Ontario big city mayors raise concerns with feds
Published Friday, November 16, 2007 6:57PM EST
The mayors of Ontario's big cities met with federal government officials in Oshawa on Friday to raise their concerns for more funding for cash-strapped municipalities.
During the private meeting, which took place inside the General Motors Centre, the mayors asked for more money to deal with aging infrastructure and downloaded social service costs.
Before the meeting, Toronto Mayor David Miller said he would reiterate his call for a one-cent cut of the GST. He says a single penny share of tax revenues would amount to about $410 million per year for Toronto alone.
Miller was optimistic heading into the talks that his counterparts would raise issues that can't be ignored by the federal government.
"When we work together, we're very successful. It took us several years, but we got a share of the gas tax, and that's very important for sustainable, permanent investment in public transit," Miller told CTV News.
"(The meeting) is another chance for cities to speak with one voice about the need for sustained, permanent funding from the federal government in our cities."
But after the talks, the mayors didn't come out with a cohesive campaign plan. Instead, individual cities will decide how to approach the federal government.
"We support the right of local municipalities to engage in their own campaigns which are complimentary," Miller told reporters.
Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion, who chaired the Large Urban Mayors' Caucus of Ontario meeting, joined Miller last week by calling on Ottawa for more funding for cities.
After Friday's talks she declared, "It's unanimous -- the cities now need money."
The mayors said that by educating taxpayers in their cities, residents will pressure Ottawa to hand over more money.
The caucus is made of up mayors from municipalities with a population of 100,000 or more. They meet three to four times a year to discuss items of mutual concern and interest affecting municipalities.
With a report from CTV's Roger Petersen