Pressure from mayors across Canada is mounting on the federal government to accelerate the release of its promised billions in infrastructure funding.
In its latest statement, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities called on the federal government to push through with its pledge to cover at least half of the cost of new housing and transit projects. The mayors will be gathering at Parliament Hill later this week to lobby ahead of the release of Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s second budget, The Globe and Mail
“We’ve had very substantive discussions for a good year and half now, and we saw real progress in the last budget and fall update. Now I feel that we’ve made an incredibly strong case for this next budget,” FCM president Clark Somerville stated. “Seizing the moment here will mean more affordable housing, shorter commutes, less pollution and stronger economic growth.”
Back in September, the FCM argued that $12.6-billion of an initially promised $20-billion tranche for social infrastructure should be dedicated to the construction of affordable housing throughout Canada.
Around two months later, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. president and CEO Evan Siddall castigated the Vancouver local government for not acting decisively regarding the runaway home price increases in the city.
“Municipal leaders talk of a housing crisis and their primary solution is to demand $12.6-billion in urgent funding from the federal government,” he said. “If there’s a crisis, we should all act like it.”
Siddall noted that Canada’s mayors should consider strategies such as density limits, development fees, zoning restrictions, and swift approval of new housing.
Brook Simpson, a spokesperson for Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, remained mum on the details of the federal government’s plans.
“It’s a conversation that’s ongoing,” Simpson said on Monday (January 16).