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Harper earmarks $5.8B for federal infrastructure, including parks, museums

Prime Minister Stephen Harper takes part in a question and answer session with members of the Mississauga and Brampton boards of trade in Brampton on Oct. 2, 2014. HANDOUT/PMO/ Jason Ransom

The government will spend $5.8 billion on “necessary” federal infrastructure improvements, including upgrades to on-reserve schools, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced on Monday.

Speaking at a research facility in London, Ont., Harper said the funding will go to projects which are expected to deliver quick results and create jobs in the near future.

“We are ahead of track in terms of balancing the federal budget next year. This gives us flexibility to make additional investments ahead of schedule in a wide range of necessary federal infrastructure projects,” he said.

“Our government will undertake close to $6 billion in additional infrastructure investment, most of it over the next three years, and it is going to be in projects all across the country.”

The Conservative government has projected a $1.9-billion surplus for next year, which was smaller than expected after the recent drop in oil prices and the government’s commitment of billions of dollars for the family measures.

The lion’s share of the spending announced on Monday — $2.8 billion — will go to improvements to historic sites, national parks and national marine conservation areas.

On-reserve schools are to receive $500 million for repairs and construction, while federal labs and research facilities will also see funding for repair and expansion.

Harper is also earmarking $452 million to improve Canadian Forces facilities, $440 million for replacing border infrastructure and about $400 million to upgrade and build federal government buildings.

Federally owned and operated airports and Via Rail will get $204 million for improvements, while $191 million will go to renew and repair heritage sites and museums.

The Canadian Coast Guard and Fisheries Canada will get $183 million to repair existing vessels and buy new ones.

“The full range of projects is simply too numerous for me to list here today,” Harper said as he detailed some of the areas the infrastructure funding would benefit.

“These projects will deliver needed improvements to our federal assets and to our communities reasonably quickly. Second, from coast to coast to coast, in big cities and in smaller centres, these investments will provide jobs for Canadians now, and better opportunities for the future.”