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Atlantic Mayors Focus on Economic Impacts
(Saturday, April 18, 2009, Halifax) – Citing cuts to the CBC, growing uncertainty over air service and delays in federal infrastructure funding, Mayors from across Atlantic Canada today called on the federal government to focus on the people and communities of the region.
“Our region is suffering from the global economic downturn. Our communities are struggling with growing unemployment and loss of opportunities,” said Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly, chairman of the Atlantic Mayors’ Congress. “This is not the time to cut services to the region or delay job-creating investments. This is the time to focus on the needs of people and communities and not cut Atlantic Canada adrift.”
Among the issues discussed in their two-day meeting were the recent cuts to regional CBC services as well as concerns about air service to the region.
“For Atlantic Canada, the CBC is more than a news outlet. It is our window on the rest of the country and the world. When service in our region is cut, it is our voice that is silenced, said Mayor Kelly.
“The economic downturn has hurt air carriers domestically and abroad, with our sparse population and remote communities, we are concerned that air service to our region could be further affected,” said Mayor Kelly. “At a minimum, we need a passenger-bill of rights in place to ensure that the interests of air travellers are protected.”
The Mayors also discussed delays in the roll-out of the federal stimulus infrastructure program as a source of concern. The Mayors fear that any further delay may jeopardize their ability to get shovels in the ground this construction season. They called on the federal government to quickly announce program details, including the application and approval process so that planning could begin.
“We are facing harsh economic conditions and while the government must be applauded for its budget focus on infrastructure and job creation, we are concerned that delays in announcing details on how municipalities can access the fund might mean that we will lose this construction season.” Mayor Kelly concluded
The Atlantic Mayors Congress is made up of the Mayors of the largest municipalities in the region. It meets twice a year to discuss common issues of concern, share information and collaborate to strengthen the economy and municipal government in Atlantic Canada.
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Mayor Peter Kelly
Halifax Regional Municipality, NS