Statement by FCM President Steeves on the Speech from the Throne

    OTTAWA, Oct. 16 /CNW Telbec/ - The following statement was released today
by the President of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), Winnipeg
Councillor Gord Steeves, following the Speech from the Throne.
    "The Speech from the Throne offers a government the opportunity to
articulate its plans and priorities for its mandate. In today's Speech, the
government declined to seize that opportunity and outline a generous vision
for Canada's cities and communities.
    We agree with the Government that the federal spending power should be
exercised in a manner respectful of each order of government. Accordingly, we
will press the Government to ensure that its commitment to recruit an
additional 2,500 local police officers, which we welcome, will include a
long-term commitment to funding these positions. To do otherwise would place
additional strain on municipal police budgets and draw funds away from other
locally defined priorities.
    FCM has long called on the Government of Canada to make a long-term
commitment to the health, competitiveness and security of Canada's cities and
communities. For that reason, we welcome the government's proposed crime bill,
which reflects the need for federal leadership on national issues, like
violent crime, that affect our cities and communities.
    Unfortunately this Speech from the Throne falls short in other key areas.
By simply re-branding existing infrastructure programs, the Government fails
to invest the additional resources needed to meet the challenges it
acknowledges in the Speech from the Throne.
    Practically speaking, a meaningful strategy must include a long-term plan
to fix a chronic municipal fiscal crisis by sharing the equivalent of one cent
of the GST and making the gas-tax transfer permanent. It also means helping to
ease the gridlock that risks stalling economic growth and poisons our air by
investing in a national transit strategy.
    Clearly, the budget surpluses of recent years demonstrate that the
Government has the resources to provide tax relief to Canadians and invest in
our cities and communities. We are disappointed that the Government has chosen
to forgo this opportunity.
    None of these municipal priorities and strategies were fully addressed in
today's Speech from the Throne. This will not only hinder the success of our
cities and communities in a competitive world; it will impede the realization
of the Government's overall objectives because the future of our country is
tied to that of our cities and communities."

For further information:

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

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Federation of Canadian Municipalities

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