FCM wraps up Annual Conference with the election of a new President and a commitment to build a stronger Canada (05/06/2016)
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) today wrapped up its Annual Conference in Winnipeg where 1,600 municipal leaders gathered to discuss a range of priorities and actions to build a strong country. Discussions focused on the impact of federal infrastructure investments in cities and communities, as Minister Sohi kicked-off extensive consultations on future investments. As well, several priorities were advanced on climate change, the role of rural communities in making Canada great, reconciliation with First-Nations, and increasing women's participation in local government.
Federal infrastructure programs at the centre of FCM discussions
The strong municipal-federal partnership fostered by FCM resulted in an unprecedented focus on local priorities as outlined in the 2016 Federal Budget. Municipal leaders discussed action plans that will see all orders of government working together to transform these funding commitments into infrastructure improvements that strengthen our communities and country.
The partnership between the federal government and municipal leaders was front and centre during the conference, as, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, representatives from federal parties and several Cabinet Ministers outlined their commitments to working with municipal leaders to build a strong country. Municipal leaders confirmed their ability to move quickly with the first phase of the federal government's infrastructure plans, which includes $11.9 billion in short-term investments in key priorities for Canadians such as public transit, housing and clean water.
FCM members initiated discussions with federal partners on Phase 2 of the government's infrastructure plans which will ensure long-term investments in our communities. Municipalities outlined the importance of flexible, predictable, sustainable funding models for these important programs such as a federal Gas Tax Fund transfer model that has consistently proved its effectiveness in delivering results for Canadians.
New FCM President Clark Somerville ready to roll up his sleeves and get to work
On the final day of the conference, FCM member-municipalities elected Clark Somerville (Regional Councillor for Halton Hills, Ontario) to be the new FCM President. Mr. Somerville has been active in municipal politics since 1996 and has served on the Federation's Board of Directors since 2008.
"I want to thank outgoing President Raymond Louie for his dedication and hard work over the last year in bolstering our partnership with the federal government," said FCM President Somerville. "I look forward to building on that momentum as we continue to reinforce the role of cities and communities in building our nation."
President Somerville laid out a series of priorities for the year to come, including working closely with the federal government to develop long-term and stable infrastructure investment strategies leading up to Budget 2017, while prioritizing our efforts on climate change. He outlined the importance of ensuring the rights and aspirations of Aboriginal peoples are fully acknowledged in municipal policies and practices. As well, President Somerville emphasized the importance of increasing the number of youth, women and new Canadians in municipal government.
A tribute for Fort McMurray
In a show of solidarity, municipal leaders paid tribute to the resilience, collaboration and leadership of Fort McMurray's municipal leaders, first-responders and volunteers as they tackled the evacuation forced upon them by wild fires. Wood Buffalo Councillor Allan Vinni accepted this public recognition on behalf of Mayor Melissa Blake and other Council colleagues. Mayor Omer Moghrabi of Lac La Biche and Mayor Don Iveson of the City of Edmonton were also acknowledged for their tremendous show of support in a special tribute ceremony.
FCM will hold its next Annual Conference from June 1-4, 2017 in Ottawa, in conjunction with the celebration of Canada's 150th anniversary.