Maclean’s on the Hill: Can the Liberals deliver on infrastructure?

An audio briefing from the Maclean’s bureau in Ottawa

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Each week, the Maclean’s Ottawa bureau sits down with Cormac MacSweeney to discuss the headlines of the week. This week, Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is on the show to talk about the kind of infrastructure funding cities desperately need. The Maclean’s panel takes a critical look at ambitious Liberal promises on infrastructure funding, and also considers the government’s next steps on Canada’s fight against Islamic State.

We also look at the NDP’s request that Liberals sacrifice their majority of members on a committee that will consider alternate voting systems for the next election—and every trip to the polls that follows. NDP MP Nathan Cullen explains his proposal.

Our final segment marks a sombre anniversary on Parliament Hill: 100 years ago, a fire burned Parliament’s Centre Block to the ground. The blaze was devastating, but it allowed a phoenix to rise from the ashes. Listen to Maclean’s Ottawa Bureau Chief John Geddes in conversation with the curator of the House of Commons.

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The full episode

Part 1. Gregor Robertson on infrastructure spending

tombe infrastructure

Vancouver’s mayor joined the rest of Canada’s big-city mayors in Ottawa, where they talked infrastructure spending with a Prime Minister who campaigned on heavy investments for social, green and transit infrastructure. Gregor Robertson joined Cormac MacSweeney on the show.

Part 2. The Maclean’s panel on infrastructure and Islamic State

An aircraft technician from Air Task Force – Iraq inspects the nose landing gear of a CF-188 Hornet aircraft at the Camp Patrice Vincent flight line, in Kuwait during Operation IMPACT on December 11, 2015. (Canadian Forces Combat Camera)
(Canadian Forces Combat Camera)

Paul Wells and John Geddes join Cormac MacSweeney to talk about the Liberals’ ambitious plans for infrastructure spending. And as rumours surface of a Liberal plan to fight Islamic State, our bureau dissects the challenges of any mission in, or near, that theatre.

Part 3. Nathan Cullen on electoral reform

Voters enter a polling station in Quebec City, October 19, 2015. Canadians go to the polls in a federal election on Monday. (Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)
(Mathieu Belanger/Reuters)

NDP MP Nathan Cullen hopes the Liberals give up a majority of seats on a committee tasked with finding a new voting system for Canadians. He defends that gambit in conversation with John Geddes.

Part 4. Parliament burned 100 years ago

The Parliament buildings in Ottawa the morning after the Great Fire of 1916. Ottawa, Canada. Image first published in The New York Times, Feb. 13, 1916 issue. (Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.)
(Underwood and Underwood, N.Y.)

The fire that devastated Parliament’s Centre Block forced the government to rebuild from the ground up. But that produced the stunning building that we see today. John Geddes talks about some of the Centre Block’s secrets with the House of Commons’ own curator.


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