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Hub Cities Mayors’ Summit
(TORONTO, Saturday, September
18/2004)-- A two-day meeting of Canada’s 10 hub cities, chaired
by Toronto Mayor David Miller, concluded today with a clear plan
for reinvesting in public transit and urban infrastructure, based
on swift delivery of the federal fuel (gas and diesel) tax.
The mayors unanimously agreed that the Federal allocation of the fuel tax revenue to each province must be based on the following formula: 75% of the funding will reflect fuel consumption, and 25% of the funding will reflect transit ridership. A minimum of 25% of each province’s share must be dedicated to public transit infrastructure, where it is a municipal priority.
The mayors also agreed that a schedule for sharing the fuel tax revenue must be set out in the Speech from the Throne, with at least 2.5 cents/litre in 2005, ramping up to the full 5 cents/litre by 2007. Each cent of the fuel tax is equal to about $500 million dollars.
“We’ve given the federal government the next step in the new deal for Canada’s cities,” said Mayor Miller. “This new source of revenue will provide support for economic development and investment in the country’s urban centres. There’s no doubt that this will improve quality of life for residents in our cities, and empower the country’s economic engines.”
Mayor Peter Kelly, of the Halifax Regional Municipality, said “We are pleased that any monies or revenue share agreed to will be held in trust, in the event municipalities are unable to reach agreement with their provincial government, until such time as they do. In that way, no one will lose out.”
Agreements on sharing federal fuel tax revenues with cities must be finalized by the Federal government and the provinces by the end of 2004, the mayors said.
(See expanded text below) Group photos available on Canada News Wire website www.newswire.ca
The mayors of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax applaud the Government of Canada for beginning to recognize, in word and deed, the significance of Canada’s major urban centres to the nation’s prosperity and well-being.
In particular, we commend the Government of Canada’s decision to:
We are similarly encouraged
by Prime Minister Paul Martin’s commitment to invest in children,
families and affordable housing.
Yet much more work must be done if Canadians are to secure the full benefits of a New Deal that appropriately realigns the resources, responsibilities and roles of the Federal, provincial and municipal governments.
It is essential for the New Deal to reflect the distinct contribution that Canada’s largest cities make to the nation’s well-being as dynamic centres of economic growth, culture and innovation. Stronger government-to-government-to-government partnerships between the nation’s major hub cities and the Federal and Provincial governments are needed to strengthen Canada’s position in a highly competitive global economy.
To this end:
We call on the Federal government, in the upcoming Speech from the Throne and 2005 Budget, to provide Canada’s municipalities with five (5) cents per litre of the federal fuel (gasoline and diesel) excise tax. A schedule for sharing the fuel tax revenue must be set out in the Speech from the Throne, with at least 2.5 cents/litre (approximately $1.25 billion), ramping up to the full 5 cents/litre ($2.5 billion) by 2007.
IMPACT ACTIONS THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CAN TAKE TO STRENGTHEN CANADA’S
We also urge the Federal government to implement a series of low-cost, high impact measures to immediately strengthen the social, environmental, economic and cultural foundations of Canada’s cities:
|Policy Domain||Target Program Area||Recommended Action|
|Environmental||Public Transit||Amend the federal Income Tax Act to make employer-provided transit passes a tax-exempt benefit|
|Environmental||Solid Waste Management||Implement national packaging regulations to minimize solid waste and support healthier, cleaner, greener municipalities.|
|Social||Affordable Housing||Under the Federal affordable housing program, increase the amount of money available to non-profit groups for project development funding.|
|Social||Affordable Housing||Direct CMHC to be more flexible in providing mortgage insurance
for developments on brown field sites.
|Social||Seniors||Automatically enrol eligible seniors for GIS and maintain GIS benefits based on income tax returns|
|Economic||Municipal Finance||Direct CRTC to eliminate restrictions on municipalities charging
utility and telecom companies rent/fee for use of municipal
|Cultural||Heritage Properties||Convert the Commercial Heritage Properties Incentive Fund to a tax credit program|
W HAT THE MAYORS WILL DO:
To demonstrate our commitment to working in partnership with the Federal and Provincial governments to build a more prosperous, innovative, sustainable and caring nation, the mayors of Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax Regional Municipality agree to:
-- develop meaningful
benchmarks and share best practices and information to ensure that
Canada’s largest cities learn from each other and make the
best possible use of existing resources
- commission research to assist comprehensive policy development and effective implementation
- provide Federal and provincial officials with a responsive, representative, focused contact point through which to engage the perspectives of Canada’s major urban centres when developing policies, programs and budgets that impact the nation’s largest cities
Local contact: Mayor Peter Kelly
Halifax Regional Municipality
Phone 222-9999 (cell)"