October 27, 2015
by Elsa Lam
The Royal Architectural Institute of Canada (RAIC) congratulates Prime Minister-designate Justin Trudeau on leading his party to victory in the 2015 federal election.
As the leading voice for excellence in Canada’s built environment, the RAIC looks forward to working with Canada’s newly elected government on areas of common concern such as sustainable design, indigenous communities, and quality infrastructure.
“By investing in appropriate designs and physical structures where we live, work and recreate on a day-to-day basis, the new government has an unparalleled opportunity to create resilient communities, build a strong and diverse economy, and foster healthy workplaces that support greater productivity,” says RAIC President Sam Oboh, FRAIC.
“The federal government is Canada’s single largest owner of buildings and land,” he adds. “As such, it has a central role in setting the highest standards of excellence and environmental sustainability to maximize the benefits to Canadians, achieve value for money and position Canada as an international leader.”
During the election campaign, the RAIC polled the major political parties on several issues affecting the built environment. RAIC Vice-President Allan Teramura, FRAIC, notes that the RAIC’s advocacy activities are not limited to the issues raised during the election. “We will be drawing upon the expertise of our members as we develop policy positions on matters affecting the built environment and the public interest,” he says.
Here are excerpts from the Liberal Party of Canada’s responses:
Question: Do you support the 2030 Challenge (a set of targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from buildings) for new or majorly renovated federal buildings?
Answer: We welcome all industries that want to make measurable progress on achieving this goal, including the 2030 Challenge. We will consult on ways to enhance the scientific research and experimental development tax credit – in conjunction with other tax measures – to generate more clean technology investment.
Question: Some (First Nations communities) have been unfavourably compared to third world situations, or to refugee camps. How should Canada address this situation?
Answer: The federal government needs to stop diverting already inadequate First Nations infrastructure funding to plug other holes, lift the two-percent funding cap and work in partnership with Aboriginal communities to improve this untenable situation.
Question: Do you agree design excellence must be a high priority for federally funded projects?
Answer: Liberals value the liveability of our cities, and this includes contributing to the ongoing nation-building that creates treasured landmarks. We recognize that, in addition to being an economic driver and job creator, nation-building ensures that Canadian culture is preserved and promoted, attracting both national and international recognition.
Question: Quality design of public spaces contributes to making safe, attractive and prosperous cities. Nevertheless, Canada Post is installing community mailboxes that are widely seen as a blight on the streetscape, a public safety hazard and an obstacle to the elderly and disabled. Is this the right decision for Canadian communities?
Answer: A Liberal government will stop the Harper Conservatives’ plan to end door-to-door mail delivery in Canada. We will begin a new review of Canada Post to ensure that the Crown Corporation is fulfilling its public mandate to provide high-quality service at a reasonable cost to Canadians —urban, suburban, and rural.
The full list of questions and answers can be viewed on the RAIC website.