Welcome to a special episode of the Cross Border Interviews.
Today, we are delving into the gathering of the Big City Mayors from across Canada. The Big City Mayors Caucus is made up of 23 mayors from Canada's largest urban centres.
This meeting is kicking off the first day of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities AGM in Downtown Toronto.
This Big City Mayors Caucus is designed to foster discussion, debate, and most importantly, solutions, representing millions of Canadians who rely on their city leaders to address critical issues.
Mayor Mike Savage, of Halifax, Mayor Valerie Plante of Montreal, and Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvey of Toronto hosted a press conference moments after the first meeting of the Big City Mayors Caucus.
During the Press Conference, Mayor Savage who is the Chair of the Big City Mayors Caucus said that it was big city mayors along with city councils, who bear a critical role and responsibility in addressing the national challenges municipalities face.
Montreal Mayor Plante gave opening remarks at the press conference in French.
When asked about the recent budget, if Municipalities across Canada were happy with what was in it, and if it helped addressed some of the Big City Mayors Caucus concerns, Mayor Savage said that while the current relationship is good with the federal government, things can be better.
Montreal Mayor Plante agreed with Mayor Savage in his assessment of the relationship with the federal government, asking though if they were doing enough to work with municipalities.
Deputy Mayor McKelvie of Toronto didn’t hold back with her disappointment with the federal government and called on residents of her city to call up their MPs to voice their concerns.
McKelvie believes that since the government hasn’t come to the table to help Toronto, the city needs to start looking at alternative methods to find solutions to the growing issues of the city. It also means that if the work isn’t done now next year the city would be looking at an approximately 1.5 Billion dollar shortfall.
Mayor Savage says that cities can no longer shoulder the responsibility alone of addressing these issues, particularly the ones that aren’t even in municipal jurisdiction.
Deputy Mayor McKelvie says that everything needs to be on the table in working both the provincial and federal tables.
She went as far as to say that both the province and federal government need to possibly re-upload some of the costs that they previously downloaded onto cities.
Mayor Savage said that the federal government needs to help out more, and municipalities from across Canada have shown in the past how they can be accountable with taxpayers' dollars. He adds that a better partnership needs to happen to help fix the issues municipalities are facing.
Montreal Mayor Plante cut right to the crux of the issue. Municipalities want to partner with both the federal and provincial governments and stop being looked down on.
Mayor Savage concluded by saying that the Canadians who elected him are the same Canadians who have elected both the provincial and federal governments, so it’s time to work together for everyone.
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Cross Border Interviews with Chris Brown was Produced and Edited by Miranda, Brown & Associates Inc.