Let’s drive the recovery: Big City Mayors
Posted in: News Item
Date Posted: 2021-10-14
Organization Name: Federation of Canadian Municipalities
After an intense federal election, Canada’s big city mayors met Oct. 14 with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and others to advance constructive proposals to drive the strong, inclusive recovery Canadians are counting on through federal-municipal partnership.
“What we’re hearing on the ground, in our cities, is that people want to see their leaders work together and get things done. This is why we are here, meeting with the Prime Minister,” said Halifax Mayor Mike Savage, who chairs the Big City Mayors’ Caucus (BCMC) of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM). “We’re ready to work with this new government and all parties to address national challenges like transit, affordable housing and climate change.”
The BCMC also met with Prime Minister Trudeau, as well as Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc, to discuss next steps on key election commitments that have cross-party support. Those include major, permanent funding that can make modernized transit a centrepiece of Canada’s recovery and longer road to net-zero emissions. However, the mayors stressed that without federal leadership on COVID-driven revenue shortfalls, transit recovery potential is threatened. Covering those gaps by reducing service or delaying projects like fleet renewal will make it even harder to recover lost ridership and revenues. It is not only bad for people, but it is also for climate progress and for the economic recovery transit can help drive.
The mayors also emphasized the need for bold federal action with clear timelines to end chronic homelessness and tackle the housing crisis – including by scaling up the proven Rapid Housing Initiative and by launching the promised Housing Accelerator Fund that would empower cities to expand affordable housing options for Canadians.
With the COP26 climate conference opening at the end of the month, they underlined cities’ readiness to work with federal partners to deliver cost-effective local climate solutions that all parties can get behind. They also hosted special guests for a wide-ranging discussion of vibrant recoveries for big-city downtown cores.
“We all saw how federal-municipal collaboration helped carry Canadians through the worst months of the pandemic,” said Savage. “To move from here into the inclusive recovery Canadians deserve, we need city-driven solutions: they’re nonpartisan to their core, and they’re informed by the unique expertise of local leaders and governments. That makes us ideal partners for the federal government to create jobs, kickstart economic growth, and improve the daily lives of Canadians from coast to coast to coast.”