Federal Liberal finance minister Bill Morneau’s first visit to Surrey was a disappointment to say the least.
The provincial government and City of Surrey have indicated they are ready to get busy building LRT, or light rail transit, in this city but their federal counterpart is still dragging its heels.
Morneau told the Surrey Board of Trade crowd his government “will need to think about important investments in places like Surrey,” adding he’s “not in a position to identify how much we’re going to invest collaboratively with municipalities and provinces.”
The question is, why not?
Remember, this is a government whose leader, before the first sitting of the newly elected parliament, pledged $2.65 billion in November to assist third world countries to fight the effects of climate change. But for Surrey, from where those very tax dollars are collected, the minister tells us “more specifics will come down as we get further down the road” when it comes to projects here.
Surely cabinet is well aware of Surrey’s needs. After all, there are five local Liberal MPs to keep the government well informed. In fact, these local MPs, as reported in the last issue of the Now, have since October’s election been busy meeting with local movers and shakers to identify Surrey’s needs.
If huge money can be thrown around internationally before parliament even sits, why is Surrey getting the “wait and see” treatment from a federal government that campaigned on public transit improvements for this very city?