Over half of the country’s mayors met this week and made a decision. They are refusing to be held hostage by the federal government and their apparent commitment to corporate interests.
After a decade of downloading and underfunding, Canadian municipalities are starved for reliable infrastructure. In the Conservative Budget, released in March, solutions to these problems came with a price: municipalities had to hand off the management of these resources to businesses, who would then run them for a profit.
Members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) Big-City Mayors caucus are rejecting this ultimatum. They are instead calling local governments to be given the equivalent of one of the six pennies the federal government collects per dollar from the GST. This would translate to roughly $5 billion a year to protect and build strong public services, public transit, childcare, and clean utilities.
“So called ‘public-private partnerships’ are more expensive, less effective, and unaccountable,” states Paul Moist, CUPE National President. “In spite of this, Stephen Harper’s government is intent on institutionalizing privatization as the preferred route for public investments in infrastructure. We are pleased to see that our local government has more sense than our national one.”
CUPE encourages Canada’s mayors to continue to fight against the eroding of our shared assets.