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Tory pencil sharpening has local governments on edge

Tuesday, February 16th, 2010 | 5:46 pm

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Brock Carlton

By Joe Fries

The federal Tories shouldn’t tamper with money for Main Street as they try to get back to their fiscally-conservative roots, says the voice of local government in Ottawa.

Brock Carlton, the CEO of the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, is on a B.C. tour get a handle on local issues here and gauge how member communities are feeling with a federal budget looming and stimulus dollars running out.

He met with Mayor Sharon Shepherd and city staff this morning in Kelowna and was greeted with a familiar refrain.

“Folks in Kelowna were echoing concerns we have, that when we get into serious deficit-fighitng as a country, we can’t cut back on programs and finacial resources for municipalities,” Carlton said.

The FCM is confident Ottawa will leave such funding sources as the GST and gas tax rebates in place, but isn’t sure where that leaves funding for other programs and services.

As for the bags of cash that were handed out for infrastructure development under the $33-billion Building Canada fund and the $4-billion economic stimulus package, Carlton said those dollars will dry up next year and it will probably be awhile before the likes of them are seen again.

In the meantime, “Let’s get back to longer-term sustained programs on infrastructure support,” he said. “And we don’t what that looks like right now.”

Carlton said it appears Kelowna did a good job getting all the stimulus bucks it could, and making sure its projects fit within the programs and the prescribed timeframes.

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One Response to “Tory pencil sharpening has local governments on edge”

  1. Jim says:
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    Fiscal conservative roots? The biggest deficits in our history were left by conservative governments. This government was in a deficit position before the recession began.

    Please continue discussion on the forum: link

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