Guilbeault says ‘no more’ roads, and Danielle Smith attacks his credibility


Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault says taxpayers can expect no new funding for “large” road projects, earning the ire of Alberta Premier Danielle Smith.

“Our government has made the decision to stop investing in new road infrastructure,” Guilbeault told donors at a Montreal fundraiser luncheon. “The analysis we have done is that the network is perfectly adequate to respond to the needs we have,” he added.

The minister claims further road network expansions would encourage more car use, which means more congestion and air pollution.

On February 16, Smith renewed her attacks on Guilbeault, contending the environment minister is “increasingly erratic and bizarre.” She says “Every time he opens his mouth” he comes up with some new unattainable policy.

On Monday, Guilbeault said that money for asphalt and concrete to expand roadways would be invested better elsewhere. As reported by CBC News, the feds spent billions of dollars on construction and maintenance projects for highways, local roads and bridges.

Guilbeault emphasized the need for urban planners to incentivize people not to use their cars in place of public transportation moving forward. “All of our planning practices have to be coherent with these mobility objectives, for the reduction of the ecological footprint of transportation and greenhouse emissions,” he said.

“Thanks to a mix of investment in active and public transit, and in territorial planning and densification, we can very well achieve our goals of economic, social and human development without further enlargement of the road network,” the minister suggested.

Smith did not mince words Friday in condemning Guilbeault again as an “ideologue” complicit in national disunity. “It’s like he’s never ever stepped foot outside of Montreal,” she said.

“All you have ever done in your life is live in an urban environment where you can take the bus. I can understand that you might not know how big this country is,” added the premier.

“You might not know that when you have a country as vast as Canada … [and] you need roads to drive on. Most of us can’t just head out the door in the snow and rain and just walk 10 kilometres to work each day,” she continued.

Formerly Bill C-69, the Impact Assessment Act, was under the purview of Guilbeault, but later ruled as unconstitutional. Had it remained unchallenged by the courts, it would have given Ottawa the authority to review projects like Highway 413, a proposed 52-kilometre roadway in Ontario.

“He doesn’t listen. He doesn’t honour the Constitution. He ignores court judgments, and he continues barrelling ahead even though his actions are illegal,” Smith told reporters on February 5.

“The only thing I scratch my head over is why his caucus and why his cabinet have not done something about him,” continued Smith. “He’s destroying the credibility of the liberals. He’s destroying national unity.”

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