Statement by FCM President following today's housing meeting with provincial and territorial ministers and national stakeholders in Ottawa

    OTTAWA, Oct. 8 /CNW Telbec/ - The following is a statement from FCM
President Jean Perrault, Mayor of Sherbrooke, Que.:
    "The Conservative Party Platform released yesterday provided encouraging
news for municipal governments by putting affordable housing and homelessness
issues back on the election agenda.
    In its platform, the Party commits to a $1.9 billion extension of
existing national affordable housing and homelessness programs, and promises
to work with provincial, territorial and municipal governments and community
groups to develop 'concrete, long-term solutions' to these issues.
    Today's meeting of housing stakeholders is an opportunity to build on
these commitments and the attention drawn to this issue by the January 25
release of FCM's Sustaining the Momentum: Recommendations for a National
Action Plan on Housing and Homelessness.
    Today, I presented eight principles for building a 10-year national
action plan on affordable housing and homelessness. On this shared foundation,
all orders of government can work together to ensure that every Canadian has a
safe, affordable place to sleep.

    Eight Guiding Principles:

    1. Housing matters - Housing is a key part of the economy accounting for
       six per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and 15 per cent of
       aggregate household spending.
    2. Government matters - Government has a role in supporting housing
       solutions for those one in six Canadian households left out by market
       forces alone.
    3. Partnership matters - Housing is a multi-faceted and multidisciplinary
       area and includes a broad array of services across all orders of
       government, the private and the community sectors. Roles and
       responsibilities must be clarified.
    4. Funding sources matter - Investments in housing solutions require the
       commitment of federal and provincial/territorial governments which
       have access to progressive tax revenues like income tax. Property
       taxes are an inappropriate and insufficient source of revenue to
       respond to these types of challenges.
    5. Long-term commitment matters - Stakeholders dependent on funding
       support need to know, well in advance, that sufficient resources will
       be there to commit to the process over the long term.
    6. Flexibility matters - The nature of housing problems varies across
       cities and communities and over time. Funding frameworks must be
       flexible and adaptable, rather than prescriptive and restrictive.
    7. Taxes matter - The federal government should use its tax tools to
       encourage investors towards investments that might otherwise be
       unattractive, as a way to support and expand the role of the private
       market in affordable housing.
    8. Accountability matters - Clear targets and regular public reporting
       are required to drive progress.

    The same type of concrete, long-term solutions that are required to solve
the challenges this country faces in affordable housing apply to other issues,
including the state of our aging public infrastructure.
    On this point, the Conservative platform again sent an encouraging signal
by emphasizing the importance of federal investments in local roads, bridges,
public transit, and water and sewer systems. FCM applauds the efforts of all
parties to continue building a stronger Canada through long-term investments
in municipal infrastructure.
    I, and all municipal leaders, look forward to working with Canada's next
government to find concrete solutions to the bread-and-butter concerns of our

For further information:

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

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