Monday, June 06, 2005

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities

Toronto's mayor, David Miller, and Vancouver's mayor, Larry Campbell, have been publically calling on Conservatives to support the budget that will see federal money stream into their coffers.

I won't talk about Mr. Miller's or Mr. Campbell's political affiliation, in my argument.

The Conservative Party has made it clear that they would support the original budget (and they voted in favour of it on May 19, 2005), but not the expanded NDP-proposed budget. The NDP method for change is whip more money down the pipe, and hope it sticks. The Liberals do it too, when the whining starts.

I'm all in favour of most of these items, but where's the plan?
  • Throw money first, figure out the details later?
  • Where's the studies to determine if the plans they have are effective?
  • How do we know this will be sufficient funds to fix the problems?
  • What problems are being resolved and what's the timeframe?
  • Does it address real problems, or only the "hot-button" topics?
  • What controls and measures are in place to ensure any money transferred to the municipalities is spent on what it's intended?
  • Is this going to be another gun registry (proposed at $2M, clocking in at over a billion)? Is this going to be another HRDC boondoggle where transfers are made, but they're not sure to which city?
  • Do the provinces accept this new federal-to-municipality arrangement considering municipalities are provincial areas of jurisdiction?
Beyond that, why should the Conservatives support a budget that was crafted so deviously to include the municipal money transfer initiative? Why didn't the Liberals include separate legislation for it? If they had done that, it might have passed, and the Liberals would lose the single wedge that may earn them support against the Conservatives.

The Conservatives are stuck behind an eight-ball. Support the budget, and they're really sending the signal that the Liberals are A-Okay. Don't support the budget, and they're perceived as anti-municipality. Even though Mr. Harper made this committment (
CBC Online):
Harper told the crowd that his party would not only honour existing agreements such as a share of the federal gas tax for cities, but would do more to solve the problems that municipalities face.
That sounds evil. Solving problems? Canadians don't want that. Canadians want to be told that more money is being washed down the sewer in the name of higher, abstract ideals. Money for health care and the environment, but not to solve problems. Solving things is bad.

The Liberals are obviously devious, but it's the Conservatives that are accused of politicking.

In the eyes of these mayors, forget about corruption, forget about the betrayal of the national trust ... We want our money and damn democracy as long as we get it. Do the mayors remember it was the Liberals that cut off their funding in the first place? Paul Martin, specifically.

No wonder Quebec doesn't want to have any part of this country.

This post was more of a rant then anything (and may seem incoherent), but I'll put up some points for debate:
  • Does the NDP-amended budget contain real structure for real change?
  • What problem areas are being fixed with the NDP-amended budget?
  • Why did the Liberals make sure the municipal money transfer initiative was included in the budget, and not as separate legislation?
  • See the questions raised above.

1 comment:

Andrew Heber said...

Excellent, that was really well explained and helpful