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Mayor responds to 2014 Federal Budget

February 12, 2014 -

Yesterday the federal government released their 2014 budget and fiscal outlook for Canadians. This budget contains a series of measures that if passed, may impact Kingston residents.

Budget 2014 was a different federal budget than in previous years. There wasn't a lot of new investment in municipalities and the investment there was vague. Going into this budget my hope was to see some defined municipal infrastructure investment, a framework for the new Building Canada Fund, so we could understand the criteria and get our projects ready.

Unfortunately in the 2014 budget the government released no new details on the fund, when municipalities can apply or how much is available. The new Building Canada infrastructure plan must respond to those needs, and must be announced soon.

As a municipality with infrastructure in some cases over 100 years old, we cannot afford to wait another construction season without program details. I look forward to seeing the federal government work with Ontario to set the framework to start flowing money to municipalities.

There was some positive news for rural communities in this budget, including resources to extend broadband internet to rural and remote areas. Today's announcement signals the government's intention to expand internet to rural businesses, communities and residents to be competitive in today's global economy.

I am encouraged to see new funding for apprentices and new internship opportunities for skilled workers. Canada's youth unemployment rate remains a concern and these announcements have the potential to see more students entering the workforce.

However, municipalities were looking to today's budget to see real measures to address the housing crisis facing communities. This budget fell short, failing to include any targets, timelines or a commitment to a long-term housing strategy. This is something the province has committed to but the federal government has yet to come up with a plan.

Given the federal budget priorities, I look forward to seeing the provincial budget in the coming weeks. Kingston is looking to the provincial government to continue municipal infrastructure investments along with some relief in the payments in lieu of taxes, or heads and beds payments.

For more information contact

Mark Gerretsen, Mayor
613-546-4291 ext. 1405