Statement by FCM President Berry Vrbanovic on the Federal Government's 2012 Budget

The following statement was released on March 30 by FCM President Berry Vrbanovic regarding the federal government's 2012 budget:

"Canada's municipal leaders welcome today's commitment by the federal government to continue working with cities and communities to rebuild the local roads, water systems, community centres and public transit that our families, businesses, and economy depend on.

By committing today to have its new long-term infrastructure plan in place before current funding programs end, the government has promised Canadians that their communities can look forward to stable, secure federal funding for safe roads and bridges, clean drinking water, and fast, reliable public transit.

We welcome today's $150 million commitment to the new Community Infrastructure Improvement Fund which will again see all orders of government working shoulder-to-shoulder to create jobs and invest in communities in a time of global economic uncertainty.

The budget fails to deliver on fixing Canada's rental housing market. The budget does nothing new to support the affordable, rental housing that communities need to attract new workers and Canadians need as they pay off record-high household debts. The federal government must encourage private sector investors to expand Canada's slow growing rental housing supply. Today's budget misses this opportunity, however FCM will continue to work to address this growing problem with Minister Diane Finley, the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation, and all parties in the House of Commons.

We are encouraged by the government's commitment to reduce duplication between federal and provincial regulations, especially in the case of smaller community projects.

Today's budget continues building a new infrastructure partnership that creates jobs and strengthens Canada's future economic foundations. The government must expand this partnership in the future to fix growing holes in a high-priced housing market; support front-line policing; and build safe, sustainable communities at the heart of a strong and prosperous country."