KITCHENER AND MUNICIPAL LEADERS FROM ACROSS CANADA MET WITH PARLIAMENTARIANS TO DISCUSS FEDERAL INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENT
Kitchener Last week City of Kitchener councillors Kelly Galloway-Sealock and Berry Vrbanovic joined more than 100 other municipal leaders from across the country for meetings in Ottawa with parliamentarians, to talk about Canada’s new long-term infrastructure plan. In 2011, the federal government promised to develop - in partnership with municipalities, provinces and territories - a long-term plan to put our infrastructure back on solid ground.
Councillor Kelly Galloway-Sealock, Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) committee member stated in a release, “The City of Kitchener, like municipalities across Canada, has critical infrastructure needs. I was pleased to raise this again in meetings with our local MPs as well as in exchanges with various government ministers, MPs and senators. We support FCM’s call for a 20-year infrastructure plan and will continue to collaborate with the federal government to ensure our infrastructure needs are met.”
Councillor Berry Vrbanovic, FCM Past President, continued, “Municipal governments like Kitchener own more than 60 percent of Canada’s core economic infrastructure roads, bridges, water and waste water systems and public transit systems. This infrastructure is necessary for new jobs and economic growth yet much of this infrastructure is in need of repair or replacement. We need the federal government’s commitment now so we can tackle this challenge together.”
The meetings were part of FCM’s intergovernmental meetings which ran from November 20 to 23, during which municipal leaders met with Party leaders, cabinet ministers and other parliamentarians. Municipal leaders also attended special addresses by Infrastructure Minister Denis Lebel, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair, Liberal Party Leader Bob Rae, and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May.
FCM released earlier this month its recommendations for a 20-year federal plan with secure, predictable funding that will allow the city of Kitchener to meet its community’s core infrastructure needs. The FCM proposal calls for an increase in annual federal investments dedicated to municipal infrastructure from $3.25 billion to $5.75 billion to bring it in line, as a percentage of GDP, with historical levels from the 1950s to the mid-1970s which allowed proper infrastructure maintenance and growth.
The Federation says the inefficiencies and uncertainty resulting from application-based programs is even more acute for smaller and rural communities that do not have the staff resources of larger municipalities.
“Municipal governments are ready and willing to continue doing their part, but because they collect just eight cents of every tax-dollar paid in Canada they cannot meet the country’s infrastructure challenge on their own. This is why the federal government’s new long-term infrastructure plan with secure, predictable funding is essential,” said FCM president Karen Leibovici.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has been the national voice of municipal government since 1901. FCM represents close to 90% of the Canadian population almost 2,000 municipal governments across the country.