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

Australian gold mining giant acquires Red Chris mine

Newcrest now owns 70 per cent of the mine south of Iskut and operatorship

Teen sexually assaulted at Radley Beach

A sexual assault took place at Radley Beach in Burns Lake on… Continue reading

18-year old Vanderhoof woman arrested following stabbing

The incident occured on Aug 14 in Prince George

User groups frustrated with the district over their lack of communication

Two residents in the community are frustrated with the district’s staff over… Continue reading

Clean the house, prep for your next trip: Tips to nix the post-vacation blues

48 per cent of travellers are already stressed about ‘normal life’ while still on their trip

More women may need breast cancer gene test, U.S. guidelines say

Recommendations aimed at women who’ve been treated for BRCA-related cancers and are now cancer-free

Couple could go to jail for taking 88 lbs. of Italian sand

Pair said they didn’t know it was illegal to take the sand, which is protected as a public good

Bodies of two missing Surrey men found near Ashcroft: RCMP

Ryan Provencher and Richard Scurr have been missing since July 17

B.C. manhunt suspects left cellphone video before they died: family

Family member says Kam McLeod, Bryer Schmegelsky recorded final wishes

VIDEO: RCMP unveil new, state-of-the-art forensics lab

The laboratory is expected to handle thousands of forensic services from across Canada annually

Scheer promises EI tax credit for new parents if Conservatives form government

The government currently taxes employment insurance benefits for new parents

B.C. Speaker tight-lipped about aide’s legislature security tour

B.C. Liberals question Alan Mullen’s drive across Canada, U.S.

Most Read