Greens Would Increase Support to Municipalities: May to Speak at FCM Meeting this Weekend

On Sunday, June 3th, Green Leader Elizabeth May will be a Keynote Speaker at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Annual General Meeting in Saskatoon.

“This year’s meeting theme of ‘Strong Cities, Strong Communities, Strong Canada’ dovetails very well with the Green Party’s goals of smart economy, strong communities, true democracy,” said May.  “I am very honoured to be invited to speak to Canada’s municipal leaders and share with them my vision of how we can work together, on all levels of government, to achieve these goals for Canadians.

“As Canada becomes an increasingly urban nation, we need policies that can shift to benefit municipalities.  Only 8% of the tax base currently goes to municipal governments and that is not nearly enough to allow them to deal with the need to upgrade and improve infrastructure and provide essential services.”

Urban Canadians need their garbage collected, good transit services, safe roads, and dependable water supplies. They also want new investment in green urban infrastructure, including recycling, mass transit, energy efficiency upgrades to buildings, water conservation, and community amenities like parks, sports fields, arts and culture, and community centres. Underlying this is an urgent need to replace aging sewer systems, roadways, and water pipes.

“Canadian municipalities simply don’t have enough money to do it all,” said May.

The Greens are calling for the creation of new pools of municipal infrastructure funding by changing tax rules to create Municipal Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) bonds that can be held in RRSPs and self-directed RRSPs, as well as allocating an additional portion of the federal gasoline tax directly to the provinces for transfer to municipalities.

The Green Party also suggests the creation of six Municipal Superfunds of $500 million/fund/year (an average of $100 for every citizen per year) to which municipalities can apply for grant funding to replace the less specific Canada Strategic Infrastructure Fund (CSIF).

The proposed funds are:

  1. Community Brownfield Remediation (CBR) Fund to provide assistance in cleaning up toxic and brownfield sites;
  2. Water and Waste Treatment Facilities (WWTF) Fund to upgrade water treatment, sewage treatment, and recycling facilities to make them efficient, safe, and sustainable;
  3. Sports, Cultural, and Recreational Facilities (SCRF) Fund to support the development of green recreational and cultural facilities and refurbish existing facilities;
  4. Mass Transit Promotion (MTP) Fund to improve and expand urban mass transit infrastructure and inter-modal connections, as well as car-sharing initiatives;
  5. Cycling and Pedestrian Promotion (CPP) Fund to support pedestrian and cycling infrastructure and smart-growth developments that transform urban areas and towns into walkable communities linked by transit to reduce the need for owning and using cars; and,
  6. Community Housing Options Promotion (CHOP) Fund supporting a national housing program to build energy efficient co-operatives and affordable housing units where there is a shortage of such housing options.