(OTTAWA) The largest gathering of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities' (FCM) Big City Mayors came to a successful conclusion today in Ottawa following a series of high-profile meetings that included a roundtable discussion with the Prime Minister of Canada.
The mayors held in-depth sessions with a six cabinet ministers: the Minister of Finance; the Minister of Infrastructure and Communities; the Minister of the Environment and Climate Change; the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship; the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs; and the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness. The breadth and depth of the meetings demonstrated the strength of the new partnership between the orders of government.
"What we saw at this meeting was the federal government's commitment to work with us as partners on issues that are critical to Canadian families like affordable housing, green infrastructure and public transit; especially through Canada's economic downturn. We are encouraged about the opportunities to work together to solve national challenges and make a concrete difference for Canadians," said Don Iveson, Mayor of Edmonton and the new Chair of FCM's Big City Mayors' Caucus.
The meetings with cabinet ministers and the Prime Minister focused on the upcoming federal budget. The federal government has made significant commitments to invest in both physical and social infrastructure. Other common priorities were discussed, such as the successful settlement of refugees, addressing climate change and implementing the calls to action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
"The federal government has an opportunity, with its upcoming budget, to benefit Canadians. Budget 2016 can become a transformative moment. But real change takes action. Canada's Big Cities are ready to get to work to make that change a reality," said Don Iveson.
The mayors encouraged the federal government to move away from one-off, project-based funding of municipal infrastructure. They argued that good budget planning is about generating sustainable economic growth today while also investing in the economy of tomorrow.
The mayors expressed their enthusiastic support for the federal government's focus on integrating green initiatives into strategic investments in the economy. Mayors highlighted the successful federal-municipal partnership of the FCM Green Municipal Fund to deliver on sustainable infrastructure and greenhouse gas reductions in our communities.
FCM's Big City Mayors' Caucus brings together 21 of Canada's largest cities and is a unified voice making a powerful contribution to the national conversation.