Mayor Naheed Nenshi is set to meet with Justin Trudeau on Friday for the Big City Mayor’s Caucus to discuss, among other things, infrastructure funding.
The Prime Minister was in Edmonton and Calgary this week to discuss pipelines, which likely won’t be off the table in Ottawa.
Mayor Nenshi said earlier this week that if the federal government is interested in helping Canada’s big cities with infrastructure issues, they should move to a grant program where they give the city criteria and stringent requirements, but let the cities make the decisions.
“If we have both the federal and provincial governments decide on each piece of infrastructure, it’s difficult for me to see how we can get into the ground this construction season,” Nenshi told a media scrum.
“That said, we also need to continue our conversation on longer-term nation-building infrastructure, particularly public transit – the stuff that’s not going to get built this year, but is a long-term investment.”
Nenshi said Calgary has some pressing infrastructure needs, such as fixing roads, and has the immediate effect of creating jobs in Alberta’s slumping economy. He said the provincial and federal governments also need to think about affordable housing.
“We haven’t had a single unit of non-senior affordable housing built in Calgary in years and it really is time for them to recommit to their portion of funding affordable housing.”
Climate change will also be on the table, as well as discussing how the cities can support the federal government in the work they’re doing.