Canada Infrastructure Bank spent $900K on consultant fees for failed project

In May 2022, a majority of MPs on the House of Commons transport committee recommended the Canada Infrastructure Bank be shut down due to its failures, despite objections from the Liberals on the committee.

Canada Infrastructure Bank spent $900K on consultant fees for failed project
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The federal government wasted nearly $900,000 in fees for consultants on a failed climate project, according to new records. The Canada Infrastructure Bank, a Crown corporation which is supposed to support revenue-generating "public interest" infrastructure projects, lost the money on an underwater electricity transmission project that was set to run from Haldimand County in Ontario to Erie County, Pennsylvania.

The $899,318 in losses by the Canada Infrastructure Bank were spent on “legal advice, financial advice and expertise related to electricity transmission,” according to a report from Blacklock's Reporter.

The outlet noted how in 2021, the Bank committed 40% of the cost of the Lake Erie Connector project, which was considered by officials to be a climate-friendly development. 

“It is another example of the Bank’s momentum to quickly implement its $10 billion growth plan,” said management in 2021, per Blacklock's. “This project will allow Ontario to export clean, non-emitting power to one of the largest power markets in the world.”

The House of Commons transport committee, meanwhile, has suggested the Canada Infrastructure Bank be closed because of its failures. First created in 2017 at a cost of $35 billion by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberals, the Commons transport committee made a single recommendation for the Bank in a May 2022 report: shut it down.

Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis, who represents the Haldimand—Norfolk riding, tabled an inquiry of ministry asking about the Bank's expenditures on projects that were “not completed,” “indefinitely delayed” or “otherwise abandoned.”

Construction on the Lake Erie Connector project never started and was eventually abandoned in 2022. Dominic LeBlanc, who was infrastructure minister at the time, said the Trudeau Liberals “strongly disagree(d)” with the committee's request to close the Bank.

The Bank “continues to make progress in advancing government priorities,” LeBlanc argued.

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