As Canadians prepare to enter the second month of the 2015 federal election, I am encouraged by the ongoing policy announcements made by each of the main four political parties regarding local priorities. I want to use this latest Crombie Column blog post to update residents, and reflect on the election campaign thus far.
We are 51 days from Election Day and I am delighted that Mississauga, and communities throughout the Greater Toronto Area, have become recurring destinations for party leaders to visit, meet with residents and discuss challenges facing cities. I have repeatedly said all roads to form government run through Mississauga – Canada’s sixth largest city.
Soon after becoming mayor of Mississauga I began to work alongside the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) and the Big City Mayors’ Caucus to advocate for shared issues of importance to cities and towns from across the country.
During the lead up to the federal election, and as the campaign continues on, it is becoming more evident that our persistent hard work is paying off, and that local priorities are generating national attention.
This past week the Liberal Party pledged significant new funding for local priorities like public transit, housing and climate change adaptation. Over the next decade the Liberal Party has committed to investing $125 billion in new infrastructure initiatives. The Liberal Party confirmed that their plan was drafted in consultation with FCM, among others.
The Conservative Party has committed to launching the Public Transit Fund (PTF) the Government’s largest dedicated infrastructure program to promote public transit infrastructure investment. Funds from the PTF will be made available for Toronto’s SmartTrack regional express rail surface line, which will include a new transit station at Mississauga’s Matheson/Airport Corporate Centre. The government has already announced $2.6 billion in federal funding for SmartTrack.
During FCM’s Annual Conference in June, I listened as NDP Leader Tom Mulcair addressed municipal leaders and reiterated his party’s commitment to municipalities, including a pledge to allocate an additional cent of the existing gas tax for toward transit and infrastructure. The NDP have said they would invest $1.3 billion annually over the next 20 years toward public transit funding for municipalities.
And on Tuesday the Green Party unveiled its National Housing Plan, which pledges to invest in affordable housing and homelessness.
With gridlock costing the GTA’s economy up to an estimated $11 billion annually, this election must continue to be a wide-ranging debate about the ideas, plans and action federal party leaders will take to support Canada’s cities.
I have repeatedly said that the priorities of Mississauga are the priorities of the majority of Canadians, and I will continue to press for dedicated and predictable funding for public transit and infrastructure; new efforts to ignite local economic development opportunities to attract job-creating investments; and increased support to build more affordable housing.
The mayors of FCM’s Big City Mayors’ Caucus have called for each mayor to host a debate with local candidates in their community, and our City Council has voted to host a debate during the 2015 federal election with a specific focus on Mississauga.
In the coming weeks my office will announce more details about our Mississauga election debate, including which candidates will participate in it. The debate will focus on three leading priorities: transit and infrastructure, economic development and affordable housing.
Once again, I wish all candidates competing throughout our City a spirited exchange of ideas to make Mississauga an even better place to call home.