100 municipal leaders from across Canada converged on Parliament Hill this week with a strong message: this country’s future depends on unlocking the nation-building potential of municipalities, including rural and northern communities. Led by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, the delegation met with 200 Parliamentarians representing all federal parties.
“Local solutions are already tackling some of Canada’s biggest national challenges, from economic growth to public safety. This week’s sessions were an opportunity to show parliamentarians how we can work together to unlock even more of that potential — to build Canada’s future by strengthening communities of all sizes,” said FCM President Jenny Gerbasi.
Top issues this week included the federal government’s long-term Investing in Canada infrastructure plan. As part of that plan, FCM’s advocacy helped secure a $2 billion fund dedicated to rural, northern and remote infrastructure needs. But the municipal leaders say turning that investment into outcomes still depends on getting the program design right.
“We’re ready to build better roads and wastewater systems, and to boost our quality of life, but this plan will need to recognize small-community realities,” said FCM Rural Forum Chair Ray Orb. “We’re here to show how fair cost-sharing and streamlined project administration are keys to moving many of these projects forward. We’re also advising on how the wider federal infrastructure plan can work for communities of all sizes.”
Throughout four days of intensive meetings, members of FCM’s Rural Forum took that advice to Finance Minister Bill Morneau, Conservative Deputy Leader Lisa Raitt, NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh, and other MPs representing rural areas across Canada. They also worked with the Liberal Party’s National Rural Caucus to explore new mechanisms to bring a rural lens to all federal policies and programs. That group’s chair and vice chair, TJ Harvey and Will Amos, continue to be strong partners to FCM and its advocacy for rural communities.
From coast to coast to coast, in communities large and small, urban and rural, local governments are delivering local solutions to national challenges, and building a more livable, competitive Canada.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) is the national voice of municipal government, with 2,000 members representing 90 per cent of the Canadian population.