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Mayor Kelly to Bring Atlantic Views to Big City Mayors’ Caucus

(Thursday, November 4/2004) — Mayor Peter Kelly travels to Toronto later today to put forth the position of Atlantic Canadian Mayors on a number of issues, including the federal government’s proposed New Deal for Cities and Communities, before a meeting of the Big City Mayors’ Caucus tomorrow.

Also, Mayor Kelly will attend a meeting tonight of a Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM)/Big City Mayors Caucus(BCMC) working group dealing with the federal commitment to give Canadian municipalities a portion of its share of the federal gas tax. The BCMC will meet with Infrastructure and Communities Minister John Godfrey tomorrow morning in Toronto.

“This is a very significant meeting as Canadian municipalities move closer to forging a new deal and new relationship with the federal government, “Mayor Kelly said. “More importantly, it is vital that the positions and concerns of Atlantic Canadian Mayors be articulated to, and hopefully be supported by, the Mayors of the 22 largest cities in the country through the Big City Mayors’ Caucus.”

Other discussion topics at tomorrow’s BCMC meeting will include affordable housing programs, immigration, urban aboriginal issues and community social/economic issues.

Delegates to the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress meeting in Halifax last week welcomed the new federal focus given to municipalities across Canada, but there were a number of concerns expressed about the criteria, equity, delivery mechanism and timing of partnerships/programs to provide new sources of revenue to local government.

The Congress unanimously passed a resolution that new revenues to municipalities from the federal share of the Gas Tax should be based on a 13/87 sharing principle; that is, one per cent off the top for each of the 10 provinces and the three territories, and the remaining 87 per cent to be distributed, based on population.

Expecting the first of the new Gas Tax revenues will begin to flow to Canadian municipalities in 2005, the Atlantic Mayors will urge the federal government to put in reserve any revenues for those municipalities whose provincial government fails to reach agreement with Ottawa on distribution of funds. In other words, no Canadian municipality would lose out on any new revenues simply because the federal and any provincial government could not agree on terms.

The Atlantic Mayors also endorsed a resolution outlining their position on the federal government’s “New Deal for Cities and Communities.”

The Congress agreed to press the Martin government for new partnerships among all orders of government - based on respect for jurisdictions and leading to cooperation, collaboration and consultation, as well as leading to municipal autonomy to address local infrastructure priorities.
• New revenue sources - providing net new funding, ensuring there is no claw-back of funds, recognizing that infrastructure needs grow with the economy.
• Sustainable communities - to build communities that balance economic opportunity, social well-being and environmental conservation.
• Equity - different communities face unique challenges that may require individual solutions, one solution will not fit all, but equity is important.
• Accountability and results - regular reporting to citizens on outcomes to ensure transparency.
• Administration- Flexible, simple and transparent program administration - local administration of programs should not be unduly burdensome.
• Revenue Flow- In the event a province does not reach an agreement with the federal government regarding a share of the federal Gas Tax revenue for its municipalities before the those revenues flow in 2005, that province’s share for its municipalities will be held in reserve until such an agreement is reached. In other words, municipalities should not lose out on much-needed new revenues simply because the federal and the respective provincial government(s) are unable to reach agreement.

Mayor Kelly said he is optimistic about Prime Minister Paul Martin’s new approach to dealing with Canadian municipalities and hopeful the Nova Scotia government will soon come to terms with the federal government regarding new revenue sources for local governments.


Mayor Peter Kelly
Chair, Atlantic Mayors Congress
(902) 222-9999

John O’Brien
Corporate Communications Officer
Halifax Regional Municipality
(902) 490-6531

Above content last modified Wednesday, May 22, 2024 at 4:36pm.