OPINION: We built the railway in five years. So why are so many megaprojects now stalled? – Jackie Forrest (Globe and Mail – November 27, 2022)


Slashing Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions to 40 per cent to 45 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050 is no small endeavour. Think long electricity transmission lines, carbon pipelines, hydrogen facilities and new critical mineral mines. The green shift will require hundreds of billions of dollars in new investments across the country.

It’s kind of like Canada’s first megaproject, the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR). It, too, was a colossal undertaking to build infrastructure across this vast, sparsely populated land from coast to coast. It, too, faced huge challenges.

But where they differ is that, despite all its challenges and the technological limitations of the time, the CPR was completed in just five years – twice as fast as the federal government had anticipated. The last spike was pounded in 1885.

Fast-forward 140 years and such megaprojects are slow to build in Canada. It can take more than 10 years from start to finish – if it begins. Oil and gas companies have experienced this with their repeatedly stalled and cancelled projects.

For the rest of this column: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/business/commentary/article-we-built-the-railway-in-five-years-so-why-are-so-many-megaprojects-now/