out.

Given the Liberals affection for renewable energy projects, it’s easy to see why their efforts to defend pipelines are failing. They want them to fail and are paying only lip-service to efforts to save them.


Although it doesn’t directly relate to construction, I would like to close by touching on my campaign to save Regina’s airport. Like airports all over, the Regina Airport Authority has seen its revenues drop nearly to zero during the pandemic. Unlike other G7 countries, Canada has offered virtually no sector-specific aid to help the nation’s air infrastructure survive. As well, NavCanada, the agency that regulates air traffic, appears poised to close Regina’s air traffic control tower. Combined, these assaults on the airport could threaten southern Saskatchewan’s capacity for business travel and cargo shipment, which would hurt businesses in every sector including construction. To help with my campaign, visit