Municipal Leaders Coming to Toronto to Build on Recent Gains

FCM conference a chance to engage Ottawa on future of cities, communities

TORONTO, May 14 /CNW Telbec/ - In two weeks more than 1,500 municipal leaders will come to Toronto with one overriding objective: to keep Ottawa working with municipalities to address national challenges playing out on local streets.

That was the message today from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Second Vice-President Berry Vrbanovic and Vice-President at Large Claude Dauphin and Toronto Deputy Mayor Joe Pantalone during a briefing at Toronto City Hall about FCM's annual conference being held in Toronto from May 28 to 31.

The upcoming conference will be an opportunity for federal party leaders to talk about their vision for the future of Canada's cities and communities with municipal leaders from every part of the country.

Working through FCM, municipalities have made important gains in recent years. The permanent federal Gas Tax Fund is investing $2 billion a year in local roads, water systems and public transit, and thousands of cost-shared stimulus projects have brought governments together to create jobs, fight the recession and repair crumbling municipal infrastructure. Between 2005 and 2014, Toronto alone will receive $1 billion in federal gas tax transfers, in addition to hundreds of millions of dollars in dedicated public transit funding, GST rebates, and funding from FCM's Green Municipal Fund.

"We need to start turning recent gains into a vision for the future. That's the only way to deal with the growing challenges Canadians see outside their front door, from homelessness to traffic gridlock to aging infrastructure," said Vrbanovic, a Kitchener Councillor. "We're heading into a tough, post-recession world. Canada is going to need strong, sustainable cities and communities to protect our quality of life and compete with the world's best for jobs, talent and investment."

The host city of Toronto formally welcomed the FCM Conference today.

"As the country's biggest municipality, and one of the world's most dynamic and diverse cities, Toronto embodies some of Canada's greatest achievements and biggest challenges," said Deputy Mayor Pantalone. "It's a great place to start planning a new vision for the future."

This year's conference includes a wide range of seminars, workshops and speakers, including; Lessons from the New Deal, a conversation with former Prime Minister Paul Martin and former Minister of Infrastructure and Communities John Godfrey; and Leading Sustainability, a discussion moderated by Mayor Miller with mayors from Mexico City, Mexico; Jakarta, Indonesia; and Melbourne, Australia. The full agenda for FCM's 2010 conference is available online at www.fcm.ca/conferences.

SOURCE Federation of Canadian Municipalities

For further information: For further information: Eric Collard, Federation of Canadian Municipalities, (613) 907-6395, ecollard@fcm.ca; Patricia Trott, City of Toronto, (416) 392-8937, ptrott@toronto.ca

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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