OTTAWA — The Trudeau government's representative in the Senate is attempting to derail a motion aimed at carving the Liberals' proposed infrastructure bank from its broader budget bill, thus delaying its creation.
Peter Harder is calling on the Speaker of the Senate to disallow an independent senator's motion to split the infrastructure financing agency from the Liberals' 300-page budget implementation act.
Harder says the motion is out of order because it would create two financial bills — and he argues that the Senate is constitutionally prohibited from initiating a money bill.
Senate Speaker George Furey will have to rule on Harder's point of order.
Independent Sen. Andre Pratte introduced the motion June 14 in a bid to allow the upper chamber more time to debate the contentious infrastructure bank proposal.
The government's proposed, $35-billion infrastructure bank has faced considerable scrutiny related to concerns over how it would be governed and the level of risk it could put on the backs of taxpayers.
Pratte has said a number of senators are prepared to support his motion to delay the creation of the bank, which is central to the government's long-term economic plan.
The government designed the infrastructure bank to use public funds as a way to leverage billions more from private investors to pay for new, large-scale projects, such as rail lines, bridges and transit systems.