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Premier Moe makes known what he wants from the federal budget

In address to SUMA delegates, Premier Scott Moe makes clear he wants a commitment to ICIP funding, and removal of the carbon tax in Tuesday’s federal budget.

REGINA - Premier Scott Moe had the federal budget on his mind in remarks to Saskatchewan Urban Municipalities Association delegates in Regina.

During his speech at this year’s convention at the International Trade Centre, Moe made two points on the budgetdue to be presented Tuesday. The first was that he agreed with SUMA that “the Investing in Canada infrastructure Program… needs to be reloaded so that provinces and municipalities can co-invest in building the communities where each of us live.”

The second point, Moe said, was that “certainty needs to restored” to families in communities across the nation, “and we need to start with the removal of the consumer carbon tax put on everything for everyone.”

“It does nothing but create higher costs for Saskatchewan and Canadian families. It does nothing but create higher costs for Saskatchewan and Canadian businesses, thereby declining that opportunity and that investment attraction opportunity that businesses may have. As well as it does nothing but increase the cost for Saskatchewan and Canadian communities and you’ve been seeing that as well.”

Moe said “this will be my ask of the federal government tomorrow.” He said Canadians would “receive good news” in the way of “increased community infrastructure investment and no carbon tax.”

“My suspicion and my fear is that the federal government is going to provide Canadians with no community infrastructure funding and an increased carbon tax. In the past number of weeks we have seen the federal government that has been pretty clear in signalling just this, that there will be no new municipal infrastructure funding, and that the federal funds that were in our community infrastructure programs like ICIP and the gas tax refund — those going to be redirected to specific housing programs that are, let’s call it, directed essentially at three of the largest communities in this nation. This is not the way for us to build a prosperous and affordable community in our province, and I would say largely across this nation this is not the way forward to build prosperous and affordable communities for Canadians, and it’s not the way to build a nation for that matter. 

“If that’s what we see in tomorrow’s budget, you can expect our government to be very, very vocal, in voicing our concerns and I would encourage SUMA and your municipalities to be equal in it.”

In speaking to reporters following his address, Moe reiterated his concerns that the “suspected transition of infrastructure funding, municipal infrastructure funding… is being shifted towards a focus on housing that is really focussing on three of the largest headers in Canada. And so we’ll see what tomorrow’s budget brings. Our ask is for increased municipal infrastructure funding and no carbon tax. My suspicion is we’re going to have an increased carbon tax and decreased municipal infrastructure funding if any at all. That’s a concern that we have. We’ll wait with bated breath to see what arrives.”

In speaking to reporters, SUMA President Randy Goulden expressed similar concerns, pointing to the need to address an infrastructure deficit in their communities.

“We are looking to see definitely some infrastructure funding that’s coming to our communities,” said Goulden. “As we gathered starting yesterday, one of the things that was consistent we are hearing is a deficit of communities around infrastructure. So whether it’s water, wastewater, streets, roads, sidewalks, the quality of life infrastructure like rinks and pools and parks, we need to be a partner and we’re ready to be a partner, but we need the other orders of government to come in a partnership mode also. Because  our municipalities across Canada, and here in Saskatchewan, we provide 60 per cent of the infrastructure here in Canada and we feel that this point we’re not getting the adequate funding to keep providing those services.”

Moe also indicated during his scrum a willingness to have a conversation with municipalities and the federal government on a new fiscal framework for municipalities heading forward. “More discussion is always better,” said Moe. 

Goulden said she was encouraged by those remarks. 

“It gives me hope because I can go to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and say ‘our Premier’s on board.’ I can talk about that to our other associations across Canada and they can go and say to their provincial and territorial governments ‘Saskatchewan is on board, we need to get on board too.’ And hopefully, that is going to get our national government, our federal government, on board because those conversations have to happen.”