Mayors lay out wish list for federal election
What do the local leaders across Canada want to hear during the 2019 federal election?
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities officially launched their platform on key issues Thursday morning, just one day after the election was called.
They say they are looking for a commitment from whoever wins to put more money in the hands of local government.
"Ninety per cent of the taxes each and every resident pays goes to Toronto and Ottawa," said Waterloo Mayor Dave Jawosrksy. "Our job as mayors here today is finding what would be the best way of spending that."
The federation adds that cities are left with the responsibility of funding infrastructure, but are not being given the resources needed to make good on those demands.
"The infrastructure that municipalities have had to look after has increased from one third 50 years ago to two thirds today," said Jawosrksy.
Local mayors gathered at Kitchener City Hall to roll out the major issues.
“We’ve seen a track record, quite frankly, where governments have delivered on commitments,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. "The liberals have delivered over the last four years and we are hoping whoever is elected will do the same."
The cornerstone of the federation’s wish list is a permanent doubling of the federal gas tax fund.
Cities say this will help focus on main priorities like public transportation, long-term climate change strategy, and fixing the affordable housing crisis.
"If these kinds of issues are brought forward by political parties it means the quality of life of the citizens in our communities is going to get better," said Vrbanovic.
The federation adds that increased access to internet in rural communities is another major issue that needs to be addressed.
University of Waterloo associate professor Markus Moos says the mentioned issues are areas where there has been a sense of undefunding for years.
"Responsibilities for those services have been downloaded to municipalities," he said. "Funding has not always followed."
The federation says they are non-partisan and won't be endorsing a particular party, but have launched a website called buildingbetterlifes.ca.
The site includes a tracker that will keep tabs on who is promising what and which party is offering the most to municipalities.