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September 21, 2006
Mayors develop action plan to meet citizens’ needs; Federal, Provincial Priorities - Competitiveness, quality of life needs federal partnership
The mayors of Canada’s largest cities unanimously adopted an action plan to work with the federal government to meet the pressing needs in their cities. The mayors say that with so many national priorities playing out in their communities, closer working relations between governments are necessary.

Their plan expands on the three priorities in their report “Our Cities, Our Future,” released in June 2006. These are: share revenues that grow with the economy; re-align roles and responsibilities with appropriate financial resources; and establish a national transit program.

“Our cities are where many issues of national importance intersect,” said Vancouver Mayor Sam Sullivan. “In many cases, it is the municipal government that provides other governments with local service delivery capacity. In other cases, cities are simply on the front lines. It is essential that all governments be present and accounted for when comes the time to act.”

The mayors will be looking for specific, coordinated action on public transit, revenue sharing, environmental protection, affordable housing, immigrant settlement and public safety.

Toronto Mayor David Miller, who chaired the meeting, said there are specific actions the federal government must undertake immediately to give cities the tools they need to attain economic, environmental and social sustainability.

“For example, Canada is the only G-8 country without a national transportation program,” said Montreal Mayor Gérald Tremblay. “How can we be competitive if we are not on the same playing field as other world cities? We need to work with the federal government to develop a national transit program.”

“Last summer, the City of Toronto had a record 48 smog days,” Mayor Miller pointed out. “Poor air quality in our cities is affecting the health of our residents and the federal government needs to address this by making every effort to address climate change and longer-term greenhouse gas reduction targets.”

FCM President Gloria Kovach noted that when Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke at the FCM conference in Montreal last June, he maintained the federal government's role should be defined to deal with projects of national significance.

“We agree,” Guelph Councillor Kovach said. “What could be of greater national significance than making Canada’s cities and communities the best places to live in the world while ensuring that they contribute to our national prosperity?”

Media contact:

Robert Ross



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