Municipal leaders deepen dialogue with Infrastructure Minister (25/11/2016)
FCM President Clark Somerville issued this statement today following dialogue with the Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities, at FCM's Board of Directors meeting in Ottawa.
Municipal leaders welcomed today's meeting with Minister Sohi as another productive step in our development partnership. We appreciate his consistent readiness to listen and respond to priorities put forward by Canada's cities and communities.
Canadians saw that response reflected in Phase 1 of the federal government's infrastructure plan. Now, with the newly-expanded Phase 2, Minister Sohi oversees an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen Canada by strengthening our communities. This $81-billion investment in transit, social, green and other infrastructure is a bold commitment. However, this will need to be followed by more bold steps to produce transformational outcomes for Canadians.
All week, a delegation of 100 municipal leaders met with more than half of Canada's Members of Parliament from all political parties. We made the case that Phase 2 of federal funding should focus on putting tools in local hands. With allocation-based funding, municipalities will be able to plan, tap local expertise and move projects forward. With fair cost-sharing, local fiscal limits won't hold back progress. With significant investment in affordable housing, we'll repair the fractured foundation of the liveable, competitive communities we're trying to build.
All of these recommendations are grounded in one basic idea. This is the idea that local governments understand local needs and deliver cost-effective solutions with national impact. By scaling up local solutions, we can boost productivity, create jobs, reduce GHG emissions, and build tomorrow's Canada. On this idea, Minister Sohi has made it clear that he agrees.
As he told local leaders today: "We are in a moment where the country is looking to you as much as us for leadership and vision. And we are here to support you and work together to build strong, sustainable and inclusive communities. We need to seize this opportunity to show Canadians that this is the best way to move forward as a nation."
Clark Somerville is President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and a local/regional councillor for the Town of Halton Hills and Halton Region. FCM is the national voice of local government, with nearly 2,000 members representing 90 per cent of Canada's population.
Michael FitzPatrick, FCM Media Relations Advisor, 613-907-6346 or firstname.lastname@example.org