Parliament’s $5-billion reno bill shows misplaced priorities

Author: Franco Terrazzano 2021/06/21

The Canadian Taxpayers Federation is questioning the federal government’s priorities after it announced renovations at Parliament Hill would cost up to $5 billion. 

“It’s hard to believe bureaucrats couldn’t find a way to do these renovations for less money after more than a decade of planning,” said Franco Terrazzano, Federal Director for the CTF. “If we played the would-you-rather game, I’m sure most Canadians could figure out a better way to spend $5 billion.”

Public Services and Procurement Canada announced renovations at Parliament Hill’s Centre Block would cost up to $5 billion

The CTF released a list of alternative ways that Canadians could spend $5 billion:

  • Eliminate boil-water advisories on First Nations communities; 
  • Pay the salary of 60,000 additional nurses for one year;
  • Provide 350,000 families with a year’s worth of groceries;
  • Build five hospitals;
  • Buy 130 million COVID-19 vaccines;
  • Provide hockey equipment for 5 million young athletes;
  • Pay for three years of health transfers to Manitoba; or,
  • Exempt all taxpayers in Newfoundland and Labrador from paying federal taxes for a year.

The CTF believes the Parliamentary Budget Officer should release an independent cost estimate of the renovations, similar to what was done for the Navy’s $4.1-billion Joint Support Ship project

“If the government saved even a fraction of the renovation costs, the savings could provide tax relief for many struggling families,” said Terrazzano. “This is a huge price tag for a project that will have little benefit for most Canadians. With the feds more than $1 trillion in debt, we need to see a better effort from this government to rein in spending.”