OTTAWA (NEWS 1130) – The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has gathered down the street from Parliament Hill to push the new minority Liberal government on priorities for cities and towns across the country.
The three days of meetings kicked off with select municipal leaders discussing behind closed doors what they’d like to see this new government act on right out of the gate.
Halifax councillor and president of the FCM Bill Karsten said some main themes are emerging.
“It’s a road map to what the government needs to do,” Karsten said. “Infrastructure maintains a high priority, along with different things like climate mitigation, climate adaptation.”
On climate change, Kitchener Mayor and past FCM president Barry Vrbanovic said cities want to play a big role in helping Canada meet its targets.
“For example, if we can move our transit systems to electrification, if we can move as many of our vehicles as quickly as possible to electric vehicles, in terms of our buildings, how do we retrofit them from an energy efficiency point of view?” Vrbanovic said.
Other mayors and councillors pointed to other issues like funding for affordable housing and action on gun control, after the Liberals promised to ban assault weapons and give municipalities more powers to restrict handguns.
While Vrbanovic believes that is one aspect of tackling violence, he said he would also like to see efforts made to address the root causes.
“Starting with people who are, quite frankly, kids and in grade school, and so on, so they don’t get into that path of organized crime,” he explained.
Cities are also hoping to help bridge the gap in the ongoing frustrations between prairie provinces and Ottawa, after setting up a new western task force.
The FCM is expected to fine tune its list and release its priorities for the first 100 days of this minority government on Thursday.