MNL takes local infrastructure priorities to Parliament
St. John’s – MNL President Karen Oldford takes local priorities directly to Parliament this week, as part of a delegation of municipal leaders from across Canada. Led by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, 150 meetings with parliamentarians are scheduled for November 24– 26, to guide the design of Phase 2 of the federal plan to invest in transit, social and green infrastructure.
“This infrastructure plan has tremendous potential to boost our economy and quality of life here in Newfoundland and Labrador,” said Oldford. “But to unlock that potential, the federal government needs to get the programs right, and we’re here to ensure they improve lives here and across the country.”
This week, Oldford will meet with, Minister of Democratic Institutions Maryam Monsef, Minister of Public Services and Procurement Judy M. Foote, Senator David Mark Wells along with Yvonne Jones, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada and Newfoundland and Labrador Members of Parliament Ken McDonald and Nick Whalen. Oldford will make the case that the federal infrastructure plan should be based on local expertise.
Municipalities deliver cost-effective solutions to local needs in ways that tackle national challenges—like creating jobs and reducing GHG emissions. To bring that strength to Phase 2, they are urging Ottawa to provide the predictable allocations communities need to plan, tap local know-how and move forward. They say cost-sharing should be modernized so local fiscal limits don’t block progress. They also recommend dedicating most of the Social Infrastructure Fund to affordable housing.
“Ottawa just committed billions to rural and northern infrastructure needs specifically. If they get those program details right, we can look forward to better roads and bridges, better water and waste systems, more affordable housing, and a boost for our economy and quality of life,” said Oldford.
The federal government’s recent Fall Economic Statement expanded its Phase 2 infrastructure commitment to $81 billion over 11 years, while announcing dedicated support for smaller and remote communities. Program details for Phase 2 are expected no later than Budget 2017.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities’ 2,000 member communities represent more than 90 per cent of Canada’s population. Oldford serves as a member of FCM’s Board of Directors.
Gail Woodfine – Communications and Public Relations
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