"Hold the course" Budget delivers short-term relief for Canada's cities and communities



    No long-term solution to municipal infrastructure deficit, fiscal
    imbalance or transit crunch

    OTTAWA, March 19 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement by FCM
Acting President, Winnipeg Councillor Gord Steeves, in reaction to today's
federal Budget.
    "One of Canada's chief advantages is its cities and communities and the
people who live there. This Budget implicitly acknowledges the need for
continuing and expanding federal involvement, with short-term measures to help
maintain municipal infrastructure, including much needed recreational
facilities.
    The move to extend the federal gas-tax transfer for an additional four
years is a welcome and important step toward erasing Canada's municipal
infrastructure deficit. Continued funding for existing infrastructure programs
is also welcome.
    That's the good news.
    The bad news is that the Budget fails to deliver a long-term strategy to
meet the challenges in our cities and communities, particularly to erase the
$60-billion municipal infrastructure deficit, fix the municipal fiscal
imbalance, provide Canadians with the transit options they need, or help new
immigrants settle.
    What is missing is a long-term vision and a plan to fix these problems
once and for all.
    This budget builds on last years' budget by extending existing
infrastructure programs and expanding the categories of projects that can be
financed.
    But as last week's census data revealed, our cities and communities are
changing, with rapid suburban growth and rural depopulation exerting growing
pressures on municipal services and on our crumbling infrastructure. This
budget does not respond to those realities.
    It is our hope that today's budget sets the stage for next year. We look
forward to working with the Prime Minister and his government to develop
Canada's biggest advantage-strong, vibrant cities and communities that
contribute to Canada's competitiveness and quality of life.




For further information:

For further information: Or to arrange an interview: Maurice Gingues,
(613) 907-6395

Organization Profile

Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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FEDERAL BUDGET REACTION 2007

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