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Federal Partnership with Cities Must Continue, say Canada's Big City Mayors

(Ottawa, January 21, 2010) - The leaders of Canada’s 22 largest urban centres, including Mayor Peter Kelly of Halifax Regional Municipality, are urging Ottawa to continue working with them to improve their aging infrastructures, even as the federal government winds down its massive stimulus program.

The mayors made their appeal, following their meeting in Ottawa today.

Mayor Kelly expressed satisfaction with the attention HRM has received to date from Ottawa under the federal stimulus initiative. He noted the program had brought governments together to put people back to work in the face of last year’s international economic meltdown.

“I hope this kind of cooperation will continue, even as the program winds down and Ottawa turns its attention to dealing with the deficit,” Mayor Kelly said. “So far, everything has been working well and we have been addressing deficiencies in our infrastructure situation.”

He noted the monies have gone towards building, maintaining and repairing vital municipal infrastructures like roads and bridges.

Mayor Kelly endorsed a call by Regina Mayor Pat Fiacco that everyone involved should now come together at a national infrastructure summit, “to turn those investments into a down payment on our long-term infrastructure needs."

Carl Zehr, chair of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ (FCM) Big City Mayors' Caucus, said, "Together with the federal, provincial, and territorial governments, we're co-funding infrastructure projects that will create more than half the 220,000 jobs promised in the Economic Action Plan."

The mayors emphasized the importance of protecting longer-term investments in cities. They pointed to a new FCM public opinion survey that shows 69 per cent of Canadians believe local infrastructure investments are among the most important areas to protect from federal budget cuts, second only to healthcare.

The mayors also stressed the importance of continued partnership to meet the challenges of the 21st century. "We can jump start a national climate change strategy - and create new green jobs - with cost-effective projects in our own backyards," said Toronto Mayor David Miller. "We can make our economy more productive by investing in public transit and reducing traffic gridlock. We can make Canada greener and more prosperous, but we have to continue working together."

The mayors called on all parties in the House of Commons to sustain important, core federal funding for cities, including the permanent Gas Tax Fund, the 100 per cent GST refund, and affordable housing programs.

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Mayor Peter Kelly
222-9999 (cell)




Above content last modified Thursday, January 28, 2021 at 8:49am.