Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks at the Federation of Canadian Municipalities annual conference, Friday, May 31, 2019 in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot

VIDEO: We’ll work with cities, even when provinces won’t work with Ottawa, Trudeau says

Prime minister pledged government will keep working with municipalities on housing, climate change

Even with provinces and Ottawa not always seeing eye-to-eye these days, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged Friday that his federal Liberal government would keep working with municipalities to deal with the effects of extreme weather, housing shortages and climate change.

In a speech to members of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities with an election-style tone, Trudeau also warned those gathered against Conservative policies.

“We are an election away from going back to the days when austerity was the federal government’s only policy,” Trudeau said. “We’ve seen conservative politicians do this before, so we can’t act surprised when we see them do it again.”

His speech came ahead of Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer’s own address to the gathering of mayors and councillors later Friday.

Trudeau said the actions of provincial conservative governments show how far they’re willing to go to pursue small-government ideology.

“Over the last year, we’ve seen Doug Ford’s Conservative government withhold federal dollars from their citizens,” Trudeau told the municipal politicians in Quebec City, saying that in some Ontario communities, federally funded public construction projects have slowed or stopped completely.

“Premier Ford is playing politics with money that belongs to your communities and your citizens are paying the price.”

This week, the Ford government cancelled retroactive funding cuts to municipalities, but Trudeau said he’s not convinced the Ontario premier has really heard what local lawmakers are telling him.

In response, Ontario’s Infrastructure Minister Monte McNaughton shot back that Trudeau was “dead wrong.”

In a statement, McNaughton said 54 projects have been submitted to the federal government — critical work that includes $28.6 billion in road, bridge and transit projects that have yet to be approved by Ottawa.

“The federal government has said Ontario’s priorities are their priorities,” McNaughton wrote. “It’s time Prime Minister Trudeau put his money where his mouth is.”

Trudeau said his government has pushed ahead on more projects than the previous Conservative government did. While he said he’d prefer to co-operate with provincial governments, Trudeau said he is committed find a way to get funding to municipalities if the provinces don’t want to play ball.

READ MORE: Metro Vancouver mayors take transit issue to Ottawa ahead of federal election

He pointed to a one-time measure in the latest federal budget that doubles the federal gas-tax transfer to help municipalities with infrastructure work this year.

“We got elected on a very clear promise to collaborate, to work together, to believe in co-operative federalism,” Trudeau said. “But if the provinces don’t want to work with the federal government and municipalities on infrastructure, we’ll figure out ways … of working with you, getting shovels in the ground.”

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

CRIMESTOPPERS: Williams Lake RCMP seek public’s assistance

Williams Lake RCMP released three names of people they are looking for

CRD board on the road travels to Tatla Lake

Broadband, plastics, cycling, grants for assistance and economic development were on the agenda

How closely are you following the federal election?

The weekly web poll for the 100 Mile Free Press

Treasure in Lone Butte: woman discovers time capsule while metal-detecting

A White Rock woman is eager to complete a South Cariboo treasure hunt from 2002

Three local schools see registration numbers drop for 2019-2020 school year

Despite some local schools experiencing a registration drop, others saw their student body increase

VIDEO: Liberals make child care pledge, Greens unveil platform on Day 6 of campaign

Green party leader Elizabeth May unveils her party’s platform in Toronto

Canucks sign Brock Boeser to three-year, US$17.6-million deal

Young sniper will be in Vancouver Tuesday

B.C. forest industry looks to a high-technology future

Restructuring similar to Europe 15 years ago, executive says

RCMP conclude investigation into 2017 Elephant Hill wildfire

Files have been turned over to BC Prosecution Service

B.C. wants to be part of global resolution in opioid company bankruptcy claim

Government says settlement must include Canadian claims for devastation created by overdose crisis

B.C. ends ‘birth alerts’ in child welfare cases

‘Social service workers will no longer share information about expectant parents without consent’

U.S. student, killed in Bamfield bus crash, remembered as ‘kind, intelligent, talented’

John Geerdes, 18, was one of two UVic students killed in the crash on Friday night

Free Tesla 3 offered with purchase of Surrey townhome

Century Group’s offer for Viridian development runs through Oct. 31

B.C. communities urged to improve access for disabled people

One in four B.C. residents has disability, most want to work

Most Read