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Infrastructure Minister Catherine McKenna was cited by the Parliamentary Budget Office yesterday for "missing details" on thousands of public work projects, which have likely caused headaches for the Trudeau minister since a June 2 report from the PBO found that roughly 20,000 taxpayer-funded projects were lacking sufficient evidence to prove they had started.
“This is not a fully exhaustive list,” the Budget Office wrote on Wednesday. McKenna in a March 10 report to Parliament said “over 52,000 projects have been announced government-wide with contributions of approximately $57.5 billion. Almost all of these projects are either started or completed.”
At that time, Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux had said that he had faith the projects existed, but that there needed to be more transparency around their existence, according to Blacklock's Reporter.
Giroux said at the time that in 20,000 cases, records of those projects having started are nowhere to be found. "We’ve asked the department and have been able to find information for 33,000 of these projects," Giroux said. "We have not been able to see a list that includes all these 52,000 or 53,000 projects, only 33,000 of these projects."
On January 29, The House of Commons gave the green light to a Conservative Party motion that would mandate a federal audit of billions in the federal budget for public works. One budget officer says that he has attempted for months to gain access to a full list, but that only a "partial list" was given.
"We are in active and ongoing negotiations with Infrastructure Canada and multiple departments and agencies to try to compile a list," said Jacques. "I would say it has taken potentially a little bit longer than we anticipated."
"How many billions are missing from the list?" asked Shadow Finance Minister Pierre Poilievre. "It’s about half of the program," said Jacques.
Dates missing since February 12
The PBO said it has been requesting a completed list of the projects since February 12. Over 30,000 projects have been compiled, with 12,297 being itemized on June 5, leaving more than 7,000 projects yet to be verified.
"Inconsistent data in this report refers to missing project level funding, exclusion of program level funding, and incomplete project data which refers but is not limited to missing location, start dates, end dates and projected funding," wrote analysts.