Statement by FCM President Gord Steeves on the federal government's plan to help communities hit by economic upheaval

    OTTAWA, Jan. 11 /CNW Telbec/ - The following statement was released today
by the President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Winnipeg
Councillor Gord Steeves.
    "On behalf of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, I want to
applaud the federal government's decision to help Canadian communities hit by
economic upheaval.
    The Prime Minister's announcement that the government intends to
establish a billion-dollar community development trust fund to support worker
retraining, skills development and community transition is more than welcome.
    Many of Canada's most vulnerable one-industry towns are found among our
smaller, rural and northern communities. FCM has long emphasized the critical
need for rural economic development, specifically the need to diversify the
economies of communities that depend on single-resource industries.
    We support many of the measures outlined in this new program, including
funding research and development related to biofuels and energy efficiency. It
will be important to ensure that smaller communities are able to access the
funding to implement these new technologies.
    The program is geared to communities with high unemployment and facing
major downturns. It will support community transition plans that have been
shown to foster economic development and diversification. Many communities
have not been able to afford a transition plan and will now be able to
undertake one.
    In general, the community development trust is a good first step in the
process of encouraging and enhancing rural economic development and
diversification. We urge the government to ensure that the funds go to those
communities most in need, and that the program does not disqualify smaller
rural and northern communities that lack the capacity to apply for funding.
    Much more remains to be done to ensure the health and survival of our
rural communities. We look forward to the federal government's continued
interest in helping communities buffeted by economic uncertainty."

For further information:

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

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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