Canada’s municipal leaders renew nation-building vision (04/06/2017)
FCM conference draws 2,000+ delegates, features PM, elects new president
On the eve of Canada 150 celebrations, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) wrapped up its biggest-ever annual conference today with a renewed plan to shape Canada's future.
"This is a historic moment for cities and communities, as they take their rightful place at the nation-building table," said Jenny Gerbasi, FCM's incoming president. "We're delivering local solutions to national challenges, and we leave here today ready to build a more liveable, inclusive and competitive Canada."
More than 2,000 municipal leaders from across Canada gathered for four days of plenaries, policy workshops, industry seminars, and a trade show featuring over 170 exhibitors. Delegates engaged with federal cabinet ministers and opposition leaders.
A keynote address from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized municipalities' vital role in delivering on national objectives: "We know our country is only as strong as the towns and cities we're made of. We're only as strong as our rec centres and social housing, our wastewater systems and public transit. And we heard you when you said you needed a strong partner in Ottawa."
This year's conference focused on the ways municipalities are shaping Canada's future-expanding transportation networks, addressing housing affordability, confronting climate change, and driving economic growth. The recent federal budget recognized this central municipal role by committing unprecedented investment to local infrastructure.
"This government has engaged FCM like never before, and it shows in their infrastructure plan. But now they need to get the programs right and bring provinces on board. If that happens, we're ready to transform our cities and communities - with faster commutes, more affordable housing, lower emissions and reliable economic growth," said Gerbasi.
Jenny Gerbasi was elected FCM President on the event's final day, taking the reins from outgoing President Clark Somerville. Active in municipal politics since 1988, Gerbasi is Deputy Mayor of Winnipeg and has served as an FCM board member for the past decade.
"I want to thank Clark Somerville for leading us through a time of incredible change," said Gerbasi. "From Hamilton to Hay River, cities and communities are where the best of this country unfolds. This is where we work, live and raise our families. And this is where we'll tackle our 21st century challenges on the road to a better Canada."
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities is the national voice of local government, with nearly 2,000 members representing more than 90 per cent of Canadians, in communities of all sizes. FCM will hold its next annual conference in June 2018 in Halifax.
For more information, please contact:
FCM Media Relations, (613) 907-6395, firstname.lastname@example.org