FCM Letter to National Post Challenges Misconceptions About Housing and Infrastructure (24/01/2014)
OTTAWA - The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) submitted the following letter the editor in response to a blog by National Post columnist Kelly McParland that dismissed the need for continued partnership between the federal government and municipalities on housing and transit:
To the Editor
RE: "Justin Trudeau sees a strong role for Ottawa in everything", K. McParland, Jan 23, 2014
When it comes to the needs of our cities and towns, what Kelly McParland shrugs off as "gobbledegook" is really just common sense.
McParland points out that traffic choked cities like Toronto already have long-term transit plans, so people like Justin Trudeau are just blowing more exhaust when they say Ottawa needs to think longer-term about which transit projects it helps pay for.
But here's the thing: A city's long-term plan is only as strong as the buy-in it gets from federal and provincial partners. Fast, reliable, big-city transit systems take decades to build and funding from all orders of government. Good transit takes partnership and planning. It's a fact - why not admit it?
The idea that Ottawa has a role to play in affordable housing is another example of "woolly" thinking, according to McParland. But Ottawa already plays a major role in housing, and has done so for more than half a century.
In fact the federal government invests about $2 billion a year to help house seniors, veterans, children, and thousands of other Canadians. The problem - and it's getting bigger every day - is that 80% of that money is expiring, with no plan yet in place for the future.