Canadian Transit Forum - August 2009 / août 2009 - (Page 25)

Advocacy file FEDERAL LEADERS MAKE POLICY COMMITMENTS TO MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENT T H E F E D E R AT I O N O F C A N A D I A N MUNICIPALITIES (FCM) Annual Conference, held in Whistler B.C. last June in conjunction with the CUTA Annual Conference, was an excellent opportunity for federal ministers and opposition leaders to convey their future policy commitments on municipal government. Federal Minister of Transport, Infrastructure & Communities John Baird was one of several federal ministers present at the FCM-CUTA event. In his address to FCM and CUTA delegates, he stressed that these are extraordinary times for our economy that require extraordinary leadership. This type of leadership “puts aside partisanship and petty grievances” and requires “an extraordinary commitment to partnership.” Baird recognized “how important investment in public transit is to reducing congestion and helping the environment … how important water and sewer investments are to the quality of our water in Canada … and that good roads and bridges are essential investments to keep our economy strong.” The Minister pointed out that municipalities can’t be expected to get the job done without the financial support of the provinces and the federal government. He listed 54 major projects announced since January 2009 under the Building Canada Plan with over $1.9 billion in federal funding. He went to great lengths to show that overall, $2.6 billion of the $4-billion Infrastructure Stimulus Fund have been committed and, since January, funding to some 1600 projects worth over $6.3 billion has been announced. Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff stressed his party’s commitment to municipalities by bringing his entire team to Whistler, including Senator Larry Campbell and key caucus members and opposition critics. “When it comes to working for Canadians, we need trust and respect between all orders of government,” Ignatieff said, stressing that municipalities need to be equal partners, “and any government that says otherwise is failing our federation.” Even in an economic crisis, the federal government should be making strategic, national investments that will make us a stronger country tomorrow. “I’m not just talking about national highways and inter-provincial power grids and high speed rail,” said Ignatieff. “I’m talking about national priorities like accessibility and transit – so that Canadians with disabilities have access to Handi-Vans, whether they live in small towns or big ones.” Ignatieff recognized that “we need to be fiscally responsible in Ottawa so we can be a stronger partner for municipalities.” NDP Leader Jack Layton stressed that the roots of our nation aren’t just deep in our communities – they are broad across many communities. He suggested that, to ensure economic recovery, we need direct stimulus into the roots of our economy – that means Canadian municipalities. “I’ve talked about the breadth of the roots of our communities and the need for direct stimulus, but we also need to make sure that those roots get the right nourishment for future growth.” Stable municipal funding from the federal government is what is needed going forward, especially given the record deficit created in recent years. That means no downloading the deficit but rather an additional 2 cents on the Gas Tax Transfer – permanently. Layton identified municipalities as being at the forefront of the green energy revolution, delivering the measures we need to fight climate change. “Sustained investment in public transit must be at the heart of fighting climate change. Cleaner buses, light rail and streetcars mean cleaner cities. High speed rail means cleaner, faster travel.” Layton believes our communities – our municipalities and cities, towns and villages – are the foundation of Canada’s strength and vitality. “We need to support our municipalities – both rural and urban. Invest in them.” In her speech to FCM, Green Party leader Elizabeth May underlined her commitment to proper funding and support of urban transit, as well as to efficient inter-modal links and passenger travel between urban centres and in rural Canada. In that regard, the Greens intend to set out a national transportation policy with several goals. In the short term, such a policy will aim to create new jobs, through building new systems, and building the vehicles that will ride those rails. Any national transportation policy must provide a short-term economic stimulus while building toward a low-carbon economy (what leaders around the world are calling “The Green New Deal.”). The Greens support funding urban transit in a number of ways: raising the GST by one per cent could dedicate that $3-5 billion a year to municipal infrastructure; encouraging RRSP deductible Municipal Bonds would allow citizens to put their retirement savings directly into their communities; and continuation of the dedicated funds from the gas tax. | 25 John Baird Michael Ignatieff Jack Layton Elizabeth May © Sorin Alb / canadian transit forum | forum canadien sur le transport collectif

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Canadian Transit Forum - August 2009 / août 2009

Canadian Transit Forum - August 2009
Message from the President – The Canada Line
Message du Président – La Canada Line
Message from the Chair – Together, We Will Inspire One Another
Message du Président du Conseil d’administration – Soyons Source d’inspiration les uns Pour les Autres
Spectacular Setting for Annual Conference in Whistler
Emplacement spectaculaire pour le Congrès annuel à Whistler
CUTA Presents 2009 National Corporate RecognitionAwards
L’ACTU décerne les prix de reconnaissance nationaux desentreprises du transport collectif 2009
Transit Ridership Breaks All-Time Record in 2008
L’achalandage du Transport Collectif Atteint un Nouveau Record en 2008
TransLink’s New Charter Membership of UITP A Commitment to Sustainability
TransLink Devient Membre en règle de l’UITP Un Engagement Envers la Durabilité
The Advocacy File – Federal Leaders Make PolicyCommitments to Municipal Government
Le Dossier de la Sensibilisation – Les Leaders Fédéraux Prennent des Engagements de Politiques Auprès de L’administration Municipale
People in Transit
Les Gens du Transport
Industry News
Des Nouvelles de L’industrie
Trade List & Buyers’ Guide
Index Commercial et Guide des Acheteurs

Canadian Transit Forum - August 2009 / août 2009