Councillors Garth Frizzell and Murry Krause have joined municipal leaders from across the country this week urging Ottawa, prior to it tabling its 2017 budget, not to forget the needs of cities and communities.
Frizzell and Krause, who is president of the Union of BC Municipalities, met with fellow Federation of Canadian Municipalities board members in Whistler, on the eve of next week’s federal budget. Their meeting follows two years of dialogue between the federation and senior federal officials, cabinet ministers and the prime minister. The message has been clear – municipal leaders are ready to deliver cost-effective local solutions to national challenges, including jobs, growth and emission reductions.
“The road to a better Canada runs through our communities,” said Frizzell, in a press release. “It’s in our communities where we can shorten commutes, build more affordable housing and spur economic growth—if this budget delivers the right tools.”
The federation’s recommendations for Budget 2017 include predictable, long-term allocations to launch the next era of public transit, with reasonable cost-sharing so local fiscal limits don’t hamper progress. It is also calling for major investments to tackle Canada’s housing crisis by protecting social housing and building new affordable homes. Lastly, the municipal leaders are calling on the federal government to support local green innovation and to implement a plan to spark economic growth in rural, remote and northern communities.
The federation’s rural recommendations for Budget 2017 include ensuring that the Rural and Northern Communities Fund supports local priorities, like roads, bridges to septic system upgrades. They include applying a rural lens to infrastructure investments so that rural communities can access funding to meet their unique needs. And they include closing the broadband gap and fixing Canada’s housing crisis to build more livable rural communities.
The federation’s northern recommendations for Budget 2017 include ensuring that the Rural and Northern Communities Fund recognizes the low population densities of Canada’s northern and remote regions. They include distinct support for northern housing needs to help tackle Canada’s housing crisis. And they include stronger air, marine and other transportation infrastructure to better connect northern communities to the rest of Canada.
“When municipal leaders have a seat at the nation-building table, it’s Canadians who benefit,” said Krause.