TORONTO, May 27 /CNW Telbec/ - As the two-year Economic Action Plan draws to a close, Canada needs a new partnership between all orders of government to address growing national challenges that threaten to weaken our cities and Canada's global competitiveness.
That was the message from the 22 members of FCM's Big City Mayors' Caucus (BCMC) after they met today in Toronto.
"Strong cities drive our economy and protect our quality of life," said Mayor Carl Zehr, of Kitchener, Ont., chair of BCMC. "For Canada to compete globally, all governments have to help solve the national problems that are playing out on city streets."
Along with the permanent federal gas tax transfer, the GST rebate and the Building Canada Fund, stimulus spending is helping municipalities repair some of the damage done to cities by years of underinvestment and offloading. More importantly, it has brought all governments together to create jobs and fight the recession.
"Municipalities are turning stimulus money from Ottawa into new jobs by matching federal investments dollar for dollar and managing thousands of front-line projects across the country," said Montreal mayor Gérald Tremblay. "It shows that some challenges are too big for any one government to solve on its own."
"Other problems in our communities demand the very same kind of cooperation," said Toronto mayor David Miller. "We shouldn't have to wait for an economic crisis to get governments working together. We need that partnership to fight traffic gridlock, homelessness, climate change, and the infrastructure deficit."
The mayors called on all parties in the House of Commons to commit to a new, long-term partnership between orders of government. This partnership is necessary to better match roles and responsibilities, achieve measureable results in areas of shared jurisdiction and continue strengthening Canada's urban economic engines. As a first step, the mayors will host a January 2011 National Infrastructure Summit in Regina to establish an intergovernmental strategy for eliminating the $123-billion infrastructure deficit.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) has been the national voice of municipal government since 1901. With 1,800 members, FCM represents the interests of municipalities on policy and program matters that fall within federal jurisdiction. Members include Canada's largest cities, small urban and rural communities, and 18 provincial and territorial municipal associations.
SOURCE Federation of Canadian Municipalities
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