August 2, 2022
Public Works and Government Services says the Freedom Convoy cost millions in a work slowdown on Parliament Hill, but acknowledged an unrelated carpenters’ strike was more significant. Cabinet to date has not detailed economic losses it attributed to the truckers’ protest.
“The truck protests stopped work on the Centre Block from January 28 to February 23,” staff wrote in a briefing note. “The cost of the delay is estimated at $3 million.”
According to Blacklock’s Reporter, the Centre Block and Peace Tower are currently closed until 2031 under a $5 billion refit. The Freedom Convoy blockade cost the department about $190,000 a day, said the briefing note. No detail was provided.
“These strikes had significant impacts on construction projects across the province of Ontario including the Centre Block rehabilitation,” said the note. “This strike action halted all major construction activity on site with the exception of the masonry rehabilitation on the Centre Block which continued to progress but at a much slower pace.”
“Schedule and cost impacts are currently under review now that strike action has ceased and will be largely dependent on increases in labour rates,” it said. Staff did not provide figures.
Cabinet had cited economic harm as justification for invoking the Emergencies Act against Parliament Hill protesters. Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland in June 14 testimony at the special Joint Committee on the Declaration of Emergency said “the core threat was to the Canadian economy.”
“Do you have the figures when it comes to giving us data on the economic impact of the blockade?” asked Senator Claude Carignan (Que.). “I have many figures in my head,” replied Freeland. “It was clear there were damages every day,” she said, adding: “The economic impact was absolutely clearly there.”
“What was it specifically?” asked New Democrat MP Matthew Green (Hamilton Centre, Ont.). “The economic impact to the region of Ottawa was clear,” replied Freeland.
“Can you quantify it?” asked Green. “I have had many conversations with Canadian business leaders,” replied Freeland.
“That’s not good enough,” said Green.