FCM Platform calls on leaders to keep focus on bread-and-butter issues

    The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Announces its Election
    2008 Platform

    OTTAWA, Sept. 18 /CNW Telbec/ - National party leaders must continue to
build on a series of major new campaign promises in the last 24 hours from the
Conservatives, Liberals and Greens to keep the federal campaign focused on the
issues that matter most to Canadians.
    That was the message delivered today by Jean Perrault, President of the
Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and Mayor of Sherbrooke, Que., as
he released FCM's election platform in Ottawa.
    "From the day the election was announced, Canadians have been looking for
practical solutions to bread-and-butter issues: Reliable bus service to escape
high gas prices; safe roads, bridges and water systems that their families can
count on; and quality infrastructure and services that will help attract new
jobs to their community. Now all parties are beginning to respond and major
new commitments have been put on the table," said Perrault.
    "The bread-and-butter campaign Canadians are waiting for is now underway.
Now we must keep that campaign running strong," continued Perrault.
    "At this time of growing international upheaval, Canadians are worried
about their future and want to know that the basic foundations of their cities
and communities support their day-to-day needs, are safe, and safeguard our
economic well-being," stated Perrault. "Canadians want all parties to continue
to commit to take action to support them where they live and work."
    After years of cutbacks and offloading, municipalities are struggling to
meet their responsibilities with just eight cents of every tax dollar
collected in Canada. They cannot meet growing funding needs in policing,
affordable housing, public transit, environmental protection, and rural and
northern sustainability.
    The most imposing symptom of this funding shortfall is a massive and
rapidly growing backlog in infrastructure repairs.
    "The $123-billion municipal infrastructure deficit is the elephant in the
room during this campaign. Parties need to take on this challenge to show
they're serious about securing Canada's future safety and prosperity," said
Perrault. "It can't be fixed overnight, but we must get started now so
Canadians can be confident that their children can safely drink the water,
their roads can handle the traffic, and their community can attract employers
and jobs."
    FCM's platform identifies six priority areas where the federal government
can take action:

    1. Erasing the infrastructure deficit within 20 years;
    2. Putting more buses on the road and improving commuter rail;
    3. Delivering front-line support for local police;
    4. Delivering concrete long-term solutions for homelessness and housing;
    5. Protecting roads, bridges and sewers from climate change and severe
       weather; and
    6. Investing in strong, economically viable rural and northern

    Perrault confirmed that he wrote today to the five federal party leaders
asking for clear commitments on these six priorities. With major commitments
on public housing from the Conservatives, and infrastructure announcements
from the Liberals and the Greens on the record, national party leaders have
started to respond.
    "By building on these commitments, party leaders will signal that they
understand the bread-and-butter concerns of Canadians," said Perrault. "It
will also go a long way toward securing the future of all Canadians."

    To view FCM's election platform, visit www.fcm.ca/en/election2008

    About the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM):

    FCM represents the interests of municipalities on policy and program
matters that fall within federal jurisdiction. With more than 1,770 municipal
government members representing 90 per cent of Canadians, FCM members include
Canada's largest cities, small urban and rural communities, and 18 provincial
and territorial municipal associations.

For further information:

For further information: Maurice Gingues, (613) 907-6395,

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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