Senators' Statements - Alberta
February 7, 2017
The Honourable Senator Douglas Black :
Honourable senators, I rise today to make the case for Calgary as the home for Canada's new infrastructure bank.
As senators know, the creation of an infrastructure bank has been proposed by the Prime Minister's Economic Advisory Council. The purpose of the bank will be to facilitate investment in building or upgrading the infrastructure in Canada.
I suggest that Calgary is the natural home for that bank, and here is why. Calgary knows about infrastructure and financing infrastructure because of our decades of involvement in the infrastructure intensive energy industry.
Calgary is a centre of finance and financial innovation, with many Calgarians having broad experience at raising equity, debt and private capital — something we've been doing since the 1950s for both companies and entrepreneurs.
And then, of course, there are today's market realities in Calgary that make the establishment of the bank so timely. Given the economic downturn in Alberta, there has never been a better time to utilize the skills of Calgarians in the finance and infrastructure space who have been displaced — and there has never been a better moment to lease office space in downtown Calgary.
Finally, Calgary is justifiably proud that for several years it has been selected by The Economist magazine as one of the world's most liveable cities. This fact, coupled with Calgary having non-stop flights to financial capitals, including all major American cities, as well as London, Frankfurt, Tokyo and Beijing, makes Calgary a very attractive home for both the bank and its employees.
Albertans and Calgarians are proud of the economic contribution we have made to Canada. Given the tough economic circumstances that have confronted the city over the last couple of years, I hope senators might agree with me that locating the Canadian infrastructure bank in Calgary can help the city diversify its economic base and demonstrate to both Albertans and Canadians that the federal government recognizes Calgary's and Alberta's contribution to Canada and wants to help Calgary's return to prosperity for the benefit of Canadians.