Statement by FCM President on the 2014 Federal Budget (11/02/2014)
OTTAWA - The following statement was released by Claude Dauphin, President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) regarding the 2014 Federal Budget, which was tabled this afternoon in the House of Commons.
"Municipalities were looking to today's budget to see real measures to address the growing housing crisis facing Canada's families, communities, and economy. Unfortunately, Budget 2014 fell short of that goal, failing to include any targets, timelines or a commitment to a long-term housing plan.
A total of $1.5 billion dollars for social housing will be lost over the next 5 years as a result of expiring federal investments. Without a long-term plan and leadership from the federal government, up to a 1/3 of the country's social housing units - home to more than half a million Canadians - will eventually be lost.
We were pleased that the federal government recognized its vital role in sustaining affordable and social housing and the importance of working with local governments - and FCM - to address those issues. However, the talk is only as good as the action that follows, and today we are calling on Minister Bergen to agree to immediately start the conversation on the housing crunch with Canada's big city Mayors when they assemble in Ottawa later this month.
There was some good news for cities and communities in this budget, including dedicating resources to extending broadband internet to rural, northern and remote areas. Rural businesses, communities and residents need sufficient bandwidth to participate in today's global economy and today's announcement is good news for Canadians in those regions.
The federal government also recognized the importance of core infrastructure to securing our economy. Municipalities own a majority of public infrastructure and the new long-term infrastructure plan must respond to those needs, and must be announced soon. We were also pleased to see a recommitment to the importance of continued work on public safety in areas such as disaster mitigation.We look forward to working in partnership with the federal government on these issues and all those affecting Canadians in their cities and communities."